An order of Anxiety with a Side of Panic

I normally have a pretty good amount of anxiety on a daily basis, a side effect of my childhood, but any unplanned stressors really just put me on high alert. Yesterday, I realized while driving with my family that I still had a good amount of extra anxiety from an accident we had 5 months ago.

5 months ago, my children and I were stopped in traffic when a young girl rear-ended us at almost full speed. I believe she was on her phone when she hit us, but she maintains she was checking her mirrors. At the time of the accident, my children suffered major whiplash and my son was hit in the head with an object from our trunk area that became mobile from the impact. My car was totaled. There was nothing I could have done to avoid this accident, I wasn’t even moving when she hit us.

She got out of her car clutching her phone to her chest, and started kicking her car and cussing and yelling… all the while, my kids are hurt in the car. She never once said she was sorry – even if she was feeling it.

The officers working the wreck didn’t take my statement, because we were in an ambulance, so I was never able to state that I felt she was on her phone – so the accident report reflects her story of checking her mirrors. I don’t suppose that it matters much because she is still at fault, but it’s irritating. However, 5 months later, her insurance has refused to pay what we feel is a comparable amount for the injuries sustained and we have been forced to hire an attorney.

Last night, my family and I were driving across town, my husband driving and the rest of us riding. We approached a stoplight with a car that was stopped… the light was green. I knew my husband was stopping, but anxiety kicked in and I was scared. My logical mind knew he was stopping, but my panic mind thought he wasn’t. I yelled, “stop!” which scared my kids. My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, and I felt like I wanted to break down in tears. My husband thought I was upset with him, but I truly wasn’t. My body was responding in a way that was completely out of my control.

I was having a panic attack.

5 months after, and I am still suffering from this accident. My kids are constantly worried about accidents also. My son has said several times that he is scared people will hit us when the traffic is bad. My daughter begs me to find a different route home to avoid traffic because it scares her so much. She is always saying, “Watch out for that car mommy!” even when a car isn’t close to us. She worries about speed when we are driving, and says “are you going too fast?”

I hate that my family is having to deal with this. I hate that this girl was being careless and in that instant put our family at risk. I know that our accident could have been so much worse, but in our world this was bad. I hope she has learned her lesson, and I hope she realizes how lucky she was to have not killed someone.



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