It’s probably surprising to some people, but occasionally the time I spend with Richard is the most relaxed I am all week. This week has been a roller-coaster, with ups that more than compensated for the downs, but definitely some stuff I needed to address. I realized that, for the first time in a while, my anxiety was holding steady at a level that was affecting my whole body, from my breathing to my muscles to my head. I asked Rich to do some “targeted EMDR” (I think I made that up) around an area of particular strain for me, and when I first settled into the love seat and took a few steadying breaths, I realized I was actually getting dizzy from the inrush of oxygen I’d been deprived of all week, but particularly since last night. We talked about that some, I had an interesting realization, and then we went on to begin tackling my anxiety about cars, driving, and accidents.
I know I was a passenger in at least a few accidents as a child, though I have no memories of them. The one accident I do remember from a few years ago wasn’t hugely traumatizing in any way (aside from the asshole who hit us making an infuriating remark that made me want to snatch his fender out of our grille and go all Big Papi on his head). Most of my triggers are around accidents my loved ones have been in when I wasn’t there – my ex getting t-boned in an intersection by another truck going about 40MPH after dropping me off at the airport, my mom getting hit by a drunk driver in October of last year and needing multiple surgeries (she’s still on crutches and in PT), my sister getting in an accident that deployed her airbag and totaled her car two weeks ago today. Last night on her way home from work, the woman I’ve been seeing was in an accident. She texted to let me know, so I knew she was okay, but it started me down a not-so-pleasant memory lane – I looked at pics from my ex’s crash, started thinking about the mounting dread as Joshua and I approached the scene of mom’s accident, recalled the hours in hospitals and on the phone with insurance agents and lawyers and billing reps.
One session won’t “cure” my anxiety around this, but it did offer me a moment’s respite from the constant buzz of fear that’s been present. Rich also provided me with alternate perceptions of a few things I thought were fact, which was an enormous relief. Maybe someday I won’t be stomping my invisible brake or clutching the dash when I’m a passenger, and maybe as a driver I won’t white-knuckle through construction zones or always be fearful during dusk and dawn when my vision is worst. In the meantime, I will just be grateful that all the people I know are alive and well after their accidents, remind myself that I have never been in an accident while behind the wheel, and breathe into my new knowledge. Cuz that’s powerful stuff.