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the driving cringe

June 28, 2010

car accident

photo credit

hello dear friends. this post is the first in a series i am starting in which i will document life after my car accident. it has been a very long journey to get to where i am now and i hope that through sharing some of these stories that you will get a peek into my life. but i also am hoping to reach out to other people who are walking through something similar. so if you know anyone who has been in a car accident, please recommend these posts to them. this is the story of how my life was turned upside down after a car accident.

it was a daily occurrence. basically every time i entered a car. you can avoid driving to a certain extent, hide out in your home. and there were many days that i did just that. but part of getting better was going to all of my different appointments. i couldn’t avoid those. not really. don’t get me wrong, there were many missed appointments. but most of those were missed because my brain wasn’t working anymore. so driving and riding in a car, i couldn’t avoid.

every time it was the same story. it was always worse when i was a passenger. my illusion of control was completely gone when i was simply riding and not driving. i saw accidents in my mind happen around every corner. if a car came too close to ours, i would uncontrollably jump right out of my seat. my knuckles were pure white from gripping the handle on the door. every muscle in my body would tense up with the anticipation of another car accident. and the day after one of these rides, my pain level would be almost unbearable. and this was only driving around town.

on the days that we drove to denver, well that was a different story. denver is only one hour away from where i live. but the tension in my body was out of control on these trips. it got so bad that i finally started bringing my night eye mask to wear for the entire trip. if i couldn’t see, then i wouldn’t tense up quite as much. of course, with every jerk of the car i still imagined the worst.

these experiences went on for the better part of a year. i often wondered if my life would ever be the same. stay tuned for part two.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2010 10:35 am


    I saw your tweet about this, so I wanted to come over and offer my support. I had an accident back in 1992 on a rain slicked highway. I hydroplaned and flipped into the ditch. If there had been a guard rail, then I would likely not have survived.

    It was not until reading your post that I realized that I still tense up in the car, especially when someone else, like my husband, is driving. I suppose it could be post traumatic stress from that accident.

    I loved reading about how it was painting that brought you back to life. I am glad you are taking Kelly Rae’s course with me and all of the other artists.


    • June 29, 2010 11:25 am

      thanks melissa for stopping by! i appreciate you support. it is nice to know we are not alone!

  2. June 28, 2010 10:59 am

    When I was one year old, my mom was in a horrific car accident. She was driving with a coworker to work, and was hit head on by a drunk driver. Mom broke her back, was in the hospital for months, and could no longer lift me up and carry me as a baby. On top of that, the other driver didn’t have insurance, so her coworker, her friend, sued my family. It was a trying time, to be sure.

    Mom still does not react well to not being the driver. Growing up, I didn’t understand why she’d be so tense while driving, or why she’d grip the wheel so tightly. But she’s slowly gotten better, and now doesn’t mind sitting in the back seat if she has to (especially when the grandkids are in the back).

    I feel for you, Wendy, and that only makes where you are all that more amazing because of all you’ve been through.

    • June 29, 2010 11:25 am

      brandi, that sounds extremely awful what your mom had to go through. i am so sorry. and thanks for your comment, it is amazing for me to see how far i have come.

  3. June 28, 2010 6:47 pm

    Wendy, thank you so kindly for sharing your story and this series is amazingly inspiring! I had a car accident a long few years back. My brother was driving recklessly eventho i remember telling him to be careful but he didn’t listern and that was how the accident occurred. Ever since that day, each time i get into a car i have this little fear and some little flash back. I didn’t start driving again until half a year later after the incident, and everyone that gets a ride from me knows that i am a “SLOW” driver. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

  4. June 28, 2010 7:05 pm

    I am blown away – your website is awesome and your writing style so engaging. So glad we’re flying together, I’m learning from every ONE of us. Thanks for sharing, I’ll be back 😉

  5. June 28, 2010 10:15 pm

    Greta Website, Very brave of your to write about your fears. I love your art , especially the little birds…


  1. the driving cringe part two « a girl and her brush
  2. the driving cringe part three « a girl and her brush

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