Crazy B*tch (Memoirs of a Lemon Lover in Recovery)
Chapter 23—Golden Moments and PTSD
My dad was right; it did help me to replace my car, and start driving again. My recovery did speed along quite nicely—at least on the outside. I had graduated out of the whiplash collar, and was able to look both ways with grace and ease. The bruises and cuts had faded so that I had begun to forget they were even there in the first place. The police investigation had managed to prove that indeed the dump truck driver had run the red light, and thus my driving record was untainted. The insurance settlement nicely paid for my golden car, with some to spare. On the outside, things were looking up. On the inside, however, it was a whole other story entirely.
I was warned that I might have nightmares, headaches, restlessness, irrational bouts of panic or even irritability. I was given a few brochures on both soft tissue injury, and PTSD. From what I could tell, both conditions were like a crappy gift that kept on giving and giving…and giving. The restlessness quickly abated, but all the other shit hung on for what seemed like forever.
Driving at night was the worst. I was convinced that all those driving around me were crazy, red light running monsters. By the time I got home I would be a shaking and enraged lunatic with a migraine that could kill an elephant. I would crawl into bed believing that sleep would offer me sweet relief from this madness. Sometimes it would, but other times the nightmares just offered something of a sequel to the events of the day. Ultimately, my dreams would take me back to the moment of impact and the subsequent roll over. However, my subconscious was something of a creative genius. In my dreams, I managed to relive the events of my accidents in a bicycle, garden tractor, Tilt-a-Whirl ride, a house, and even, ironically, a dump truck. When I mentioned this to others, I was told that I was just “processing” the accident and that I should just relax. It was brilliant advice in its simplicity—such a shame it didn’t translate well into reality.
My dad figured the more I washed, waxed, and drove my new car, the sooner I would be fully recovered on all fronts. He had all kinds of stuff for me to do for this ‘like new’ car. Winter was coming, and I had to study in preparation for winterizing my car. My dad counselled me on how to fashion winter fronts, and the virtues of synthetic oil blends. The distraction was helpful especially throughout the day. I also learned the ways of WD-40. My locks, door jams and all parts under the hood of my car had the healthy WD 40 sheen. Some suggest it might have been the fumes, but using WD-40 made me so happy.
Hopefully it was the fumes, because then perhaps I might have been too stoned to get caught up in the stress of winter driving in this new car. The prospect of winter driving hung off on the horizon like some kind of soon-to-wake hibernating monster. It was lurking there, just biding its time. I started having nightmares that I was back driving Ol’Bruiser during that very first snow—except instead of just sliding around, I was sliding and rolling over—crashing into snow banks and dump trucks.
Everyone wanted me to be okay, and fully recovered. It was tremendous pressure, and I think we all knew it was a charade. However, I think that everyone, including myself, believed that if I held with the charade long enough, eventually it would morph into something of a reality. This was un-chartered territory for me, and I desperately hoped that somewhere, there would be somebody who could help me find my way through this.
No one could offer me much more than flat, cliché imbued advice. It was well intended, and heartfelt, but not overly helpful. I was alone in the wilderness as it were. I really couldn’t get as excited about this car as my dad was. I just couldn’t get excited about it. I didn’t have any energy, and just about everything made me tired. I was told that this was also part of the recovery of the soft tissue injury. My dad was very supportive and more than happy to pick up the slack. He was in love with my car—that shiny gold paint had him totally enamoured. He would always tell me everything he did for my car, and in extensive detail. I think he believed that his enthusiasm and passion would be contagious. I did my best to play along, but I was just so tired. Thankfully, amongst all the clichés and well intentioned advice, there was a lot of love and patience. Everyone patiently waited for time to do its magic.