ASK AMY: Tragic accident triggers trauma reaction

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Dear Amy: I recently got into a car accident involving a young man who tried to commit suicide by jumping in the path of my car.

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My 2 year old was in the car with me but (thankfully) didn’t seem to notice when I hit the man.

The man survived, and I learned (through the police who arrived at the scene) that a few minutes earlier he had jumped into the lane of another car.

I was just the next car.

The man confessed to the paramedics and the police that he had jumped in front of my car with the intention of committing suicide. Several officers tried to reassure me that I had no problems and that I had done nothing wrong.

Amy, I can’t stop replaying the events in my head (and unfortunately I have to repeat and relive this while dealing with my insurance company).

I feel like I’m drowning in what ifs.

I think therapy will help me deal with this traumatic event, but I don’t know where to start.

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Could you direct me to some resources?

– What if

Dear What-If: Traumatic stress is a normal response to an abnormal event. Your brain will have its own way of processing this accident, and your brain can also reprogram itself again to heal itself.

In researching your question, I have read heartbreaking reports of train conductors running over people who jumped (or were pushed) onto the tracks. One former driver who was hit by a train was quoted as saying: “As cruel as it sounds, it’s over for a man (who was hit by a train). For the driver, this is just the beginning.”

The emotional consequences of this kind of unavoidable accident may persist and sometimes manifest in physical symptoms.

Since your young child was in the car at the time, I’m guessing your reaction might be even more complicated – such a relief that everyone survived the accident – but guilt that it even happened and fear that it might happen. again.

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Guided desensitization therapy (possibly returning to the site and maintaining safety) may help. EMDR therapy (using eye movements to regenerate the brain) can help you.

Daily meditation practice (along with treatment) can help you breathe while you meditate. I highly recommend it.

You should contact a traumatologist. Your police department’s victim assistance program or victim advocate should have a list of local therapists who can work with you.

Psychologytoday.com contains a useful database of therapists and support groups that can be found by location.

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Dear Amy: I am a mother of two teenage daughters and would like advice on how to help them with a very annoying and inappropriate question that they get quite often (and started getting in their preteens): “Do you have a boyfriend?”

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I don’t understand why so many people are interested in this, and why they find it appropriate to ask, no matter how well they know them, or when they are in front of other people, etc.

If our daughters answered “no” to this question, it would only seem to prolong the suffering with more questions and statements such as “Why not?” or “I don’t believe you!”

My daughters haven’t found a way to deal with the awkward situation where so many people think it’s perfectly normal casual conversation and they want to be respectful to adults.

Or maybe we are too sensitive, and it is quite reasonable to ask a teenager about their romantic life?

– Mum

Dear Mom: Huck, I remember this question from my teenage years! And like a never-before-seen high schooler, the question was both obsessive and (bonus!) a surefire way to feel less than.

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Reassure your girls that adults usually ask this because they want to connect but don’t know how. Most likely, they are not even particularly interested in the answer.

This annoyance will soon be followed by the equally difficult question of “where are you going to go to college.”

Encourage teens to find a way to laugh it off and then distract them with a question of their own: “Haha, only my Instagram followers really know what I’m up to. Did you date in high school?

Dear Amy: Your question from Anxious, who has begun overstocking food in response to the pandemic, inspired me to write.

As Anxiety takes control of its hoarding, I encourage them and others to consider donating to the food bank.

Donations at many of our food banks have declined and could benefit from help.

– Too many items

Dear Overstocked: Great advice. Thank you!

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