In the initial weeks you may be recovering physically and just making sense of what has happened to you.
However as time goes on, you might start to notice the following difficulties.
You might find that you have troubled sleep. Maybe dreams and nightmares about the accident will awake you. Or maybe you have thoughts about it that pop into your head anytime you are near a road or a in a car or close to any reminder of the accident.
You might find yourself overwhelmed with fear and feeling unsafe. Perhaps you are unable to drive, unable to return to work or unable to go near to where the accident happened. You might often feel overwhelmed.
Many people who have experienced accidents feel anxious. You might notice they you are breathing fast or sweating when you are reminded of the accident. You might find you have awful thoughts when reminded of the accident. You might find yourself thinking “I will be in an accident” or even “I will die”.
Many people I see after an accident have started to avoid so many things. Maybe it’s being a passenger, they are happier driving as they feel more in control. Often they avoid certain journeys. Many people start avoiding anything that reminds them of the accident. This often then generalises and people gradually start avoiding more things in their life. “I won’t go for a walk tonight with my friend in case she asks me about the accident” “I’m not going to the cinema, the dark rooms scare me” “I won’t go to the gym today, the loud noise in class unsettles me”