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Saturday, May 2, 2009

From this time tomorrow and on, would everyone please limit using their cell phones AND driving?? Please... thank you

Yesterday I played "Beat the Clock" several times--the game I mentioned on April 30th post where you set a mental timer to do as much as you can in 15 minutes. I was surprised to see how many things I accomplished. Most of the time I have an attention span of a gnat. I'm just like a kitten. I can be easily distracted. I'm always tempted to start playing with anything new I find under a layer of "stuff" I'm digging through, decide I need a snack or a nap... I did manage to reel myself in a bit, and played another game I used to play when I was a server-bartender, "Don't be caught empty-handed. Grab something coming and going. Make each trip to and from anywhere productive." This somehow seemed to keep me a little more centered.

I am trying not to be hard on myself. Impatient and too critical. I'm also trying not to make excuses. I'm learning to live in the moment. That is hard folks even if you don't have PTSD. This last year literally yanked my running tennies off my feet. I had no idea how busy, how stressed and how hard of a pace I'd settled into until things stopped cold last May 4. I even felt guilty using my part time disability to recover after the accident. Slowing down forces you to look at your current situation. I think sometimes life will bring you a gift disguised as a tragedy just to get you to slow down. It happened to me abruptly after an auto accident, and this last year has been the process (the gift) for re-examining my life. It is a miracle I am even here to have a second chance.

I can remember so many times of driving somewhere and suddenly looking up to see I had driven 100 miles. "Holy crap!" I'd say to myself. I had not even been presence in the entire trip. And yes, I used to be one of those who talked non-stop on her cell phone. Or fidgeted with papers, maps, etc. while driving. My job required lots of travel. I averaged 2500-3000 miles a month driving. That's a whole lotta miles, kids. Just ask my happy Oil Change Guy. And I loved my job, my career. I cannot do "that", my job, my career any more, at least not now. And I do not know if I will ever be able to drive that much again at that pace-amount. I'm still learning how to drive a few miles on the freeway without a full on panic attack.

The young man who hit our car at 70 miles an hour (more like a side swipe---twice) said he accidentally down shifted. Hmmmm....driving 70 MPH... down shifted? Is that possible to do? And would "that" cause your car to swerve suddenly? The State Troopers asked if we saw him on his phone. Since we did not I cannot be 100% sure he was. My gut tells me he was. Regardless, I still do NOT trust any one on the road driving beside me, behind me, in front of me and especially not passing me. It terrifies me to see so many people not just teens with their heads down texting away or reading a text. Changing lanes with phones glued to their ears never looking over their shoulders before the pull into the next lane. Barreling through an intersection head down, looking at their phone not oncoming traffic or light changes.

On my 101 list I put practice driving more on the freeways which I have been doing. At times I'm like that kitten that gets distracted easily. It's mostly worrying about what those other drivers are doing or "might" do. I am practicing being "mindful" while driving. Being present behind the wheel. I have to force myself, at least for now, to find something pleasant about the drive. And when I arrive at my destination, I have to literally peel my fingers off the steering wheel. But I'm doing it. One day at a time I'm doing it.

In the next two days I will share some pictures (none too graphic of course) about the accident, and will share the story of what happened. I need to do this for me. I would so enjoy your company as I share this. It is a huge mile-marker for me. A place of hope and new beginnings. A turn around the corner. A huge beacon at the end of an often dark, and frightening tunnel. A celebration of life, and LIVING!

PTSD is a mental disorder that robs you of living in the now. Robs you of moving any where. Robs you of your freedom. I am breaking outta those chains, baby!!

This time tomorrow I will be one step closer to being here fully with you today.


  1. "he accidentally down shifted. Hmmmm....driving 70 MPH... down shifted? Is that possible to do? And would "that" cause your car to swerve suddenly?"

    I don't know how a person would do it accidentally unless he was moving around a lot. Shifting down would be a lot like braking, so if you were distracted anyway, it could cause you to swerve.

  2. Thank you, Snowbrush. I have no anger or un-forgiveness for this young man. It just seemed (and still does) like he didn't tell the truth about what he was doing at the time he hit us. I wondered if it was possible to shift (even accidentally) into reverse driving that fast.


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