I remember the day I encountered the realm of serious injury vividly. I was stopped in my car waiting to turn left to drive through and grab a cup of coffee on my way to a scheduled meeting with my professional mentor.
Suddenly, a car slammed into the back end of mine. My plastic hair clip hit the head rest so hard it shattered, flying into a hundred pieces.
The woman driving had flown through an intersection without pause and run into my stopped car at full speed. My car was badly damaged. My mind was racing. I suppose it was the adrenalin flowing that afforded me the ability to pull my wrecked car out of the street and call the police and cancel my meeting.
I didn’t realize how badly I had been injured.
I didn’t realize how badly I had been injured so I declined an ambulance and instead went straight home. My injury was not readily visible but it was there. It wasn’t until later that day and after having my first MRI scan that I realized I had suffered a serious injury to my cervical spine. My own healing process is ongoing and part of the process is accepting my body is forever changed and I will likely undergo treatment for the rest of my life. It also has opened my eyes and my heart to the treasure of daily life.
It’s from my own experience that I have been able to be present in helping counseling clients through the mental and emotional healing of the mind and body after a serious injury. Learning how to be in relationship with pain in such a way that we are able to receive and heed the messages the pain in our bodies is sending is very important. Also, there are some practical pointers I want to provide to you. (Some of the links in this article are affiliate links which provide a small commission if purchase is made).
Practical Pointers and Resources for the Process of
Healing the Mind and Body After a Serious Injury
- See a doctor right away. After an accident you likely have adrenaline that is keeping you from realizing you need medical attention. Let the ambulance take you to an emergency room from the scene of the accident. They will be able to assess through x-rays, CT or MRI scans how seriously you have been injured and provide initial relief with medication and referrals for further care.
- Report the accident to insurance. Be sure you or someone you trust files a report to your vehicle insurance company within 24 hours of the accident. You may have long term damages that will need to be compensated – not only your car but your physical and mental wellbeing. You will likely be assigned an attorney to advise you on legal matters if appropriate.
- Keep moving. Follow your doctor’s or your physical therapist’s recommendations first and foremost but you will probably learn that they will tell you that remaining sedentary is not good for promoting your healing. You will likely be prescribed a course of physical therapy treatments and exercises to aid your body’s healing process so follow those guidelines and keep moving. Being sedentary for too long lends to all kinds of health complications, both physical and mental.
- Talk to someone. Contact a psychotherapist. Reach out for counseling and don’t hesitate. Recovering from a serious injury often brings on symptoms of panic, sleep disturbance, and depressed mood. It’s important to have a professional to speak with who knows how to help you navigate those mental and emotional waters and with the advent of online platforms you can now engage in distance counseling so you don’t have to leave your home while you are recovering.
- Have after hour medical resources on the ready. Research your local urgent care centers such as Grand View Health a center in Pennsylvania or Minute Clinics at CVS throughout the metro Atlanta, Georgia area. Know your options for nearby urgent care in the case you experience complications in your recovery process on weekends or at night.
- Harness your thoughts. In a book called The MindBody Prescription: Healing the Body Healing the Pain by Dr. John Sarno, you can learn how you can use the power of your thoughts and beliefs to aid your body through the healing process naturally.
- Heal through music and guided meditation. Dr. Andrew Weil promotes utilizing many natural sources to aid in optimal health and healing including guided meditation and listening to particular classical music selections. You can download his soothing, healing album called Sound Body, Sound Mind: Music for Healing here.
When you have been hurt in an accident of any kind you likely have experienced a trauma and your body holds the memory for a very long time. It’s important to be attentive to healing the mind and body after a serious injury. For me, the way my life is structured has necessarily changed. I seek both traditional and alternative treatments including getting MRIs to assess the status of my spine, seeking quality chiropractic care, neuromuscular treatments, cranio-sacral sessions, physical therapy, and attention to my nutrition and daily movement regimen. I meditate daily and the quality of my work with clients and time with family has been enriched as the injury awakened greater appreciation for every present moment.
Your process of healing mind and body after a serious injury can be a gratifying journey showing you the value of moments and experiences you may have previously taken for granted.