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Guided Imagery for Getting Back into the Driver’s Seat after a Scary Accident

05 Jan

Dear Belleruth,

I was in a bad car accident in October. I am doing much better and could possibly be released to drive and return to work in a couple of weeks.

I am having a bit of trouble sleeping, and know that after being unable to drive for 6 weeks, I will be feeling panicky about driving.

Which of your titles would be helpful for this panicky feeling? I do own some of your titles and know they have helped in the past.

Carol Ann

Dear Carol Ann,

I suggest you work with the Healthful Sleep and the first 3 self-calming exercises on the Panic Attack imagery, starting now, so you can get a jump on learning to settle yourself down at will before getting back into that driver's seat.

If you find you're having recurring, intrusive images or nightmares, involuntarily replaying the accident in your mind, you may want to use the Healing Trauma imagery, as well.

But chances are, this will subside of its own accord after a few months, and the result of your body still running adrenaline from the accident - that often takes a few months to settle down, as your body pendulates (hopefully in smaller and smaller swings) between adrenergized alarm states and detached numbness, driven by endogenous opioids. So I'd wait on that and first see if the other relaxation imagery expedites that settling.

Massage therapy might also be very useful here.

I hope this helps. My best wishes for a smooth and uneventful return to normalcy.

Belleruth

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.