Sometimes, feelings experienced may be strong, and at times over-powering and exhausting.
Anger is a common feeling. It is common to feel angry if someone is being held responsible for the crash. It is common to feel angry with society for not treating road safety seriously enough. This can be particularly hard to bear if you are not used to feeling angry.
It is also common to feel angry at other people who say things that you rightly consider inappropriate or who even behave as if nothing has happened. (This is usually because they are afraid they may say the wrong thing.) You may feel that “nobody understands”.
Anxiety is another common feeling. It is common to feel worried and suffer feelings of panic. You may worry about the safety of yourself or other loved ones, particularly on the road but also generally. You may be scared about what the future may hold
Stresses previously taken as being part of life can sometimes become unbearable. You may get upset at small things as well as the big things. You may feel tense or restless. You may also find you forget things and have difficulty concentrating.
Some people feel as though the future is bleak. They feel there can’t ever be a time when it will be possible to feel happiness again. Plans for the future may be wrecked.
Some days may feel much worse than others. Some people feel like they are on a rollercoaster of emotions.
What you can do
Understand these feelings are normal, keep talking, and take your time
An important way to cope with such strong feelings is to understand they are symptoms resulting from what has happened. It is not your fault that you are feeling this way, and it is normal in the circumstances. These feelings are not part of your character, and, if you take care of yourself and seek support, they can subside over time and be replaced by more positive feelings.
Treat yourself to simple comforts that are likely to make you feel a tiny bit better or calmer. This could be as simple as a cup of tea, listening to calm music, or sitting in the sun for ten minutes.
Some people find that being creative helps them to be calm. For example, writing, drawing or mounting photographs can be positive, peaceful activities. Find something small to look forward to, such as a visit from a friend.
It is easier to make mistakes at times of severe stress. Take extra time and care if you or a loved one is driving, cooking, or doing other potentially dangerous jobs. Try to avoid making big, difficult decisions. Treat yourself gently.
For some people, it is tempting to resort to alcohol or illegal drugs. However, these are stimulants that do not help, and have damaging consequences. Tranquilisers prescribed by a doctor may be helpful in the short term but some can become addictive and are not a long term solution.
It can help to explain to other people how you are feeling so they are not surprised if you display these feelings around them. If you work, it can help to talk to your employer and colleagues. If you are at school, it can help to explain things to your teacher and friends. Enable these people to give you the time and space you deserve.