Have you checked in with yourself lately? Have you thought to yourself, maybe today isn’t my best of days? How did you conquer that day? Do you know what it’s like to struggle internally and not have someone there to relate to you? Have you done your mental health check?
These self-reflecting questions derived from several events that have taken place in my life, but most recently from an accident that I was involved in this time a year ago… I describe it as a TV moment in my life, because I truly only would’ve considered this type of accident happening on a screen and not with me as the actor in the film.
So, here I was driving down a freeway all smiles and within 10 minutes of that ride it all changed. As I was driving, I noticed something in the road but couldn’t really make out what it was. I was driving in the far-left lane, so I was telling myself man I hope this board or debris in the road doesn’t mess up my tires. The freeway was booming that night. Bright lights and cars rolling! There was no moving over to the right lanes to get over and no option to go left. I was thinking damnit, I am going to have to run over this freaking board. As I got right up on it to drive over what I thought was a board, I realized that it wasn’t a board I was driving over. It was a freaking person!! Here I was driving my car over a person’s body. I immediately pulled over. I started freaking out and my car was making a very loud noise. I pulled over to see three other cars pulled over in front of me. These people had done the same thing as me in hitting and running over this body while driving the freeway and not having the option to do anything but to go forward. No one really realized what was on the ground until they were about to run over it. I called my friends losing it! They came immediately, but could not get to me. I was standing there with strangers beyond distraught. While it was not my fault, the idea of running over someone was hard to digest. My car was wrecked and covered in someone else’s DNA. How could I not feel anything? My only comfort standing there outside of the car on the freeway were the other people who had just experienced this same feeling as me. We were all in disbelief. It came to light that the person had walked out into traffic on one of the other cars. Then, it was a domino effect of cars going over this person in traffic right after. He was killed instantly from the initial impact. I know it wasn’t my fault, but here I am with that visual and the feeling of running over someone’s body. A human. Every day since that night, it has come to my mind. It comes to my mind throughout the day and night. I can feel it every day. I just want it to go away completely, but it hasn’t. I am praying through it. It is just something that has impacted me a lot emotionally and mentally. For a while, I was asking God why I had to be one of those drivers and why do I have to live with something like this on my conscious, like I don’t have a lot of other things on my plate to worry about on the daily. I wonder if this person who made the decision to end their life by entering traffic on drivers knew that their decision would cause another person mental and emotional distress. Basically, he left me having to deal with fear, anxiety and shock every single day when I drive. He left me with guilt for a while for something that I didn’t do. This shook me emotionally and mentally for a very long time and I’m seriously not sure I am completely over it… To this day, each time I see something in the road I freak out and if I run over anything I go into the person I was that night for a brief moment.. However, I am fighting it because my mental health is important to me and as a woman I can’t lose myself to the troubles of the world that are not my own. I refuse to let this incident control my thoughts permanently. My friends and family were amazing through all of it. They understand that I have this fear still with objects in the road and can coach me out of being in my own head. I also hold myself accountable when I am alone on the road. I’ve kept myself busy with work, school, and other projects. However, there are times, in the quiet moments, where I wonder about the reason why I was there. We have always been taught that everything happens for a reason. In this case, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was just an accident. Maybe another lesson to learn in having faith that everything will be alright, regardless of what the situation is. Honestly, these are all of the questions and ideas that you formulate in your mind when a situation like this occurs in your life. One thing for sure is, I have a pretty strong faith and know that I will be just fine in time. Today, I am able to talk about it without completely cringing from the thought of that night a year ago and for me that is a win in my book. It is true when they say time heals. I am definitely not where I was a year ago today. I’m out here singing Le’Andria Johnson’s “Better Days” song RIGHT NOW!