STARTING OVER AFTER ACCIDENT

Dale Archer, M.D. Thursday, April 30, 2015 0
STARTING OVER AFTER ACCIDENT

Dear Dr. Archer,

Just over a year ago, I worked and lived in Thailand. I was living the dream. I loved my apartment, my job and my friends. I couldn’t have wished for more.

Then I was in a severe traffic accident.

I lost it all, because of my own stupidity. To get an idea, go to Facebook and look up “Why Wear Helmets?”

 After my accident, I couldn’t work, which meant I couldn’t pay rent and continue living my dream.

I returned to the U.K., where I was raised, but that didn’t work out as I had hoped. I felt utterly useless, and as if I didn’t belong. I was relying on several other people, and after being such an independent person, that only made things worse. 

Now, I’m back in Thailand, trying to start over. I’m hoping the third time’s a charm.

I am struggling to find my purpose in life, but this time it’s tough, because of financial instability. I know what I want to do, but I’m running out of cash. I don’t know where to turn, and I don’t want to become suicidal. That may sound extreme, but my goal in the U.K. was to go back to Thailand, or end it all. I never want to feel that low again.

Is there any online help I can obtain to keep me motivated, positive and determined? I need to talk to people — for free. 

Dayna

 

Dear Dayna,

I looked at the Facebook page you mentioned, and I urge everyone reading this to do the same. After hearing about your very unfortunate experience, many may rethink their views on wearing helmets. Most motorcyclists are opposed to helmet laws, but statistics don’t lie. When helmets aren’t mandatory, motorcycle injuries and deaths increase drastically.

Freedom of choice is a precious gift, but it’s not cheap. Sometimes, a choice will bring about disastrous consequences, and that’s why we must choose wisely. We make our choices, and must live with the results.

Accidents happen every day. Being on top of the world, losing it all, and reaching rock bottom is devastating. I know it’s bad; but it could have been worse. I take it you typed your own story. You still travel, and you still have sight. You beat the odds. You are alive.

A year ago, you were in an accident. This experience is an amazing, priceless education. It has only been a year since the accident, and it sounds like you’re trying to get your old life back. Great! But remember that, while independence is admirable, sometimes accepting a little help will get you where you want to be much faster.

Write down, read and reread the words of Alexander Graham Bell, who famously said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

I have no idea what to tell you about how to get a job in Thailand, but I can tell you never to give up. Also, look around for any community mental health clinics in your area. Help is out there, and I would suggest you take any help when it’s offered to you, until you’re back on your feet. Good luck.

 

Dear Dr. Archer,

Please help! I’m a 31-year-old male. All my life, I’ve struggled with everything that bothered me on my own because I was always afraid to ask for support or help. I was afraid of being misunderstood, and I didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems.

For years, I thought it was only my silly moods, and not worth caring about. But now, I feel like I can no longer handle this. I feel so down, and it’s even worse when I need to pretend that everything is OK, because I don’t want to bother my relatives. 

I feel as if nobody understands me, and every social situation pushes me into a deeper isolation. I’m longing for some kind of relationship with someone I could call my “soul mate,” but when someone gets close to me, I end up pushing him or her away, and go back into my own little shell.

What’s wrong with me? I feel hopeless and helpless. 

Michal

 

Dear Michal,

It can be very frustrating to keep falling into that dark hole of depression and hopelessness, but some of that falling can be self-imposed. The idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy may apply in your case. That is, you seem to expect failure and disappointment in your social relationships, and by so doing, you may sabotage a relationship by always looking at the negatives.

On the other hand, you may actually be fearful of an honest, intimate and vulnerable relationship.

Being close and open with others requires the willingness to be rejected. And rejection hurts. But it’s worse when you give up, and lose faith in your own ability to learn from those experiences.

Jim Morrison said, “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” Think about it.

I doubt if there is anything wrong with you that can’t be overcome, but you’ve got to stop testing every potential encounter. Find the good in others. Find common interests, and give up on this fairy tale idea of finding a “soul mate.” And, by all means, stop pretending to be someone you’re not. How can someone care about you if they never know who you are?

 

Dr. Dale Archer is a board certified psychiatrist who founded the Institute for Neuropsychiatry in Southwest Louisiana. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN Headline News and other national TV programs, and is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Better than Normal. Visit him at DrDaleArcher.com.