Friday, February 1, 2013

Triggered: A Short Story of Anxiety

We bought a new-used Toyota 4Runner a couple of weeks ago. It was the make and model of the vehicle we were in during our car accident in '04 (just a few years newer, it's a '96). Despite the vehicle not having air-bags at the time of the accident, we survived the 75 mph semi-truck collision that night. Crumbled and broken, both the car, us and our driver, it was almost a miracle.

So naturally, having to travel almost 40 miles to and from our new house at the end of the month; particularly if we find a job, and when we start University in the fall; and for the next few years, on the same interstate where the accident took place, we thought the safest thing we could do, mentally, is have a vehicle we trust.

That was all good, until today, driving to the gym, when we gently applied our foot to the brake to turn the corner into the parking lot, at a low speed, and the ABS (Anti-lock braking system) kicked in, and the car wouldn't stop. Or maybe it didn't kick in. We're not even sure how ABS works, exactly. According to James there is an error in the programming of the third generation Toyota ABS. So, that's nice.

If you've ever experienced a braking system on ice, when it's not working properly (or maybe it is, but braking shouldn't feel like that) it sort of jerks, feels like it's shaking across the pavement. It's not stopping.

And it triggers us into a panic, even though we weren't going very fast. We had forgotten that particular feeling of the car accident. Suddenly we're staring at a giant wall of metal, and closing our eyes, holding back a scream. So. Fun.

It's almost like passing semi-trucks on the interstate, or any time we're not driving. Being a passenger makes us nervous, and so does having a passenger if we're driving.. It's not that we don't trust our driver. We don't trust anybody around us in a vehicle. And the bigger the vehicle, the most stressed and anxious we feel. If we're driving passing a truck, our knuckles are white, we're intensely focused, and our head is pounding to the beat of our heart. It's actually a very unsafe way to react. We know that. yet, we have a hard time controlling it.

In any case. Fun times.

In house hunting news: Tonight we sign our half of the paperwork on the Purchase Agreement. It's the home-stretch.


  1. Yay for paper signing! After my accident, I too experience anxiety when being a passenger. My 95 S-10 saved my life. I am glad I don't have to drive that stretch of highway where my accident happened. You guys are stronger than you know!

  2. The actual stretch is more North, but it's the same road, and the same route for all the semi-trucks. There are sooooo many on that road. And they don't pay attention, they drive over the speed limit, and many don't drive straight, so they're always swaying from white line to white line.

    Luckily we're mostly "homebodies" when we're not travelling.


  3. Hell, you still drive. ;-) After my accident, I didn't drive for a year nor leave the house without Charlie by my side. The only reason I did drive when I did was because he needed medical treatment and couldn't drive.
    The panic eventually fades... it gets better... and then there are the moments that make you wonder if it really does or did. Hang in there.
    And paperwork signage! *Happy Granny Dance*

  4. We didn't drive for sooooo long after. Even sold our Bronco II.
    And you know...gotta do what ya gotta do and all that.
    Power To Our People! Hahahaha! *sigh*