So I was in a car accident in December. It was bad. I ran off the left side of the interstate going 70 mph, went through the median and the guardrail, went airborne into oncoming traffic and then landed on another car.
I was lucky. I only broke my back. Fortunately, the driver of the car I landed on lucky too.
I spent almost 5 months in a back brace, living with my parents, before I was able to have the necessary fusion to prevent paralysis. It was life altering.
I came home to Buffalo via Columbus and life continued. And then I made the 9.5 hour drive back to Bristol again. That wasn’t so bad. It was the drive home that was shattering.
At first it was just a feeling of unease, disconnect, unreality. And then the tears started. Finally I was forced to pull over to attempt to get myself together. The depression and disconnect are still with me. I sat at the rest area and sobbed.
It’s like that drive home finally brought the reality that I had broken my back and nearly killed someone. I don’t know why the accident happened? I don’t think I was tired. I don’t recall being distracted by my phone or the radio or anything else. But I don’t know for sure. Maybe it was a freak accident. Or maybe I did something that made it happen. I just don’t know.
I feel disconnected from everyone. I interact with people through a hazy film that sets them far from me, almost like a mirage. The part of me that used to feel so much is just… gone. It hurts so much that sometimes I think I can’t stand it. But it doesn’t hurt near enough. I KNOW that I should feel a lack of something. All I feel is numbness and guilt.
About two weeks before the accident my psychiatrist put me on a new medication, Seroquel. It was a low starter dose to help control my hallucinations. It was supposed to help with my insomnia. I don’t know if it is a contributing factor to either the accident or my lost feelings. I know that I stopped taking it about a week and a half ago, and I don’t feel any different. I still don’t feel. I just pretend.
My doc has put me on a different medication that is supposed to do everything the Seroquel should do but it should also help the depression. It should help me to be more motivated. More up. More lively. She says it should help with the disconnect.
I’ve started volunteering again. I used to really enjoy it when I worked with CASA. Now, I’m going through the motions. It’s good for me, I think. It gets me out of the house and interacting with people who, let’s face it, are in much worse shape than I am. I should feel good about it. The reality is that I’m hoping it will provide enough of a distraction so I don’t think about I can’t feel the adoration that my cat has always provoked. I scritch her ears and watch her stretch and listen to her purr, but there’s no feeling of a mama loving her baby. She’s just a cute cat who sometimes lets me snuggle her.
I’m trying to work through it. Going through the logical steps and making some very necessary changes in my life and in my relationships. Spending six months out of my reality was eye opening on a lot of levels.
Driving home felt like I was waking up from a long sleep. I didn’t remember the roads I was driving — it was like I was making the drive for the very first time. I found that I was grieving for a relationship that ended years ago. Maybe it was my playlist. I remember thinking that it was like a road trip down Heartbreak Hill. It was a compilation of my favorite music, accumulated through the years from friends and lovers alike. It takes me back to some of the best times of my life.
Music has that tendency to relive the past. It’s like smelling fresh baked cookies and thinking of Grandma. It transports you to the moment when it first touched you. Sometimes its the first time you heard it. More often its the time with something important happened while you were listening to it. You associate it with the thoughts and feelings and people that shared it with you. It’s a time machine.
My favorite playlist could be mistaken for a depressing list of songs because it reminds of the past. But I feel when I listen to it. I feel the echoes of those moments — someone sharing the music they’ve written and performed, the first time I made love with a man who fundamentally changed my world view, the laughter of a dear friend. I see snapshots when I listen to it. I recall former road trips and the memories made.
I feel the pain of those things that have happened and will never happen again. I feel the gratefulness in having had those experiences in the first place. I sense the joy (and sometimes despair) of the moments that made the music precious to me.
And somehow, that’s saving me. I am losing myself in the music of the past, and I realize that I need to start collecting new music. New associations. New memories. New feelings. If music is what allows me to feel anything, then that’s what I’m going to do.
What music holds your memories? What songs are important to you and why? Where do you go when you listen to them? Share your music with me so that I can start my new playlist with friends and family that are important to me.
What songs should I start to lose myself in now?