Motorcycle accidents can range in severity from minor to catastrophic. A simple fender-bender may cause bruises or scratches from a fall, while serious collisions can result in broken bones, internal injuries, and even brain damage. As a result, when you’ve experienced an accident, the thought of enduring a repeated collision or putting your life at risk by continuing to ride may just be too much for you.
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. You're not the only victim to feel anxiety after a collision. It’s perfectly understandable to have reservations about placing yourself back in a situation that could cause you further harm. However, at Johnson & Gilbert, P.A., we don’t think it’s fair that you should give up something you once loved because someone else’s negligence caused you to develop collision-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therefore, if you still love the idea of motorcycling but can’t seem to get back on your bike, we’d like to help.
Overcoming Fear to Ride On
The most important thing to remember in order to deal with riding hesitation is to make sure you’re physically capable of riding. Don't attempt riding if your injuries haven't fully recovered. Furthermore, make sure your doctor verifies that your previous injuries have healed and that you’re physically fit to handle and control the machine. Once your doctor gives you the green light, you can begin the PTSD healing process.
One of the main factors of PTSD is association. This is the concept that the fear and adrenaline you experienced during the collision are associated with your motorcycle. As a result, every time you even look at your bike, these same feelings start to stir up in your mind, causing anxiety. Consequently, instead of remembering the good times you had while riding, you only think about the pain of the accident. Therefore, to overcome riding anxiety, you must first deal with the association anxiety.
To do this, use the following methods:
- Secure support. When you allow others to dissuade you from your passions, your overall mental health suffers. If you feel riding will make you happy, don’t allow friends or family members to persuade you otherwise. Let them know that riding is part of you, and you need their support to reclaim that missing piece.
- Disassociate. It's extremely difficult to disassociate a motorcycle from the memories of a motorcycle accident. However, there are a few things you can do to help break the link:
- Buy a new model, or repaint your bike if it wasn’t damaged, so it no longer looks like the accident motorcycle.
- Change your riding habits. If the accident occurred on a specific road, try taking an alternate route. Simple changes allow your mind to heal. Instead of seeing images that remind you of the accident, different scenery can help you respond more positively to the idea of riding.
- Take it easy. Remember, although your body may be healed, your mind is still recovering. Don’t push yourself too hard by cruising onto the highway at top speeds when you’re not ready. Start with short trips around the block or to the store. These rides help build confidence and allow you to feel in control.
- Allow yourself to feel happy. Once you increase confidence through short rides, your body releases endorphins rather than adrenaline-fueled anxiety. Try to embrace these endorphins and enjoy the ride. Soon you’ll be back to associating motorcycling with happiness and freedom.
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