This coming weekend marks eight years since my scooter accident. It was something of a defining moment for me, as it is remains the only time I have come close to death. Though I didn’t walk away, there was very little blood and almost no lasting physical damage. You hear it all the time, “I was so lucky” but that was me. Riding down a highway at 80kms and have some goose pull out of a side street right into you is quite an experience.
Flashing through my mind was, no, no, no you couldn’t be that stupid! But he was. My big 500cc Yamaha Tmax scooter was firmly wedged under the front of his car as I was thrown up and over the bonnet, just clipping the front wind shield enough to put my body into a spin, in flight, before it hit the road with a whack and a bounce or two.
I said there was almost no lasting physical damage but it did do my head in, for a while. My knees got a hell of a bashing which required many weeks of physio. My bride was kind enough to ferry me around to appointments. It soon became apparent that I was damaged psychologically by the event perhaps more than physically. Sitting in the passenger seat, I flinched badly every time someone tried to enter from a side street on the left, or aggressively merged. I felt the need to swear at them and even wanted to get out and punch them if they were too rude. Pretty silly stuff.
A few weeks of this and Anna suggested I get some help. At first I was a little bit insulted. That lasted until the next intersection. My GP gave me a referral to a local psychologist and in the blink of an eye I was on a six-week program of counselling. This was, hands down, the best thing I have ever been cajoled into doing.
The psych and I dealt with the entire accident in about one and a half visits. So then we moved on to other areas of my life I felt could benefit from airing. I gave her both barrels over the next few weeks and by the end of the six-week program I felt almost completely unburdened for the first time in my memory. It was such a liberating feeling I can remember people smiling at me in the street as i walked by, because clearly I was smiling at them. That had never happened to me before.
So it has been eight years since I found the space to move on from stuff (events, history, people) that wasn’t very good in my life, but didn’t need to define me. It was so liberating to discover that. If it hadn’t been for that horribly scary scooter accident in the Blue Mountains, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today. Counter intuitive I know, but that’s the rub.
Needless to say, I would encourage anyone to seek out counselling. It was a life changer for me.