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cars and coffee shops.

“There were two silver cars, one was really smashed up on Wharf Road and the other was on the other side of the road against the bank”

The chatter of locals at the coffee shop this morning over their fresh brews.

That was me. I was the second car against the bank.

“Surely speed must have been a factor!” It wasn’t.

“But were you driving to the conditions?” I was.

“Were you texting?” I was not.

Aside from music at a half decent volume and a little weather-related anxiousness of my wet work drive this was a very normal day in all respects. Thinking about my 9.30 Stocktake meeting.

All I remember is being sideways, seeing water, not wanting a swim, overcorrecting then hitting the bank on the other side of the road. It happen so fast but in slow motion. Didn’t once touch my break – all that life advice dad drummed into me is finally paying off. I remember trying to turn off the car and not understanding why it wouldn’t. I was still in drive. I needed to get out of the car, and I needed help. I called Matt for the help, then mum to help me breathe.

I was in one piece, aside from a sore body and a faint seatbelt mark I was fine. What the fuck just happened!?

With the help of some very kind locals, Matt and my boss (who unfortunately received the brunt of the tears) the car was safely removed from the road and taken to the panel beaters. I made my 9.30 meeting, and, in all respects, I think I was ok.

Two hours later another car had an accident in the very same spot. Unfortunately, this driver was not so lucky and did not get to walk away. They ended up in the water.

I later found out there were 4 accidents in the last 12 hours in the very same spot, only 3 of us were lucky. Whether there was something on the road? new paint lines? the camber of the road combined with heavy rain? I don’t know.

One thing I’m not sure many of you know is that I have and have always dealt with Anxiety, to varying degrees. When I was a lot younger, I was unable to leave the house. Some days it can be as simple as what the weather is doing.

My very first panic attack I had when I was around 16 years old, I was driving. It came from nowhere and to this day still have no idea what caused it. Believe me I have spent a lot of time trying to figure that out. I’ll delve further into the anxiety game later but the guts is – my anxiety has always come out when I drive. Supposedly this is because you drive so automatically that your brain has time to relax and let your anxious thoughts creep in. Also common with Supermarket shopping… where I also get anxious… but yes later date.

It’s not the act of driving itself. I love driving. I’m a good driver, maybe a little slow, but sensible.

About 18 months ago I knew my anxiety was coming back, a biproduct a very heavy year or two. I felt that all too familiar buildup of unnecessary worry starting to consume me again. I tried to ignore it for awhile but she’s a pushy bitch and managed to weasel her way back in. Driving to and from work (20-minute coastal drive) started to be a thing. I never stopped doing it – because feel the fear and do it anyway. But I was exhausted after each drive and my body constantly ached from the tensing.

6 months ago, I decided enough of this shit and went to a new doctor and did something about it. I’ll really get into that someday because – mind blown.

This last month has been amazing – finally no anxiety. I got to think about what was on at work instead of breathing on my drive in in the morning, what to cook for dinner instead of how many kms to go on my drive home. My mind feeling so free again.

Then I crash into a fucking bank. And I’m ok.

But I don’t think I am?

I spent half the night awake reliving it. But I’m fine?
I was an anxious passenger on the drive to work this morning. But I didn’t die?
I dread getting behind the wheel again and driving that piece of road. But what if I do?

So here we go again, and I’ll do it, I’ll be free again – you must keep pushing forward, exhaustion and all. There is always someone fighting a harder battle.

My heart goes out to the family that did lose a loved one yesterday. You will be in my thoughts.

Take care, hug your loved ones tight because you just don’t know what’s around the corner.

I know that’s all I wanted to do…


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