Defeating Guilt and Fear

There are some moments in life that we won’t ever forget. It’s burned into our subconscious and carted around like clunky baggage. Sometimes this baggage can turn into unwanted and unfamiliar emotions.

It took me years to get over the guilt of my motorcycle accident in 2005. In fact, I probably used this major life event to define myself at first.

I was a survivor. Saved by God and given a second chance at life.

Scarred by the road on the outside. Tormented by the guilt of survival on the inside.

I spent 2 nights in ICU due to a skull fracture and traumatic brain injury. The hours and visits were blurred but I do remember certain friends visiting. I could never forget 2 of our friends from church. They gazed upon my injured body like deer in the headlights. I honestly did not think my injuries were that bad until I saw the looks on their faces.

After spending 5 days in the hospital, I was discharged earlier than expected. My parents brought me back to their house and said it was like bringing a newborn baby home.

I couldn’t walk without assistance or a cane. My left arm was unusable. And the most humbling of all.. I couldn’t shower on my own. My mom and sister had to take turns washing my hair. I was 100% dependent on the care of others.

The days and nights following my hospital discharge were unbearably difficult. I was overwhelmed with unexplained guilt and afflicted with panic attacks.

When I was alone in my room at night, tears would begin to fall and uncontrollable sobs seemed to never end. There were several nights that my parents would wake up to me crying in the middle of the night and they would sit with me until I stopped crying.

Indeed, it was like a newborn baby.

I felt guilty for surviving and seemed so unworthy of a second chance. My family had to care for me all because I made the decision to get on the back of a motorcycle.

Guilt. A lot of guilt.

I was still in college at the time with only 2 semesters left before graduation. 4 weeks after the accident, I returned to school for a summer Geometry course; which is definitely not my strongest subject. Honestly, looking back there is no way I could have passed the class without God’s strength.

There wasn’t a question about how I was going to handle my recovery. I just carried on with life. It wasn’t always easy, in fact there were a lot of challenging days. But when I couldn’t pick myself up.. it was then that God carried me. Without His love and mercy I truly wouldn’t be where I am today.

My life hasn’t been the same since the accident. It took me a couple years to get over the initial guilt and understand that it wasn’t my fault. Nothing would have changed God’s plan for me that night and I had to come to terms with it.

The last 4 years have been easier. My accident date is just another day and no longer considered the day I almost died. How did I get to that point?

God and time. It heals all things.

I also learned to channel all of my anger, confusion and guilt into writing. I’ve always been a writer, but keeping a journal during my recovery was the most helpful. Talking about my issues with friends and family was also important; no matter how demented and crazy it seemed. It’s dangerous for your mental health to hold everything inside.

I used to enjoy riding on motorcycles with friends. I’ve even been on the bike without a helmet before. Take it from me.. wearing a helmet SAVED my life!

It’s been 8 years since my accident and I haven’t been on any form of motorcycle, bicycle or 4-wheeler. Sometimes the survivor’s guilt still gets to me but I’m ready to face the fear.

I wanted to share this moment with my readers and empower you to stand up against your fear and guilt! I’m proud to share this picture.. of me on a motorcycle. It took courage and strength, especially after 8 years. But, We can do all things through Christ! Believe it.

Motorcycle_2

In Matthew 19:26, Jesus says, “With man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible.”

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9 thoughts on “Defeating Guilt and Fear

  1. THANKS MARA FOR SHARING YOUR STORY WITH EVERYONE. SURE REMINDED ME A LOT OF WHAT I WENT THRU, AFTER MY FULL BLOWN BRAIN ANEURYSM IN 2001. I ADMIRE YOU STRENGTH, COURAGE, AND FAITH! LOVE, AUNT DONNA

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  3. It took me a few days to read this, because it’s hard to think back to that time. It’s been 8 years but it’s still a really painful memory, even just as a friend. It was scary. I’m so glad that I did finally read this post though, and glad I was here the last 8 years to watch you grow and heal. Love you ❤

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    • This is so sweet, Nicole. I really appreciate your comment. You were in the room when I woke up, I could never forget your kindness through out my hospital stay and recovery. You’re a great friend. God bless you!

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  4. Mara, I am a lot older than you, but we share many things. I had a vehicle accident on Thanksgiving Day, 2005. My car hit black ice which threw me into the path of an oncoming truck. Only by the grace of God was I not killed that day. I have a TBI, low back pain, and several other things. I spent time in the ICU and when released from the hospital went to a rehab for a month. After that, doctors wanted me to go to a nursing home (it all has to do with insurance, not getting well). My sister-in-law took me in, instead. I was under her care for another 2 months, was off work for 8 months. It is a hard journey to get back what was lost, but I continue on my journey every day. Only with the prayers of friends, and even strangers, the grace of my almighty God, and strength that only He could give, can I say that I am recovering. I still have memory problems and probably always will. Your doctor is right in saying that back pain will not kill you, but to me that is an unkind way to put it. I deal with pain on a daily basis, and have learned to give my day over to God first thing in the morning. He can manage it so much better than I do. I hope you will continue on your road to recovery. Just give it all to Him. He made our bodies, and He knows best how to take care of us. I do thank Him in every situation, but not particularly FOR the situation. I like to think of the hymn “God Will Take Care of You.” To me it says it all. Best wishes.
    Nancy Haught

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