On the morning of February 3, I got in a car accident on my way to work. I was leaving my parking garage and the apartment plow guy backed into my car. I’m okay, he’s okay. But my poor little car suffered over $3000 worth of damage. The whole front right corner is completely smashed in. Kaboom.
Then came the hassle.
Dealing with insurance is no fun. Thankfully, the other guy’s insurance took responsibility for the damage within a day, but I’m impatient. There was extra pressure because my accident came on the morning after a major snow storm. My area gets a lot of snow. When we get big snow storms, there are a ton of wrecks. Snow must be too slippery for us to learn how to drive in it properly.
After a big storm, it is incredibly difficult to get your car fixed in a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes the delay to get your car back can be more than a month. It’s not good. I added a ton of unnecessary stress to myself worrying about whether or not I’d be able to get my car into the shop before the wait got incredibly long. * Worry Number 1*
I drove my beat up little car to the repair shop to have it assessed. It was a stressful drive! Every time I went over a bump or turned the wheel, there were extra noises coming from that corner of the vehicle. Stuff was rubbing that shouldn’t have been. *Worry Number 2*
Thankfully I got to the shop safely and met with all the people I needed to see. When I was with the repair guy, we did a walk around. He noticed that my back bumper had been rear ended and had license plate marks on it. He threw out a quick repair estimate of $400. This had nothing to do with my current accident so this repair would have been entirely out of my pocket book. *Worry Number 3*
Worry Number 3 was too much for me. Yes, I was okay. There were no injuries from the accident and the car was going to be repaired at no cost to me. I even had a rental car being delivered to me. All I could think about was Worry Number 3.
After he told me about this, I immediately began beating myself up about it. I was in an accident, what I thought was last summer, and again it wasn’t my fault. I was the front car in a 4 car rear-end extravaganza. The driver’s insurance company took complete liability and I could have had my car repaired at no cost to me.
But I did nothing.
I got the notices in the mail and the phone calls from the insurance company but I didn’t take action. I had no idea how much the damage was, but it was a little scratch and my car was functionally perfectly okay. I didn’t want to bother with getting the repairs, and apparently I didn’t want to bother with pocketing the money if I didn’t want to get the car repaired.
From 8:30am when I found spoke to the repair guy to roughly 11:30am, I felt like a worthless piece of nothing. Here I had something to do about that old accident and I didn’t do anything about it. The case had been opened and shut and there was no opportunity to get it covered now. I missed the window.
I even made my sister send me a slide show of my favorite dog to help me feel better. I love that dog so much. It helped, but it didn’t make me snap out of it.
What finally made me snap out of it was when I actually figured out when the accident was. I initially thought it was last summer, but nope that doesn’t make any sense. Summer before that maybe? No. I checked my handy Instagram feed (which is how I keep track of all my important life events) and it was 129 weeks ago or 2.5 years.
What was happening 2.5 years ago? I was in the middle of studying for the bar exam. I took the bar exam and I couldn’t find a job. Even worse, my mental health was at an all time low. Of all my adult life, I was at my lowest functioning level from June 2013 to December 2013. Right when I needed to make decisions about my car accident.
Realizing this, I immediately snapped out of my current funk. I can’t be mad at late 2013 Kate for missing this. She was barely getting by. Basic tasks were a struggle. Navigating my first car accident repair was too much for 2013 Kate. Losing out on $400 is okay because I wasn’t in a spot to handle it then.
This is all to say, please don’t beat yourself up about what happened in the past. I lost a morning to it, and I’m sure I’ll lose other time to the self destructive behavior.
Do the best you can with what you have.
You may miss out on an opportunity but that’s okay. Try to remember everything else that was going on around you at that time. In my case, all I initially saw was the missed car repair. But looking back now, I’m not sure I could have done anything different at the time.
Sometimes you have to let go of a $400 car repair to keep everything moving. No sense spending any more time thinking about it.
Mental health issues are a real thing. I’m happy to be in a good place right now, but who knows how long that will last. If you are struggling, please reach out: To family, friends, professionals or a random internet stranger like me.