Why I’m forgiving myself after my car accident.

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.

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14 comments

  1. Aw 😦 I’m sorry you lost a morning to this. But I am glad for the bigger picture: that you’ve figured out ways to cope, ranging from dog slideshows on up. ALSO, oof, sorry about your car! I hope it gets fixed up soon.

    1. Thanks C. It’s been a learning process to cope in a productive way. Dog slideshows are the best. I should have posted some of the pics! It even came with commentary. Adorable!

  2. They are for real. And can have a huge impact on your finances. Been there for that.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about things in the past that i need to let go of. (And also money that I will never again see.) You just gotta let go or they will eat at you.

    1. It is so important to let it go, but it feels nearly impossible to do until you get there. It’s amazing how much even a little episode like mine can eat you away from the inside.

  3. I’m glad you are choosing to forgive yourself (and very sorry to hear that you got in an accident to begin with). I really believe that with very few exceptions, everyone is generally always doing the best they can, given the resources and information that are available to them — and that definitely includes you in 2013.
    Glad you’re okay!

    1. Thanks Sarah! I’m with you that people tend to do the best they can with what they have. I like to remember that when I encounter people with the grumps. I have no idea what they are going through and I shouldn’t expect them to share that information!

  4. I Love this. I could write the exact same post about paying my only credit card interest right after my son was born and I was super sick with an infection. I paid a couple of late fees and interest on one credit card and I was so mad at myself! Great job forgiving yourself. Time to move on!

  5. Honestly, these things happen. You had to prioritize at that time and you did. Don’t let that bog you down. Anyways, I’m glad you’re okay from (both) accident(s).

  6. It’s amazing how honest you are about all this. It’s so important to be able to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes and if you’re self critical, then the list of mistakes is pretty long. We can’t change the past, it just isn’t possible. What’s important is to analyze it and draw a lesson from it and then move on. Of course, this is easier said than done

  7. Mental health issues are very real, and are so derailing.

    This week, I was just shaking off the lingering funk over our car accident that we still haven’t recovered all the money from, and the aftereffects of being too sick to get much more than the critical basics done. We’ve got to remember that our health and well-being are actually much more important than the money, even though it might be hard to see past the giant dollar signs we feel guilt over. That 2013 Kate couldn’t deal with the $400 car repair is both understandable and forgivable, it’s more important at this point to be glad that 2016 Kate is still here and functioning!

    1. Oh, please take care of yourself. 😦 Lingering funks are the worst (though it sounds like it could be a fun dance). You are so right that our well being is more important than the money. I was upset about $400. In the world of car repair, that’s peanuts.

  8. Hooray for forgiving yourself! I’m so glad you actually did the detective work and realized that the accident happened at a time when just managing the basics was more than enough. I’ve been there, and I get it. And seriously, in the scheme of things, $400 is not worth stressing about. You’re on your way to bigger and better numbers. Save the concern for the things that matter now, in your present life. And thank goodness you weren’t hurt in your most recent accident! Sorry about the hassle factor. :-/

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