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A day I will never forget

There has been a lot of defining moments in my life. To be brutally honest, a lot of those moments I would have rather not happened. But they have played a huge part in who I am today, and I strongly believe that despite how hard they may have been, everything does happen for a reason.

I've been through some shit. 99% of that shit I do not and will not ever (well, we'll see) post online, as it is private and too difficult to share so openly. I felt like this about what I am going to talk about today for a good portion of time, only partially opening up about what happened last year, in a spontaneous instagram post that you can see here.

8 years ago on February 25th (which is today, because I have spent way too long writing this post), I was involved in a car accident that almost took my life.


I feel shaky and tingly and sad writing that.

I was 10 years old.

In a strange sort of way, I feel silly saying "I almost died". It's like when you get one mark off the top grade in school and you say, I almost got an A. It was a B, so be proud of that. That's how I feel about this day. I almost died. But I didn't. I lived. And I have to focus on that.

I can talk pretty candidly about a lot of hard things in my life, to my friends or family. However, whenever I try to talk about this, or write about it in this case, I get choked up. It's strange. I only really realise how much that day actually affected me when I think about it for long enough. I guess that is because I have trained my brain to block it out for the most part.

I woke up that morning, and it started 'like any other day'. But it's true, it was a normal day in the February half term (a week long school break). I was in my last year of primary school at the time, and it was the Friday, meaning I should have returned to school on the following Monday. I was heading for a day out with a friend of my mum's and her granddaughter, as well as my mum's friends mum. My mum wasn't coming, she had a hair appointment that day.

My mum's friend lived on the next street, so I walked round to her house to set off. (I just want to say at this point, I am finding it really hard to write this, I am having to do it in parts to prevent the tears falling!)

We got in the car and headed to pick up someone else who was meant to be coming with us, but we never made it to his house. I don't remember a lot of the journey, but I will share a bit of what I do and then what I have been told. The last thing I for sure remember prior to the crash was being handed a packet of crisps. Of course, I remember food. They were a pack of cheese and onion squares, and I remember saving them to have later on in the journey. I never ate them. Kinda still sad about that. The next thing I know, I was waking up after being knocked unconscious on impact. I was then handed a cloth, to apply pressure with to my face. Not crisps this time, a cloth. The cloth was white and once I took it away from my face after holding it there for a few seconds, it was red. (With blood. In case you didn't get that).

That is the one single thing I actually remember.

To fill in the gaps, I'll now tell you what actually happened. (This is what I have been told/made aware of etc) Warning - this may be triggering. It definitely is for me writing it...

We were driving down a road (obviously) and a car pulled out a junction without stopping, and thus crashed straight into my side. I was back left so I received quite a lot of the impact. The impact threw me forward and my head hit the seat in-front. My glasses smashed because of this and the glass cut into several parts of my face, thus the bleeding, damage and now subsequent scarring. I also suffered other injuries as you can imagine, such as whiplash, pain to my legs and a sprained wrist, to name a few. The car was a 3 door car meaning I had no immediate way to escape, plus the fact I was unconscious the whole time anyway. I first went unconscious on impact as mentioned, and then drifted in and out of consciousness until I got to hospital. When the paramedics did arrive, it took them a while to get me out from the back. I don't know how long. The lady in the passenger seat in front (so directly in front of me) was elderly, and she had shattered both of her ankle bones, so they struggled to move her and thus get to me. I was trapped, and that is where my fear of tight spaces and claustrophobia comes from. My legs were hurt as I said, and because I was trapped, this didn't help. I remember the girl next me was awake and screaming the whole time. Turns out, she ripped her bowel because of the seatbelt. In my case, the seatbelt protected me. In her case, it actually caused a lot of injury. Of course, it also protected her too. We think it did that because the impact was so intense, and twice over (the car actually hit us twice after we span) and she wasn't wearing a coat (an extra layer) where I was. She had taken her coat off just before. Scary how things work eh. I am no longer in touch with anyone else from the accident, so I can't comment on how they are now, but to my knowledge, they all made a full recovery. - Physical at least.

I remember bits from when I arrived at hospital. My face being stitched up and the yucky hospital food I can recall. I remember some family members coming to visit. I remember hating the attention. I cringe at it. Is that weird to say? I still do hate that sort of attention. Like being in hospital and people being worried or sad for you. I just hate feeling like I am making others upset and I can't do anything about it. I had to stay overnight. I was actually meant to stay longer but my mum and I managed to persuade the doctors to let me go home. I just didn't like it, I guess no one does. I got home to my brother who was sat on the sofa with a blanket and his laptop for me and him to watch my favourite TV show that I missed because I was in the hospital. I actually started crying typing that. I love my brother very much.

I guess I am not really sure what else to include. That was what happened. I mean, it doesn't just stop there. The endless appointments afterwards, dealing with the mental and physical scars.. It is still ongoing, in every sense of the word. For a long while afterwards I wouldn't travel is cars with anyone other than my mum, I guess it was because I made the connection that when my mum wasn't there, something bad happened. I can't imagine what it was like for her, getting that phone call to say that your child had been in a serious accident. I remember my school was phoned too, to let them know, and when I went back after about a week they told me that two of the teachers started crying hysterically at the thought that I was almost killed. I don't want to know my mum's side of it. That may be selfish but I couldn't bear to hear what it was like. I suffered short term memory loss during and after the accident, and it is believed that my memory has been damaged in the long run. See, I have an excuse for being so forgetful!

I remember being told that if I hadn't worn my seatbelt, I would have died. That is what the doctor said to me.

So if you take one thing away from this. Please, always wear your seatbelt. Please. Also please don't speed, please look both ways at junctions and please be cautious and aware of other people on the road. You may not care about yourself. You may be wreck-less. You may think it is a bit of fun. But you are risking the lives of others.

I am a writer. I write about everything. Even if I don't post what I write about online, I write. In notebooks and in letters. It has taken me 8 years to write one thing about this. I am proud of that.

I think it is time to leave this here. There is more I could say but also there isn't. I would just ramble about how much my life has changed, how my anxiety spiralled, how much it affected me psychologically. It is already triggering enough for me, and maybe you. I don't want to shove unnecessary stuff down anyone's throat. I think you get the general gist from this extract.

Bye for now,
Tamzin xxx
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