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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Finding it difficult to cope post a car accident

    I was involved in a car accident whilst pregnant. As a result of the injury I was hospitalized and ended up delivering via emergency caesarean. Since the accident I have been in pain and experiencing flash backs, nightmares and am always in fear and worried that something bad is going to happen.

    In the early weeks it was not as severe, as I was able to stay at home and use the baby as an excuse for not leaving the house. However, now that I am forced to leave the house to seek medical treatment for my injuries I am finding it a real struggle and burden.

    Is there any strategies that may be able to help me cope?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 4


    Anthony Berrick


    What you're experiencing now is actually a very normal response to an extremely traumatic event. However, it's obviously causing you distress and it doesn't seem to be getting better on its own so I would strongly recommend that you see your GP to get a referral to a psychologist as soon as possible.

    Yes, there are lots of strategies to help, and you WILL get better but you really should see a professional to get help rather than struggling on your own. You've been through a lot - but with the right treatment, you should feel a lot better very soon. Make sure you find a psychologist who has experience treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    Visit the Australian Psychological Society ‘Find a Psychologist’ website to find a psychologist in your area.

  • Joe Gubbay

    Clinical Psychologist, Counsellor, Psychologist, Psychotherapist

    I have worked in public hospitals as well as private practice over the past 25 years. As a clinical psychologist I treat depression, social anxiety, … View Profile

    That's good advice; psychological treatment is effective for the sorts of problems that you're experiencing, and can help you develop strategies to manage pain as well.

    If you're not the driver at fault, you should be able to get assistance from the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer. While I'm not sure about the system in other states, in NSW you would be able to speak to a rehab advisor at the insurer, who can organise everything for you.  Help can include assistance with domestic chores if that's too difficult, but the insurer would need to approve it first.  There are some excellent, compassionate and knowledgeable rehab advisors out there who might be able to make a difference by ensuring that all your needs - emotional and physical - are assessed and treated properly.  You can call the Motor Accidents Authority for more information; 1300 137 131. This webpage also has some good resources:

     wish you all the best, you've already started reaching out for help, and that first step is the hardest one.

  • 1


    Dr Louise Shepherd

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a clinical psychologist with 15 years experience working with all sorts of goals and issues. I love working with people, helping them to … View Profile

    I agree with others that a referral to see a clinical psychologist in your area would be a good idea.

    I can't imagine how tough it must be to be dealing with all this as well as trying to take care of your baby.
    Remember that looking after baby also means looking after yourself so as hard as it might be to find the time and way to get to appointments with a psychologist I would really advise that you do so that you can get on with what really matters - loving your little one and enjoying this special time together.

    Take care,

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    Great suggestions made by others - rather than struggling on your own it is important to get the help you need. 
    It's important to remember you are having a normal response to a difficult experience - it's OK to ask for help, not only from professionals but from family and friends as well. It may be that someone close can assist you to get to appointments and be there for emotional support - it can be daunting to take the first step to see a counsellor or psychologist! 
    All the best with it, Vivienne

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I think that the others have offered you great ideas.

    In particular, I endorse what Anthony and Dianne have written about seeing a clinical psychologist who has experience of helping clients with PTSD.

    An acquaintance of mine had PTSD (he was in the Navy and saw some terrible things). Thanks to a combination of skilled help from mental health professionals and his hard work he is now in remission.

    All the best.

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