Jazzie s Story

Jerusalem, Israel

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"Two summers ago, I was in a life-changing car accident. Though the accident should have been changing physically, it ironically has only really impacted me mentally. The accident happened while driving to the nearest city on a day off from the summer camp I was working at.

 

While driving on an old two-lane backroad highway, I flipped my truck and it rolled twice across a 5-way intersection. I was not alone in the car; sitting beside me was another camp staff member. All I can remember from the moment of the crash was thinking that there was no way she was going to survive this.

 

I was screaming, and apparently she was too, but I remember hearing nothing but silence. G-d most have been watching over us that day because by some stroke of luck the people that witnessed the accident were able to cut us out of my car. They called 911 for us and held us in their arms as we attempted to catch our breath.

 

At the hospital, we were both cleared with no injuries. The days and weeks following the accident were hard, but I felt okay most of the time. I was busy working the 24-hour-a-day job of being a camp counselor and had little time to process. It wasn't until months later that the damage of the trauma came to the surface.

 

Alongside the shoulder pain that arose, there was the mental pain. I was never officially diagnosed with PTSD or anxiety, but by the end of the summer, I had I started to question how I survived and why.

 

I would wince every time someone walking next to me accidently bumped into me. I began to have nightmares about the accident. Every time a car I was in used its brakes, I lost my breath. I constantly thought about what might have happened if I had done one thing differently.

 

My friends had no idea why I all of a sudden hated being touched and why I would get snippy over a slight nudge or tap. To be completely honest, for a while, I really didn't know why I hated being touched either. I had never been that way before. In fact, I was often the first person to give someone a hug when they walked in the room.

 

Even though I understand it now, I still haven’t told many people the reason why I’ve changed. It has been nearly two years since the accident, and even though I still don't often let people touch me, things are getting better. I have stopped feeling my whole body tense anytime I am randomly bumped, and I have started to understand that I survived for a reason.

 

I have a purpose on this earth and you do too. Don't give up and don't ever for a second think that you don't belong here, you do. Your mental illness does not control you, nor does it define you. Embrace your challenges because they make you who you are."

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