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Bicycle Accidents: A Survivor’s Guide to Recovery

Bicycle Accidents: A Survivor’s Guide to Recovery
Image by 12138562 from Pixabay

While legal action in Anaheim can help you fund your recovery, the psychological aspects of recovering from a traumatic cycling accident can be a much more difficult task. This article outlines common strategies to aid in the recovery process, specifically focusing on Acute Stress Disorder (ASD). 

ASD, a condition similar to PTSD, can develop after a traumatic event. Symptoms include re-experiencing the event, avoidance of reminders, emotional numbness, and increased anxiety in the presence of triggers. Cyclists who have experienced traumatic accidents may find it challenging to return to riding due to anxiety triggers like fast movement, brake sounds, and proximity to other cyclists or vehicles.

To facilitate recovery and regain confidence, cyclists should:

Identify Strengths

Recognize personal strengths and reasons for their interest in cycling, focusing on what makes them good at it and why they’re drawn to the sport. Recall the things you love about cycling.

Challenge Trauma-Related Beliefs

Address negative beliefs stemming from the trauma, such as feeling that they will let others down or believing failure is not an option. Challenging these beliefs can aid in developing a more balanced perspective. For example, if we avoid fear altogether and believe fear is a weakness, we’ve failed to address the accident. It’s better to accept fear and gradually overcome it.

Create a Safety Routine

Develop a safety routine to restore calm when overwhelmed. This routine may include pleasant memories, hobbies, or speaking with friends to reestablish a sense of safety. Developing a safety routine will take away potential trauma triggers. 

Develop Relaxation Techniques 

Learn active relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, or autogenic training to reduce anxiety and promote well-being. This doesn’t have to be meditating, either. It’s a time devoted to recognizing our thoughts and feelings while taking deep breaths to relax ourselves.

Use the SUDS Scale

Employ the Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) to gauge anxiety levels, ranging from extreme anxiety to extreme relaxation. SUDS ranges from 1-10, with one being a calm mind and 10 being the most overwhelming fear and anxiety imaginable. Applying this scale helps cyclists monitor their emotional and physical responses.

Debrief the Accident

Practice accident debriefing by systematically recalling the traumatic incident, using the SUDS scale, and employing relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety.

Practice Mental Rehearsal

Engage in mental rehearsal by envisioning a preferred cycling scenario, focusing on emotions, physical sensations, and surroundings. Gradually increase the speed of this mental rehearsal to build confidence.

Practice Physical Rehearsal

Gradually expose yourself to cycling challenges related to the traumatic incident, breaking them into smaller stages. Use relaxation skills, safety routines, and mental rehearsal to navigate these challenges, ensuring anxiety levels remain low. These baby steps can help us regain confidence after an accident.

Consistent practice is essential for progress. By implementing these strategies, cyclists can improve their ability to return to riding after a serious accident. If difficulties persist, seeking help from a psychologist experienced in performance-based athletics may be beneficial.

Featured Image by 12138562 from Pixabay