At 17, I was diagnosed with a severe panic disorder. I had my first panic attack while driving a car, and I began to fear driving so much that having a panic attack when behind the wheel became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I went through years of therapy before learning how to deal with it. I am 41 now, and always have a small fear in the back of my mind when driving, though I know to reverse the symptoms of a panic attack if needed.

On May 20, 2016 I drove my son an hour and a half on the Interstate to meet his biological father for his weekend visitation.  The highway is very congested on Friday evenings, and that evening was no different. As I headed home, I was traveling in the left lane. The speed limit is 75, and I was going about 80.  The truck in front of me changed to the right lane, which seemed to be opening up, so I followed.  Suddenly he swerved back into the left lane, and there I was, twenty or thirty feet from a car-carrying 18-wheeler that lay sideways across the road. The left lane was jammed.

I screamed “Oh my God, oh my God!” and closed my eyes.

     What happened next is hard for me to register because realistically I only had a few seconds before I slammed into the truck, and I have at least thirty to sixty seconds of strong memory.

When I closed my eyes I saw a bright flash of light: a very quick flash.  Then I saw my accident.

I saw my rental car on fire, lying halfway underneath the 18-wheeler.   I remember saying to someone (not sure who), ” Who will take care of my children and my husband?”  I opened my eyes and found myself driving down the interstate as if nothing happened. I felt an overwhelming sense of fear and started to have a horrible panic attack. My hands and feet were already going numb. I thought of pulling over, when all of a sudden my body completely relaxed (from head to toe), and someone told me to keep driving, that everything was going to be ok.

I drove an hour and a half home, feeling completely safe and calm. It was an amazing feeling. When I arrived home, I burst into tears and told my husband I’d had an accident. I was so confused, and struggling to take everything in and make sense of it. I still find it strange that I never looked in my rear-view mirror after the accident, and I never called my husband or parents on the ride home.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my experience.  I continue to puzzle: “There is no way I didn’t hit the 18-wheeler,”and “What did everyone driving near me see?”

What happened to me is nothing less than a miracle. I am a spiritual person and have progressed as I’ve gotten older. Since the “accident,” however, I am even more spiritually aware. Everything seems precious. I knew my calling in this life before, but now I am actively pursuing it. I am happier, calmer, more appreciative of the minor moments, as well as the obvious blessings of this life.  I have become intuitive to the point I have done readings (not for money), I can see auras, and have a feeling inside my soul that is unexplainable, but peaceful.

I am realizing that If my story can offer another human security, confidence, or help in any way then I want to share it.  If you have a similar experience or are questioning a turn in direction in your life, I hope to be able to help by confirming what is real, what is your ego, and which way you should go in this lifetime.  My hardest struggle has been balancing the two lives I lead now.  I am learning as I go and am gradually figuring it all out.  It’s an amazing place and I wouldn’t change anything about  the day of “my accident”.

Victoria Collard