I just sort of sat there in shock and dumbly thought, "There's no way this is happening to me right now." I wasn't in pain yet, my mind just could believe that I -- a girl who had never so much as sprained anything -- was in a bus crash and just sustained a serious facial injury.
So I did the only thing you can do. I put my hands on the seat in front of me, gripped the sides, took a deep breath, and started screaming. I did not stop screaming until the EMTs showed up. Every time a tooth touched the roof of my mouth or I felt blood drip into my lap or any other reminder of "This is happening right now," my brain just short-circuited and slammed the "banshee scream" button.
Banshee is my pet seagull.
Once I had gotten to the hospital and they'd shut my ass up with some Dilaudid, the "What if" game started. That's the one where you torture yourself with every random scenario that could have prevented this situation, because your brain can't handle the absolute randomness of it all. What if I'd taken the train home instead? What if I'd been sitting somewhere else on the bus (like maybe not in the exact spot where the truck hit the bus)? What if I'd been paying attention and had time to brace myself? What if I hadn't gone home to visit my mom that particular weekend? Besides the driver and myself, everyone else on the bus walked away with scrapes and bruises. What the fuck did I do wrong that led to me getting my mouth smashed in?
This line of thinking is shockingly unhelpful, but way easier to deal with than "I got in this accident because the world is random and I am ultimately insignificant." It fucked me up good. I literally almost started shopping at Hot Topic and listening to Built to Spill again.
Also, for about three weeks after the accident, I was incredibly anxious all of the time. I broke down in my therapist's office about how I kept imagining all of these Final Destination accidents and how paranoid I was. Of course, she had never seen Final Destination, so I had to casually pause in the middle of being hysterical to explain the basic plot before I could go back to crying over how my overhead fan was making a threatening clicking noise, like it was counting down to my decapitation. Otherwise, I would've just sounded crazy.