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Please don’t yell at me. I’m already yelling at myself enough. I don’t need a social media scolding because, trust me, I’m being much harder on myself than you can even imagine.

The realization happened yesterday. I was driving in Lincoln on a quick day trip and my children were in the car with me. Yes, my children were in the car. My phone sounded that text message sound; it’s the Mario Bros. power up notification and is super amazingly awesome…but I digress. I picked up my phone and read the message. I chuckled and quickly sent a text back. Then I set my phone back down in the front seat.

And it hit me. No, not a car or any actual physical crash. It was an emotional realization of what I had just done.

And the sad part is, I know it wasn’t the first time that I had sent a text to someone while driving on this trip. I even know it wasn’t the first time I’ve done it this month or even this week. But it was the first time I truly realized how impactful my decision could have been.

I was a full block ahead of where I was when I heard that text arrive, and I remembered nothing of that past block. I hadn’t seen any buildings. I don’t remember any pedestrians. I don’t even know how long it took me to respond back. What seemed like only a second actually caused me to truly put my life, my childrens’ lives, and lives of people around me in danger. And I’m sorry. I’m truly, truly sorry.

What’s weird is I’m thankful it happened. I’m thankful my actions absolutely scared me to my very core. I came home and told my husband how ashamed I am of myself. He admitted that he has caught himself doing it too, and I began to wonder how many of us text and drive without realizing it. My kids were in the car. They watched me texting and driving as though it’s okay, as though I’m careless enough to just let it keep happening.

I’m so ashamed. Even moreso, I’m fearful of it happening again. So I am deciding to take serious precautions. For one, I’m talking to my kids, apologizing to them, and explaining how serious the results of my actions could have been. Honestly, there is no difference between drinking and driving and texting and driving in my mind. It’s still distracted driving, and it’s not okay. Lives have been lost, and my heart hurts that I could have hurt someone because of an extremely immature and poor decision.

It’s time for me, at the age of 33, to grow up. My phone will be in my purse in my back seat where I cannot reach it. Call me. Phone calls go through the speakers of my car safely and I never have to take my eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel. If you text, don’t expect a reply back right away. If I’m driving, I’m not ignoring you. I’m paying attention to my own safety and the safety of others first.

That’s just the way it is. And if you’re guilty like I am, I urge you to take precautions to stop yourself from texting and driving, too. I’m sorry for my actions and extremely thankful for another chance to correct them before somebody gets hurt.

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Bailey Koch

Bailey Koch is an advocate for those who can't easily advocate for themselves in every way. Married to her hottie hubby, whom has survived 5+ suicide attempts, and mom to two teenage boys, the oldest with High Functioning Autism and youngest with Epilepsy, Bailey is passionate about mental health and parenting through the messy realities. Additionally, Bailey is a Doctor of Special Education and works as an instructor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney preparing future special educators to be advocates for the learning of all. Bailey and her husband, Jeremy, have written and published two books. "Never Alone: A Husband and Wife's Journey with Depression and Faith" details their struggles with severe depression and the journey toward understanding their purpose, accepting help, and finding faith. "When the House Feels Sad: Helping You Understand Depression" is written for families, at a child's level, to open up a conversation about the reality of Depression. Follow their journey, the triumphs and the challenges, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/anchoringhopeformentalhealth and Instagram at @anchoringhopeformentalhealth.

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