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joshb063 Jun 10, 2017 (10:38 PM)  

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Hey there, i have had trouble driving and still have some too. Altough, i was not in an accident. And im glad everyone is okay, thank The Lord for that! Accidents happen and im sure your parents are more happy about you being safe than the insurance money. If you still feel bad about that, ask them to sit down and explain the guilt you feel for the money, im sure they will reassure you that everything is fine and that accidents happen. I do realize what panic feels like behind the wheel. I had my first panic attack while in a movie threater. After the movie ended, my friend who was driving, took us back to his house. I had 2 or 3 moments of panic on the 10 minute drive. In addtion after leaving his house to drive myself back home, i also had several moments of panic attacks there. I did not know what was wrong or what was happening. I was just super scared and afraid. I had to drive to my college where i have an apartment the next day since the school week was starting and thats when i first noticed heart palpitations and where i started to notice my physical symptoms and that itself caused panic. I went to the doctors and he said my heart was healthy. So i was all flustered as to why i felt sensations of fear and fear of something being wrong with me when i was told everything was healthy. My mind is and was playing a trick on me and your brain is playing a trick on you. Thats what panic is, a trick. You and I let the panic in and let it cause fear, which causes panic, which leads to a panic attack! After that incident i was scared beyond belief to drive on a highway/interstate. I avoided certain roads and driving when i knew it was gonna be heavy traffic. I know what you are going through. Best advice i  have (and this is tough advice) is you have to forgive yourself for the accident. Next you have to start challening yourself to take the routes that you have been avoiding, i have started to get more and more comfortablly the more times i drive on the highway. I started to drive at night again and its hard and its gonna feel bad and you are going to panic the first few times, dont be scared. a panic attack will not kill you and its only discomfort, not danger. During panic try to belly breathe ( youtube it or find how to do it on this website under the education tab) and let the panic flow through you and accept it for what it is, which is a discomfort not danger. IF you panic, try not to leave that situation because that only feeds the panic more. Try to stay there and let it pass, which will help you in the long run to overcome panic disorder, and yes i do mean overcome. You can do this! Read the "Panic Attacks Workbook by Dr. Dave Carbonell" and "Hope and Help For Your Nerves by Dr. Alice Weekes."

conspiracy Jun 09, 2017 (11:35 PM)  

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My fear of driving is controlling my life. Last September I was at fault in a car accident after having my license for about 2 months. I was alone and got lost on my way to drop homework off to at the house of a friend who had been sick. The sun was extremely bright, and I missed a stop sign and hit another car. I totaled my dream car, and my parents insurance skyrocketed. Luckily, everyone was okay and the other car only had minor damage. Everyone at the scene of the accident was extremely nice to me as well, something I am extremely grateful for. Although it was a minor accident, I suffered a whole lot of emotional damage that is still fresh 8 months later. Immediately after the accident I didn't drive at all for over a month. For one, I no longer had a car, but I was also scared out of my mind to drive again. I would wake up in the middle of the night and smell the airbag (if you have ever been in a car when an airbag has gone off you know the strong burning smell I am referring to) and I felt so extremely guilty for all the extra insurance money my parents were now being forced to pay. I was also the new joke of the school because everyone knew about my accident, and rather than realize that it was a sensitive topic for me, they would mention it and joke about it every time they got the chance. Every time I would try to drive my hands would shake, but I started driving to school again. Currently, I am able to drive to my school and several other easy routes nearby, but I can't rely on others to drive me everywhere else. I often have panics in the following situations: when I don't know exactly how to get to my destination, what lane I should be in, changing lanes, lots of traffic, highway driving, parking, lanes ending. I try to avoid these situations in every way possible, I've opted out of countless events with fiends and turned down so many opportunities because I was scared to drive there. I even left school early when I wasn't allowed in order to avoid the parking lot traffic. My hands constantly shake, I get flustered, panicked, and often to the point of sobbing while driving. My fear is an huge inconvenience and I need to overcome it before fall because I will have to drive back and for the between schools every day next year. Please let me know if anyone can help.

kelleym Feb 29, 2016 (07:01 AM)  

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I feel like ever since I've had a couple of attacks while driving lately, that I'm slipping back into that pattern of the constant worry which is making me feel terrible. I'm tense all over, joints ache, want to do nothing but lay around. Yesterday I did get out and take my kids to the playground and noticed I felt a little better after. I'm up this morning, and so far, no dread about going to work. I too take medicine to sleep, .50 Xanax every night, have been doing so for several years now. I'm wondering if my body has worked a tolerance for this dose and maybe I'm getting some rebound anxiety. I hate to up the dose though, I've been on that journey in the past, their are very hard to get off of. It's just very depressing to think that I may ever get back to that point I was once in, of agoraphobia, constant panic, depression etc. I'm hoping to see my counselor ASAP, maybe start seeing her weekly instead of in an as needed basis. If that doesn't help, might be time to switch meds. I've been on lexapro for ten years now. I'm not sure how long SSRI generally work. Frustrating that I know I'll have this all my life.

Kelley m

Tinsel Feb 28, 2016 (12:47 PM)  

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Hi Kelly, Same here! I hate the draining effect that the worrying about having a panic attack has. I have SO much energy normally, that to feel wiped out at the start of my day - in itself makes me anxious! A vicious circle, to be sure! I do find that regular exercise helps, even walking. I sort of have a "healthy habits" checklist that I go through every day. I make sure I get outside, preferably during the day when there is a bit of sunshine. If it's gloomy or rainy or terribly cold, I have a light box that I use to improve my mood. Just 20 or so minutes of that really helps! I make sure that I get enough sleep. I have access to sleeping pills to use occasionally if I'm going through a tough time and am having trouble falling asleep. I need to make sure I don't drink too much! That can be tough, because my husband likes wine and so do I! But half a glass at night is about my limit. I make sure I do at least ONE thing a day that is totally self indulgent. Call a friend, watch a funny YouTube, get my nails done, etc... Then I reserve the right to use sick days if I'm really hitting a wall with anxiety and just can't make it to work. And I promise not to beat myself up about it. Hey, some people have other health conditions, like cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, whatever... We have panic disorder and it sometimes gets in the way of what we want to do, but we're trying... Just keep trying to grab all of the fun you can out of life!

kelleym Feb 28, 2016 (07:09 AM)  

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I do some of the same things. I travel the same route to work everyday. I'm my mind, I think of who lives in certain areas between home and work that if I need to stop for help, I can. The route I take is closest to a good friends home and it puts me at ease knowing I can call her to come if I get panicky. Which I've only had to do once. I overthink it, that's my problem. Wish I could just drive, without worrying what if. Drains me before I even get to work. I also find, that when I'm halfway between work and home, that's when my panic generally hits.

Kelley m

Tinsel Feb 27, 2016 (04:50 PM)  

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I know exactly what you mean! I hate feeling dependent on others and am embarrassed that I can be successful in other areas of my life, but can be reduced to a feeling of powerlessness over a simple thing like driving a few miles away! Some of the techniques I use are - deep breathing (I have found I need to do this DAILY so that I can really access it when I need to), putting on makeup (helps redirect my focus), singing along to the radio, plotting out different places where I can stop along the route from point A to point B (like Starbucks - brings down my anxiety level), and when I'm really feeling extremely anxious, but still need to get somewhere, I will pull over and call a cab or an Uber and feel happy that at least I got myself partly there by my own driving. What works for you?

kelleym Feb 26, 2016 (02:04 PM)  

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What are some ways you calm yourself down while driving when you get panicky? My first reaction is to turn around and go home, or call someone to get me. But I want to get out of being dependant on those coping techniques. 

Kelley m

Tinsel Feb 25, 2016 (10:00 AM)  

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Yes, Kelly! Driving is my one lingering problem. Well, and being too far away from home on my own. For some reason, locally it is more of an issue. I love traveling with others and have no problem when I'm in, say, another country. Inexplicable and frustrating!

kelleym Jan 25, 2016 (08:30 AM)  

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I had my very first panic attack while driving, since then I guess you'd say driving is one of my biggest triggers. I still drive daily, usually with no problem. Question though, I pretty much have to drive the same route everyday. Once u get about halfway between home and work, that's when the anxiety worsens. It's like in my mind, I'm too far from home, but not close enough to work. I feel out of my safe zones. I usually drive on through the anxiety, but its frustrating. Anyone else have to do this to be able to drive. I'd love to get out of my safe zone one day.

Kelley m

lazyt Nov 21, 2014 (02:26 PM)  

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Hello all I have a panic attack wen I am stuck in traffic just sitting there brings on an attack it does my head I have to try and get off the road incase I pass out well that's what I think !!! Will I pass out ? I have done before but was told I was via I never ate and had hardly any sleep the night before I have to sit in traffic every day to get to work and it's kills me the dread of having to sit there every day pls help I fear I'm going to lose my job because I don't want to travel there no more 

Megski84 Sep 09, 2014 (11:48 AM)  

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I worked a year on my driving phobia Cara, and then last week I got 2 small anxiety attacks and now I'm back to square 1 of not wanting to walk more than a block and not wanting to drive more than just in a small square around my neighbourhood. So much for the exposure therapy idea.

Ashley - Health Educator Sep 02, 2014 (04:29 PM)  

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Great work Cara!

You are doing AMAZING!
 
I hope you take some time to be present to all your hard work and all the progress you have made.You deserve some celebrating. :)
 
 

Ashley, Health Educator

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Cara423 Aug 27, 2014 (08:32 AM)  

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Hi Ashley,
 
You are completely right...once you know the fear is just a fear and its all in your head, it has no hold on you.  And driving has been better.  I realized that all the fear I ever created was in my head...like the negative thoughts and the catastrophizing.  I hope I can keep this up, also ACCEPTANCE is big thing for me. Once I accepted and fully understood what was happening I felt better.  There are a few things I learnt during this setback:
 
1.  I realized to help with not being afraid is to feel the FEAR, anxiety and panic.  This helped me practice my coping skills and taught me that I was in control the whole time and the "bad" thoughts was keeping it alive.
2.  I learnt that EVERY panic I ever had was brought on by my bad thinking and catastrophic thinking....IT was never real. "It was all in my head".
3.  ACCEPTANCE, was the big thing for me.  I finally accepted after a year of the doctors telling me I'm healthy...I finally accepted physically and mentally I am.  Just thoughts have been disordered..."again it was all in my head".
ACCEPTed that I do get these attacks and their not dangerous, its my body trying to save me and my mind...and I have to turn off that alarm. 
 
Your completely right Ashley, we will have setbacks. Although they can be a scary setback or an attack out of the blue, we all learn from that.  And they more we feel it, the more we learn that its controllable.
 
 

Ashley - Health Educator Aug 26, 2014 (12:19 PM)  

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It will get better Cara423. Anxiey is the most managable mental health issue out there. Stick with the program and stop focusing on the fear. Once the fear loses it's power it will go away. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear is just a feeling and it always passes - it is uncomfortable but you are always in control.

Try thinking and doing what you used to do when you drove in addition to the exposure plan you are creating here. Play some nice music and try to focus on what you loved about driving not on the fear of a fear. Keep working at it and you will get it. We are right there with you - don't you forget that.

Ashley, Health Educator

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Cara423 Aug 21, 2014 (08:26 AM)  

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Hi Ashley,
 
I loved my drive before my panic attacks happen. I would blast my music and drive for hours with no anxiety. It all started when I started getting these panic attacks. Now when I'm driving, all I think about is what if I have another panic attack? panic attack is all thats in my head. I don't get them all the time. But for some reason driving brings them on.
 
I had one today and I drove through it....and managed it pretty well. But now I fear it again. I hate this feeling.
 
I really want to be anxious symptom free and not worry about this anxiety.  How do I go about to be the care free person I was before? I feel anxious still after the attack....
 
Will it get worse or is this the worse it can get? Can it get better?????? I certainly hope so.

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