Just need advice

I'm 23, I don't drive, I don't have a job, I still live at home, and I don't have any friends. 

When I turned 15 I got my permit right away. I knew I would have some issues with driving when it came time to learn, I felt a bit of anxiety just being a passenger. 

The first time I drove I was pretty much forced. I knew I wasn't ready and I kept telling my family I have no idea how to operate a car, I don't know the rules of the road, I'm not ready! But they insisted. The very first time I drove I made the mistake of turning out of a neighborhood into what would have been the oncoming traffic lane (if there had been cars at this time) but thankfully it was a rural area and there was absolutely no one on the road. 

I quickly corrected myself when I realized what I had done, but immediately after my family wouldn't let me live it down. The humiliation I went through due to them constantly picking at me and laughing at me for it ruined my experience. They went straight home and told everyone about my mistake. My younger brother was learning how to drive at the time as well and anytime driving was brought up my mistake was the laugh of the conversation. 

I remember running to my room and just wanting to die. I've never been good at anything, everything seemed to come easily for my siblings, especially things like that. I always had pressure on me because they just assumed I'd be like them and just know how to do everything. Reality is I can't do anything, and if I try, it's never the right way. Every time I would talk myself into trying to drive again I would be so on edge and start worrying that if I made any mistakes that they'd never let me live it down. 

Then what I believe is anxiety began to form. I would panic so much when I was asked to drive, I would come up with any excuse to get out of it. And if I couldn't, as soon as I got in the car my body felt like jello. Then my legs would tense up, I would feel like I was going to lose control, or had this sense of panic that at any moment my hand was just going to turn the wheel into oncoming traffic. I could never keep a consistent speed because my leg would be so tense and cramped I'd have issues being consistent. I would be so jittery. I would ask a million questions to reassure that I was doing it correctly. If anyone made comments like "you're too far to the left" "that turn was too wide" "remember to turn your brights off when a car is coming" even if they were just light comments that were just meant as reminders to me I automatically assumed I was doing a horrible job and then I would only focus on how badly I thought THEY thought I was doing. My driving wasn't horrible it was just jittery, I made mistakes, nothing life threatening, but I was always so embarrassed. After a while my family realized this was a huge issue for me. They stopped trying to get me to drive and left it alone. My dad realized it wasn't safe to force me. My mom on the otherhand anytime I tried to learn and take initiative on my own she would make horrible comments. I remember I was learning to back up in our driveway. I was taking my time, I didn't get it the first try, obviously it took several. She came outside and said you're never going to get it out the car in park and come inside. That ruined me. My brother looked at her with disgust and told me not to listen to her but of course it hurt. I think she was embarrassed because we lived in a populated ritzy neighborhood and here I am failing at backing up for failing to see. She has always been the type of person that cares a lot about what others think. Unfortunately, I believe that passed onto me. After that I gave up for about 2 years I would drive here and there but as soon as I got in the car I just wanted it to be over with as fast as possible. This just meant I wasn't really learning or paying attention to anything but getting to the destination and being done. 

3 Replies

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  • Hi there, that's a shame you have had this situation whilst trying your best to drive. 

    Your family should be encouraging you rather than make you feel like you do.

    Hang in there with the driving buddy, it's a great thing to be able to do.

    Wishing you all the best x

  • Hello

    I wish I could just give you a big hug reading you post , a lot of how you are feeling and how you feel never good enough especially when it comes to feeling compared to your siblings felt just like how I used to feel when I was young and yes anxiety took over me to and I so wish I knew back then what I know now which is you are not useless , you will have so many good qualities , been so sensitive to comments shows what a loving caring person you are and that in it's self is a fantastic quality to have that does not come so natural to many 

    Yes we pick things up from our parents and you have got it when you say your Mum always is thinking about what others may be thinking but you know what you can change that you don't have to keep that you can let go any time you want with some practice and realize you are you , an individual that is as good as anyone else and what anyone else wants to think well that is their problem especially if it is negative and anyone that does point the finger with negatives well that is a quality to me that would say they are not a nice kind genuine person 

    Driving seems such a massive issue for you which will have got in the way and I can understand why 

    I have 3 grown up children , 2 learnt to drive straight away but my Son was very much like you , we are in the UK and you have to be 17 before you can learn and when he was of course we sent him with an instructor thinking it was the right thing to do , but I could see he was getting really anxious and we spoke and like you he said Mum I am not ready , I accepted this and left it be and now he is nearly 22 and he is nearly ready to take his test he took his lessons up again when he was ready to do so and now he is actually enjoying it :-)

    If and when you feel you want to try again you can do but if not it does not make you a lesser person than someone that does drive we all have choices in life and we take the one's that are best for us because we are all individuals :-)

    Are you getting any support with how you feel , any one you could trust to talk to ?

    I hope in a small way finding this Community will give you a sense of belonging among people that understand how anxiety feels and all the emotions that come with it and that are not here to compare or judge but will accept you just the way you are and look at your qualities that we all have :-)

    Take Care x

  • Practice in empty parking lots, that's how I started. Work up to neighborhoods and familiar roads until your comfortable with the vehicle. 

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