High anxiety while driving but especially when having to stop at a red light!!! Why???

Hi everyone, does anyone have this issue? I do have a lot of stress in my life right now taking care of my elderly parents with my mom especially who has Alzheimer's and my own family, but I need to calm down. I want to jump out if the car sometimes. I can't be somewhere that I can't escape from quickly either, like meetings, church, dinner parties. I don't breathe properly and of course that makes me feel really weird and even more anxious. Any little different sensation I feel in my body seems to get me going. I don't want to have to resort to meds so I'm drinking chamomile tea, trying to get some walking in. My friend wants to go for walks twice a week but I'm worried I'll feel anxious and then want to run home where I feel safer. I'm listening to Claire Weekes audio which really helps. Her voice is so reassuring. Its funny an invisible thing takes over our lives!!! My sisters don't have this problem which I'm glad of but I see them living their lives the way I used to once and want to again!


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13 Replies

  • Anxiety seems to have all sorts of guises.

    I like Claire weekes 😊 Sometimes we need more help, maybe therapy, perhaps 'talking therapies' on the NHS if your in uk, you can self refer online, or your gp can refer you. Google talking therapies and your area,

    If you feel that when driving, how you feel could jeopardise safety in any way, it's really best seeking help sooner rather than later, to nip it in the bud in my opinion.

    Best not to leave it ...

    I wish you well xx

  • Thanks for your response. I'm in Canada, but what do you mean talking therapy, like a psychologist? And may I ask, do you have anxiety or take meds for it? I was thinking of Lorazapam to calm me when needed.

  • Ah sorry, I hadn't realised you in Canada.

    'Talking therapies' is a service we have here that does various types of therapies for anxiety etc...

    Yes I do struggle with anxiety, in my opinion we are all quite individual in how anxiety affects us. I also have symptoms of agoraphobia ...I don't take the medication you mention although take medication for high blood pressure and bisoprolol which is for palpitations ...

    Worth a chat with your dr, getting checked out early on is a good idea I think, in case it does increase...


  • You didn't explain what happens when u stop at a red light ??

  • Do you lisyen to meditation c d.s & breathing techniques?? FREE on you tube.try it xx

  • Hi, when at a red light, I don't breathe properly and can't take a deep breath so of course my head feels weird and I panic. I figured it out that it's in case I feel strange at the light, I can't move until the light changes!! I create the panic myself. Wow, While writing this it sounds sooooo ridiculous but in fact it is happening.

  • Hi Francesca61, (beautiful name) It's very common to get anxious at a red light as well as a train stop because of feeling trapped. We need to have that escape route free for us to use at any time. It wasn't until I started implementing deep breathing not only when at home but when I'm out as well, did the symptoms disappear. Deep breathing is the best thing one can use to quiet and calm both the mind and the body. You do need to practice it daily, many times a day, until it comes so automatically for you. You will then find you are using it when talking on the phone, watching tv, shopping and yes, even driving your car.

    You can't be scared and be deep breathing at the same time. It goes against all logic. If you are deep breathing properly and slowly, the adrenaline just isn't there, only peace and calm.

    You are already listening to Dr. Claire Weekes, so you do know that what you are experiencing is not harmful, now it's a matter of physically calming down your nervous system. My advice, keep practicing and you will conquer this fear. x

  • Thanks so much for your response. I'm glad to know you conquered this problem and it gives me even more incentive to get my life back! I've read your responses to others and I was actually hoping you would help me out too?! Thanks again

  • I thought that only happened to me . When I stop at the lights it feels like the road is still moving and I feel so trapped , I actually look at my lap .

  • I find red a very intrusive colour- but find green a calming colour. I notice it particularly when my B12 levels are getting low which is when my anxiety is likely to surface (I have B12 absorption problems).

    Have you ever tried meditation? There is a book I found really useful when I was really struggling a few years ago called 'Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world' by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. It comes with a CD of meditations which I still use occasionally.

    You might find this post interesting


    And please do go for that walk with your friend. Yes, anxiety is a possibility but you are with someone who should be able to understand and help you if it starts to happen.

  • Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it

  • You are not alone with this, and try not to worry. I used to get anxious in traffic jams and got panic attacks. Trying to control your breathing and distracting yourself with music can also help, or try counting the number of blue cars etc, anything to distract your mind. It sounds like you have a lot to deal with in terms of stress at the moment, and everyone reacts differently. You are just reacting normally to a difficult situation, and don't blame yourself. My sister goes running to tackle her stress, but I'm more a stay indoors person. May be find someone to talk over your worries (doesn't have to be a professional). Hope you find the forum helpful, and really hope things improve for you.

  • Thanks so much for your help, I do feel better knowing I have this forum to come to and know that you guys get it!! People who don't have bad anxiety don't realize how awful it can be. It can ruin lives, wow!

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