Claustrophobic feeling when on highway

Wanted to mention in my last post that being on a highway makes me the most anxious. First of all, I'm always a passenger and will never be the driver on a hwy, but knowing I can't get off for a while especially in traffic is another problem I'm dealing with now. I become absolutely petrified as if I'm under attack in a war! Now I avoid it totally cause just THINKING about it makes me so nervous. So many things have changed in my life and I don't think I'll ever be calm as I used to be cause once we have a taste of this awful anxiety I don't think I'll ever feel safe again. I tell myself, think of people in Syria etc, they're the ones dealing with life and death right now.


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4 Replies

  • Francesca61, I use to think like you when going on a toll road. What if I need to get off, what if the traffic is backed up. The "what ifs" took over that made my blood pressure rise. I would tell me therapist, I might as well have someone holding a gun to me, the fear was that intense. This isn't living. Your world only gets smaller and smaller by not finding ways to overcome the fear.

    I too have used the analogy about people all over the world who are in harm's way. How would I be able to cope if I can't handle a highway. Irrational thinking can lead us down the path to anxiety.

    My thinking had to change if I wanted to go forward. If not, I would stay stuck forever and regret every moment. Never say never Francesca. We change, things in life change. Life is a learning experience. Accepting anxiety as not harmful is a start. Practicing deep breathing will help on the highway and in everyday tasks we have to do. We have what it takes inside us, we need to believe that we are stronger than our fears. My best for a peaceful day :)

  • Hi Agora1, thanks for your response. Are you able to get on the hwy now with less fear? I have to learn to trust my body is healthy and won't die while stuck on the hwy but it's so hard right now. Can I ask if you think 5mg paxil will help. I don't want to take 10 mg. May God bless you for all the people you are helping on this site. 😊

  • Thanks Francesca, We learn through our own trials and errors. Oh I am driving again. For me the answer was I needed to be in control so I am more comfortable when I drive. I drive on the defensive, I drive always keeping site of what's ahead in traffic.

    As for the 5 mg of Paxil, of course that is something both you and your doctor can decide in how much it helps you. Sometimes increases may be necessary, for now it's best you work with the medication by using other methods of relaxing your mind and body. Accepting that the fear you experience is not real. You are healthy and you will be okay whether at home or stuck in traffic. Start practicing deep slow breathing when at home. That is something that is always with you and will calm you down.

    Try short drives on the highway to begin with...Driving in the right lane may be slower but will allow you to feel more comfortable that you can get off at any time. Stay strong dear, you are not alone. x

  • So now you avoid it and let anxiety have its way with you? Why not deal with the fear so that you don't let it limit you.

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