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Driving anxiety

Hi everyone,

I've struggled with anxiety my entire life and one of my biggest fears has always been driving. I put off getting my license until my family forced me to at age 20. I was always embarrassed when I'd have to ask my friends for rides and felt guilty that theyd use their gas and have to go out of their way for me.

After getting my license I was still scared to drive but tried to push through it so that i could visit my friends. But last March I was in a bad car accident. I was feeling so much anxiety in the car that day and I turned in front of a car coming 50 mph at me. Thank goodness no one was seriously hurt but the terror and guilt I felt still stick with me.

I've barely driven since then. I take college classes online now because my campus is across town and I'm terrified of driving there. I barely see my friends now unless they come to me and again I feel so bad about that. I live at least a half hour away from them so I'm becoming more and more lonely. I want to be a normal 21 year old who can drive to school and work and their friends houses but I get bad flashbacks and am so scared.

Is there anyone else dealing with Driving phobia? I've seen a therapist who's helped me a lot and am taking Celexa but I feel like I'll never be comfortable driving.

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No i wasnt judging? I couldnt finish what i was saying because i was driving what i was trying to say originally is that in my head when i was drivig with my own anxiety i was thinking about making a post on driving anxiety and then i open the page and it refreshed and she beat me to it.. i said this world is beautiful because it was like MEANT to be read.. i said LOLOL because it was dumb to drive with anxiety and type on the phone.. its okay if you dont understand what i mean but to me its like you have these fears but yet you risk your life while you drive with anxiety and text.. im sorry if you all took this wrong

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A bit confused by your reply. Like you are over-explaining your reply as if you were caught with your hand in the cookie jar. (lol)

And maybe it's not a very good idea for you to be driving if you think you are risking your life (and others) when you drive with fear and text?

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I over replied because I was embarrassed that you and possibly everyone else took it the wrong way haha the short story is I didnt mean it to be the way you took it as (judgemental and not kind or funny)

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I understand now what you were trying to say. Please be safe!

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Driving is not everybody's "cup of tea". I had a very serious accident 15 years ago. Took months just to be able to sit in the back seat of a car. A year or more to ride in the front seat. I don't drive anywhere that I don't know exactly where the place is located. Yes, it's hard to deal with this world without driving, but looks as though you are much safer not driving at the moment. Many people can't afford a car or the car insurance but manage. Glad you are seeing a therapist; you're getting some help with your fears, and hopefully, you'll be able to eventually drive safely in the future.

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Thanks for your response. Just sitting passenger in the car with someone can be really hard so I'm glad someone understands.

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HalloweenZoe, I was in an accident twice, where I was a passenger both times. Since then, I only trust myself. I drive on the defensive at all times. There are however situations we can't avoid and that is always scary.

I drive my car like the ambulance except without the flashing lights. Cautious at all times never knowing what is going on in the minds of others who are driving.

I'm alert and ready to the best of my ability. I hear one day not so distant future, cars will drive themselves. They are doing a protocol right now and everytime I see the commercial, I cringe. Would I be able to trust automation vs a person? I don't think so since I don't trust a person :) x

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We were taught in drivers ed that you can only control yourself on the road which is something I have to keep reminding myself. Sometimes I'm like oh god, what if I mess up again and can't even control what I'm doing??

I suppose the positive of getting into a wreck is that it's made me a more careful driver.

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Im never comfortable driving outside of my own town i have never been in a car accident but have seen MANY and few right before my eyes and 1 that was literally the lane next to me.. i have bought a diffuser for my car i dont remember the link or brand but im using it currently and i have anxiety ease eseential oil yes that is the name and its helping so much its a daily struggle for me to drive anywhere out of my town as I have agoraphobia but when i drive out of my town the biggest thought in my head that is the geeatest trigger is some natural disaster striking earth and I picture it so vividly its horrible.. as i type that vivid images of a asteroid coming to earth in my exact direction strikes and boom i panic i feel the panics in my body and its MISERABLE push through it my biggest suggestion may have been brought up by your therapist by going around the block a good couple times drive your car around the corner and park at the other corner and just wait your gonna probably have anxiety but just breathe and it will decrease if you fight it your gonna lose no matter what. Just breathe and your heart rate will decrease in speed the moment you start giving in to your thoughts that is the exact moment you just lost ans your in for a drastic ride.. once you achieve going around the block daily move it on up but make sure you feel comfortable doing the around the corner bit because if your not comfortable doing that you wont be comfortable doing any of the other steps ill say which is go around 2 blocks same amount if time you do the first block once you feel really comfortable drivIng around your neighborhood drive into the big areas such as what we call in my town "main street" where its busier currently still anxious about the asteroid bit I dont even wanna leave my car LOL this fear is PATHETIC

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Thanks for your tips!! I never even thought about the diffuser in the car thing and I think I'll have to get one now.

My therapist has suggested the same thing and it's just so hard to force myself to even get in the car. I also deal with agoraphobia so that added on is just more anxiety. But I really want to give it another try and start small this time.

Lol good luck with your own driving. :)

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How about sitting in your car outside parked no harm in that yeah it will be seriously tough but tell yourself you arent driving babysteps and it willcall be good you can do this!! Have faith in yourself!!!

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Yeah I like that idea. I bought some new CDs to play in the car to give me some kind of motivation to at least get in and maybe drive.

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Please be careful about this. Music, like children, or handless telephone chats are distractions from attention when driving. Canadian studies on that been out a long time.

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I really don't think this fear is pathetic at all....for you or anyone. My father was teaching my Mom to drive when every car seemed to be a shift stick. The car stalled on a crossing over railroad tracks. She never got over that. But we all made certain she had transportation wherever she needed or wanted by making friends, family and neighbors aware that she didn't drive. She never abused that "network". Sometimes we just need to adjust the world around us for someone, instead of always thinking everyone can overcome the world.

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Wow that's really nice. So often I'll get friends and relatives bringing up my lack of driving and ask "so are you driving yet?!" Basically asking if I'm back to "normal" yet and it drives me crazy. I get so embarrassed about it that I'll lie and make up excuses for why I'm not. I wish they could understand how going through something traumatic like that can affect someone. 6 months since an accident can see like a long time but I'm sure you know as much as I do that it's barely anything.

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Not being a driver may be your "normal". Just simply say you just don't drive. One less carbon footprint on the earth.

Much better being normal than being dead. Or, for fun, say you only know how to drive a VW with a stick shift. Bet most of your friends haven't a clue how to drive a stick much less the VW that requires pushing the stick DOWN, OVER and BACK for reverse.

People don't usually don't mean to be obnoxious, but when you're just asking for a lift what difference does it make why? One less carbon foot print on earth.

People don't usually mean to be obnoxious, but when I am walking with my service dog, it's really none of their business what's wrong with me, but they often ask "what does your dog do?" (I never ask a balding man why he's wearing a terrible toupee)

People, including me, sometimes just don't think.

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Don't feel bad I'm 36 and Have to get a license and my anxiety is already bad i dont know how this is going to work

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I wish I could offer advice, but clearly I have none. Good luck though, you've got this!

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Thanks! I hate the bus and seeing i no longer have a boyfriend due to my condition no rides for me i feel sad about it so i better get behind the wheel

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Oh I'm sorry about that. It's been 2 months since I first posted and I've only gotten behind the wheel maybe once. I get sad about it too. Hopefully we can both do it

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