Anxiety and driving/riding in cars - Anxiety Support

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Anxiety and driving/riding in cars

stovall1992 profile image

I am going to Atlanta in 3 weeks, and this is the first time I’ll be leaving my city in over three years, since trying to overcome agoraphobia. I live in Huntsville, AL, so Atlanta isn’t that far, but i’ll nervous riding in the car for that long. I already get anxiety and struggle to breath when I’m in car for a certain amount of time. I used to have panic attacks and I had one while driving, which is why I don’t driving now. I’m trying to start driving again, but it is taking awhile. I just hate the feeling of anxiety and short of breath in the car because i’m afraid that it will trigger another attack. So i’m nervous to go to Atlanta and ride in the car for 3 hours because I don’t want to trigger anything. Has anything gone through something like this, and if so, what was done to help it?

10 Replies

stovall, are you doing the driving?If not, come prepared for the drive with headphones and a relaxing tape

or tune into YouTube for a Meditation while practicing slowing down your

breathing. If you have to, stop every hour to stretch your legs. Make sure

you hydrate as well.

Play a game even by yourself by looking for different things along the way.

When you break down the 3 hours with distraction, movement and restroom

breaks, you won't feel as if you are sitting forever in anticipation of getting there.

Have a wonderful time. How exciting to see life from a different perspective in

another city. It's going to be okay Enjoy :) xx

Thank you so much for this. I won’t be the one driving, so I’m okay with that. I just sometimes get anxiety even when i’m in the passenger seat. But I will definitely the things you mentioned, I really appreciate that.

I am trying to get back into driving, but i’m just so nervous. Every time I try to drive further then my neighborhood, I get short of breath and start to feel anxious. I’m currently looking for employment and I know i’ll have to drive to work everyday, but I don’t want to drive and then anxiety kicks in, then i’m dealing with anxiety symptoms all day at work. Just horrible feeling.

Buy a cheap finger oximeter for 15 dollars on Amazon. It can show you during the trip that your oxygen levels and pulse levels are still, in fact, in the normal range, which should be a big comfort to you. Shortness of breath and fast heartbeat should show in the normal range because anxiety fools you into believing your body is having an emergency heart or lung physical event, but in reality, you are not. An oximeter will prove this to you, and knowing this info, should calm you down. Along with having an oximeter, breathing into a paper bag for a few minutes, can help stop you from feeling short of breath due to hyperventilating, or taking too much air in from anxiety. Only do this for short intervals, as needed, while driving. Some doctors even keep paper bags in their office for this reason because it works. In medical terms, this procedure is called "re-breathing".

That’s a great idea! I never thought about using a oximeter. Yea every time O get short of breath, I start to worry which makes me feel worse. When I had a panic attack and had to go to the ER, I was hyperventilating so badly, I literally thought I was dying, but the doctor told me that my oxygen level was completely normal and I just had to calm down. Crazy how powerful the mind is. But thank you so much, I will look up the oximeter. I also do have paper bags, so i’ll take that with me too.

if you aren't the one driving maybe download a movie on your phone or listen to some music to try and help distract you, if you cant look at your phone in the car because it makes you motion sick then try and sleep on the way there bring a sleeping mask if needed honestly. do whatever you feel is most comfortable, i hope you end up having fun:)

stovall1992 profile image
stovall1992 in reply to wedd444

I do get motion sickness in the car, especially starting out. I will try and sleep on the way, thanks for the suggestion! And thank you for your kind words. I hope I have fun as well!

Why not take 1 tranquiliser before your journey as you are a passenger. I am sure your Dr will understand. I had to take Ativan to get on a plane and i was very calm. 1 tablet is not addictive. Or just have it with you and take only if needed. This anxiety is a rat, i know. Dont be hard on yourself.

stovall1992 profile image
stovall1992 in reply to Ryanlion

I was prescribed Ativan when I was having panic attacks, but they expired. I don’t have a doctor at the moment, due to lack of job and funds, but I will definitely look into seeing if I can get some. Thank you!

Hi Stovall Can Relate To What You Feel. I Too am Overcoming Panic/Anxiety and Agoraphobia. In The Very Beginning I Was Unable To Look Out A Window Without Feeling Anxious, Panicky Feelings. Dealing With The Symptoms is The Physical Symptoms Can Be Scary and Uncomfortable, But No Matter How Yukky You Feel The Symptoms Do Pass. One of My Symptoms When Traveling was My Fear of Feeling Trapped or Having an Anxiety Attack During a Car Ride. I Only Traveled When/If I Had Too. What Helped Comfort Me Was To Pack A Small Travel Bag Filled With Things That Brought Comfort To Me and Would Help Distract My Attention From My Symptoms. ie; Small Book of Healing, Comforting Affirmations, My Small Hand Held Crystals, Headphones/Earphones To Privately Play/Listen/Watch My Games, Comforting Music/Meditation/TV Shows Songs/Videos On My Portable Device/Smartphone. Sometimes I Log Onto This Message Board When I Am Anxious and I Ready/Reply To Messages Reaching Out To Others Really Does Help and Have A Calming Effect. Try To Focus Your Attention On Whatever Feels Comforting To You. The Fear Does an Will Subside. If You Can Access YouTube Try Looking Up 'The Anxiety Guy' YouTube Channel. He Offers an Excellent Array of Free Anxiety Support, Meditation, Healing Affirmation Videos for Anxiety. I Hope This Helps Feel Better.

stovall1992 profile image
stovall1992 in reply to suemoni

I actually have a pouch that has some comfort items that I take with me when I leave the house, but i’m trying not to rely on it. I’m going to a concert in Atlanta, and i’m nervous, but I’m trying not to think about that because agoraphobia and anxiety has taken so much time away from me. I don’t want it to keep me from doing the things I want to do. But I really don’t want to trigger another attack and go through all of that over again. But the biggest issue is the breathing. That’s what triggers my anxiety more

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