Depression affecting my ability to dr... - Mental Health Sup...

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Depression affecting my ability to drive

benbt profile image

Hi guys I am currently learning to drive. I am finding that depression has made it more difficult for me to remember to carry out effective mirror checks and made me more hesitant at junctions. I have been watching tutorials, doing some visualisation exercises and getting out driving regularly. Do you have any other ideas of what could help? Many thanks Ben

14 Replies

Sometimes using exaggeration or picturing extreme situation can help you concentrate - speed and picture if driving too fast hitting someone or not noticing motorbike or signs on the road and going the wrong way. Lots of practice in new routes or where they are problem areas like roundabouts and end of road and one way road and up hills. Picture your getting work as driving can make you more determined or reasons you took it up in the first place - to go to best spots. Relax and do go to entertainment or nice places like large park - this will motivate you and you will calm down once you reached your destination. Always do what you like.

benbt profile image
benbt in reply to

Thanks indervir

Thinking outside the box,but what about aroma therapy (vanilla or lavendar) in the vehicle to distract ur brain to a more calming state n ?help the depression also 😊 !?

Missy_D profile image
Missy_D in reply to

I would never suggest Lavender as it can help with sleep and the last thing anyone needs when driving is to be falling asleep at the wheel. The consequences do not need thinking about and possibly ending up with a criminal record isn't going to help anyone.

in reply to Missy_D

I was merely thinking of scents people like...ONLY.

Try taking magnesium oxide supplementation 500 mg daily at night and it will likely help your depression because it helped me in so many ways.

I am trying not to be negative but if your depression is making it hard for you to maintain safe control of your vehicle at all times then you should not be driving. Being hesitant at junctions could cause other drivers to become annoyed at you and it will make the situation worse. If you do not use your mirrors and become involved in a collision you could face criminal prosecution. I stopped driving 3 years ago (I still hold a license) because I found that driving triggered a lot of negative filters and my reactions to those filters were not positive. If I do drive it is only for very short journeys on well know roads and routes. I also assess how my mood is; and if in doubt I get the bus / train. I am better if I have a passenger. Just think about how you would feel if you were to have an accident and you were to cause injury or worse to another person. A car, if not driven and controlled properly, is just a 2 tonne killing machine. Please think twice about driving.

benbt profile image
benbt in reply to Missy_D

Missy_D it is valid to ask whether I am safe to drive. But that is why I have a driving instructor it is up to them to figure this out for me. Through practice I have found I am improving. It’s all about growth mindset. Have you considered getting a driving instructor if this is affecting you soo much?

Missy_D profile image
Missy_D in reply to benbt

Your driving instructor is with you for such a short period of time, that your behaviours may be difficult to assess. Also, how are you going to cope on your own if you are relying on a driving instructor to assess your capability to drive?

I have held a license for 35+ years and although I still have my license I have chosen not to drive during the last 3 years, because of the effects of my mental health illness and to some extent my medication. It has been my judgement call to assess myself and I know that I have not felt that it was safe for me and for other road users for me to drive.

I have had occasions whereby I have started driving because I felt okay and halfway through the journey I have had to pull over and get rescued because something has triggered an adverse reaction and I no longer am safe to continue.

What use would having a driving instructor be? (And as I already hold a full license I am legally not allowed to display L or P plates). Apart from dual control should I enter an episode whereby my driving became erratic / dangerous (and I know when I am likely to enter these episodes so I wouldn't get into a car in the first place) there is nothing they could do.

All I ask is that you use common sense and on the days where you are unable to preform the necessary manoeuvres to drive a car safely and confidently then I would urge you to use public transport.

benbt profile image
benbt in reply to Missy_D

Thanks Missy_D for sharing your story. It has made me aware how badly mental health has affected some individuals ability to drive. Personally I find my driving is improving, so I will persist. I guess what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another

I have been driving now for fifty years and I was concerned because of my health They were going to take my license from my. In a way it shook me up and still I am driving.

When we learn to drive sometimes we forget the safety routines, like looking in mirrors or failing to check before we pull out, it took me three attempts to pass my test. What you need to understand passing your test is only the beginning, you learn to drive after you pass your test. I took a Power Boat Certificate several years ago, the problem was like driving a car we learn after we pass. You take time and learn over the years. Motorists can see a new motorist by the way they drive, the rough ends do smooth out given time.

If you are taking medications and you feel you are not following the routines of driving, you need to consider if you have what it takes to drive. Most drivers take prescription drugs when driving, although if they feel woozy they would stay of the road. and consider what they wish to do.

There is a site on the web in the UK that gives an extensive list of does and do- nots. No-one here can say yes or no, only you and your Doctor. Look at the list first, remembering as we learn we become more at piece, driving is routine in the future.

Can you sit in someones car and have a driver in the passenger seat that can drive. Go through all the techniques of driving just talking through the manouvere it does help you learn the routine of driving. When in with the instructor He would generally do the same thing with you in the car. Doing each different skill


Missy_D profile image
Missy_D in reply to borderriever

Hi Bob, do you have the name of the website you mentioned? I am just wishing to be nosey and see what it says.



borderriever profile image
borderriever in reply to Missy_D


Just put on the leader, things and health concerns that can stop us driving in the UK

The list is long and worrying, I mentioned it to the GP and was told to not worry. Some of the restrictions are basically minimal I am still driving.


Missy_D profile image
Missy_D in reply to borderriever

Thanks Bob x

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