View Full Version : Scared to drive alone
07-24-2009, 01:55 PM
I'm new here so bear with me. The last time I drove by myself was 4 years ago. I remember the day to the tee. I had just dropped my hubby and son off at work and school and I was going to a friends house. I was in the middle of the road trying to make a left turn and all of a sudden had 3 back to back full blown panic attacks. Thank God I was literally almost to my friends house. Ever since that day I am scared to death to drive alone or with my son. I am perfectly fine when there is another adult in the car with me but if I can't get a friend or family member to drive with me I will not so it. It is really starting to get rediculus. I am not able to take my son anywhere to do mommy and son things we always have to be with other people. And he is old enough now that he will say mommy why do we always have to have someone with us, or I am here with you. And I don't know how to explain to a 7 year old that I am scared to drive alone or with just him in the car with me. I need to figure out how I can just overcome this dibilitating phobia. Any suggestions?
07-25-2009, 05:02 AM
Hi Jewlz. I don't know if this helps but when I was terrified of driving I made myself drive around the block twice a day, once during daylight and once after dark. I didn't want to just get used to driving in the dark or in the day. Every single day I did it. Then I drove around two blocks, then three. My family used to laugh - Mum's doing her driving practice thing LOL. It did work. Frequency was the key. I had to keep at it. I realized that even if I did have a panic attack, I would be safe in the car, it would pass and I would be able to get home. My kids were great. My youngest one used to come with me sometimes, just driving around our suburb. She knew Mum had a scared thing about driving and I was trying to fix it by driving pointlessly around and around to get me not scared. Hope this helped. Let us know how you go. Be well.
07-25-2009, 03:02 PM
Thank you sunny. That is great advise. My only concern is I live next to a major intersection with a LONG light. I would be fine with the "driving" part of it but if I get stuck at the light it will be all over. What do you think? Driving practice :P that is so cute. Did you fear driving all together?
07-25-2009, 08:12 PM
Jewlz, driving was bad enough, but getting caught at traffic lights was the worst. I would want to jump out of the car and run. I avoided them for a long time, then I started doing the lights that I knew changed fast. I remember the night I drove to my mothers house two suburbs away - I was so proud of myself. I took a back street on the way back to avoid a set of lights that I saw had just turned red and I knew wouldn't turn green again very quickly. In a viscious act of karma I got caught at railway tracks instead. LOL and not just any train - a frieght train, and you know those things have like six hundred carriages. LOL. I was sitting there, thinking someone up there hates me and wants to hurt me, or loves me and wants to prove I can do this. A big 4WD parked behind me and there was no room for me to back up and turn around. I was stuck there. I just concentrated on the fact that I would get through eventually, and that it was good practice for me, and that even if I did have a panic attack who would notice? I was alone in the car and I could just pull over once I got over the tracks and calm myself down. Every panic attack has a beginning middle and end. I would get through it. And I did. With so much practice the car has now become one of my safe places.
One of the best things for me has been my ipod. I have heaps of relaxation and meditation stuff on there which I play when I'm doing something that's making me panic. It really helps. It doesn't stop the anxiety, but it takes the edge off. My ipod is always on in the car. JK has added a Dr Weekes download on this site. She talks about agoraphobia and depression and how to cope. I find her voice very soothing. She sounds like my grandmother. Here's the link - viewtopic.php?f=37&t=38 (http://www.phobics-awareness.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=38) Just to hear someone else's voice talking me through it when I'm panicked is a great help to me. Waiting for that light to turn green is excrutiating. The panic just builds. My therapist told me to look at the other cars licence plates and try to make words out of the letters, or count the number of blue cars I could see. Anything to keep my constant focus away from how long it was taking for the light to turn green.
I know exactly how you feel about the traffic lights. I know how terrifying they are. You will get through this. Be well.
07-26-2009, 12:29 PM
OMG Sunny! The story is JUST LIKE ME! Your phobias are exactly mine. The lights, the traffic behind you not being able to back up and go, wanting to park your car and leave and run, ALL ME. I hate to say this because I am sooo sorry that you went/go through this but Im glad there is someone out there who truly understands me. I have talked to people with other driving phobias but you are the only one who understands me and what i go through.
Well it has gotten to the point were I dont not even attempt to drive alone. I am scared to death. As I said int he other post I live at a major intersection with a LONG light that is 8 min long (I have timed it) and you have to go through that light to go anywhere. I know that there has to be a day were I am just going to have face my fear and "just do it" but I am scared to death. It has been four years! Enough is enough.
What gave you the strength to just say screw it and drive? I know you said that you practiced driving, but what gave you that initial strength do it?
07-27-2009, 05:05 AM
Jewlz you're definately not alone and it's alright if you find comfort in my torment. LOL I don't know what gave me the initial strength. Unlike you I'm actually heaps better when I'm alone instead of when I'm with someone. I'm perfectly fine with having a panic attack and meltdown if I'm alone and not freaking anyone out or inconveniencing them (so of course since I'm perfectly fine with it, it doesn't happen then) So although that initial step was hard as hell it gave me comfort that I could cry, stamp my feet, vomit or scream obsenities alone in the car where no-one would witness it. And never underestimate the power of pure rage. Being mad as hell with those stupid lights will give you strength.
Once you do it once, even if you do it badly, the relief is overwhelming. About this excrutiatingly long light - there must be some time of the day where the traffic isn't so bad? I think my first attempt at traffic lights was at 8.30pm so I knew the traffic wouldn't be bad. I was absolutely shitting myself. Part of me wanted the light to be green and part of me wanted it to be red so that I could finally just face it. After I did it once, it took the edge off. It was still really scary but bearable, and then the next time it was better, and then better again.
Hope this helped some. But don't take my advice for gospel. I can only tell you what my experiences are, not what you should do. But I'm here to give you support if you need it. I know you can do this. You can take that first step. Even if it's backing the car out of the driveway just to pull back in. Small steps lead to bigger ones.
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