Driving

Posted , 4 users are following.

I haven't had a driving lesson in two weeks due to circumstances beyond my control. I have one tomorrow - for two hours - and I am anxious. I have been feeling very anxious and weird today, had a sense of dread and unease and can only put it down to my fear tomorrow.

I am terrified of dual carriageways... I feel trapped there, if that makes any sense, because I cannot escape, stop or pull over if I wanted to and must keep driving at the same speed in a straight line... And I know doing anything else would be dangerous!

I know I need to go on them more to stop the fear, but I have such a fear of accidents when driving and not having a lesson for two weeks has made this fear worse!! Not good when I have test mid-October. For me it's always the same old thing... Fearing a place or situation from which escape would be difficult or embarrassing. Making a fool of myself, going insane, losing control etc.

I take sertraline 50mg, started two weeks ago, but don't feel like it's done much.

Any help or tips etc would be gratefully received.

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  • Posted

    Ok, Jane,  but you are not going to like it. The only way to go through and out the other side of fear is to let yourself feel the fear. It will not hurt you, you will not go insane or die. It is just uncomfortable sensations in your body that dont mean anything. I have been exactly where you are, terrified of being unable to escape from any situation including the car in traffic jams etc. It is a horrible feeling but it is only the 'flight' part of the 'flight or fight' response. It is our own nervous system that is scaring us, and actually it is trying to protect us! it demands that we run away, so that is the big urge we have. The best way to get through it is to decide that you ARE going to feel the fear. Go TOWARDS the fear rather than running away. All anxiety experts agree that this is the way to deal with it because 1) It makes you feel a little bit more in control and 2) By going towards the fear you are showing your brain and body (autonomic nervous system) that there is nothing to fear (which there isn't).After a while it will get the message and stand down and you will no longer be anxious. If you run away from it, it will read this as that the threat is real (which it isn't. The trouble is, of course, that this is counter-intuitive. Everything is screaming at us danger! danger! so we naturally want to run away. You have to remind yourself that there is no real threat. Anxiety cannot harm you in any way. It is all bluff. You will be fine. Nobody has ever died or gone mad from anxiety. It is just the uncomfortable sensations of adrenaline and cortisol being pumped through your body and THAT IS ALL. it will pass as long as you stop running away from it. Accept it as best you can. You dont have to be perfect. Just allow yourself to feel scared and get on with your life even if you have shaky hands and wobbly legs. Try not to dwell on it. It is not some awful thing you are experiencing. Ignore it as best you can and it will subside. By the way, most anti-depressant take up to 6 weeks to kick in so it probably wont have had much effect yet. Good luck to you. I can assure you that I have been just as terrified as you are (and many thousands of others as it is quite common) if not more so and I no longer have the problem. Just remember, dont try to fight it, accept it, go with it, feel scared, and you will be fine. You will be ok. It will pass even quicker if you can decide to be scared. It takes some of the pressure of you. It does work. So I encourage you to be as scared as you can. If something seems scary, do it. Love and best wishes xx
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    • Posted

      Hi- thanks for your reply.

      I have found that facing fears and putting myself out of my comfort zone does make things better in the long run but it's hard and I worry so so much beforehand that I get myself into such a state sad

      I am scared I will lose control, and being in control is important to me.

      Did you take any meds to help with these feelings when you used to experience them?

      Jane x

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    • Posted

      Athol is bang on the money. The fear of loss on control is a common symptom which I have had too but if you put yourself in the situation, youll realise you wont lose control. If you use meds, Id say thats a coping mechanism which will wrongly show you that you alone cant do it. You can, and after awhile you wont find it as hard x 
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  • Posted

    Update:

    I had my 2 hour lesson which went well generally and I did go on the dual carriageway and admittedly disliked it and felt like I may lose control and go out of my mind and crash.. but I didn't, I kept going and got through it - then had to go back on it again. The only way to get through it is to do it, and whilst I was anxious and felt scared, I am pleased I managed it and drove well, was told I was less hesitant.

    It's very tiring, I am so exhausted mentally and physically but must keep pushing! Thanks for your comments. 

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    • Posted

      Jane, you are brilliant. You have done so well! It is not an easy thing to do, to face your fears, but you did it! Well done. Remember to rest as much as you can when doing this kind of work because, as you say, it is exhausting. Try not to push yourself too much. It's a fine balance. Slowly, slowly, catchee the monkey. Make sure you give yourself credit for what you have achieved. As you so rightly say, the only way through it is to do it. There is no other way. Carry on  doing it and ignore the scary thoughts as much as you are able to. They lie.There is nothing wrong with you (apart from being a normal human being). You will be fine. My congratulations on taking the path to being anxiety free. Athol xx
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    • Posted

      I forgot to say that Sarah is absolutely right. Any kind of 'support' you use to 'get you through it' will only delay your recovery and it will definately get easier as you go on. It does take practice in my experience and you may need to go through it a number of times but each time you will gain confidence and the anxiety will ease. It is the only way through. I was agoraphobic for 15 years. Could'nt leave my flat for 15 years. That's a long time to live with fear every day. Wasted a lot of my life and all because nobody told me this very simple truth about how to deal with it. I'm so glad that you will not be doing the same. You are far braver than you think you are. Dont forget it. Love Athol xx
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  • Posted

    Well done you have done great! Please use this as evidence that nothing will happen and as athol said it will get easier and easier. Stick at it! X
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  • Posted

    Hi Jane I have been recently doing my driving lessons and I know how you feel about been really nervous and you cant pull away from it. All i can advise is to keep on trucking and the more you drive the more comfortable you will be. Can you go out with your parents between lessons? 
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    • Posted

      Hi Mark

      How did you cope, did you jsut have to push yourself and get on with it? I dont live with my parents, I live with my boyfriend and dont want to use his car as it's quite big, and plus dont think he would want me driving it!

      I am having quite a lot of lessons though.. it's just so tiring!

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