Sudden fear of driving - depersonalisation

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Hi there.

I would be really grateful for some advice.

I have been driving for almost 25 years and have always enjoyed it.

However, for some explained reason, about two weeks ago, I had to do a particularly long journey with my family and I just had to keep stopping. I just didn't feel right.

When I finally go to my destination, I was really freaked out and I spent the next few days in a sort of dazed feeling - i.e. it was almost like I was dreaming and nothing was real (something I have read is called derealisation).

The drive home was even worse as I could not shake this dreamy feeling and spent the whole journey just wishing that I were home but managed to get home somehow.

I was fine for a bit but then had to go on holiday and had a 50 minute drive to the airport and started to go into this dreamy state again. I spent the whole holiday worrying about having to drive back and indeed really struggled on the way home (it was pouring with rain and very early in the morning when I did).

Basically, I have suddenly developed a fear of driving.

I need to commute to work but the fear of having to do so is making me constantly unhappy - as soon as I am home, each evening, the thought of the next day's commute is always ticking away in the background.

The thing that worries me is that I seem to always seem to be in this constant state of derealisation, now. It is affecting my work, as I just cannot seem to concentrate.

The feeling of driving, when it is not real, is truly horrible - it seems like my vision is somehow going.

Any advice on what to do would be very much appreciated.

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2 Replies

  • Edited

    Hi, I've experienced similar to what you are describing. The journey into work is not so much of a problem, it's only during the day of being in the office environment and around the people that the head pressure and brain fog moves in. On the drive home it can be very uncomfortable, more than a couple of times I have 'zoned out' (hard to describe - but my sense of reality is somewhat distorted) and when I zone back in am not totally sure where I am on the route to home - kind of like deja vu or something. Fortunately, my journey is only 15-20 minutes, anything of significance and I would feel un-safe - sorry I do not have a solution but assure that you are not alone.

    Have also experienced this in busy environments, I used to enjoy going to football matches but now experience this 'unreal' sensation which makes me worried that my eyesight is suddenly just going to switch off, I also get vertigo and dizziness in these situations.

    • Edited

      Thank you so much for the reply - reassuring to know that I am not the only person in the world suffering this. The eyesight switching off - I know exactly what you mean. Very scary.

      I recently had an apportionment at the opticians and they said I had perfect eyesight and all the tests showed nothing wrong my retina or optic nerve and no signs of diabetes etc.

      The issue is clearly in my head, though I am tempted to have a chat with my GP just in case.

      I am currently writing this at work and am dreading having the 20 minute drive home. I am pretty sure that some of my colleagues think something is up as I just cannot have a proper conversation with them - everything seems fuzzy and I cannot concentrate properly.

      I am contemplating just getting the bus to work (which I can do) but I am not sure whether that will just make the fear worse - at least it would give me a bit of a break.

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