Living with a Driving Phobia
My Personal Experience
I'd like to start by saying everyone is different and others could have certain things happen in their lives (like a car crash) that keep them from driving. I am writing this as a person who has always struggled with anxiety and for some reason when I drive it triggers panic attacks. I am hoping this might help people know they are not alone in this feeling, or as a way to show others that this does exist.
I got to the point where I got my license, don't ask me how, I was extremely nervous during lessons and was in panic while taking the test. I drove for a little while but I just couldn't stop panicking. I got a job soon after I got my license and ended up hitting a car in mid panic attack. I was 3 houses away from where I lived, it was awful, luckily no one got hurt. After that I stopped driving for a few years. My ex pretty much gave me an ultimatum and told me I had to drive. Between all the people judging me for not driving, having no freedom and having to walk to work in snow storms I figured I would try again. I drove for a couple of years terrified every time I got in the car, only drove to work, and paid people to get gas for me. I eventually couldn't take it anymore and I haven't driven a car in 7 years.
A panic attack can be a different experience for many people. I would shake and cry, my heart would pound, and I couldn't think straight and I was full of terror. You know how when you watch a slasher film there is a girl running for her life and she turns around to see the killer standing behind her. That moment is how terrified I feel the whole time I am driving a car. So you can imagine how in that state it can be hard to keep a clear mind.
The doctors I have seen have only tried to help with medication and failed. The only thing they did was over medicate me and give me meds that I didn't react well to. People are very quick to judge. Many will just say "Just do it." and roll their eyes "You just need to drive more." What they don't realize is how much I wish I could drive. I would LOVE to get in a car and go where ever I want. Not have to be a pain asking for rides or for people to get things for me. I would love the freedom. Things as simple as getting a gallon of milk or going to a friends house are so out of reach to me.
- If you are not sure if what you are experiencing is a panic attack here is a site with a list of symptoms http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/panic-attack-symptoms
I been saying I would try drive again when I feel ready and I have been thinking about it. I have done it when others told me I was ready, or wanted me to be ready and it never works out, if anything it has set me back. Some of us just have to do things when it is OUR time not everyone else's. I hope this gives some undertanding to people what it is like for people who don't drive.