Driving Anxiety Update

It’s been a while since I write about how I got on with tackling my driving anxiety. I had some hypnosis to aid me months back and some EMDR to tackle anxiety and the root causes in general. Since then I have been avoiding being behind the wheel. I felt under immense pressure for the intervention to work and as a result avoided testing the results.

However, avoidance only goes so far and I found myself in a situation where I had to take myself to Pilates yesterday as my husband was working. I felt the familiar waves of anxiety from the week prior when I learned I’d have to either drive or arrange transportation.

The venue is only 1.2 miles away and the thought of arranging an Uber for this journey seemed ridiculous. So putting thoughts of all the possible hurdles the journey may have out of my mind I tried to visualise each junction with the best outcome.

I did things all day to relax myself and when the time came to leave, I slowed my thoughts down and felt, surprisingly, calm. Once I headed off I actually enjoyed being in control of the car and eased off on pressuring myself, resulting in a pleasant drive even though the traffic was moderate. Having never driven to the venue myself before, I missed the turning and had to turn around and come back, which would have caused my anxiety to spike normally, but I took it in good humour and still got there in time.

Driving back in the dark was a pleasure too; the traffic was light and I felt pleasantly nostalgic about when I used to drive around more regularly. I even reversed the car up our sloping driveway as I need to drive myself again tomorrow.

I’m convinced my more pleasant and relaxed experience of driving is a direct result of the work I did with the therapist. I look forward to more confidence building trips by myself.

5 Comments

  1. Driving anxiety is actually a thing? I might have to look into that, I think that I might have it. I tried to practice for my road test this summer, and I have never struggled with something so much before. It was just horrible, I kept overthinking everything to the point that I messed up in ridiculous ways. Only thing I could do without feeling like freaking out was parallel parking. Now a lot of the people I know can drive, and I can ride in the car with anyone, but I just hate being behind the wheel.

    Like

    1. Yes, it’s an actual thing, reasonably common and keeping a lot of therapists and driving instructors busy. If your anxiety affects your driving to the point you’re unsafe you have to let the local licensing authority know. Fortunately, I’ve never been debilitated to this extent. The worst thing we can do is stop driving altogether as this will make it hard to get back behind the wheel. Over-vigilance and overthinking stuff is typical for anxious drivers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Stick with it 🙂

    Most “what if” scenarios never happen and people in general are actually better drivers than you think. I myself am a terrible driver, and most of the bumper bashings and accidents I’ve had are directly attributable to my impatience on the road. So long as you are careful and systematic, you’re likely to be just fine.

    Liked by 1 person

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