My Fear Of Driving

Recently, I told you my first panic attack was on the school bus during my school days. Here is how that has developed into a fear of driving.

When I was attending private school in California, I got my driver’s license. On the way home from a Saturday homecoming event, the day before my 17th birthday, I was in a minor car accident. I had run a stop sign and got hit. My parents had gone on a day trip to Edwards to see the air show. I was stuck, in my uniform, in the hot desert, waiting for four hours until help arrived. I think most people would consider this just above “inconvenient”. I didn’t even seem to be all that stressed while it was going on. I was terrified to call my parents and tell them I’d wrecked their car, but what seventeen year old wouldn’t be? Once I got home, though, it was quite another story. I had panicked in an episode of epic proportions. The three hour long panic attack drained me so much, that I slept the majority of the following two days. Yes, I slept through my 17th birthday.

After that, I didn’t drive for a while. Then when I started making friends after I left school at the end of that year, I started again. Los Angeles is a big place. It’s possible to rely on other means of transportation than your car, but not exactly easy. Besides, would a cab or bus really be less stressful than driving? I wagered not.

Somehow over the years, this fear of driving has manifested into a full blown phobia. I still drive, if I have to. We sold our second car to make the move back to Texas, so I actually drive almost every day. The trade off is, I then have panic attacks almost every day. It’s hard to gather strength to do anything else I consider “adventurous” that day, because I’ve already had the one panic attack after driving. Who could knowingly subject themselves to a second one? I’ve done it, even enduring another two or three episodes in a day, but the next few days I suffer for it.

My son is still young enough to be unaware of his timid mother. But he’s also smart enough that his ignorance won’t last long. I need to get this under control before he is permanently messed up by me.

One Response

  1. I have a phobia of driving too. I wonder if it is all linked. Sometimes I just feel so fed up with myself that I am so timid and not braver, but then again I am always harshest when it comes to myself but kind to others.

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