This morning I had my first panic attack in my car in almost six months. If you have been following the recent string of blog posts, you know that I am struggling with cycling mania and depression, and now social anxiety all at once. Today I got into my car today with the hope of getting some errands done. I knew getting into my car that my anxiety was high, and it didn’t help that I didn’t sleep last night because I have been really manic.
I thought it would be the perfect time to repost a blog I write a while back about driving anxiety. I will also post the poem I wrote later in the day. I will also write a post about what I did after my anxiety to include using my safety plan.
Here are some connected blog posts:
Driving Anxiety: What It Is Like for The Bipolar Writer
Car anxiety or driving anxiety?
I know it sounds weird. Trust me it’s weird to say it let alone deal with it every time I get into my car. I am an excellent driver. No brag, and I love driving.
Well at least until about three years ago I loved driving. Now it’s a constant reminder that I am anxious behind the wheel. I live in fear of the worst case scenario, what could happen if I have a panic attack on the road. It’s one of the reasons I don’t leave my house much, and when I do I always take extra Ativan with me.
My anxiety & social anxiety is always an issue. When I leave my house I am 9/10 already dealing with anxiety. The worst is when the anxiety is intensified. I feel outside my body and very panicky.
I used to be able to drive anywhere and one of my places of solace was behind the wheel. I could be at total peace with the road in front of me driving for hours on end.
But that changed, I am guessing about three years ago. I don’t know why I love driving. Traveling in my car was something I could do without question. Just being behind the wheel made me feel alive. I would drive for hours just because I could.
Give me some good music, the open road and I could drive for days.
Looking back I think it started after my last suicide attempt in 2010. I have chronicled the fact that after this suicide attempt I had really bad seizures and I was told I could no longer drive a car for at least a year.
It was close to three years before I even sat behind the wheel again. When I started driving again it was over time that I started leaving my house again. Then my social anxiety makes the decision to worsen after my psychiatrist decided to lower my Ativan dosage.
Then last year I signed up to drive for Uber. I got a car and everything, and then a few weeks in I had a panic attack with a customer in the car with me. It wasn’t a super bad one but it scared me. I never thought I could have a panic attack while driving.
Since then it has happened a few times to a point where I would have to pull my car over just to get back into control. Other times I would be down the road my house only to turn around again and have to go back.
I fear driving now because it is always possible that my anxiety could trigger a panic attack especially now when my anxiety being at high levels.
This time of the year is so tough to work through because I have so much going on. At the same time, my anxiety and depression are playing tug-of-war with my soul.
It’s just another thing I am noticing as I continue to write about my life. Driving used to be a place of solace in my life, but now it’s just another place I don’t feel safe with my anxiety.
What sucks about my driving anxiety is that I have so many plans for 2018. I am going to Vegas after I graduate, I am going to my brother’s wedding, and I might even decide to go and walk with my class for graduation. I have so much to do, and not being able to leave my house will be my biggest fear moving forward.
I am curious. Do any of my fellow bloggers deal with driving anxiety? What do you do to combat it?
Always Keep Fighting.