So I actually managed to get myself out of the house to meet some friends last night. I was fine at the restaurant with my friends, but the driving there and home was a complete nightmare. I panicked all the way there and all the way home... shaking, heart beating out of my chest, etc. So I'm thinking that it's not a social anxiety issue, it's a driving anxiety issue. All of my friends were telling me that they had missed me (I haven't been out socially in months) and I missed them, too, and I had a great time while I was there, but getting myself there and home was the whole reason I initially didn't want to go. Any suggestions?
You're 30 years old and I'll assume you've been driving for awhile. Have you always had this particular anxiety or is it fairly recent? If so, did something happen while you or someone else was driving that frightened you very badly? A car accident, maybe? Or a panic attack while behind the wheel?
Your observation that you were fine at the resturant with your friends, you had a good time with no anxiety, so you rightly, in my humble opinion, ruled out social anxiety as the problem. You obviously have no problem being social. As you said, it's the getting there and back that's the problem.
How do you normally get around, either to work or to get the shopping and other errands done? You're not agoraphobic if you can go out to meet friends.
I just have one suggestion which is to get yourself into some therapy to figure out why driving causes you such anxiety. There IS a reason and once you figure that out and deal with, you'll be fine. Really.
Thanks for your reply. I drive to work and to the grocery store and stuff, but I live 5 minutes from work (on the same street) and it's only a couple blocks over to the grocery store. I've had my license since I was 18 and have had a couple of car accidents (neither were my fault, got t-boned both times), but nothing major. I just freak out in the car. I don't know, I'm afraid someone's going to hit me or something's going to go wrong with the car or something. I'm fine if I'm a passenger in someone else's car, but if I'm driving I freak out, and I won't let anyone else drive my car for any reason (my dad needed to move it one time when I was at their house, and I had a total come-apart and insisted that I go move it myself). I know I need therapy, but... I have to drive to get there, so it's a catch-22.
If being a passenger doesn't freak you out, could you catch a bus from home or work to a therapists office? A cab? Walk or bike? Have a friend drive you?
You say "I just freak out in the car. I don't know, I'm afraid someone's going to hit me......"
Considering that you've been t-boned twice, your fear is pretty legit. I don't get why it bothers you so much if someone else drives your car. That has me a little stumped.
If you want this to end, I think you're resourceful enough to find a way to get to a therapists office. Where there's a will.....................
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