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panic attacks whilst driving
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panic attacks whilst driving

Im a bit embarrassed about this question people but i was wandering if anyone else freaks out whilst they are driving? i feel like im the only one. I get this overwhelming feeling come over me and i just freeze, i cant concentrate and i cant see or hear anything and its just like the world stops for about 10 seconds {i know this is a strange and weird description but its the only way i can discribe it}, its making driving very difficult as you can probably imagine. Im an anxious person anyhow but just lately I cant seem to control these 'panic attacks' whilst im driving. I'm avoiding going places and seeing people and things have even got that bad that I've been off work. I just feel like i will never beat this anxiety. I've been seeing a pyschotherapist for about 4 years on and off and she has helped me a great deal but I still feel so anxious all the time. I was wandering if anyone else struggles with day to day things like me? sometimes i feel like i'm the only one. :(
oh by the way i get these 'panic attacks' other times too, not just when im driving.
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13 Comments Post a Comment
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136956_tn?1363091289
Did you ever get into a car accident before?

I have the same anxiety and I have them about other things as well.  

Have you told your therapist that you still have anxiety?
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1508779_tn?1290497633
Hello there.
You are not the only one. I dont drive but I get bad anxiety attacks while im on the train :S I dont know why since Im not afraid of public transit but they just come out of nowhere. It starts by one thought and then ... well ... you can imagine, an unstopable chain of events follow that first creepy thought and the next thing I know Im on the corner freaking out, tears coming out of my eyes and having hard time breathing. Very embarasing but in those moments all I care about is feeling ok again.  I also get them when I watch ungly things on TV, like mind wrecking movies and thing like that.

I've read books about anxiety and they all mention anxiety while driving so Im pretty sure is common.
Cheers.
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1448936_tn?1363209946
I'm weird...driving helps calm me down but my mom gets horrible anxiety while driving. I've never seen someone shake so badly. Its a very common fear which is why I said I'm weird because driving calms me down. Usually driving causes panic in people.
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1547031_tn?1296835036
Yep, I have horrible anxiety just being in the car.  It used to take me up to 3 hours to drive 20 miles to work because the anxiety was so bad and the fight/flight response so strong I would have to pull over and get out and walk around a bit.  Geez, I looked like a lunatic!  It was better if I was driving, worse if Iwas the passenger.  But, it was still pretty bad when I was driving.  I hated it.  I still hate it.  Somedays are better than others, but there were times when I couldn't even get in the car to go see my therapist!  I feel this way about ALL transportation.  I don't like buses, planes, etc.  I have to take ativan just to get on one.  So, ask me if anything traumatic happened to make me so afraid of modern transportation.  The answer is nope.  Nothing.  Not a car wreck, not a "near miss", no family or friends in wrecks.  No scary movies about cars (if there is such a thing), no bad dreams, nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.  So, basically my therapist had me start listening to relaxation tapes every day.  Not during a panic attack, at a time when I was calm to induce the relaxation response.  After about 4-6 weeks of listening to the same guy guide me through the same relaxation every single day, I noticed my body started to automatically relax at the sound of his voice.  Pavlov!  So, I put him on my ipod and started listening to him if I felt an attack coming on.  Worked pretty good but then I was afraid I would start associating him with driving panic so I stopped.  But it was good while it lasted.  Also, my doctor suggested that when I'm driving if I'm alone that it is OK to keep the windows rolled up and just scream.  Scream, scream, scream.  As if I didn't appear psycho enough, right?  Well, I just prayed that 1) the other drivers would think I was singing opera as I sat there with my mouth wide open screaming and/or 2) they couldn't hear me.  That worked pretty good too because it always cracked me up to do that.  Anyway, you're not alone...  Just think as your driving along that the probability of you passing someone else who is driving with panic attacks is pretty high.  You are not alone.  God Bless.
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1565754_tn?1295482382
thankyou for your comments guys! i appreciate it :)
well where do i start, i have never had a car crash or any other traumatic event happen to me in a car but i just seem to panic like mad! sometimes i feel like im just going to pass out. I also am getting to the stage where i just keep driving round the long way to get somewhere just to avoid other cars on the road and i keep on having to pull over and take a breather , so it takes me ages to get somewhere.
I get anxious whereever i am at the minute, i've been off work sick this week as i just cant face going in. i work in retail so i deal with the general public all day long and i just cant cope. i had flu at the start of december and im still not quite over it. my gp seems to think that the flu has triggered off my depression again as i did have it quite bad. i know some people are probably thinking how on earth can you get depressed by having flu. But its completely drained me physically and mentally.
i feel like its one big viscous circle because the more i get anxious the more down i get. and the more down i get the more anxious i get. i just feel like a wreck at the minute haha!!
jlroesner you made me laugh when you said you scream, haha i do exactly the same!
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1492418_tn?1289152863
its a viscous cycle, when i'm worn out or ill the depression gets worse, but is bad enough anyway! I am making some baby steps but this does feel like a never ending battle sometimes. most days i am pretty determined, today not so much, menopause moment today i think, lol
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1565754_tn?1295482382
baby steps are the only way forward, i always think if i try and take on too much at once it sets me back. aw bless! we all have our good and bad days! its so strange how hormones can affect us though isnt it.
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1722641_tn?1309462748
I know this is an old post but I found it b/c I am going thru this same exact thing right now.  On my way home from work, I only go the way where I know there are lots of places to pull over.  I start hyperventillating and then I feel like I'll pass out.  Hands get numb, short of breath, awful.  I have to drive 30 min to and from work everyday and I have to work.  Going back to work in 2 days and I really don't know how I'll do it.  I hate this.  I hope you've been able to overcome it, that means maybe i can too.  Best wishes!
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes! I have experienced horrible panic/anxiety attacks when driving. My commute home is just awful. Tons of traffic. I would have full blown attacks while being stuck in traffic. I would have racing thoughts like, "where's the nearest hospital", "how can I get there when I'm stuck in traffic", should I call 911", how can paramedics get to me when the roads are jammed in both directions". It got so bad that I would start having anxiety about 1 1/2 before getting out of work. It was such a nightmare. I just wanted to quit my job (I didn't) and work closer to home because it would take me about an hour to get there. It got better though. I loaded up my car with relaxation/meditation cds. I would call my fiancee to let him know I way on my way home and would ask him to stand by in case I needed him to talk me through my anxiety. Sipping on bottled water also helped. I would also repeat a single sentence aloud, "I'm going to be ok". Don't get me wrong...I was scared, but I tried to trick my mind and body that I wasn't. Maybe what made things easier was that I took action. I still struggle with anxiety, but driving isn't one of those triggers anymore. Now it's nighttime. This is a time when LOTS of my bad attacks have occured. I hate being alone at night and have to talk myself down. Good luck. I wish you the best.
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Avatar_f_tn
You guys are not alone. My anxiety started about 4 months ago. Never had an issue before then, never had a car accident but on my very bad days (which were in the beginning). I would have bad attacks when I would go pick my kids up. It felt like the cars all around me where doing 100 mph in a 25 MPH zone. It got to the point when I hated driving. I am also a person that absolutely loves road trips because of the relaxing highway driving. I looked forward to putting a CD in the car and riding for hours. Now not so much.

The good things is, it does get better : ) I don't have them as much anymore, I just find myself drifting off sometimes and my eyes are focused on the ground instead of looking upward. I have to stay focused and make sure that I am not thinking to much about things that may cause my anxiety.

So I guess what I am saying is, I have and don't have anxiety while driving. It's getting better each and every day. I just tell myself that anxiety is not allowed while I am driving. I need to drive to take care of daily tasks and having anxiety about driving is just not an option. I have a family that loves to go, go, go and I do too and I just can't let my anxiety win this round, maybe some other areas in my life but not this one : )

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136956_tn?1363091289
I was put on wellbutrin about 2yrs ago and that is when my anxiety got out of control. I recently came off, hoping that is what its from.
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Avatar_f_tn
think i need advice..
im still learning and ive always been nervous as soon as im in a car i start ok but if something simple happens(people not signalling, sudden red lights, even if drivers are too close) i get thrown off n just cant focus on anything cause i get this sudden paranoia that everyones glaring at me waiting for me to screw up
my previous instructor let me drive for 8 months incorrectly (no gear control, he was using his brakes& clutch without my noticing) my new instructor has helped with all this but still cant get me to relax when something happens

its so embarrassing cause i think i can do it but my fear of mistakes just takes over,
friends& family complain its taking so long for me to pass but i honestly dont know if its my fault or not
is there anything that can help or is it easier admit defeat?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi All Fellow Panickers.
I,too, have been having panic attacks while driving. Started on the way to work one day in March...I was very stressed at work,perhaps part of the reason?? I started taking Magnesium, it has definitely helped!!!
I still get some panicky moments don't get me wrong, but I'm trying EFT,emotional freedom technique (google this). Any new news anyone?
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