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Avatar universal

Driving Anxiety... but not constant

I have driving anxiety, but its not constant. Its usually rather different than what I've read others from having.

I have had driving anxiety since I was sixteen years old. Usually it is mainly triggered : if I have a passenger. If I am driving by myself I do just fine.

Bridges, merges, and going left seem to do it, but usually always when I have a passenger. I can conquer it okay, but I've gotten to the point, where I avoid the highway at times. Sometimes, I'll just drive and then it hits, or then, I pick somebody up and I have it immediately...

Does anybody have random anxiety like that? I've tried smoking cigarettes, listening to music, sometimes holding to someone's hand, talking about it with my passenger, having them reassure me. It just makes me feel so crippling and almost at times embarassed to drive. I realize, that when my anxiety is worse it'll spark up.  I'm currently unemployed, so receiving medication is impossible.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Do you have other instances where you are nervous in front of other people?  In my opinion, social anxiety can manifest itself in many ways and feeling embarrassed because of it is quite common in my experience.  Do you have access to counseling?  I know you said you are currently unemployed, but have you checked if there are any free counseling services in your area?  
Avatar universal
Did something traumatic happen to u while driving.  Sometimes anxiety can be triggered by a specific traumatic event.  Sometimes you may not even realize what it was.  I know mt brother in law was in the passenger seat asleep while my sister was driving.  They almost had an accident, and he was awoken.  Ever since then he did not want to ride in cars, he had to be the driver.  It almost got to the point to where he never wanted to druve or ride in cars but he got help with therapy and medication,and has been fine ever since.  Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
I can sympathize with anyone with anxiety and panic.  I have had my share since age 12.  I do have an anxiety about driving but mine is the opposite.  I have severe anxiety and panic when driving alone.  I think my fear is something will happen to me and I wont be able to pull over, etc.  Anyway, I know it is important to continue driving.  It sounds like you are on the right track with trying to draw your attention away with music, etc.  Perhaps trying to look at it like  "so what if I get anxious...what is the worse that can happen...it will pass.  I have this competent person with me that will drive if I dont feel well enough."  I know having understanding friends and family is so important.  I would let the person riding with me know about the problem with anxiety ahead of time.  Worrying about "whether the other person will notice my anxiety" will cause anxiety.  I find being upfront about having these issues will lower my anxiety level.  ALso I do take a generic antianxiety medication as needed.  It does seem to help some and is very inexpensive....around $9.00 for 30 day supply.  Good luck.
3239871 tn?1346704062
I can relate. I still get weird random anxiety symptoms when I drive, but it's a passing thing now. I used to be absolutely crippled by it. The one I still get is I really don't like driving with other people in the car.
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Arlington, VA
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Arlington, WA
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