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1785438 tn?1314991535

Driving Anxiety

I have had severe anxiety for about 4 years now. I was taking Klonopin and Celexa, but felt that they really weren't working anymore as I was still having horrible anxiety. I also don't want to be on such heavy medication for the rest of my life, so I decided to go off the meds. I really didn't have a plan when I stopped taking my meds. The klonopin, I sort of tapered off, but the celexa I just stopped taking because I ran out and didn't go pick up the next script.

I want to get better and not be on the meds because I want to have a baby in the near future. I don't want to be on anything when I want to try and get pregnant. And the longer I am on the meds, the longer it will be before I can start trying. I know that I can't get pregnant with my anxiety like this, either. There would be no way that I could raise a child with how I am right now because of my anxiety. But having a baby is the one thing I've wanted more than anything else my entire life...and aside from my anxiety issues, I'm in a right place to consider pregnancy now. So pregnancy is such a big motivating factor for me. I just feel so stuck right now.

I was getting my prescriptions from a NP, but I'm not so sure that she always had my best interests at hand. I always feel that way about any sort of doctor, though. I feel like I'm being rushed out of there as soon as I sit down. I've also tried CBT for a while, at different points in my life. I always felt that it didn't help me. I felt that I could tell the therapist what to ask me better than he/she could...like I could do their job. Then I would almost get bored with going because I was on the meds, my anxiety wasn't that bad and I just couldn't see a point in talking about random things throughout my life that could have lead me to where I am today.

Recently, I had another breakdown and started my meds again...in very small doses. It helps some, but I am still housebound at this point. Some days are better than others, but I still have such a fear of trying to go anywhere or even just drive around that it keeps me inside. Even taking out the garbage has been such a hassle for me.

A major problem with me is the driving, though. I can imagine that while I get to certain points that I don't like on my travels, that I will go through a major panic attack. I fear that I will get so anxious that I'll pass out and get into an accident. I do feel like I will pass out sometimes and/or throw up and/or become paralyzed with fear that I would not be able to even drive my car and be stuck in the middle of the road and then I am freaking out more and more and more because I am so stuck I just can't do anything about it. Phew. That really puts me over the edge. That is a major, major problem and I just don't know how to overcome it.

I am so tired of feeling this way and people keep telling me to get over it or to change the way I think, but I just don't know how to do that. Is there anything I can try that might help me ease my fear of driving?
2 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi.  Unfortunately this all evolves around your anxiety and you're developing Agoraphobia which will hold you prisoner in your home (safe place).  Driving is a big trigger for many with panic attacks it goes along with Agoraphobia, fear of open places and fear you'll have a panic attack, the feeling of being "trapped" wherever you are.  None of us want to be on medication but often anxiety is like any other medical condition that requires daily medication to control the symptoms. Therapy is a great tool to determine if our anxiety has a "root cause", which is usually a traumatic event from our past which we never truly dealt with. Often we don't even remember the event, but it comes back demanding to be dealt with in the form of anxiety and/or depression.  With therapy we can determine what it was...deal with it and ease our anxiety.  Many of us will never know "why" we have it, and do the best we can.  You may have not been seeing the right therapist, there are good ones and bad ones and you have to find one that you feel comfortable with because therapy can be very beneficial.  They have to dig into our past, this is how they learn if something happened back then to cause our anxiety now.  It also tells them what our life has been like and how we have dealt with different situations, all of this tells them a lot about us, and we learn a lot about ourselves!  They can also teach us how to cope and think in a more positive manner. I would give therapy another chance, and you may need medication to help you thru this time, but get them from a psychiatrist, they are most knowledable with the medications to control our symptoms.
I think it's wonderful that as much as you want a baby you recognize that you need to be in a better place emotionally to give your baby the life he or she deserves.  Take this time to do that, knowing at the end you can have your baby.  I hope this helped and I wish you all the best.
1699033 tn?1514116733
You have already decided that CBT doesn't work.  Let me tell you a little bit about my driving.  I don't have panic attacks all the time.  Usually I tend to have them if I have other people in the car on a long trip.  The attacks make my vision blurry and I feel like I'm in another dimension.  I grip the wheel with two hands and start breathing.  I will even hold my breath if I have to just to slow my heart beat back down so that I can calm down.  Even on medication if I think about it too much I will bring an attack on.  

What I do now is once the thought enters my mind, I immediately start breathing.  I have never had an attack when I started breathing.  I was able to stop it really before it starts to have a life of its own.  The breathing is a part of CBT so it can work.  It does work.

The best thing for you to do is to drive around the block first, then maybe over to the next neighborhood.  Control your breathing, that is the key.  Also, I know that I will be fine even if a full blown panic attack occurs while driving.  Why?  Because I have had them, have not crashed, have not passed out, etc.  I know it will pass once I start breathing.  So knowing that is half the battle.  It is just merely an inconveience at this point for me.  

By giving into the anxiety, you are making it worse.  You need to get out there and do what you fear the most.  Yes medication works, and maybe you were on the wrong doses and that is where a psychologist comes in.  

I will also tell you that I had to choose between anxiety and pregnancy.  My first child, I was medication free for 3.5 months at the beginning of the pregnancy.    It was very, very  hard, I then had to go on medication.  My son is fine.  I stayed on a low dose of prozac through the entire time with my second pregnancy and my son is fine as well.  He has ADHD but I do not think the medication caused that.  What I am trying to say is that these are hard choices.  But they are not all or nothing choices.  I am in no way advocating taking medication while pregnant, just letting you know that I had to.  This is also something that a psychiatrist can help you with.  

Mammo is right, agoraphobia will set in and then you are battling something else so make yourself get out of your house.  

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