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panic attack while driving!

wow, so yesterday I was on my way to the beach to meet my parents and I was late and I forgot my mom's Mothers' Day present!  so I was sort of nervous (I'm always paranoid around them because even though I'm never high when I see them I always feel like they think I am, and it didn't help that I forgot her present!) and while I was driving I started to feel like I was slipping away REALLY fast like I was barely able to keep myself from passing out and my body got really hot all the sudden and my legs started shaking and I started to pull over but luckily I was able to pull myself together.  I'm so scared this is gonna happen again, worse!  And I feel like this is the start of driving anxiety...I've always been a nervous driver - scared at busy unmarked intersections & CONTSTANTLY feeling like other drivers are about to wreck with me, nightmares of realistic car wrecks, and now that boy that died in a wreck on my street.  So who thinks this is going to develop into driving anxiety to the point where I won't be able to drive?
3 Responses
187799 tn?1219613173
Well it seems to me that you have a couple anxiety triggers here.  The first and foremost, and this is one I had, is your parents' (dis)approval of you. When I began counseling several years ago, I  had no idea what my parents and siblings had done to me with regard to my self-esteem all through my life. I had brought that lack of self-esteem into my marriage and several years after that is when it all came to a head in the form of anxiety attacks. So you should definitely tackle that one. I have come into my own self through therapy and don't rely on my family for any support; only my husband and kids. I'm now in a very good place for that.

The driving issue is another; alot of people fear driving for one reason or another.  When I began having anxiety attacks, I had one while driving so bad that I did pull over and my brother had to come and get me (yeah, contradicts the above, but he was just there to drive me, basically). I did not drive for several weeks and when I began again, was nervous I'd have one - that is where my klonopin was a wonderful help. It's not actually the driving for me anyway; it was the fact that I had an attack while driving. Sounds like you have a trigger when you drive, such as the child being hit by a car or another car-related instance, especially if you're having nightmares about them.

I strongly suggest discussing these issues with a counselor to see what the root of these fears are as well as possibly taking even just 1/2 klonopin so that you can drive without fear. Fear alone may cause you to hurt someone else on the road.

Hope this info helps; as usual, I've been there, done that!  My best to you......
Avatar universal
thanks hatgal.  yeah one big issue with my parents is that they're also my bosses, so ever since I've been working for them I've been extremely nervous around them (thinking they think I'm high and I'll lose my job).

I'm also more afraid of having a panic attack again while driving, than I am of actually getting in a wreck (although in the end, I'm still just afraid of a wreck).

But I searched similar posts on the site, and I found some good advice; to just not let it rule my life because I know that it can.  So I'm going to try to simply not think about it.  Surprisingly, I've gotten really good at calming myself down from panic attacks.  I haven't had a full-blown one in probably 2 weeks.  Every time I feel one coming, I just refuse to give in to it, because I know that every time I have one, I truly feel like I'm dying, but I still won't call a doctor or do anything about it because I'm too broke and I don't have anything that can fix it anyway, and well I haven't died yet.  And, the fact that I'm actually ABLE to calm myself down, and then the physical symptoms GO AWAY, makes me feel a LOT more confident that I'm not going to die.  So maybe ..just maybe, I'm strong enough to be my own treatment?  That would be pretty cool to say the least!
Avatar universal
I wish I could say the same. Everytime I get into the car and know I have to drive more than 5 minutes, I start to freak. My feet start to go numb, my hands tingle, my legs shake, my vision is fine but at the same time I have such a great urge to close my eyes and on top of that I am constantly trying to tell myself to calm down, breath everything will be fine, and I sometimes get through it and then other times pull over and cry, have someone come get me or turn around and just go home, or make a zillion and one stops to get were i need to go. It is so embarassing, I feel like an idiot and at the same time know it isn't my fault I shouldn't feel so bad. I hate it and I have no idea what to do. Therapy didn't work, meds didn't work. I feel outta luck.
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Arlington, VA
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Arlington, WA
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