Life

My driving fear – time to fight back

I don’t drive.

I would very much like to drive and I am learning.

At least I am trying to learn.

The thing is, I don’t like it. It terrifies me.

I have never really talked about my fear of driving here before.

I have talked about my anxiety before, but not the driving anxiety.

I have always been an anxious person. Even as quite a small child I was anxious and remember vividly, having anxiety attacks in my childhood.

So, you see, anxiety is definitely at the heart of my driving struggles.

But, there is something else.

My mum died in a car accident when I was 15 years old.

I wasn’t in the car. I did not witness the accident. Only the devastating aftershocks as we, the family left behind, were left to cope, largely alone, we never received any professional help.

I thought I was okay. I mean,  of course it did effect me, how could it not? But I was pretty sure I was okay. It’s only fairly recently, I have come to accept I have been affected far deeper than I had realised.

At 15 I decided I didn’t want to drive a car.

At 17 I got my provisional license, but I didn’t attempt lessons for another couple of years.

It didn’t work out.

I tried again in my early 20s, but when I fell pregnant with my daughter at 23, I had found the perfect excuse to stop. I didn’t want to drive once I was heavily pregnant, and once the baby arrived, I was too busy to pick up lessons again.

At 31, I decided I was ready to try again. Things were different, I WANTED to drive.

I have been really lucky to have never really needed to drive, but now my children are getting older, there’s no denying it would help. Plus, the freedom it would give me really would be amazing.

I had been doing well. I had found a wonderful, patient instructor and, while nervous, I was doing okay. I even took a driving test 6 months ago – something I thought I would never find the confidence to do.

I failed, but I was fine with that. I felt invigorated and the fire to pass had been stoked and was burning strong.

I don’t quite know what’s happened since then.

My confidence is knocked.

I have been feeling really nervous and upset prior to lessons.

I have been overwhelmed. Feeling unable to cope out on the roads.

The final straw was an anxiety attack behind the wheel a few months ago.

I don’t know what went wrong or why – the joys of an attack – but I haven’t driven since.

My anxiety has been bubbling away again, just below the surface, for weeks now.

I feel it daily.

I am struggling.

I have decided something needs to change. I won’t give up, but something needs to change.

I have decided to try hypnotherapy.

I had an initial consultation today and am feeling quite positive about the next step I am going to take.

The therapist was incredibly understanding and seemed to be able to home in on my thoughts with incredible precision.

We have decided a four-week course is best for me.

We are going to target my anxiety and confidence issues and within that, work on my driving phobia.

My first session is in a couple of weeks and I will share my experience here.

I am sceptical, but what have I got to lose? Tackling it as I am at the moment is not working.

I need to do this.

I am ready to do this.

I am doing this to help get my driving test passed.

But, I am also doing this to help myself.

Anxiety has been like a rucksack full of rocks (sorry for the rubbish analogy, it’s the first thing that came to mind), which I am constantly carrying around.

I am ready to work on letting it go.

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