• Hi. It’s great to see you. Welcome!

    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life. Amongst our membership there is a wealth of expertise that has been developed through having to deal with mental health issues.

    We are an actively moderated forum with a team of experienced moderators. We also have a specialist safety team that works extra hard to keep the forum safe for visitors and members.

    Register now to access many more features and forums!

Driving Panic

B

BruceF

New member
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
2
Location
Earth
Hi all

I'm having some issues with panic attacks due to a fear fainting while driving after an event a few years ago where I did faint.
Previously I was treated with Paxil and that seemed to work but slowly the fear has been coming back. I have all the usual aversions, such as bridges and highways or places where I can't pull over. I've been prescribed Fluoxetine this time but I'm procrastinating with starting it as I really didn't enjoy the antidepressant experience at all before. It also felt like it masked the problem rather than solving it. I've looked into CBT but it's unaffordable for me at this time as is seeing a psychologist.

-Are there any other solutions available that are affordable?
-Would finding a driving instructor with dual steering in their vehicle be worth trying to push myself through the -experience?
-Has anyone had any experience with Fluoxetine and it's side effects?
-Are there any other related physical ailments that may be giving me anxiety that I can treat to cope with the situation?
-Any suggestions on silencing or addressing the "what if...?" thought pattern which in this case would be "what if I fainted and couldn't remove myself from harming myself or others while driving?
-Also looking for suggestions on controlling the dizziness during a panic attack as that gives me the most worry because obviously it's quite hard to see straight.
-Is there an emergency procedure for panic while driving or any other ailment while driving to avoid collision? I'm sure there have been many cases where something has happened to a driver physically (stroke, heart attack, etc)and I would think that there are precautions in place for these events? The only thing I would know to do and which I did during my actual faint is to hit the hazard lights and pullover. Lucky the truck in the lane I was crossing was paying attention.

Thanks in advance.
 
RueBea85

RueBea85

Active member
Joined
Jan 24, 2019
Messages
27
Location
Canada
Hi BruceF,
I'm not sure if you've tried mindfulness or meditation. I have found a couple apps on my phone that help with basic belly breathing, and if I'm anxious about a situation I put this app on for 5-10 minutes and just breathe. It helps to lower my baseline energy and I feel much calmer after doing it. If you don't have any apps, you can just practice breathing, usually I breathe in for 4, hold for 2-4, breathe out for 4, and hold for 2-4. Sometimes I do this for 5 minutes, other times I do it for 10-15. It does help to calm me down before I do something that may be anxiety inducing.
Now when you're driving, is it to and from work? Or does this happen at any time? I was wondering if it's to and from work, have you thought about carpooling? I know many people who do that who want to save some money. Not sure if that is something you would be comfortable with, and you wouldn't need to anyone why you're carpooling, if you're not comfortable with that.
I have found some useful resources such as books about managing anxiety, and the best thing they say is to make sure your taking the deep belly breaths because when we are hyperventilating it can cause us to have symptoms such as feeling faint. When we have deep belly breaths, we can trick our body into thinking it is relaxed.
The "what if" pattern of negative thinking, I have heard some advice from my therapist, that said instead of thinking what if this happens and thinking of the worst possible scenario, trying to think of the best that can happen as well, like getting home safe. Try to say "I wonder what will happen on my drive home today" When we wonder about things, it can ease the anxiety because we are not focusing on the negative by only thinking of the worst that can happen.
I hope some of this helps. I know it's not easy to change this happening overnight.
Hope you find some relief.
 
O

outofstep

Member
Joined
May 10, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Canada
Hi,

I see this post is from January. Have you made progress? I just posted something very similar. Would like to hear how you’re doing.
 
B

BruceF

New member
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
2
Location
Earth
Sorry for not being more responsive on this thread.
RueBea85:
I did an extensive course on meditation in December which did help me in general with anxiety but unfortunately not so much with the panic while driving. Also trying to calm myself with breathing hasn't helped me much either unfortunately.
For me the panic only really sets in when I am in a position of not being able to get to safety immediately such as not having a lane to pull over to while driving on a freeway or being in the middle lane in traffic.
I'll try to concentrate on looking at the experience of driving more positively and see if that helps. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

outofstep:
I'm currently on a low dose of Prozac which has helped generally but I'm still not feeling ready to drive certain roads where I feel there is a high risk of having a panic attack.
I feel the Paxil I took when I first experienced this helped much more and actually solved my issue for a few years, I'm not sure the Prozac is working as well but the other benefits I am experiencing from it are making me want to continue with it.

I still unfortunately haven't been able to afford therapy but after speaking to three different psychologists socially I've been advised the CBT works amazingly for treating this and doesn't take as long as you would expect. So I will work towards that.

I saw your thread and the the advice I can give you would be go to a CBT therapist if you can. Otherwise speak to your doctor about medication if you are finding it debilitating. It's likely they'll give you something like Urbanol initially which will get you through the situations otherwise you'll be put on a low dose SSRI. You can trying breathing exercises or meditation as mentioned above. Give up coffee, alcohol and cigarettes as these all stimulate your nervous system in the wrong way. (I'm still struggling with getting off the cigarettes again but have noticed a massive difference in my feelings of anxiety without them) Obviously don't take other recreational drugs if you are into that. Excercise regularly, eat healthily, get good sleep which is the general advice for any ailment. Herbal wise I've found L-theanine helps alot but is also a short term solution and Rhodiola Rosea (check with your doctor if you can take these if you do try them)
And then perhaps what should have been the first step is to identify the cause of your symptoms. So I saw in your thread you mentioned feeling trapped, perhaps there are other areas in your life where this feeling needs to be addressed or something along those lines but again you would need to speak to a professional about this.
 
Top