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Driving phobia

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iwilldobetter

New member
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
3
Location
UK
Hi, this is my first time posting on this website!

Here's the story: I started learning to drive as soon as I could (but was never that keen to do so). I was never comfortable driving, even with the instructor - but figured that was normal as a new driver. After about a year, I passed my test on my first attempt, and shortly after left for university.

Cut to 3 years later and I hadn't sat in the drivers seat since the day I passed my test. I felt that same dread I had when I used to have my lessons. I practiced in a quiet industrial lot at first then I think moved onto normal roads, always with a passenger. I always felt stressed when I was driving, but I wasn't sure how much of that was normal new driver nerves and thought that it'd go away the more I drove. I kept having 'bad' experiences on the road, e.g. getting stuck in a parking lot, being shouted at by another driver and I just would feel more anxious about going out every time one of these incidents occurred, and would avoid driving if at all possible.

I even took a lesson with 2 different instructors (one of which took me on the motorway), who said there was nothing majorly wrong with my driving. But two years of on and off driving (mostly off), and I feel more anxious than ever about it. If I could get away with not driving I would have given up by now, but it would mean fewer jobs I can apply for, and also feeling like a burden whenever I want to see my friends. I feel this immense pressure to overcome this phobia as it feels like it's putting my entire future on hold.

I'm seeing a therapist now, and have been slowly working from just sitting in the car to reversing it off the driveway, but I still feel terrified. I don't trust that I will be able to control the car, and will end up seriously hurting someone due to my negligence on the road. I know that progress will be slow, but I feel discouraged that my anxiety levels aren't going down.

I guess I'm just looking for some support. No one seems to understand why I am so scared, and it leaves me embarrassed when I tell people I have my license but can't drive. Has anyone ever had a vaguely similar situation (hopefully with a happy ending!). I'm not sure how much longer I can keep up driving while feeling this way - it's mentally exhausting.

Thanks in advance!
 
P

Purpleplum

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Feb 7, 2020
Messages
540
Location
U.S.
What makes you feel stressed when you drive? Do you have confidence in your driving abilities.
 
I

iwilldobetter

New member
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
3
Location
UK
What makes you feel stressed when you drive? Do you have confidence in your driving abilities.
I don't have confidence in my abilities manoeuvring the car in certain situations, e.g. if there are multiple cars in a tight space. I am terrified that I will get stuck and won't have the skills to get myself out of the situation.

Also, even though I know I am in control of the car, I get scared that I will not see someone/another car and end up hurting them as a result. Even if there is no one around, I worry that someone will pop out from nowhere and I won't react in time to avoid an accident; It's difficult to increase my confidence in my driving abilities because of this.
 
P

Purpleplum

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
540
Location
U.S.
I don't have confidence in my abilities manoeuvring the car in certain situations, e.g. if there are multiple cars in a tight space. I am terrified that I will get stuck and won't have the skills to get myself out of the situation.

Also, even though I know I am in control of the car, I get scared that I will not see someone/another car and end up hurting them as a result. Even if there is no one around, I worry that someone will pop out from nowhere and I won't react in time to avoid an accident; It's difficult to increase my confidence in my driving abilities because of this.
I remember being afraid of all of those things when I first started to drive, but my want/need to have independence over-rode those fears. How strong is you want/need to have independence?
 
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iwilldobetter

New member
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
3
Location
UK
I remember being afraid of all of those things when I first started to drive, but my want/need to have independence over-rode those fears. How strong is you want/need to have independence?
I think it is very strong. As I said, if there was any way that I could live my life without being able to drive I would have given up a long time ago. It is mentally exhausting for me to force myself in the car every day, and now that I am trying to increase the distance I drive every day (as per my therapists advice), it is becoming overwhelming. I usually end up crying every time I return home and spend the rest of the day thinking about all the mistakes I made (not a healthy habit, i know).

I worry that by continuing to have negative experiences in the car, I may get to the point where I can't even be a passenger in someone else's car.
 
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