Fear will stop you from going places, literally

Published by Ruth Haydock on

Today I drove a 4X4 car I had never driven before on my own!

This may not seem like a big deal for most of you reading this.

To me it is.

Just a year ago, I was crippled with anxiety anytime that I attempted to drive. I had overwhelming anxiety when I thought about driving and then when I got in the car, I would get a panic attack and my brain would shut down.

The whole time that I had this anxiety I knew that it didn’t make sense.

I knew that people drove every day without bad things happening but every time I thought about driving, I could only see myself hitting someone or something. I could only see myself doing harm to myself or others.

Anytime I wanted to go somewhere my first thought was, can I get there by bus or walking?

If I couldn’t walk or get the bus, then I normally just didn’t go.

It was easier for me to get a bus for 1 hour than to drive for 10 minutes.

My fear of driving literally prevented me from going places

Fear of drivingstopped me from doing so many things. It kept me back and wasted my time for years and years.

So today when I drove a 4X4  (a type of car that I thought I would never ever drive because they are SO HUGE ) and one I had never ever driven before. I was amazed at myself.

As I was driving I realised that I have come so far. I never thought I would be at this point now, driving a car without having a panic attack.

I still had fleeting moments of confusion and anxiety. I took a whole lotta of wrong turns.

I drove super slow so I could learn how this car felt and learnt that the handbrake is not very good! The handbrake didn’t work so well the first few times and I actually rolled forward – which would have sent me into panic mode before – but I managed.

Flash back to when my anxiety was at its worst

In 2014 I got my first job out of uni I had to take a bus for an hour each way to work. A trip that would take 25 mins max in the car.

I would break down crying nearly every time I tried to drive and the anxiety was so high that I felt like my chest was going to squeeze itself into nothing.

Since then I have tried to overcome the fear. I didn’t want to be held back by anything.

It took me years to learn how not to be afraid

I very very slowly chipped away at the fear…

I drove when I could with my partner

I did cognitive behaviour therapy as much as possible

I challenged my thinking processes by reading The New Mood Therapy and actively notice and changed my unhelpful thoughts

I worked through the fear with a psycholgist

I bought a book about How to Overcome the Fear of Driving and I read it SO MANY TIMES

I drove a little when the anxiety was low

I kept trying to drive even when it was super super difficult

Then..

One day I didn’t have a tight chest when I got in the car and I was able to drive without being really really scared.

And then another day a little later I could drive others confidently without thinking I could kill them

Keeping the fear away takes work every day 

Although I made a whole lotta progress. I had a blip recently. I needed to get some yarn and the store is out of town. I found myself getting really scared to drive and ended up not doing it. I waited until we “happened to be driving past it” one day before I got what I needed.

FEAR STOPPED ME FROM GETTING YARN!

Now, I can’t be having that. If a fear is gone keep me from yarn, that fear has gotta go. 

Fear is a big issue for me and I am realising that it holds me back literally and metaphorically in so many other ways

Like learning to drive without fear, it will take a while for me to overcome my other fears but I am keen to try.

Thank you for reading my blog

Categories: Mindset