Anxiety While Driving

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Sunshine29
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 11/24/2009 4:56 PM (GMT -7)   
 
     Good Evening...
          Ive been feeling good lately with my anxiety. However, Ive been a little stressed the last 4 days. Today while I was driving to work, feeling perfectly fine, singing to the radio, it happened. I felt the anxiety attack starting. Im so nervous because it happened while I was driving. I get dizzy and a sureal feeling like Im in a fog. This is the second time this happened to me driving. Kinda makes me nervous to drive places that I cant pull over. Has this ever happened to anyone?
Breathe,
Sunshine :)

Barbz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 848
   Posted 11/24/2009 5:06 PM (GMT -7)   
yes this happened to me years ago. You just have to keep making yourself drive and dont give into the fear. That is the worst thing you can do is give into it. just know that it is not the driving causing the anxiety and nothing is going to happen to you other then you might feel dizzy and in a fog. dont worry you will be fine. Good Luck. Barb

Burli
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 1251
   Posted 11/24/2009 6:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Same thing happens to me but I've just recently learned to change it. If you know it's nothing to do with a physical health problem, that's it's all mental, then you must give in. Relax into your surroundings is the best way I can put it. I use to fight it mentally and, over time, that ended up making it worse. I guess because sometimes I would lose the fight and have the panic attack.
 
When I used to drive in areas where there was no quick escape I would tense up and try to "focus" extra sharpe for fear I would lose control. This made things worse because I, sometimes, would not be able to get my mind as sharpe as I wanted it. When merging into multiple lanes or going though a tunnel I would question my sense of awareness and it would make me paranoid that something bad would happen. I would then sit up tight in the seat, turn off the radio and do others things to get more focused. The problem was there was really nothing wrong with my state of mind and when I could not get into wha t I thought was a better state of mind I would freak out.
 
Now this is what I do. When I'm driving (or right before I drive) I take note of my state of mind (maybe I'm tried, or wide awake from caffeine, whatever). I trust that this state of mind is safe for driving because I'm relaxed. As I'm driving out of the parking lot or out of my neighborhood I take note of the way I let my mind go and accept what condition I'm in. I tell myself that this is the way I feel and I'm fine to be this way is those crowded areas. When I get to the crowded areas I no longer try to change the way my "focus" is but instead remind myself that this is just the way I feel. I am relaxed and everything is okay.
 
Relaxing is the key. Think of sitting there with your mouth open and saliva dripping out is almost the feeling you want. Slow breathing, no muscle's tense, etc.
 
If you start to feel that fear coming on try to relax your body and mind into your surroundings even more. Eventually you'll realize that the fear doesn't control you anymore and that nothing bad will happen.
 

Post Edited (Burli) : 11/24/2009 6:49:08 PM (GMT-7)


debaser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 11/24/2009 11:21 PM (GMT -7)   
If it's only happened to you a couple of times I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you have anxiety and you drive a car, sooner or later you will have anxiety while driving that car. If you keep thinking about it, driving could become a "thing" for you so I'd just try to forget that it happened.

But if you ever feel dizzy or anything like that, try to get to a place where you can pull the car over. Don't be a danger to yourself or others.

I have anxiety while driving sometimes, but in my work I log a lot of miles. A whole lot of miles, mostly on urban freeways and busy arterials. It just happens, and it happens to varying degrees. Every great now and then I'll have to pull over. Sometimes if I'm on an open road I will call someone just to talk. Usually, though, I'm just more or less tense. Anyway, 99 percent of the freeway miles I log are anxiety-free and that's the way I try to look at it. Not stress-free, that's for sure, but anxiety-free.

Burli
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 1251
   Posted 11/25/2009 5:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Have both these anxiety attacks occurred when you are driving in similar situations (crowded city, bridges, or busy highways)?
UC diagnosed in 1985
Flares usually occur after some illness: food poisoning, flu, mono
Flares last 1/2 to 1 1/5 yrs and are severe with lots of blood, pain and fever
Remissions last 1 to 4 years and are absolute with no symptoms 
Current Meds: 100 mg azathioprine, Colazal, Lialda,  60 mg 50 mg prednisone
Xanax, Valium for anxiety
Tegretol XR for epilespy
Prednisone got me a college degree, job, marriage and kids


sukay
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1432
   Posted 11/25/2009 10:18 AM (GMT -7)   

OMG.  I get so uptight that I get tunnel vision!  shocked

Still trying to work this issue out for myself as well. 

Interesting to read everyone's posts.  Thanks for the tips.


Sunshine29
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 11/25/2009 3:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi All,
Thanks for responding. Burli - the two times that it happened while driving were different situations. First one I was stuck on the bridge in traffic and second one I was driving to work no traffic just things on my mind. It boggles my mind how I used to drive ANYWHERE and now since the anxiety...Im afraid to.
Sunshine

Burli
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 1251
   Posted 11/25/2009 5:19 PM (GMT -7)   
I used to think I would never get my confidence back driving everywhere. I then started noticing a trend. If I was sick with a cold or really mad the anxiety would not happen becuase I was in a frame of mind that was more important than my fear. So I realized I just needed to take an 'I don't care' attitude.
Now I'm not always looking for that escape but instead I drive in that crowded area and tell myself "bring it on...I just don't care anymore...I'm staying relaxed no matter what because I'm tired of this ruling me."
I used to dread getting stuck in a middle turn lane of a crowded intersection. If things tooks too long I would panic. I would adjust the mirrors, call someone, whatever to distract myself until the light changed, if it didn't change soon enough I would feel like leaving my car and running. Since I couon't do that I would panic.
Now I sit there and relax (I focus on every muscle being relaxed and my breathing deep on slow and my eyes staring or moving slow). Instead of tensing up I make it a point to let go even more.
UC diagnosed in 1985
Flares usually occur after some illness: food poisoning, flu, mono
Flares last 1/2 to 1 1/5 yrs and are severe with lots of blood, pain and fever
Remissions last 1 to 4 years and are absolute with no symptoms 
Current Meds: 100 mg azathioprine, Colazal, Lialda,  60 mg 50 mg prednisone
Xanax, Valium for anxiety
Tegretol XR for epilespy
Prednisone got me a college degree, job, marriage and kids

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