Hi APH2116 - Oh, I really feel for you, I could have written almost the exact same post!
I started having these dizzy episodes where I would get dizzy, shakey, and feel like I was about to pass out, and they started one morning on my drive to work (I had an hour and 15 minute commute each way). The first time, after it was over, I chalked it up to not eating breakfast, not drinking enough water.
But the episodes kept happening. And like you, for some reason stopping at a red light made it worse!
I continued driving but DREADED it, and frequently had to pull over at gas stations, 7-eleven, wherever I could. Sometimes I was stuck there for minutes, sometimes an hour before I could slowing, shakily drive back home. And oh how I dreaded red lights! For some reason even if I was going along ok, having to stop at a red light was torture and would usually bring on an episode. Then it started happening other places, like in the grocery store, church, the mall.
Before this started I liked to drive and had no problem driving, was very independent and liked it that way. I also had no problems going places or socializing. But after too many of these events I started to become terrified of leaving the house or driving alone.
I can't say if this is what you have, but for me, I believe it is panic attacks.
Its taken me a long time to get to this conclusion. I have had every test under the sun - brain mri, holter monitor/heart tests, blood sugar, everything. The only test I had that showed anything was I fainted during a tilt table test. I was told to keep hydrated and eat plenty of salt to keep my blood pressure up (it runs a little low sometimes). But, strangely, many of these episodes would happen when my blood pressure was not low.
After a particularly horrible episode while sitting at my desk at home this past weekend, I went to the ER. The doctor checked me out and confirmed this was not an episode of low blood pressure, said he is sure I am having panic attacks. It still seems crazy to me that so much dizziness and such a strong feeling that I am about to pass out could be panic and not something physical, but I am pretty sure now that it is.
I wish I could tell you they have gone away, but they haven't yet. I am working with a therapist, and I was given medication to try (although I am really scared to try it and haven't yet). I did find that just knowing what it was, I was able to ward off a panic attack just this morning by telling myself it was just that, and that I wasn't going to pass out and die. I still felt it, but nowhere near as bad.
I also work from home now and am not driving much except for brief trips around town when I feel like I can. When I have to drive, I always have my cell phone, and sometimes keep someone on the phone with me, that seems to help although I know its not a permanent solution. I haven't ventured out onto highways or to a store by myself yet.
I hope my story is not discouraging you! I just couldn't believe how similar our stories were and wanted you to know that someone out there knows what it's like. There are also lots of people in these forums who HAVE gotten better, and I think I will too.
I think it was a good idea you took the week off. Can you get a friend or family member to go with you to get checked out by a doctor? Get checked out and if they think it is anxiety too - maybe you can get find a good therapist or doctor to help you through.
I am sending you a hug because I know how scarey, confusing and frustrating this can be!