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Anxiety and Stress This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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Fear of driving - November 26th 2017, 10:00 PM

Hey guys,

I passed my driving test a month ago, and it was something I thought would really open doors for me, but I haven't drove nearly as much as I want to. I avoid it if I can help it. Something that doesn't help is there is literally no where to park near work when I start later. When I start at 8 I have to get there at 7:20am to get a parking space, so when I start at 9 I have no hope of getting a parking space. I have been out on a few drives by myself and I find myself making silly mistakes, but they could be dangerous. I panic and I don't know what to do. I came off my medication for my anxiety when I found out I was pregnant, unfortunately that ended in a miscarriage and I convinced myself that I'm better off without it and I've had some days where I've panicked about silly things, but part of me is thinking it might help if I went back onto my medication. I still have some at home, just in case. I suppose what I'm asking for is how to build up my confidence with driving- in a safe way. I have tried taking my partner out with me, but he just annoys me because he shouts and it's the same with my mum, she shouts and makes things worse.

Thank you.

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Last edited by obelus; December 7th 2017 at 04:59 AM. Reason: Moving to Mental Health - Anxiety forum.
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Re: Fear of driving - November 27th 2017, 12:40 AM

i'm sorry to hear you're struggling with driving and your partner and mum aren't all that understanding. A good idea, that i have personally used, is to take the car out, either early morning or late at night. When the roads are empty you can muck around a bit and get some comfort.
Further, you could try asking some friends, to come with you. Generally, I see friends are better at this than family. So potentially that is an option. If you have some extra money, you could also maybe go to a driving school (I know you have your licence) to get some practice in.
Hope this helps

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Re: Fear of driving - December 1st 2017, 11:13 PM

Unfortunately, the only way you can really get comfortable with driving is to practice. As someone who had a hard time learning how to drive and was very anxious about it, I understand how difficult it can be to move through the fear in order to make progress. What I've found is that it's mostly a matter of learning where your limits are, and how far you can go past them without going above a threshold you can handle.

If you can't find somebody who can go with you without causing you more stress, there's nothing wrong with practicing by yourself. When I was first starting to drive by myself, I would just go and practice things like parallel parking and reverse parking in empty parking lots, knowing that if I wasn't sure how to do something I could either figure it out through trial and error, or just ask my parents next time I went driving with them. Is there somewhere nearby that's relatively quiet where you could go by yourself to practice things you're not quite comfortable with? Maybe an old parking lot, or a quiet road? If you start off somewhere relatively empty you can build up your confidence at a pace you're okay with, and then eventually you'll be at a point where you can work up to more crowded or complicated places. Also, if you find yourself making silly mistakes, that's totally okay - if you're in a quiet place without many people or other cars around, you have a chance to correct the mistakes without risking anybody's safety.

It's also, in my opinion, okay to avoid situations that are too far out of your comfort zone. I learned that the hard way, because at first I thought that since I was technically allowed to drive, I should be able to do anything - but then I found that there were situations I just wasn't ready for yet, like multi-lane roundabouts or freeways. So I made alternate arrangements if I needed to go those ways (e.g. taking public transport) until I'd had a chance to work up to them. In your case, could you get to work some other way, until you're more comfortable with driving? That said, remember that there's a difference between I don't want to do this and I don't feel like I can do this. Again, that's where knowing your limits comes in handy. Whenever you feel like you want to avoid driving to a particular place or doing a particular type of driving, ask yourself whether you're just nervous about it because it's not something you're confident about or whether it's something that you're so uncomfortable with you feel like it might cause you to panic. If it's the former, try to challenge yourself to do it anyway, but if it's the latter, give yourself permission not to do it until you're feeling better about it.

Hopefully that all makes sense and helps a bit. What it boils down to is basically: practice, practice, practice; know your limits, and push them if you feel you can do so safely; go at your own pace, and try not to expect too much of yourself. Good luck with it all, and feel free to reply to this thread if you need more advice at some point.

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Re: Fear of driving - December 2nd 2017, 12:53 AM

I struggled a lot with driving, to the point that I put off getting my license for a year. I was in a situation where I had to drive in order to get to my job or I was going to have to quit.

I did encounter issues and made really silly mistakes and I would end up having a really bad anxiety attack which would lead to making more mistakes.

For me, the only thing that helped was driving on a more regular basis. I have also had to learn to do things that help me when doing things I am uncomfortable with. For example, I really struggle with parallel parking. I can do it but I avoid it so when I go downtown I will park a ways away and walk to the are.

The more you drive, the more comfortable you will get. For a while, I would practice some things that I had difficulty with and that helped as well.

Also, personally, for me, driving with other people was and still is, really hard, I tend to make more mistakes when I am driving with people. My boyfriend might be an exception but he wasn't at first.

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Re: Fear of driving - December 9th 2017, 01:03 PM

Hey guys,

Thanks for the advice. The roads where I live are busy aside from either extremely early in the morning or really late at night. When you come out of the main road by my house it's not always easy to see when it's safe to go. The other day I went when it wasn't safe and the woman was beeping me. I managed to stop in time before a collision but it took me a moment to recover and move the car. I drove to work the other day and there was a traffic diversion. So on my way back I got lost and ended up driving towards the city with no where to turn around. I ended up badly parking the car in an underground car park and calling my partner in a panic telling him I was in Holborn, which is miles from home. I couldn't have ended up in a worse place. My partner and my uncle had to rescue me lol. I haven't drove since that. I've got my dad in one ear telling me I'm worrying him too much and maybe I should only drive locally. I can't afford to use public transport and run a car, not in the long term anyway. My partner tries to push me way to far out of my comfort zone and my mum doesn't have time to come out with me, neither does my dad. It's frustrating me because I've passed the test but I'm not where near ready for driving out on the roads.

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