Car Anxiety – Part Two

Another Weird Post About my Car Anxiety

This week my focus has been on my social anxiety and how it is affecting me while I am driving in my car. I have written about this subject in the past, and I have noticed even more about this particular issue.

One thing I have noticed is that I can drive during the day and my “car anxiety” is not as bad. I can deal after about five minutes of driving I can get my social anxiety (about where I am going) under control. It is a much different case when I am driving at night.

Take last night for example. I was heading out of my house around 6:30 pm to go get my haircut from the woman that cuts my hair. She is the only one that I trust to cut my hair, and she is also like me, so it is easy to connect with her and talk shop. That is Bipolar shop.


It’s about a fifteen-minute drive from my house to hers through the city. Before I had even stepped out of my door I could feel my normal feeling of my anxiety rising. I did what I am supposed to do and take my Ativan before I leave. I noticed something interesting about my car anxiety on this drive.

I am in bad shape in the first ten minutes. I was hyperventilating for the first five minutes. It took all my effort to carry a conversation with my passenger. I could feel that my hands were very tense. My mind was going a million miles a minute.

At about the tenth minute my mind started to relax. I knew I was heading to a place where it was safe. I didn’t need to focus so much on the future, and I started to put myself back into the present. I began my mindfulness breathing and that brought me back. By the time I arrived at my destination fifteen minutes later I felt okay again.

That seems to be my gauge of time for my social anxiety affecting me in my car. The first fifteen minutes or so I am dealing with all my anxiety associated with my “car anxiety.” I can’t focus when I am in the car. What is that about? This comes from my experiences in the past where I have felt out of control in my anxiety while driving.

The problem? I don’t drive anyplace past about fifteen minutes anymore. My favorite coffee shop is about seven minutes from the time I leave my house. I don’t go driving anywhere outside the city I live outside of, and that seems to be a major problem. I have not had the courage to take a real drive in months that last longer than thirty minutes. The only time that happens is a back and forth trip about fifteen minutes. Which is the farthest I go on any given day?

My social anxiety has limited me so much that I am afraid what could happen every time I enter my car. It wasn’t always this way. This “car anxiety” started in late 2016 and it has been getting worse over time.

This is a problem. I have so many travel plans this summer and I am not letting my “car anxiety” or my social anxiety from keeping me home this summer. I have to refocus on my CBT and move on from this. I will continue to work on it.


I am still not sure where to go from here other than I have to keep working on the driving anxiety. It has to do a lot with the night time. In the summer when the day ends much later my car anxiety is not so defined. When the time changed and it became darker earlier it becomes an issue again. I only have a couple more months to make some headway before the time changes again.

It also doesn’t help that my worst times during my day are between 4 pm and 7 pm. I wrote about this in one of My Social Anxiety Life blog posts.

That is where I am at, still dealing with my “car anxiety.” Can any of my fellow bloggers relate?

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoaverie woodard

unsplash-logoSteve Halama

unsplash-logoDeanna Ritchie

24 thoughts on “Car Anxiety – Part Two

  1. Hi James, I think your words on ‘car anxiety’ were very succinctly expressed. I am a anxiety coach and Hypnotherapist and whilst I don’t want to go into anything too deep here, as it’s probably not appropriate, I would just like to say that it’s a false fear. Whatever the catalyst was that started this anxiety, it has just allowed your mind to get set a higher anxiety response level and it hasn’t learned to come back to base.

    So all of your senses take in various thoughts, which are then fed back to your sub conscious; ‘it’s dark’, ‘what if’, but it is not fear, fear is a real and needed emotion SOMETIMES, anxiety is not, it is learned because something else was too difficult to deal with amongst other things. Just to let you know James, all anxiety is possible to eradicate and it’s great that you can still get in your car, many wouldn’t. Focus on that,


    Liked by 4 people

  2. I call it driving anxiety. I’m typically cool driving around 45-50mph but when I get on the highway or freeways, I get into full panic mode if I don’t get a Xanax in prior to the drive. I’m always certain that people won’t stop at intersections—regardless of signs or lights requesting them to do so. My anxiety all started while driving back and forth to classes, 30 minutes and 2 highways away from home. I’d have to pull off the road at least one time each trip. It’s the scariest manifestation of my anxiety, by far.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can attest to how scary it is driving on the highway in the throws of a panic attack. I always drive in the fast lane. When it happens for me I am always so hyper aware of what is going on around me. It certainly is the scariest manifestation of my anxiety as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can totally relate. I’ve gone through periods of not driving for about 10 years. I had a panic attack while driving once, and that may be the cause. I haven’t driven in over a year. I want to try again. I hate having to depend on my husband to drive me everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey,
    This happened to a person I used to be in a relationship with. We had driven from NY to NC with no issues and got into a minor accident while my cousin was driving us somewhere shortly after we arrived. Nobody was injured. Her anxiety got so bad that I had to drive most of the way back to New York, when previously she didn’t trust my driving. I’m wondering if what your anxiety levels are like when you’re a passenger, because she was still freaked out. I had to stop constantly and drive slowly, what was supposed to be a 10 hour trip turned into a 24 hour nightmare. Her anxiety was worse when it was dark out. It also didn’t stop once we were back in New York. She became nervous in everyone’s car, and driving herself places. She ultimately had to add a new medication to regime to get it under control, and after that it pretty much subsided.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is about the same as a driver or as a passenger. That sounds like an intense trip I can’t imagine having the patience for that. What did you friend take? I have my Ativan which helps in the long run but in the first fifteen minutes it always hard especially at night.


  5. I am very anxious about driving. When we moved to this city, driving was easy and relaxing. It has grown so much; the roads are full of cars. I think I fear hitting another car or a pedestrian. I ony drive when I have something very important to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I can relate to this. I only got my license in 2016 and still find myself having to work myself up to get in the car and drive. It can be truly scary panicking when in control of a car.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had severe driving anxiety for several years. I’m 23 and I just got my license a couple months ago. I live in a city so I usually get around by public transit but I’m telling myself I’ll get a car one of these days. Driving can be really scary but it’s good that you know yourself and your limits.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have anxiety but mine is more raleted to the people on the road (and in general) and the fact that they cannot drive here! On a serious note, and I can only speak for women, I have learned that my anxiety was triggered by hormonal changes, which may as well effect men, too. Also, more often than not, we developa mode which we call anxiety, and once panic sets in, it becomes a chain reaction of many emotions and feelings we do not know how to deal with based on current state of mind. Since I cannot speak for most, I know that checking your diet for proper balance of nutrients can be a good way to start looking at that light at the end of the tunnel and realize it is not a train. A friend recommended roadrage, but I think human avoidance altogether may be a better therapy for me 😉


      1. No, you have to eat the right foods to nourish your body and brain matter. I can only recommend, as it has helped me, too, on a different helth issue-read Plant Paradox by Dr. Gundry. Understanding how food works and what it does for us is important and may work for you, too, or at least eliviate some of the problem. Doesn’t hurt to try. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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About James Edgar Skye

I am a novelist, screenwriter, and blogger. I have written a screenplay entitled “Memory of Shane” and working towards the completion of the novel version. I am also writing my memoir “The Bipolar Writer" which also serves as the name of this blog. I also write feature articles on other members of the mental illness community on my blog.