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?