Hi Sundance (I love your User Name; it's so pretty),
If anyone told me that I would be so limited by fear and anxiety, I would have laughed. Knowing that the "hold" or "power" is mostly emotional/mental, when I gave it any thought (before I started having panic attacks and all the anticipatory worry that went with that), I would have just thought "mind over matter". Ha ha - it IS mind over matter a lot of the times, but that 'matter" is surely a difficult hurdle some times.
A few key things stuck out in your reply to me:
#1 Your need to double-check things. Yes, that is a form of anxiety, but it actually has a name, and it's called Obsessive Compusive Disorder (OCD). Many people who suffer from anxiety and excessive worrying have this. I had experienced it in small doses, like if I don't go back and check the iron to make sure it's off, something horrible may happen. I've been able to make this an old behavior for me by acknowledging the feeling (itch) to re-check something, and then making a decision to simply not do that. Once I've "ignored" that feeling for a while (repition/practice helps), and I realize that nothing bad is going to come from NOT doing it, I've been able to stop.
#2 You've mentioned that you haven't been anywhere near the driving department for ages! But the fact that you mentioned it (to me) says something. I bet despite your fear, you would like to get out there a little bit and see how it feels. My suggestion, evenif you aren't planning on driving right now, start getting IN the driver's seat!
The thing that most people forget about their panic, is that it's not the actual THING or event that's causing them their anxiety attacks. But since when a person experiences a panic attack or has extreme anxiety in a certain situation, the mind and body associates that thing or event with the reason for the panic. Then a whole new area of avoidance starts, because the person becomes fearful of that situation. Or, the person becomes fearful with "what ifs", and avoids a situation/event/thing that they never had a problem with, for fear of having a problem.
So (smiling here) do you have a car? If not, go see a friend or family member! You might want to try a little bit of desensitization. It doesn't have to be dramatic or anything. Simply sit and start the car up. See what happens. If you experience panic sensations, well, you know what they are, so see how 'bad' they get.
Did you know that if you try to make your panic symptoms worse, you won't be able to? Your body can only "panic" up to a certain point, so if you take your worst anxiety attack, then you already know what to expect and how it's going to make you feel.
Maybe another day, get in that car and drive down the street. I bet you'll be sweating bullets and pressing on that gas pedal to rush back home. I used to practice driving around the block when I was first having those annoying panic attacks (the full blown ones). As soon as I couldn't see my house anymore, while driving down the street, I would PANIC. And then zoom home to get out of that car. Good thing there were no people on the street!
I'm not saying put pressure on yourself to get out there ASAP, but it's good to challenge your fears and the bodily sensations and the worries, because eventually you will rise above those things so you'll be able to do more of the things that you desire. It's a climb, but an attainable one.
Please keep posting. I care, I have been there. I honestly know how you're feeling. But you can do more than you think you can, or fear you can't. Let me know what you think. Big Hug!