I desperately hope someone can give me some advice about handling driving anxiety. About eight months ago, I started developing signs of OCD, constantly checking things and worrying that I left something on. Later it started spreading towards my car. I would think about leaving the car in drive or not setting the alarm, or did I park my car nicely in the parking space. Then it got worse, when I would pull out of the parking space, I would think I scraped someone's car & one day when work was slow, I went back to check two times! Then of course, I still was not relieved. Finally, getting to the present, my latest fears have included red light cameras and any kind of close call. I always think that someone is going to write down my license plate # and report me for something. I live in a high traffic area, so I'm always worried about being too timid or too aggressive.
Which brings me to today's incident. I was coming home from work and I was making a left turn on the green where you have to yield. Oncoming traffic is coming and there is a small break. Probably if I was a better driver, I could have made that turn, but I wasn't sure I could make it so I waited for the next break. Well the car behind me honks at me. I didn't panic in that moment, I just made the turn at the next break and continued on, but I've thought about nothing else since I arrived home. Maybe I just shouldn't be driving? Maybe I'm a danger on the road, I'm too cautious. Maybe I just don't have the skills to be a good driver in this conjested area? Also, the whole thing was so embarrassing. I hate driving. I'm feeling really depressed right now & I'll be thinking about this all weekend until the next driving incident comes along. I'm just not enjoying my life right now. I'm always worried about the last commute and when something really happens like a horn blow or close call, I'm just devastated & miserable.
I made an appt. with a social worker who has various degrees and says she specializes in anxiety disorders. When I went to the appt., she just didn't inspire any confidence. She asked me about my family and we went over my worries in a little book of hers and she announced that I had OCD and GAD at the end of the session. Well, I thought we had established that over the phone. I was a nervous wreck after driving to her office which is a long distance during rush hour, so I was hoping for some words of wisdom. She didn't tell me one single thing. She said that she wants me to see a psychiatrist and a primary care physician before the next appt. Unfortunately for me, I don't make a lot of money & my company provides hardly any coverage for mental health. I can only afford one appt. per month and I'm suffering quite a bit. I went to a doctor back in May and she diagnosed me with iron anemia, I'm taking iron pills, but other than that she said I was in good shape.
I've posted my concerns on a couple of web sites and everyone, friends included, say that I cannot stop driving or it will just get worse. I realize that's true & quite frankly there's no way to get around here without driving, but I don't know how to cope with this. My anxiety has worsened over the past month, although everyday is not as horrible as today, but I just don't want to continue with these bad feelings & worries.
I would sincerely appreciate any advice or coping strategies. Thanks for reading all this.
DO NOT stop driving, that is called avoidance and it will make your situation worse. Maybe you could try driving in a less congested area, or in an empty parking lot for practice. That may help, and there will not be anyone honking at you. There are alot of OCD books that could help you. "Getting Contol" by Lee Baer, MD is a very good one. Keep trying to see a psychiatrist, they can prescribe medication if necessary. Good Luck, and don't give up.
your experience is very familiar to me. i am like you too. there are somedays where i can't even go out because i get too anxious about it, and then the days i do go out, i'm always worried.
i am seeing a therapist right now to try to help me with some of my anxiety, but so far it isn't going well, i don't think i connect well with her.
best of luck to you though. i know how you feel.