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  • Weird Driving Anxiety?



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    Old 06-23-2008, 01:08 PM   #1
    mcsnick
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    Weird Driving Anxiety?

    Please help I am so desperate! I am a 28 year old female, in good health other than this problem I am having.

    I have not driven since January. In Jan. I was driving home and a warm sensation came over me and I felt like I was going to faint. I pulled over on the side of the highway, and my husband drove the rest of the way.

    Ever since then, I have had the weirdest sensations which make me unable to drive. To sum it up when driving, or in a car, I feel
    -like my brain is shutting down; like my light is dimming
    -can't comprehend what's going on
    -my eyes see everything funny; like I can sense an exaggeration of motion
    -dizzy in the lightheaded sense, like I am going to faint
    -my brain can't take in everything that my eyes are seeing
    -like the feeling right before you nod off
    -like I am frozen; body and mind.

    As you can see, it is impossible to drive when you have those feelings-- like you're about to faint or nod off.

    This happens every single time I am in the car, without fail. It also happens as a passenger, but I can pretty much ignore it because I'm not trying to drive a vehicle.

    I have
    -had my eyes checked
    -ears checked (Vertigo)
    -chest x-ray, blood sugar, blood pressure
    -CT scan
    All normal.

    For anxiety I have tried
    -desentization (baby steps)
    -hypnosis
    -xanax
    -low dose of zoloft
    -beta blockers.
    None worked.

    I don't know what else to try or where to turn. None of my doctors have ever heard of anxiety manifesting itself in this way, without any of the other symptoms. For example, I don't have anxious thoughts, I don't fear having a panic attack, I don't dread going in the car, no racing heartbeat, no sweating, completely normal breathing.....

    Has anyone ever heard of anxiety doing this to someone? I don't know what to do about it, but I am getting depressed being completely dependent on my husband to drive me everywhere. If anyone can help I would be SO grateful. It is such a mystery that no one, not even doctors seem to understand.

    Last edited by mcsnick; 06-23-2008 at 01:08 PM.

     
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    Old 06-23-2008, 11:19 PM   #2
    erika74
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    Re: Weird Driving Anxiety?

    hello, this sounds similiar to what happened to me. In September I was driving my car and the warm sensation happened. I felt like I was going to faint for about 20 seconds. It scared me. About a month after that I started having panic attacks at night. It was a horrible time for me. I even called 911 at 3am. It was bad. I would cry all the time because I didn't know what was going on with me. Finally in Dec. I decided to try the medicines the dr.'s were giving me. They helped termendously although i still had to work through some thoughts. I don't know why I had anxiety as this all happened out of the blue. It first started when I was driving and felt like I was going to pass out. I asked for a MRI but couldn't get one. I just wanted to let you know that what you described sounds like what happened to me. I still get a lot of weird sensations that come and go.

    Maybe you could try a different anxiety medicine. Give it 2mos to fully kick in. Does these feelings only happen when you are in the car? Mine panick attacks did happen in the car alot. I remember turning the air conditioner on full blast and hurrying to get home. scary. take care,erika

     
    Old 06-26-2008, 12:16 AM   #3
    nell877
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    Re: Weird Driving Anxiety?

    I think there are a lot of people who have had this happen to them. I am one of those people. In fact, for a while I would not drive at all, because I feared for my safety and for the safety of the other drivers on the road. My body would become weak, and I could not even think straight. Sometimes I'd begin to black out a bit. I am now driving, but only seem to feel comfortable if someone is driving with me. I can go for short little jaunts alone in my small town, but I have to fight the whole time, telling myself I can do this.

    One of my worst experiences came when I was stuck at a busy intersection. I suddenly had that warm feeling come over me, I felt dizzy, and started panicking. I then had this weird out-of-body experience, that I cannot even describe. It was like I was outside my body for a second, and then I came back to the realization of what was going on, and I had the most awful surge of anxiety I have ever had. I was the first person in line at this intersection, waiting to make a left turn. I felt I had to get out of there IMMEDIATELY. I was about 2 seconds away from just running the red light and speeding through, just to get out of the situation. Then the light turned green, and I sped home to my safe haven. Of course as I pulled into my driveway, I felt WAY better. To this day, when I come to that specific intersection, I start feeling edgy. It doesn't matter if I'm driving or a passenger or whatever. And actually, at most intersections or situations where I feel "stuck" (i.e., I can't just quick pull over or pull in a driveway if I have to at that moment) make me extremely nervous.

    What you are experiencing is definitely some specific situational anxiety. Is that the only time you notice that sort of anxiety? Or have there been other situations, like when you are in a store, etc.?

    It is such a difficult thing to overcome. And the whole medications thing is hard, too, because certain drugs work differently on different people, so it can boil down to trial and error. For example, you mentioned the Xanax didn't really help. I take Xanax on an as-needed basis. I notice it starts to help me in about 10 - 15 minutes after taking it. I can start to feel a calm and relaxation come over my muscles. I try not to take it too often, but I can honestly say that it has given me back some of my life. If it wasn't for the Xanax, I'd probably be a shut--in or something!!!

    I think my best advice would be to start driving as often as you can, even if you have to have someone with you. That way, if you are feeling uneasy, you can always have that person drive, but you are taking the baby steps and being proactive. Then if you start feeling more comfortable, just take a little drive by youself to some place close to home. And always reward yourself for these little accomplishments, because they are big!! Stay positive and tell yourself what a great job you did. Also, in the meantime, you may need to keep trying out some different medications. There is one out there that will help, I am sure of it, the "fun" part is finding it.

    Well, I really feel for you for what you're going through, as I struggle with this, too. It is so awful because I used to be a totally independent person, and now I feel limited as to where I can go by myself. I know what you mean about feeling dependent on your husband. It's the same way with my boyfriend. Whenever I need to go to the store, etc., I always ask him to come along. I am lucky that he is so understanding, though.

    Keep me updated on what's going on with you!

    Janelle

     
    Old 06-29-2008, 03:18 PM   #4
    kristy08
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    Re: Weird Driving Anxiety?

    hi there.
    I have the same problem! i haven't driven alone in months. my husband has to go everywhere for me. It is anxiety/ panic disorder. I have delt with this for 18 months. everytime i THINK of getting in the car i freak out. Once i'm in the driver's seat its sweaty palms, racing heart, fuzzy head, faint feeling, feeling like i'm about to pass out on the wheel... etc..... I just got done reading a book that's helped me alot. I'm not healed, but i'm trying to get myself better. It's called "From panic to power, by Lucinda Bassette... it helps. I also started going to a therapist recently that helps also. best of luck.

    kristy

     
    Old 06-30-2008, 01:15 PM   #5
    CarenR
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    Re: Weird Driving Anxiety?

    I have had this experience in this past year.....it is anxiety

     
    Old 06-30-2008, 01:36 PM   #6
    nell877
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    Re: Weird Driving Anxiety?

    Yeah, it does sound like a momentary anxiety attack that you had. Try not to overthink it, though, or it can become debilitating. Did it just happen to you one time? Or a few times?

     
    Old 07-07-2008, 04:18 PM   #7
    brad68
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    Re: Weird Driving Anxiety?

    What this sounds like is panic disorder associated with driving.

     
    Old 07-08-2008, 11:57 AM   #8
    richard1971
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    Re: Weird Driving Anxiety?

    I have a similar problem and it is anxiety. Mine started, believe it or not, with my rhinitis. One day at the trraffic lights my head totally went fuzzy (there was unseen dust on my dashboard) it was an allergic reaction to the dust. Then it brought on anxiety and i now get exactly the same feelings, and turning right (in UK) or at traffic lights its a horrible felling; but atleast we are not alone eh?

     
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