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Anxiety Disorder, Parenting

Driving Me Crazy – Car Anxiety

My daughter passed her driving test last week. Such an incredible achievement, something I am so happy for her to be able to do. It was wonderful to hear her happiness on the end of the phone when she called to tell me. We had fun talking about her experience and celebrated with a glass of rose later in the evening when she got home. I am delighted for her, I truly am. Can you predict the but? There most definitely is a but, something that I am struggling with immensely. It’s been such a hard week.

The First Drive From Hell After Passing

I don’t drive. I’ve never wanted to drive and they are not something I care about in the slightest. I appreciate how convenient they are and how much easier life would be with one of my own, I just can’t stand them. They are dangerous lumps of metal often driven my thoughtless individuals, and now the most precious human being in the entire world is behind the wheel. Her car is on the road and so is she and I haven’t been able to relax ever since. Perhaps our first drive home together wasn’t the best start. You see, her car battery decided to die while we were sat at a traffic light in a busy road during rush hour. She freaked out, I didn’t know what to do, she cried, I remained calm but I don’t drive or know cars so I had no idea. No one stopped to help as I waved them to go passed us when the lights turned green. We couldn’t even put on the hazard lights as the battery was dead. It was hell. THANKFULLY, the police drive past and they were incredible. They helped us move the car to the side of the road and worked to try and find out what was happening. I called the guy who sold us the car and it turned out that a wire wasn’t correctly connected to the battery. The police help us get it temporarily connected and let us go on our way. The problem was, my daughter thought the car wouldn’t move forward. This turned out to be a case of finding the new biting point for the car, which was much more than what she was used to, therefore she thought it wasn’t working. A big thanks to my sister who I had called for help for teaching her to find the new biting point to get the car to move. With this new information we were able to go, and through her tears, my child got us home.  It was awful but she was an absolute champ.

Deep-Seated Anxiety

I have no idea when my fear of cars really kicked in. We always had cars growing up, my friends had cars and I dated guys with cars. I don’t ever remember being fearful. Over time, perhaps after a couple of crashes and learning about some in the news, I began to dread being in cars. This dread turned into 100% avoidance. If I HAD to go in a car I would be up all night worrying about it, my stomach would be tense and my panic attacks would increase. In more recent years I have been slightly more relaxed as I have worked to overcome my anxiety disorder. However, now my child is on the road in a car she doesn’t really know my anxiety has shot through the roof. I’m pleased to say I am not having panic attacks, but I can sense the stress and the fear. I can’t sleep well, I am constantly thinking about it, awful scenarios present themselves and I have to punch them away. I’ve hardly eaten this week, I have had no appetite and when I have eaten it’s been a chocolate bar or some crisps.

Working On It

My daughter knows I am stressed out as she has always been aware of my car hatred. I’m not letting her know the full extent of my fears, the last thing I want is her to not go ahead with her driving. I want her to follow her dreams and have the best possible life and a car will be so beneficial for her. I also want her to be safe. I have no control over this and I can honestly say this is the worst parenting experience I have had to date. I am working on it. I have been in the car with her (with a tight tummy but with positive words coming out my mouth), part of this is also that I am terrified of her being on her own while she gets used to her car.

My daughter is at her dad’s house for a few days so I am trying to stop thinking about the car (she says as she types away writing this damn post). I am implementing the skills I learned to reduce my anxiety disorder, using positive reinforcement, exposure therapy and living in the now. I cannot live with this fear, or at least I have to find a way of functioning with it. I know that other parents must have the same concerns and fears, even without the hatred for cars that I have. Meditation and getting rid of those negative thoughts is a priority right now.

Learner Drivers Should Learn in Older Cars!

At this point, I would also like to say that I think new drivers need to have at least one or two follow up lessons in their cars. I know it’s different for children with parents that drive as they will have spent time in different cars, but for my child, who has no other driving experience a few lessons in her new car would be amazing. The instructor’s car is new, it has a bigger engine and even has something that makes it impossible to stall. My daughters’ car is in great condition but it is 14 years old, a 1.2 engine and everything is different. I know she will get used to it, but it seems so dangerous right now. Her bravery and determination to get behind the wheel and master her car is inspiring.

That’s my drivel for the week. I know this will seem so pathetic to most people, I’m just being honest.

 

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Nettie

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