It’s Just A Car


This past winter I suffered a severe panic attack while driving (which I have talked about before) and it has left me unable to drive more than a few kilometres from my home or outside set parameters.  Since then I have had to execute a plan to include some healthy and attainable boundaries for myself and my family when it comes to my driving as I can easily become anxious and uncomfortable when I have a passenger in my car as well.  It has even affected me to the point where I sometimes feel that same uneasiness as a passenger in my own vehicle or someone else’s. These uneasy and panicked feelings are what ultimately led me to make the decision last month to get rid of my personalized license plates as well (see blog June 18, 2018).

Everytime I get into my car nowadays and pull out of my driveway (with extreme caution) I immediately detect a sense of impairment in the open space surrounding me and experience a loss of control.  I fear that I am going to hit something or someone at every turn or that someone is about to hit me; a feeling that never affected me until this past winter. Before such time I always enjoyed driving and even found it somewhat relaxing so long as there were no screaming babies or teenagers in the car at the time and that it was before sundown as I have been unable to drive at night in about 3 years.  I can also no longer listen to music while I am driving either as I find it too distracting and can often feed into my negative thought patterns; although alternatively, listening to the news is definitely not a better option these days for myself or anyone else for that matter!

It is not uncommon for someone to form a fear or phobia of driving at some point in their lifetime and often times it may be due in part to the involvement in a car accident whether or not it was their fault or even the severity of it.  A few years ago I was involved in a car accident where I was rear ended pretty badly and although I was suffering with anxiety and depression at the time it didn’t affect my ability to continue driving; but that was then and this is now.

A phobia is defined as a fear that is paralyzing, yet irrational which basically sums up most aspects of my life these days but yesterday it completely solidified my fear of driving.  You see, yesterday as I was heading home from a weekly appointment it began to pour (which for the very hot and dry summer that we have been having it was kind of a welcomed necessity), and I wanted to get home more than ever when suddenly while waiting anxiously at a red light I felt a big jolt from behind me and heard an even bigger bang.  It took me a moment or two to get my bearings and realize that it wasn’t from the thunder and lightning but instead I had just been rear ended…again.

F**k, all I was trying to do was get home to my poor little puppy (well she’s 7 but whatever) who I knew was probably having her own panic attack from the thunderstorm but if I’ve learned anything over the last four years it’s that life doesn’t always go as planned.  It would be another 3 to 4 hours until I would finally reach my front door by which time I was drenched, shaken and left with an even greater fear of driving.

The accident, plain and simply was just that, an accident.  The woman driving was distracted by her irritable toddler in the backseat and it was pouring cats and dogs which was lucky for her as the officer did not press charges because of the rain.  My car is damaged and upon further inspection it turns out that there is a lot more destruction than at first glance of the obvious as the underneath and inside were bent, broken and bruised as well.  But you know what they say, IT’S JUST A CAR which can be fixed and THANKFULLY no one was physically hurt. And they are right, IT’S JUST A CAR and THANKFULLY no-one was physically hurt but at the same time it has further damaged by mental wellbeing.

The accident, even though it was not my fault in any way has now left me in an absolute state of panic and apprehension.  For the last 24+ hours I have been completely overpowered by my entire body and mind leaving me feeling even more paralyzed with fear and even more irrational than before.  My anxiety and depression have also managed to somehow overpower any positive thinking patterns with very negative ones (guilt, blame, worthlessness). They have left me unable to focus on what is truly most important right now and are trying their damndest to invalidate and refute these indisputable feelings which would be to have the ability to recognize and appreciate that it was just an accident, it wasn’t my fault and that nobody was physically hurt.  But instead today, just like my bumper, I am left feeling bent, broken and bruised.

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

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