Vroom Vroom: My Anxiety with Cars

Look out world. I’m about to have me a set of wheels! I’m in the process of buying my first car. Not only is this my first car, this will be the first time I’ve been driving on my own in a few years. Yes I’m 23 years old and never had a car of my own. Where I lived, we didn’t have cars since it was such a small island. We rode bikes. So growing up, I wasn’t around cars or had any motivation to learn to drive like most kids in the US. I didn’t get behind the wheel of a car until I was 18 years old and about to go to college. I was absolutely terrified. You have to understand, growing up without a car in your daily life means a car may as well be the cockpit of an airplane, completely foreign and hard to understand. I went to driving school at 18 and did 7 days of driving with an instructor. But unfortunately, I didn’t have time to get my license since I couldn’t take the test with a rental car. So a year goes by and there is finally time for me to take my test. However, this is around the time my anxiety disorder was at its worse. I got behind the wheel of the car and I lost it. I couldn’t drive 30 feet from my grandmothers house before having a panic attack. I couldn’t do it. A year passed before I was able to get my license by some miracle. However since, I haven’t driven a car for more than maybe 10 minutes in a quiet neighborhood. My aunt and uncle made me drive out of their neighborhood every day for practice in a SUV with their three kids so I had to figure it out. However, last time I did that was about 4 years ago. While I was in college, I didn’t have a car so I never drove. I either took the bus or made my friends drive me around. My friends made me feel kind of bad that I couldn’t drive and that they would never get in a car with me. I think that made my anxiety even worse because I knew people didn’t think I could do it. That made me think that I would never be able to drive.

Since I’ve graduated college, I have relied almost exclusively on Uber to get everywhere. I went to work, class, CVS, and even out with my friends. I did get a bike in summer of AZ and it went pretty well for a while. Until I got hit by a car. I know, just my luck huh. And the whole story behind that is a blog in itself and the anxiety I have because of it. Needless to say, I now had severe anxiety with riding a bike so that was pretty much done with which sucked. I have had to walk 30 minutes to get to the post office when I need to send something or to the pharmacy to get my medicine. I uber to work every day to and from, meaning the costs add up. I get my groceries delivered because it is too hot for me to walk with food and I can’t carry everything that I need. And I have had emergency situations where I needed a car and didn’t have one, causing stressful situations to turn quickly into severe panic attacks. So I had to make a decision that I needed to get a car and move past my anxiety of driving.

Now, I still have severe anxiety with driving especially in Arizona. People here are crazy on the road. Honestly, I am a little panicked just thinking about it. But I don’t have a choice at this point. I can not continue to function as an adult without a car. I know this is going to be one of the hardest things I have to overcome. However, I have tried to keep an open mind and a positive mind. I know that I can do this since everyone else in this town can. I know that it will take time and I need to start slow and work my way up. I know I am going to be hated on the roads while I’m getting used to it because I will be going as slow as possible but I’ll be driving. I haven’t been able to practice a lot since I decided to get a car because people don’t trust me and I’m not old enough to drive a rental car. So I know this is going to be extremely tough. And people are going to be frustrated with me. But for me to be able to do this without having a panic attack on the road, I know I need to just go at my own pace, learn the way I do best and take my time. So if you’re in AZ, take it easy on this girl. Wish me luck!

 

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