I bought a car! It is a very exciting time in my life but let me tell you, it may have been one of the most anxious experiences. I don’t understand why this whole process is literally an anxious person’s worst nightmare, but it is. It is stressful for the average person, but imagine having an anxiety disorder having to talk to so many people and having that constant pressure to make choices and decisions when there are a hundred voices in your head. I was so exhausted every day I went to any car dealerships because it took so much of my energy to keep myself together. I think I went to sleep at 8 one night just because I couldn’t keep my head up anymore. But let me tell you about my experience.
I have already gone into my anxiety around driving and such in a different post so if you want to see why I have waited this long, check that out! So my parents and I did our research and looked into what car would be best for me. We decided to focus on safety features of smaller sedans. We figured out what models we were seriously interested in and my father started reaching out to look at cars, since he was cosigning. I am so incredibly happy that I did because boy was all of that a mess. We reached out to about 5 dealers and probably sent emails to about 3 people at each dealership. It was impossible for my father to remember who he was talking to at which place. I was overwhelmed and I didn’t have to keep track of anything. I couldn’t imagine the anxiety I would have trying to keep it in order since different people answer back every time we sent an email. If you are trying to buy a car, just be wary that you are going to bounce around to many different salespeople if you start online.
Then, we get to the dealers. You do the whole information overload on the car and asking what you are looking for, what else you are looking at, test driving the car. You will be bombarded with questions about anything and everything. It can become a situation where you are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety because I don’t know exactly what I am thinking and what I am going to decide. I wanted to just look and get information so I could compare later. But cars salesmen are a different breed. They will give you all the reasons that you should pick this car from the second you walk into the door and hoping you will buy before you leave. I don’t know why they would think that someone will buy their first time looking at a car but hey you never know. But it doesn’t stop there. They will email you and call you at least once a day asking what you are thinking and what they can do to get you to sign on the line. I was so completely over it. I don’t think that I could have done another day of it because I was getting completely overwhelmed and panicked. I need my space to just think and decide but no, that is not what you get. I understand but as someone with anxiety, I was about ready to scream at these people telling them to leave me alone. The pressure they put you under makes you rethink actually buying a car. It really wasn’t easy for me to stay calm in those situations, especially when you don’t like what you were seeing. I had to take time away from my phone, family and pretty much society so I could decompress in a safe place where I know I wont have that exterior pressure bearing down on me.
Now, there was the overall pressure of making a decision. For me, I was leaning towards one car due to multiple factors. However, my parents were going with another. I had them asking me about every 5 minutes which car I wanted and that got overwhelming fast. I felt this shame because I wanted the first car we looked at because it was cheaper but my parents wanted me to get the one with the most safety features even though it was more expensive. I knew that I was going to be making the monthly payments so I needed to make sure I was able to pay all of my bills and be able to survive each week. I don’t make a ton of money so this was a huge concern. I knew that my parents weren’t going to cave so I started to panic. I knew this was the car I was going to get but I didn’t know how I was going to make payments. I freaked out and started looking for another job so I can make enough to live. I haven’t committed to a second job but if I did, I would be working 30 hours at my current job during the regular work day, nights and weekends at another job and finish my Masters this year. Honestly, just writing that made me start to hyperventilate. I know there are a lot of people who do this but it isn’t something I feel that I could do successfully in my current situation. I think it is going to be tough but I have to find the strength and organization so I don’t freak out about this every month.
Overall, buying a car was an experience that I hope I don’t have to do again for a long long time. If you have anxiety, I would say that you should be very aware of what is going to happen. Do as much research ahead a time as possible. When you are looking at cars, don’t say much about other cars and compare. Do that in a safe place where you will not be interrupted by a nosy salesman. Don’t let people push you around which they may try to do. Know when you have seen enough to be able to make a decision later. I would put your phone on mute just so you don’t have to constantly tell people that you haven’t made a decision yet, even if you have. And really take your time to figure out what is the best for you and how you will pay. It is going to be an anxiety inducing experience no matter what but hopefully you can prepare as much in advance to dissipate some of the worries day of. And just breathe. You will come to the right decision on your own.