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Motorway driving phobia

13 replies

KatyBeau · 12/10/2018 14:01

I know there was an old thread on here about this, but interested to see if anyone else out there has issues with a phobia of driving on the motorway or fast roads?

I used to drive 100+ mile journeys by myself no problem. Then I had kids and struggled more with anxiety, plus a few slides on ice and then being forced to drive tired in the dark when my husband's cornea tore, and hey presto - full blown panic attacks.

The first bad period, I couldn't drive near a blue motorway sign without feeling anxious. I eventually got CBT, did graded exposure therapy and managed to get as far as driving a couple of hours on the motorway by myself. I was so proud of myself!

The anxiety never totally went away though. Second child, worse general anxiety. Started getting vaguely panicky on a dual carriageway on my route from work. One journey had a huge panic attack and couldn't even get back in the car to drive 2mins home from my daughter's nursery pick up. Then I struggled with virtually all driving.

Done more CBT and graded exposure, and improving, but it feels like an insurmountable problem at the moment. My husband is also struggling to drive due to chronic pain. I'm generally really angry, guilty and worried about all the things me and my family will miss out on because of it.

I'd really love to hear about others' stories and anything that has helped people summon up the courage to do difficult drives.

OP posts:
Quickerthanavicar · 12/10/2018 14:04

Could you find a reassuring driving instructor to do some motorway lessons with you.

KatyBeau · 12/10/2018 14:08

Oops! Just realised I posted in the wrong section so copied this into a new thread on mental health.

OP posts:
SchoolPanicTime · 12/10/2018 14:16

I'm just scared of merging at the slip road. What if there's no gap? What if I don't get into the gap?

vandrew4 · 12/10/2018 14:19

I just avoid motorways whenever possible. we're doing a journey this evening that should take 2 hours on the motorway but absoloutely no way am i gong on a motorway in the dark in the middle of a storm so I'm going non motorway. will take at least 40 minutes more but I'd rather that than the stress of motorways

Chelseajunior · 12/10/2018 14:24

I could of written this!
My heart was beating just reading your post Confused

Llanali · 12/10/2018 14:28

As someone who drives a 1000 motorway miles a week, and has additional categories on my driving licence, I’m afraid I can’t understand your position but I do sympathize and can imagine how frustrated you must be.
I very much hope you can move past this but I wanted to say many children have parents who don’t drive and they don’t all suffer because of it.

Twinning1 · 12/10/2018 14:29

I have a total fear of driving. It’s hideous. Only way to get through it is cbt.

Funny enough, when there is no other option I have to force myself. My kid was sick and I had to take her to hospital 40 minutes away! You know what, I managed it. It took every bit of me, not to cry or have a panic attack and I was drenched in sweat.

I do feel for you because this phobia is a total ball ache!

DramaticGoose · 12/10/2018 14:34

Move to Norfolk, we don't have any motorways!

But seriously, I have a real fear of motorway driving. I do everything I can to avoid it. I hate them. My dh doesn't drive, so I have to do it all, but we always set the sat nav to avoid motorways. Works for us, but we live in a county without motorways (I'm ok on duel carriageway).

Whywonttheyletmeusemyusername · 12/10/2018 14:38

Oh God I could have written this...I hear you OP and I feel your pain. No advice really...I just have to avoid them completely. It hasn't really hindered me or the DC though. ..we get on a train if absolutely necessary. I wish I had the guts to do motorway lessons, but I'd rather pull my own teeth out !

MissCharleyP · 12/10/2018 14:40

I prefer motorway driving; no roundabouts, bikes, horses, pedestrians, traffic lights, junctions. However....I went from 300 miles a week to not driving at all for five years (Transport was great where I lived) and when I had to start again (new job after 6 months unemployed and shift work) I hated it and used to shake and feel sick. The only thing that helped me was time and the fact that I HAD to do it every day.

zigzagbetty · 12/10/2018 14:53

I stopped driving after having the same panic attacks, I just didn't feel safe Sad

GlassTeeth · 12/10/2018 19:37

For me it's the fear of having a migraine and not being able to easily/safely pull over. My vision gets disturbed and my right hand stops working properly and I get confused and panicked. I'm generally anxious with all driving in case this should happen but it just seems potentially disasterous on the motorway.

KatyBeau · 16/10/2018 18:52

So good to hear from other people that struggle too! I had a session with new counsellor today and we talked a bit about how I often put pressure on myself to progress with the driving and worry what people think of me for not getting better. It must be very hard to people to understand who have never had a panic disorder or serious phobia. As I said to the counsellor today, if I had to drive on the motorway right now it's as scary to me as if someone said I had to do a parachute jump!

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