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Driving. Resistant fears/phobias

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by LittleWildflower, Feb 4, 2023.

  1. LittleWildflower

    LittleWildflower New Member

    Any advice on how to overcome resistant fears/phobias?

    I’ve been driving daily for many years now. I am a competent and capable driver on the road and despite how I feel, I drive confidently. I can drive big cars, park in teeny tiny spaces with everyone watching, have no skill issues, I’ll go fast/slow, but wary of ice/snow but I’ll give it a go, never been in an accident, no points on my licence, never even had a parking ticket…. But… still absolutely terrified of it. Or at least my body reacts in a way like I’m about to die. Especially when driving a new route or out of routine, I will physically shake from adrenaline, often for hours after reaching my destination. I get a dry mouth, hyper focus, feel dizzy, hot, heart rate through the roof, sweating etc. If it’s a route I know I will eventually relax but at no point have I EVER felt comfortable driving. My big trigger is driving to new places. Even with sat nav. I’m ok driving long distances or along dangerous roads as long as I know the route. Bur new places absolutely terrify me. If I think about it too much I can’t even get in the car sometimes. I used to be afraid of driving in the dark too but that never made sense as I actually learned how to drive in the dark and even preferred it. But for years I was suddenly petrified and then the last year it’s suddenly just gone. Don’t mind driving in the dark anymore. Don’t even notice! How? I don’t know. It’s just crazy!!

    Habit and persistence over the years has shown me nothing bad happens when I drive and that I’m capable, even in dangerous situations, so I think I’ve shown myself logically there’s nothing to be afraid of, but as soon as I start driving my adrenals go berserk. It’s exhausting and has stopped me from being a lot more independent and going outside just because I’m too scared. Logically I’m even getting bored of it now but my body does not agree, it continues to respond as if I’m under threat. I’ve tried hypnotherapy, talk therapy and even booked further driving lessons to get over my fear but nothing helps. It is resistant.

    I mention it because the way my body floods itself with adrenaline is how I feel with TMS and the symptoms are closely linked. My thinking is, if I can challenge my fear/body over something like driving and get my trigger response to calm down, I can relax my overall TMS trigger response too. My body seems to be absolutely wired and on high alert right now to some perceived threat and I want to start challenging those perceptions starting with my real conscious fears.

    So how do I prove to myself the driving is fun? Exciting. Useful. My husband races cars for fun and absolutely loves driving. It relaxes him. I can’t relate I know exposure therapy is probably my best bet but if I’ve been driving for so many years with no improvement how can I get this to work? Should I drive to new places more frequently? Ideally I want to change my mindset and start enjoying driving, see it as a gift. Ironically I don’t have a car atm as my husband is borrowing it whilst his gets fixed. But yeah… part of me knows that when I win the lottery I’m going to get myself a chauffeur
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    You know, sometimes we just don’t like things.
    TMS work approaches this by simply accepting what is.
    Trying to force or change things that are not part of our values is part of what can cause tms symptoms.
    It’s probably more productive to consider why it’s so important for you to like driving.
    Perhaps instead of focusing on having to like driving you can find a way to accept your feelings about disliking it, but enjoying (or whatever your feelings are) the destination.
    Mr Hip Guy and LittleWildflower like this.

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