Driving Me Crazy

scared to drive

I’m not sure how long this has been going on, as I have absolutely no sense whatsoever of time, but it must have been several weeks at least. We’re just not certain, but at some point in the not-so-distant past, we became scared to drive. For some reason, we have been having a great deal of difficulty in operating a motor vehicle.  Actually it goes much deeper than that. We’re afraid of riding in a car, period. Inside its shiny metal cocoon,  we used to feel safe. We used to take long, pointless drives with no particular destination in mind, especially when we were depressed or having a mental crisis. Now we get knots in our stomach just approaching the vehicle. Inside the car, anxiety levels start to rise and build as I put on my seat belt. I feel trapped after that. There is no escape.

“Automobiles are not ferocious…. it is man who is to be feared.”  ~Robbins B. Stoeckel

Maybe the fear started after I quit taking my antipsychotics. After all, it was about a month later that the hallucinations began to worsen and interfere with daily tasks. I specifically recall one day while driving down a main highway, and I thought I saw a tractor-trailer pull out of a restaurant and into my lane. I swerved to avoid him. Then saw that he wasn’t there. Another time I hallucinated a horse charging at my car. Oh, and let’s not forget about the time the reflectors in the center lane turned into airplanes and flew over the top of my car.  These are just some examples of the crazy stuff I’ve been seeing while driving….so you might have an idea by now that I have been letting Husband drive.  I haven’t mentioned anything to him about the hallucinations or my fears of driving and riding. But he’s aware of my covering my eyes with my hands. And he notices when I grip the armrest so tightly my knuckles turn white. Also, it’s impossible to hide the fact that I throw my hands out in front of me, as though to brace myself for a crash, just about anytime we come to a red light or stop sign.  I’m too embarrassed to tell him how frightened I truly am. After all, I haven’t always been like this. This is relatively new to us. I feel like an idiot.

The hardest part of all of this is that I’m responsible for driving my mother to her doctor’s appointments and to the drugstore and things of that nature. I certainly don’t want her to know just how bad the hallucinations have become; it would scare the life out of her. So I pretend to be OK. I pretend to be a confident driver. It’s all a big charade. Inside, I’m trembling. In my head, a thousand different ways to die in the car are playing like a movie with no end. This has got to stop. I need the ability to drive. It’s vital to my sense of freedom. I can’t always expect Husband to drive, especially when we go out and I’m the designated driver.  I haven’t mentioned any of this to my psychiatrist. I keep thinking this will pass. I keep thinking that things will get better. Instead, the fears keep mounting.  If this keeps up, I’m afraid I won’t be able to travel anywhere at all.  Stupid brain.

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