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Dealing With Panic Attacks While Driving

Fear Go DrivingI’ve set up this website to be able to help anyone who is having to deal with panic attacks and anxiety. I have suffered from panic attacks whilst driving for about 15 years now.

The incident that I believe triggered this for me took place about 15 years or so ago. We were living in Bahrain in the Middle East and I had flown into Heathrow with my two children who were then about 5 and 3 years old. I have always loved driving and I was happy to hire a car from Heathrow and drive up to my parents home in North Wales.

I hired a smallish car, maybe a VW golf or similar, put my suitcases in the boot and buckled my kids into their car seats in the back seat.


Driving Anxiety

When in Bahrain, I had been used to driving a big 4 wheel drive and the roads there were very wide and very quiet. The day of my drive up to Wales was a very, very windy day and the motorway, either the M25 or the M6 (I can’t remember) was very busy and full of lorries which at that time didn’t bother me at all as I had always loved driving, at that time I had been driving all over the place without a care in the world for over 25 years.Driving Anxiety busy motorway

At one point on the motorway we had to drive over a very high bridge, I was in the third lane overtaking two lorries at the time and a gust of wind caught my car as we drove over the bridge and rocked it so much that I felt I was being pushed into the side of the lorry. It gave me such a fright at the time because I was very conscious of having my two young children in the back seat and being in such a small car made me feel quite out of control. I wanted to pull over but I couldn’t because there was so much traffic on the inside lanes and I had to wait until there was a space for me to move over. As soon as I could, I left the motorway and had to stop for a while to calm down.

I drove the rest of the way to Wales on non motorway roads. A few weeks after that I returned to Bahrain after the summer to my large 4 wheel drive and totally forgot about the incident.

We moved to Surrey, UK  in August 2000 and almost straight away I started to feel claustrophobic on the M25.
When I was driving, I always preferred to stay in the slow lane because I had to feel that I could pull over if I needed to stop, but by staying in the slow lane it usually meant I was surrounded by lorries in front and behind and I found them to be very intimidating .

If there were road works on the left and the hard shoulder was blocked off and there were lorries in front and behind me, that would be  my worst nightmare, I felt ‘trapped’  and claustrophobic and started to have panic attacks where I felt so light headed that I used to feel I might faint and this was a truly terrifying experience for me.
Soon after that I stopped putting myself in that situation at all and would rather drive on minor roads for hours more than to put myself in a situation where I felt out of control.

I realise now, that I was more terrified of my reaction than of the trucks themselves, it was an unbelievably scary feeling that you are going to faint in the fast lane of a busy motorway.

If I had to go somewhere with friends I used to persuade them to drive if we had to go on motorways, I used to feel so embarrassed and stupid that I was limited in such a way because that fear and anxiety of driving was the only irrational fear that I had. My friends  used to reach our destination  in half the time that I would have taken because I would either be crawling along in the 1st or 2nd lane or I would leave the motorway altogether and get stuck in rush hour traffic which was SO annoying and frustrating.

After seeing how easy it is for most people I realised how bad I had become and decided that I couldn’t stand feeling so restricted, I HATED having panic attacks while driving and  I HAD to find a way to deal with my driving anxiety.

I’ve never liked the idea of taking medication for anxiety, I hate the thought of anything potentially messing with my brain, I ws determined to find a way to deal with anxiety and panic attacks through natural methods.

To cut a long story short, I DID find a way, in fact I found several different ways of overcoming panic attacks, even going so far as to train as a practitioner of NLP and hypnotherapist.

I became fascinated with the workings of the human mind and read and researched as much as I could on different ways of dealing naturally with stress, anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve met so many people with anxiety issues that I’ve put this website together to help show some of the ways that have worked for me.

When I was doing my research, I didn’t find everything I needed in one place so I hope that this website will be of benifit to others who have similar problems.

There are tips on how to deal with panic attacks, how to manage stress, learning how to cope with anxiety and recommendations for the methods I used to cure myself of my stupid and irrational fear of driving.


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