A Driving Conflict

I have been driving for over a year and a half. I passed my test in November 2013 and I have realised that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Driving was the bane of my life from the very beginning. I was so keen and excited to get my license and have a piece of plastic that shouts independence. With my mental health issues, some aspects of learning to drive were a bigger issue than others, like people overtaking me. I couldn’t stand it when people overtook me and the amount of abuse I got from other drivers, simply because the car I drove had an L plate on it. It angered and saddened me to the point where I would have panic attacks almost every lesson because of other drivers. This lead me to think that people wouldn’t overtake me when I passed my test because there was an absence of a giant L over my head, but I was wrong about that too. I was driving just as good as them, yet they still overtook me. Even though they didn’t give much thought to it, I took it as a personal insult. And unfortunately, I still do.

As my mental health slowly got worse and the driving test came into play, things got more difficult. I won’t go into too much detail as it’s very personal for me, but I became suicidal during that period of time and I had sunk rock bottom. But delving into hypnotherapy for my anxious nerves with driving helped a ton. Other drivers still bothered me, but it was in the back of my mind. And once I had passed my test, I was overcome with happiness. Finally! My independence is here! No longer will people overtake me and abuse me now that they can see I’m just like them!

…I was wrong. So wrong.

For a big portion, driving has been great. I could go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted and has given me the chance to say yes to more opportunities, like going to Centreparcs earlier this year for my 21st and being able to be more social with friends and family. But another big portion of that has been anxiety ridden due to other drivers attitudes. I’ve been beeped at, sworn at, shouted at, nearly crashed into more times that I’d like to admit and it’s been playing a lot on my mind recently. It’s starting to get to the point where I’m reverting back to my old self again. I won’t drive anywhere without a dashboard camera because I don’t feel safe without one. Every time another driver blames me for their driving, I become ridden with guilt, sadness and a wish to give up driving altogether. It also doesn’t help that the car I have has constant problems week after week that need to be fixed, which is costing me money that I’m trying to put towards a house for Morgan and myself next year.

I want to give up driving. Not forever, but for a little while. Unfortunately because I’m working full-time, that’s not an option. If I had the chance to give up driving and still be able to do everything easily, I would do it in a heartbeat. And if I’m ever in the position where I don’t need to drive everywhere, I will seize it immensely. Some people will think that I’m being paranoid. And I am…which is the exact reason I need to get away from driving for a while. Other people are still going to be assholes on the road, that won’t change for sure. But if I can get away from it all and then come back sometime later with a clearer head, it will probably do me a lot of good.

Do you ever feel like this when it comes to driving?

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