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Zoe

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Everything posted by Zoe

  1. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Days 4 & 5: Yesterday I found a place near me that does driving lessons and specializes in driving phobia/anxiety. The cost is steep, but not unmanageable. Something like $180 for one 2-hour lesson. It's not something I could do right now, but I've bookmarked it and once I have the budget for it I want to start with one per month, then maybe work in two per month, until driving feels more natural to me. I also added a lot more to my driving playlist... it's over an hour long now! For today, I found a video playlist of rules of the road in my state, so I'll spend some time watching those. I'm guessing it will help me feel more confident just to be reminded that I do know these things (even those I have a license and passed my driver's tests ages ago, I still find myself second-guessing what the "right" thing to do is in various scenarios). It's possible that I'll overthink it regardless until I learn how to manage my anxiety, but it's not a bad place to start
  2. Hello! I was thinking it would be helpful for me to keep track of my progress here, and maybe other people would like to do the same? I've been struggling with a fear of driving pretty much since starting to drive at 15 (almost 30 now!) and I'm hoping I can start making driving a more regular and comfortable part of my life and get all the cool benefits that come with it. I'm calling this Day 1 (Jan 9th 2020). I was planning to just turn on the car and sit there for a few seconds, then turn it off. But I felt a bit emboldened so I backed out of the drive about a foot and then pulled back in. The most anxiety I felt was before actually getting in the car, just thinking about driving again. Once in the car I felt okay, even a little excited to be trying again. Also I made a list of reasons why I want to be more comfortable driving, which was helpful I think.
  3. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 3: Used Google street view to faux-navigate from my place to the mall, In-N-Out, and back home. It was nice doing little "test runs" like if I took a wrong turn, I'd try to figure out how to get back organically, not just skip to the right spot on the map. So that was helpful! And it makes me more enthusiastic about the idea of trying it out for real.
  4. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 2: starting super small this time; I'm sure I can build momentum as long as I stay consistent. Created a driving playlist and added five songs.
  5. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 1, Version 2.0! Hard to believe it's been almost a year since I last wrote in this! I got pretty discouraged and gave up last time. But I still do want to figure this problem out. So I'm going to try out some new strategies. 1) Driving lessons helped; this time I'll make it a priority to get some formal driving help, ideally from someone who specializes in phobias. I'll have to wait a little until this is financially possible, but I can put it on the top of my list. In the meantime, maybe there are people I know who would be willing to perform this 'instructor' role. I think the main thing is finding people who stay calm... 2) This is another thing that'll require some financial commitment and will be a longer-term goal, but I've never owned my own car, and I think this makes it harder. It's more stressful to think of damaging someone *else's* stuff. And if I get something I'm excited about (I'm thinking teal convertible) then it might tempt me to drive more. 3) I've noticed that the nature of the problem is twofold in terms of what happens for me mentally. First, I get really overwhelmed by the amount of things I feel I need to keep track of: whether there are pedestrians, what other cars are doing, what the rules of the road are in a given circumstance, what all the buttons do, figuring out how to navigate to a place when I'm honestly terrible with directions.... It feels like too much to track all at once. Then the social (embarrassment), financial (cost of damaging expensive stuff) and physical (injury or death) risks also overwhelm me and trigger a lot of stress. So a sense of overwhelm is the common factor. So what can I do to help keep myself out of that overwhelmed state of mind? -- Breathing and getting as comfortable as possible (physically) in the car. -- Maybe I can focus on learning only one of these things at a time until I'm pretty comfortable, then try putting them together later on. For example, I could spend a week just learning all the features/functions of the car before doing any driving. I could spend another week reviewing rules of the road, another week trying to get better at orienting myself in my surroundings, looking at maps, etc. -- It might help me feel less stressed if I felt I had more safe ways to take breaks. One thing that scares me about driving is the sense that once I start, I'm kind of stuck doing it until I get back home. Getting in the habit of pulling over in various places, even when I'm not stressed yet, just to show that it's an option, might help with that. -- Having a strong sense of what protocol is in the event of an accident or getting lost would also help. If I know a sequence of steps to do, I can just focus on the next step instead of focusing on the problem and how stressful it is. -- I can find ways to be more tolerant of my mistakes in this area. The risks feel so high when it comes to driving and so I find it challenging to accept that I might make bad choices or put myself in danger. Maybe there are ways I could develop more trust in myself and come to terms with the unsettling reality that I very well *could* hurt myself or someone else, cost myself a lot of money, totally embarrass myself, etc. I mean, doesn't every driver have to ultimately come to terms with these facts and risks? I wonder why it's so hard for me to accept. I feel a lot of internal resistance... Like, I really really don't want the chance of these things happening. But I could survive these things, barring a mistake that actually kills me. Most driving mistakes are upsetting and/or expensive but able to be fully recovered from. That's probably something to think about.
  6. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 60: In some ways I feel just as anxious about driving as ever, which is super annoying. In theory, getting more experience with this is supposed to make it *less* scary, yet the dangers and embarrassments seem very real to me as I drive-- I worry I end up reinforcing the negative and uncomfortable side of this, and in some ways I feel like I'm not making progress. But probably this is just because the progress isn't smooth and monotonic. There must be some smaller steps I could take, or strategies to make myself more comfortable, which could help. In the next few days, I'll try to think of some possible solutions, as well as be more precise about the nature of the problem(s).
  7. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 55: Sat in the driver's seat, this time I turned the engine on (yesterday I didn't) and tried to focus on breathing and relaxing. Sat for only a few minutes.
  8. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 54: Started at the beginning again, sitting in the driver's seat of the car. It's been really tricky to keep up with this, and I feel like it's challenging to enjoy this, and I'm concerned I just end up reinforcing a negative connection to driving.
  9. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 48: went out intending to start from the bottom again (just sitting in the driver's seat with the engine on), but I ended up driving around the block instead. I felt a lot more anxious than I have on previous times around, but I think I'm just still nervous from making a mistake yesterday. Also thanks Telfsey for adding your experience! ? It's nice not to feel alone with this problem. Sometimes it seems like everyone just *knows* how to do this and that can be frustrating.
  10. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 47: Drove to the grocery store and back, but hated it the whole time again. Lots of things seemed to go wrong: stuff rolling around in the bed of the truck, the NavSat system I just started trying to use ended up feeling like another distraction, and didn't seem very helpful. I got honked at for the first time since starting this process (it was dark and I thought I was at a four-way stop, but wasn't, so I went without right-of-way). I feel in an awful mood now, to be honest. When I make a mistake while driving, I feel humiliated. Which is probably an overreaction, and probably also why I avoid doing it for any length of time, since mistakes are inevitable. Ugh. I think this time was also harder because I took a break for a while after getting really upset while driving a week ago. Even taking off a week seems to really hinder the overall process, so I think I just have to get back to doing a little bit every day, even if it's super small and I feel somewhat embarrassed by the lack of larger progress.
  11. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 40: Drove about a 4 mile trip across town, went on busy streets, even a couple of roundabouts. The only problem is that I hated it. Not the whole time; there were moments where I'd be listening to music for a second or enjoying the view for a second, but mostly it was tense and uncomfortable. I'm hoping in the future I can get to a place where I'm not just gritting my teeth through the whole process.
  12. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 39: Skipped a couple days, but hit a big milestone today! Drove to campus (about 2 miles, through downtown) and wasn't very anxious. I did feel somewhat agitated/irritable, which is a sign of anxiety, but at least I didn't feel panic! I'm planning to drive home as well.
  13. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 36: Drove up the ally and parked. Felt more anxious than last week. Not sure why exactly, just a sense of dread. Maybe a lack of longer sessions? I can try to schedule one soon.
  14. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 35: Drove around the block again. Felt more agitated than last time, or the last few times. But it still went fine.
  15. Zoe

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    Day 34: skipped a couple days, schedule got so busy! I'll have to find more ways of incorporating manageable driving tasks into busy days... But I drove around the block today, in the dark (lights this time!).
  16. Zoe

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    Day 31: Same as yesterday, going around the block at night, with lights on this time... This one was better than yesterday.
  17. Zoe

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    Day 30: Went around the block at night again, this time with the lights actually on (turns out I was confused yesterday by the fog lights... thought they were the regular lights). Overall good, not shaky.
  18. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 29: went around the block twice at night. Missed the turn-in so went a second time. Realized I didn't understand the light system--thought the regular lights were the high beams, so I kept turning them off so as not to blind people, but then couldn't see! Yikes. Still shaky all over, but at least I know now... Next time I get in the car I'll figure out where the *real* high beams are...
  19. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 28: this was last night, but I drove home from the grocery store. It was a route I'd done before, but this was the first time at night. I think it went really well! I did almost pull into the wrong alley at the end, but otherwise all good!
  20. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 27: Accidentally skipped Day 26! But I feel okay about it; I think as long as I keep persisting, a few minor hiccups here and there will vanish in the greater scheme of progress. Today I backed out of the drive about a foot and pulled back in. Felt calm throughout.
  21. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 25: Drove around the block again; didn't feel stressed at all about it. But I went with this because I'd been working out a more challenging plan (going partway to the university) and got a little overwhelmed by it. But I'm pleased that the level which was once the "high water mark" is now the easy task.
  22. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 24: Drove to the grocery store and back (about a mile each way). Felt really good, not anxious during the drive itself so much. The worst I felt was before starting. One thing that helped a lot was that I looked at the route in advance (both to and from) on Google map street view, planned my turns and got a sense of what the intersections looked like. I want to work on making the turns smoother.
  23. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 23: Drove on a busy street, to a burger place for lunch. Had a friend help me out and give me directions, so that was good. Had to do a U-turn at one point, which I was a little uncertain about, but everything went okay. I need to work on not braking before turning/at the start of turning... Not totally sure. Sometimes I think I'm "edging forward" to get a clearer sense before I go, but I don't know. It was certainly a bit stressful, my limbs were shaking and I felt like crying (but didn't, heck yeah). My friend said that I drove really well whenever I was focusing on conversation or music, and would start to drive strangely when I focused too much on the driving itself. So that's something to think about.
  24. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 22: Today was a little rough/low-energy in general so I went for the easiest version of keeping up with driving. Turned the car on, sat in driver's seat listening to the radio. This time I also was thinking about the times driving has been fun for me in the past, which was nice.
  25. Zoe

    Progress Tracking

    Day 21: Another drive around the block, feeling good about it. It's getting easier. I like doing the same route a bunch of times because I start seeing all the possible variations that exist along that route, and feel more confident about the tasks I have to do which don't vary. I actually felt like I was having a little bit of fun. Still felt a bit nervous before getting in the car, but way less than on previous days.
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