So I’m going to talk about something that makes me uncomfortable. I know there must be someone in a similar situation and I hope I can bring them some relief.
I have an irrational fear of driving.
It all started when I was 16 years old in my driver’s education class. There was a disagreement of opinion between me and the instructor, which I will not disclose for personal reasons. Since then going to class became an anxious task. It didn’t help that he was the kind of instructor that yelled when people did things wrong.
So, I started to associate yelling and anxiety with driving.
Since that class whenever I would get in the driver’s seat of a car, I would become overwhelmed.
It took me a long time to get comfortable driving. By a long time… I mean this week. It took me six years to not hear him screaming at me every time I got into the car.
The only way I was able to get my license last January was by paying instructors to give me lessons every day for two weeks, in which I really embarrassed myself by crying in front of them every day. I thought once I finally got my license it would be easier for me to drive, that I would feel safer.
I didn’t feel any safer.
I would still imagine my instructor and even everyone I know yelling at me whenever I would attempt to drive. After I got my license, I didn’t drive for almost six months.
The breaking point came this week, when I leased my own car. Instead of thinking “Oh no, I have to drive today. I can’t do this…” I started taking my own advice. I thought positively. I told myself instead “I can do this. This is easy. No big deal.” and I said that to myself all day. Then when I drove my new car, I wasn’t scared. Sure, I was nervous but it wasn’t like before. I didn’t have that overwhelming anxiety.
I relapsed a little when I drove on the highway during rush hour traffic yesterday because I kept saying to myself “Oh I made a mistake again. I keep making mistakes. Everyone is lying to me. I’m doing a horrible job.” but now I know what I was doing wrong. I was making a self-fulling prophecy.
Now, I just need to keep going. It may be difficult and it will take awhile to get used to but I just have to believe in myself.
I hope you will as well.