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Panicking in the traffic

Community Member
I've been reading a few threads and I'm not having a very good day. So, through the tears that are streaming down my face right now I'll try and write some things that will hopefully make me feel a bit better.

My family are out right now so I am home alone. I am home alone right now because of a busy intersection. I laid awake most of last night and have given myself a headache on top of the last of a winter cold (stupid cough is driving me crazy) because of the fear of driving through an intersection I dislike. To go out with my partner and my kids today I needed to be able to drive through this intersection, a busy multi-directional, multi-laned intersection that was the scene of an awful fatal accident just a few weeks ago. It's not just this intersection, there are a few around that I avoid. I hate the traffic and being boxed in the middle lane when driving about my city. I like the left lane, I can easily escape the road if I need to, pull over or take the turn into a side street, catch my breath and continue on. Sometimes too I can take the left turn, do a u-turn and go straight through an intersection in the left lane without hiccup. My tactics for doing what I need to do. Today however I couldn't avoid this intersection in a daunting part of town that's not familiar at the end of an again-daunting freeway.

I thought this was new, well worse in the last year but I've come to realise that I always got overwhelmed in traffic. I grew up and learned to drive in the country, when I went to the city I got panicky in the traffic. It's just as I didn't live in the city it wasn't that often that I went there and as it was a big trip my ex-husband would mostly be driving. Now I have moved to the city so I'm hit with these problems once a week and not once every 6 months as it used to be. So I now realise it's a big problem. Today it's stopped me from spending time with my family and I can't accept that.

I've seen the doctor (maybe 4 months ago) about this and I have a referral to see a psycologist but I just haven't picked up the phone and made the appointment. 

edit: there's more I had to cut this post down for the character limit.
2 Replies 2

Community Member
A bit more background, my partner now has always lived in the city. If we go out together he's always driving -no big deal for me. So this is always going to happen when I'm driving ie. he's never in the car and it's always a time when I have to do it. He never sees what I'm like and how anxious I get approaching these intersections. I recall when I was growing up I was always scared in the car in the city with my Dad driving. We'd go to the big smoke every holidays. Now when I'm in the car with my partner driving he notices how tense I am if a light changes to orange or there's a car braking too close in front. I grip the seat like crazy or take a sudden deep breath in.

Throughout my life I've managed to find strength when I needed to to. When I was pregnant with my 2 children and bringing up 2 little one's was my strongest. I had to be there for them, they didn't have anyone but me and I excelled at overcoming any problems through these times. Now they're older, 11 and 9, I find I'm a much weaker person. I don't have any real friends to lean on and talk to and having moved to the city now I'm away from my family who I haven't seen in quite a while. My partner is great but he doesn't understand the emotional things and he's a happy-loner type whereas I enjoy getting out and about and seeing people. It doesn't help that I work from home so as I sit here alone typing this, I'm sitting here with all my work colleagues and friends too (a quick headcount -that's no one!).

Thanks for your ear and listening to my problems. I'm going to copy this from notepad and post it. Generally I'd write something, feel better and then delete it. I do that lots. I feel better for writing it all down (still teary).

Community Member

Hi kafrinbear, I've only read your first post but firstly make that appointment now! I cannot tell you how important it is for you to see a good psychiatrist, from my own experience you are suffering from panic attacks and they are clearly affecting your life.

in 1995 somehow I got my drivers license o_O I don't know how because I was constanly having panic attacks behind the wheel 😞 when I was having lessons to drive my dad would yell at me because I would stop the car and wouldn't want to keep on driving. I was 17 years old and having panic attacks and I didn't know what they were plus I was trying to get a drivers license because, hey that's just what you do when you are 17 😕 

when I got my drivers license I drove once and that was it, for almost 20 years now I have not driven a car, I have kept up my license for ID... I have the best driving record >=;) *boom boom cha!* anyway enough about me and why I don't drive. you have kids and it sounds like you have to drive them around. you need to see a psychiatrist as soon as possible because a psychologist cannot prescribe you any medication should you need it. 

If you can't find a good shrink then make an appointment with the psychologist and see what he/she recommends.