Phobias of everyday activities - Halp!

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So since I moved to these Americas I have developed a phobia of driving on the interstate. Generally, on a sunny, dry day I'm okay, a little anxiety, but its okay. When it rains, however, I'm terrified. My work is about 30 miles away and 90% of that driving is on an interstate. If I'm at work and I know its going to be raining on my drive home I get zero work done. If I'm at home and I see a forecast that its going to be raining the next day I get zero sleep. Of course, on top of that I know I'm not driving as well as I usually would because I'm scared and sleep deprived.

How the fuck do I stop this ridiculousness???

Right column Leftist (sunny successor), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:33 (eight months ago) link

take the bus

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:35 (eight months ago) link


Right column Leftist (sunny successor), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:36 (eight months ago) link

that really really sucks. I hate driving so much mostly because I am so distrustful of other drivers and I get highway hypnosis. Can you find someone to carpool with? Otherwise, just always make sure to give yourself extra extra time to reduce anxiety and let yourself stay in the slower lane with a big buffer around you. And if you haven't done so recently get your car checked out to make sure you have enough tread on all tired and they are properly inflated, break pads fine etc.

Yerac, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:40 (eight months ago) link

like it will mentally make yourself feel better if you know your car can function properly in water. That stuff that beads water up on the windshield is really nice too.

Yerac, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:41 (eight months ago) link

Interstates, I take it, are multi-lane? I'm fine on a highway that has 2-4 lanes; I drive at the speed limit, so I can stay to the right and people can pass me all they want. But I hate being on anything single-lane, which is what everything is where I moved recently. I feel pressured by cars behind me--few drivers are happy if you do the speed limit, they want you 10 km/hr over, and you can feel their impatience if you're not--and some of them don't leave a lot of margin of error when they pass. I'm also nervous about any oncoming traffic where someone's trying to pass. Rain and darkness compound the problem a lot; if there's snow, well, I very likely stayed at home.

clemenza, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:42 (eight months ago) link

Its actually worse when I'm a passenger. Like I've gone from a dangerous situation to a dangerous situation that I have zero control over. Also, I'm in the suicide seat (that's the passenger seat for those of you who don't envision your own violent vehicular death a thousand times a day).

Yerac that's some great advice with making sure the car is in good shape. We've definitely done that with the tyres and brakes. What is this beading magic you speak of?

I do try to keep a good buffer around me but there's always some cunt in the passing lane keeping pace with the person next to them in the middle lane so a bunch of other cunts decide the slow lane is now the passing lane and suddenly everyone is all packed up together and losing their minds.

clemenza, yeah i'm wary of those too, especially in rural areas.

Right column Leftist (sunny successor), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 22:09 (eight months ago) link

I think Rain X is the most available water repellent but they sell it most places. It makes seeing through the windshield so much easier.

Are you a newish regular interstate driver? I would hope your anxiety would decrease the more familiar you get with the route and action of doing it.

Yerac, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 22:18 (eight months ago) link

I'll give rain x a whirl. Thanks! I'm not new to interstate driving but I've always had some degree of anxiety around it. It's getting worse to be honest. i know its not logical in any way. i think its really about social contracts being a lot more loosey goosey here than where I'm originally from and I haven't adapted well at all. Back to fuckin' therapy, I guess!

Right column Leftist (sunny successor), Wednesday, 29 January 2020 18:12 (eight months ago) link

Hi Sunny! I also hate/fear driving on the interstate, so much so that I am planning to turn down a job offer in part because it would involve driving all over the great state of Illinois (also because it's a garbage job that pays garbage but I learned about the travel first and my immediate thought was "Oh hell no"). I also can't see shit at night because of astigmatism. The last time I drove on an interstate at night was maybe 2007 and I basically had a breakdown once I got to my destination.

I don't have many practical tips so I'm mostly here to commiserate and let you know you're not alone in this one. If we have to leave the city (ie drive on an interstate) Jeff takes the wheel and I take the klonopin. I, too, used be pretty good at interstate driving all over this great nation and now it's just panic attack city. I think on some level I believe that I had a finite amount of driving luck, and it has now run out and it's only a matter of time until violent vehicular death comes my way.

carl agatha, Wednesday, 29 January 2020 18:29 (eight months ago) link

I think on some level I believe that I had a finite amount of driving luck, and it has now run out and it's only a matter of time until violent vehicular death comes my way.

Carl, this is exactly my thought process! IS TODAY THE DAY?? Its exhausting!

Right column Leftist (sunny successor), Wednesday, 29 January 2020 18:41 (eight months ago) link

SO EXHAUSTING. Anxiety is so exhausting. I'm sorry you're dealing with this.

carl agatha, Wednesday, 29 January 2020 20:22 (eight months ago) link

take the bus

― Οὖτις, Tuesday, January 28, 2020 4:35 PM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

You know, maybe this is one you didn't have to chime in on?

Pete Swine Cave (Eliza D.), Wednesday, 29 January 2020 20:28 (eight months ago) link

A related story...I was driving home at night through awful fog a few weeks ago; was able to see maybe 20 feet in front of me. Fog, night, one-lane highway, I'm kind of terrified (the one good thing, within 15 km of home). The car behind me starts with the high beams at one point, which--I'm somewhat used to this--I took as a signal to speed up. I did what I always do now, flipped my front mirror down--forget about the car behind you, concentrate on what's ahead. They kept it up, even speeding up the flashing. On the next turnaround, I pulled to the side of the road and (I thought) let them pass me. I was about five km from home now.

I got into town and pulled into Tim Hortons. The car that was doing all the flashing, which I thought was long gone, pulled in behind me (it was a different car that passed me at the turnaround). Why she was flashing her high beams: I had mistakenly set my lights to a daytime setting, so I was driving through all that fog with no back lights. As she pointed out, the combination of that and the fact my car is dark made it virtually impossible to see me.

Man, that shook me up.

clemenza, Wednesday, 29 January 2020 22:09 (eight months ago) link

While I'm not sure all the flashing was the best way to handle this, I thought about it and realized there wasn't much else she could do. And I appreciated that she stopped with the flashing those last 5 km--I guess she realized it was pointless, and may have even been safeguarding me from other cars by staying right behind me.

clemenza, Wednesday, 29 January 2020 22:11 (eight months ago) link

Fog, night, one-lane highway, I'm kind of terrified...

pplains, Wednesday, 29 January 2020 22:36 (eight months ago) link

I almost posted Walken/Duane the other night--I've got that clip on my mind constantly when I'm on the road these days. (Really, one of the most perfectly executed and funniest bits in any Woody film ever.)

clemenza, Wednesday, 29 January 2020 22:41 (eight months ago) link

I had a similar fog experience when I had just gotten my license. It was Alaska in midsummer, and I borrowed a car from my uncle and drove it around town for a few days without ever having to use the lights because it never got dark. It wasn't until I was on the highway at three in the morning and a zero-visibility fog rolled in that I realized that I didn't actually know how to turn the lights on at all. My cousin was in the passenger's seat, and by hanging her head out the window she could see the edge of the road, so she told me when to turn and I swung the wheel and somehow made it into a parking lot, where I poked at buttons and twisted knobs until something came on - it turned out to be the parking lights, but as we were idiot teenagers we figured lights were lights and got back on the road. We made it back to town, and the fog lifted, and I promptly got pulled over for driving with my parking lights on.

Lily Dale, Wednesday, 29 January 2020 23:04 (eight months ago) link

See if you can find a driving instructor who can train you in some common evasive driving techniques (hydroplaning, sudden stops, steering out of skids, sudden lane changes). You can't learn that stuff any other way except doing it a few times so your body develops the right reflexes. It might reduce your anxiety once you know A. that while it's unpleasant it isn't maybe the nightmare you are envisioning and B. you are more confident you can deal with emergency driving situations should they arise.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Wednesday, 29 January 2020 23:37 (eight months ago) link

otm, I was thinking about mentioning hydroplaning and skidding and doing driving lessons but was unsure if it would create more anxiety thinking about it. I once hydroplaned in the mountains in central PA in my early 20s and it had never happened before but I was amazed that I automatically did what I had been taught. My spouse was with me and luckily didn't say a word until I got control of the car.

Yerac, Wednesday, 29 January 2020 23:47 (eight months ago) link

Sorry to keep framing this via personal anecdote, but the first time I ever encountered black ice was within a year or two of getting my license as a teenager. Came right out of the blue--probably closer to spring than winter. Being the first time, I did the worst possible thing, hit (and probably held onto) the break; spent the next half-minute going from my lane into the oncoming lane, back and forth. Miraculously, there was no oncoming traffic--ended up in the ditch on my side. I think that one experience, 40 years ago, is still there as part of my driving phobias today. (Since I traveled the same roads over and over again for the next 40 years, though, they were basically neutralized; it's only recently, since moving, they've all come back.)

clemenza, Wednesday, 29 January 2020 23:58 (eight months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Forced myself to make the two-hour drive home from Toronto at night today (possibly last chance to see a film I'd been anticipating for almost two years).

Wasn't bad at all. A couple of typically insane drivers before I got out of city limits--I actively root for these people to kill themselves in one-car accidents before they take someone with them--but once outside of Toronto, no problem. For much of the way (the 401, a heavily traveled Canadian highway), I stayed on the inside lane behind two other vehicles, one of them a transport, that were driving just like I do, a few km over the posted speed limit. There was rarely anybody behind me--they had the other two lanes to pass.

The biggest difference is getting new glasses a couple of weeks ago.

clemenza, Thursday, 13 February 2020 03:57 (seven months ago) link

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