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Author Topic: Anxiety about leaving the house and riding in cars  (Read 236 times)

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Offline Buddy813

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Anxiety about leaving the house and riding in cars
« on: March 05, 2014, 06:14:24 PM »
I am 23 years old and I have had anxiety since I was about 12 or 13 years old. At first it was just panic attacks, but eventually transformed into generalized anxiety disorder on top of that. I have always had anxiety about staying the night at people's house. I feel trapped like I can't leave somewhere if I am not at home. Eventually this has developed into me not wanting to leave the house at all. Even the thought of leaving and getting in a car gives me bad anxiety. I guess I should mention 12/2/2012 I was in a car accident where I suffered a herniated disc in my neck. Someone ran a stop sign and we t-boned them. I was the passenger. I do not drive for fear of driving. BUT I have had anxiety in car rides for many years. I used to love long car rides. Sometimes I would get anxiety and sometimes I wouldn't. However, a couple months or so after the accident I started getting anxiety every single time I ride in the car. Now I avoid cars whenever possible. Whenever I'm in a car and see a car at a stop sign I picture them running the stop sign in my head. Which gives me anxiety and my heart races. So I'm scared to leave the house and I am afraid to ride in cars.

My anxiety forced me to quit my job. It's still bad at home, but I rather suffer here than at work where people could judge me. Unfortunately, due to my anxiety I didn't give a notice or even call them. I wanted to, but I was just too scared. I haven't worked since November. I was only there for about 9 or 10 months. Which is the longest I have ever had a job. Longest before then was 2 months. My anxiety makes it impossible to work. Although I always feel like I am dying I rather just be home all the time than out where all the dangers are. Basically to sum it up I am afraid to die, but I'm also afraid to live.

I have so much I could write, but I don't want to go too far off topic. Even though I already have a little bit. I guess because it's my first post and I have nobody I feel comfortable talking to about it. Yes a lot of people know about my anxiety I just feel weird saying stuff out loud. Also want to mention I just started 10mg of Lexapro 6 days ago and I have Xanax when I need it. I will be seeing a psychiatrist, but that isn't until July when they will see me because I will be new. My anxiety has been terrible lately. Last thing I will write so I don't overdo this. I have generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, health anxiety (biggest part of anxiety), car anxiety, and I would say I also have agoraphobia. There is so much more I could say, but I'll end it there, for now.
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Offline jane134

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Re: Anxiety about leaving the house and riding in cars
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2014, 06:41:57 AM »
I could of written this myself - minus the car accident and health anxiety. Mine too started off with a couple of panic attacks which escalated into generalized anxiety. Mine didn't start until i was 34, which was 6 years ago and it just came out of nowhere. I think the driving anxiety comes as par of the course with panic disorder/agoraphobia, but i can imagine going through what you did, the fear seems more real, rather than just your anxiety talking, so to speak. With me, the issue is being trapped in traffic, or having to drive further from home or a safe place than i feel comfortable with.

I'm not sure whether you have looked into CBT therapy but it did help me a lot a few years back. It's hard work, but the more work you put into it, the more you will get out of it. My anxiety had been manageable for quite a while, and stopped dictating my life to a certain degree, although it never totally left, but i've been under quite a bit of stress for a couple of months now and its back in full force again.

If you are totally housebound, start trying to take baby steps like even walking outside into your garden. With the car, go out and sit in it for as long as you feel comfortable with, and do it the day after, and the day after that..and so on. If you're anything like me, you want a quick fix and want to be better like NOW, but it wont work that way, although i am sure you don't need me to tell you that. My logic was, I'm anxious at home, I'm anxious if i go out. So, do i lie down and give in, or do i try and claim my life back?

The key, i think, is exposure and distraction. Do you have hobbies to take your mind off anxiety? Keeping busy helps a lot. The more you entertain it, the worse it seems to get, and the longer it hangs around.

Anyway, i've rambled on enough. Just wanted you to know that you're not going through this on your own, and it CAN get better.  :yes:
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Offline Jessicaaa

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Re: Anxiety about leaving the house and riding in cars
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 08:17:29 PM »
Hey buddy,
I am 23 years old as well living with panic disorder and agoraphobia. I have had this condition for three years now, and I just want to reassure u it will get better! With hard work you can eventually be back to loving car rides again.

I think Jane summed everything up well with CBT and Exposure therapy. I can tell you if you are completely house bound theres video chatting or phone therapy appointments out there just make some calls to offices in your area and explain your situation. 

To add to Jane's suggestions with exposure... If you have a car I suggest you spend some time just sitting in it with it turned off in your driveway. Even change seats every now and then (like back seat, passenger, and drivers seat).

I am around if you ever have any questions, I have been through it. :)
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Offline hopeful78

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Re: Anxiety about leaving the house and riding in cars
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2014, 08:09:25 AM »
I can relate. While I'm much better now, I've been there. Sometimes, I tend to go back to feeling that way too. I still have issues going--in fact, today I have to drive my mother far, and up in North Jersey, which is chaos. I'm just going to use a few tools.

It takes a while, in my opinion, to get to the point where you can even think about taking chances or baby steps. So I'd look into therapy, or practice some exposure. Touch the car. Sit in the seat. Start it. Drive around the block. It's normal to be anxious after an accident, but with your anxiety on top of it, it almost turns into a phobia. You have to break that, or it will take over. You just have to work at it, as small as you can. What's your first step that doesn't completely overwhelm you? Maybe just talking about it was enough for today. As silly as it seems, it's a win. And we get that!!!
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