Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Extreme Passenger Anxiety

21 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

I lost my car in February and since then Ive realized my fear of flying is actually a fear of being a passenger. Be it on a plane or in a car or on the bus. I am in a state of panic in every ride. It doesnt matter what I tell myself or what meds I take, I can barely think straight during any ride. Anyone share this "phobia" and or any suggestions? I do tell some people of my fears so they drive carefully but even then when they go the least efficient way I still get horribly anxious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Riding in a car is nerve wracking for me as well. You're not alone. Actually, I hate being in control of a vehicle, that's why it's taken me nine years to start learning to drive. However, I find myself even less at ease when I am a passenger than when I am in control. Semis scare the shit out of me.

I don't really have any advice, I would say exposure to the situation, but that hasn't helped me very much. I still freak out when someone else is driving, and I've been a passenger my whole life. It wasn't always like this, but in the past couple of years it's really reared it's head.

I hate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I'm sad that I can't be useful, but I am the same way. I don't like riding in cars or buses (though I've never flown), and I have serious anxiety about driving. I don't know why. It's a source of some embarrassment that I haven't managed to force myself to at least learn how and have a valid license in case of emergencies. It used to piss my father off; I couldn't make him understand that it was a couldn't rather than a wouldn't.

Someone suggested to me that I try motorcycle riding. I'm not sure if that would help or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Oh gosh... too many people I know have this... quite possibly the majority... or wait, is that due to natural reactions they have in the passenger's seat of my car with the way I drive? :smartass:

Actually, I think what belies this problem is a control issue. I have a mild fear of flying (I go berzerk inside my head when the plane hits turbulence/gets tossed around in the wind otherwise), probably since I don't have much control over the situation, and when the weather takes a turn for the worse, the pilots don't either, for that matter.

The case of having a fear of both driving and being a passenger is interesting, though... I learned to drive at 16 since it was the normal thing to do here in the US, and despite my sensory processing issues and AD/HD (which resulted in me driving into a cornfield at least once, and overrunning a roundabout curb and decimating a tire no less than twice), I've been able to drive defensively enough as to avoid collisions with other vehicles (thus far; knock on aluminum). And all that's not terrible for an 11 year driving history.

And it's quite rightful that semitrucks are fearsome, namely given that they are fairly large. However, I have found semitruck drivers, compared to those who drive normal cars, to be much more skilled and considerate with their vehicles.

Honestly, the only time the prospect of being a driver truly scared me was sometime last year, when my car decided to pull a Toyota on me (i.e., uncontrolled acceleration -- this is amusing, as I drive a Nissan, not a Toyota!). In my case, it was due to my gas pedal getting stuck under a heavy rubber floor mat, and I couldn't get it unstuck with my foot and (travelling at nearly 80MPH by this point) resorted to putting my car in neutral gear, half of my body weight on the brake pedal, and the other half of my body weight judiciously on the parking brake pedal.

Honestly, after that happened, I've realized that it has to be completely natural for any human being to fear travelling at 5-10 (or 100) times the speed they're capable of running...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Thanks for the responses. Glad to know im not alone.

I actually love to drive. I know this is a control issue because even with good drivers my mind finds something to be anxious about - like directions. Trust is an overall issue with me. Im also scared.to.death of airbags. No reason to be - i never had one in my face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Thanks for the responses. Glad to know im not alone.

I actually love to drive. I know this is a control issue because even with good drivers my mind finds something to be anxious about - like directions. Trust is an overall issue with me. Im also scared.to.death of airbags. No reason to be - i never had one in my face.

I understand your "finding something else to fear" issues, at least when it comes to directions. Though that's mostly when I'm in the car with my dad at the wheel, and he has serious issues finding places (I suppose that's normal once you get to 60, though...).

My mom has the "airbag problem" too. The side of my car (specifically, the side she was sitting in) got backed into by another vehicle just after I parked my car and just before we were about to get out, and even though the other car was going about 3MPH, she thought the side airbag was about to go off and started screaming bloody murder. Of course, the airbag didn't go off, but I had a nice-sized dent in the side of my car and a $500 insurance deductible to pay to get it fixed.

Then again, the woman screams bloody murder 50% of the time for no apparent reason anyways, so I can't draw any conclusions based upon that specific event. :smartass:

Edited by LikeMinded

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I understand your "finding something else to fear" issues, at least when it comes to directions. Though that's mostly when I'm in the car with my dad at the wheel, and he has serious issues finding places (I suppose that's normal once you get to 60, though...).

No. I am older than your father and I have a very good sense of direction and can find places that others 1/2 my age get lost getting to. Ageism is alive and well, eh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

I understand your "finding something else to fear" issues, at least when it comes to directions. Though that's mostly when I'm in the car with my dad at the wheel, and he has serious issues finding places (I suppose that's normal once you get to 60, though...).

Know a lot of sixty year-olds with this problem, do you? Rude. dry.gif

My grandma turned eighty-seven this year. She knows every back road in this county and most of them in the counties on all sides of us, to say nothing of the area in Idaho where she grew up. The only reason she no longer drives is that her eyesight and arthritis prevent her from doing so comfortably.

ETA: whoops. Indigo, you beat me to it. :D Oh well.

My uncle owns a trucking company, and he and my dad used to buddy up on long haul runs. I'm comfortable with that world: the haven that is a cabover Pete, what's so grimace-worthy about riding bobtail, and the meaning of the phrase "wall to wall and treetop tall." I am biased. However, speaking broadly, I've found truckers and professional drivers of all sorts to be more courteous and more conscientious of others. They also tend to be politer as truck stop customers; long-haulers were the only group whom I never heard bitch about fuel prices in all the years I worked the truck stop.

There was a string of robberies last winter, 24-hour businesses getting hit in the middle of the night on skeleton crew. As word got around, more and more of our regular drivers--and random long-haulers we'd never seen before--dropped in to assure us at night that their CB radios were on, and we should be sure to shout if we needed anything since they were right out in our parking area.

/off topic. Sorry.

Edited by Oddjob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

No. I am older than your father and I have a very good sense of direction and can find places that others 1/2 my age get lost getting to. Ageism is alive and well, eh?

Nevermind. My dad's having pre-senility issues I guess you can say. Early senility runs in my family ('early' by Western standards at least -- my parents are originally from India). Plus, I personally started going senile around the age of 22, though that was due to meningitis, but it did give me an insight into the world of dementia.

Do be happy that your wit lasted (and is lasting) longer than that of my father's, or my own, for that matter. :smartass:

Edited by LikeMinded

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Nevermind. My dad's having pre-senility issues I guess you can say. Early senility runs in my family ('early' by Western standards at least -- my parents are originally from India). Plus, I personally started going senile around the age of 22, though that was due to meningitis, but it did give me an insight into the world of dementia.

Ok, but that neither explains nor excuses your original statement, and I quote you

(I suppose that's normal once you get to 60, though...).

Such broad, sweeping statements need to be thought through before making them. Your statement is ageism at best...insulting, at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

The other nice thing about semi truck drivers is they will often stop to help a driver in need. I've experienced this a few times..... out of gas, flat tire (with no replacement) that kind of stuff... they will totally pick you up and drive you to the nearest gas station/mechanic.

If I have to hitchike, I'll take a semi driver any day of the week.

Anna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Ok, but that neither explains nor excuses your original statement, and I quote you

(I suppose that's normal once you get to 60, though...).

Such broad, sweeping statements need to be thought through before making them. Your statement is ageism at best...insulting, at least.

Actually, looking up at that quote, I can't comprehend that I even said it. Especially in that manner. My apologies. :( To be honest, you're definitely quicker on your gun than I am!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Being a passenger in a car is definately my biggest phobia, and I know it has reached phobia proportions because I absolutely CAN NOT/WILL NOT be a passenger. The last few times it's had to happen in the last few years I had a panic attack and cried the whole ride. I will go to any lengths to be sure I can be the driver, I just can not face this fear, I know I will die if I have to.

It's definately a control thing, I feel safest if I know I'm in control of the car's trajectory. The underlying fear is a general fear of car crashes (if I just see emergency vehicles ahead on the highway I start to get nauseus), and I guess I believe I'm the only one who can best keep me safe.

It doesn't help that the only accidents I've ever been in were as a passenger. It doesn't help that the first and only time my gf had my youngest son in her car they crashed (not her fault, they weren't hurt). It doesn't help that when my oldest son first left home and used motorcycles for transportation and I was deathly in fear for his safety, within two years he was in two really bad motorcycle crashes (not exactly car crash related, but just proof in my mind that my fears come true).

Sorry to be so morbid, but yes, there are others out there that share your fear!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Actually, nevermind, that wasn't the only time my gf had my son in the car, last school year there was one day I had such a bad headache I didn't feel up to driving, so she picked him up. My headache trumped my fear that they would crash again....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

EDC, there was a woman in my CBT class who had the same phobia. She got a couple of friends to work with her, and drive her around, and used CBT to try to get better. She was way better at the end of the 6 week class, although she was by no means totally phobia free. She was still scared of being a passenger in cars on bridges at that point.

ETA: Duh, ahalo, I am hopeful this might work for you as well. I read just the last few posts at first, sorry.

Edited by crtclms

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

EDC, there was a woman in my CBT class who had the same phobia. She got a couple of friends to work with her, and drive her around, and used CBT to try to get better. She was way better at the end of the 6 week class, although she was by no means totally phobia free. She was still scared of being a passenger in cars on bridges at that point.

Luckily, because I can and love to drive, for me this isn't a phobia that I have had the need to face and overcome. It has caused minor complications, but unless something happens that makes me unable to drive, I can remain in blissful avoidance....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I'm terrible as a passenger in a car, I get tense and horrible anxiety, hitting the imaginary "brake" with my foot, and sharp intakes of breath (etc) if I think someone's too close or we might hit something. It's definitely a control and trust issue. It can be kind of embarrassing so I try to avoid being the passenger at all costs, I always drive myself everywhere. Funnily enough on the odd occasion I have to take a taxi (to the airport or something) I am ok as long as I sit in the back. I'm very much OK driving myself around everywhere, as long as I'm the one in control, I love to drive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I think your on to something there I really notice this in a plane and I thought it was general fear of flying but I to am a terrible passenger and I wonder why is it the close quarters with people or a person I know I don't have this when I ride with my wife but if you put anyone in the car with us I don't really know I get extreme anxiety I shut up close and sit in fear of what I don't know but its fear at its finest I will ponder on this but really I don't have clue why

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Since I made this post I started driving again a little and I've made a concerted effort to focus and let go of my 'irrational' fears. When I'm driving I put myself in the place of the passenger and imagine myself as the passenger and how i probably would've reacted in this or that situation and this has actually really helped me once i'm back in the passenger spot. Now- mind you - when I'm riding with someone who isnt the best driver i'm still a nervous wreck probably beyond what's necessary for the situation but I am doing better.

I also find riding in the backseat to be easier, as someone else pointed out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

You see, my problem is that even I realize I am an average driver, at best. My husband can't drive, so he has just had to accept my driving, and realize I haven't had an accident the entire time I have known him. And previously, two accidents that were my fault, but one of those was on ice. My only moving violation since 1989 was last year for driving in the carpool lane when I didn't have a passenger. I don't like driving at all, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I think part of what makes me a bad driver is that I am so anxious about something going wrong, I am a cautious, rather than defensive, driver. I know that "cautious" is technically more dangerous, but I have GAD, for fuck's sake. So I am not sure how to stop doing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0