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DMV and hellish anxiety!


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I went to the local DMV today to get my drivers license renewed. I was so so so so so so so anxious! I don't know what it is about that place but I get SUPER anxious anytime I have to go there (which is only to get a renewed license every few years).

 

It was almost comical at one point because she had to re-take my picture three times because she said, "you look like a deer in the headlights. Just relax." OMG I was fumbling all over the place. Hands shaking and heart pounding.

 

I'm just so glad it's over with.

 

I got so worked up I could hardly stand it! I went to the gym afterwards and feel a bit better but still on edge.

 

How do you guys handle anxiety triggery places? I want to know how to better deal with the anxiety the next time I'm there or in a similar place/situation. And I just started driving again to places that are close and I'm familiar with. That is a miracle for me. I thought my anxiety was finally under control perfectly. I guess not.

 

One thought was the next time I had to go there maybe my case worker could go with me? I feel stupid but maybe that would help.

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Hmmmm been there done that and the best advice I have is anti-anxiety meds. I did all the counseling and stuff before meds and it helps before you get worked up, but once you're upset nothing but meds can help. I used to stand in line at the post office and shake...and then run off...But the Xanax has helped alot so I'm able to do some of the normal stuff...

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Thanks for the ideas guys. I have to agree that meds help the most for me too. Funny thing is that I took a klonopin not too long before i went there. Ugh. I wish I would have thought to do soe deep breathing or something! But when you get that wound up it is not easy to remember what you should be doing.

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Things that help re-ground to the present moment can be helpful...

 

Naming 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you feel on your skin or body pressure, 2 things you smell, 1 thing you taste, etc is one strategy.

 

Also, spending a couple of moments to do long, slow, deep belly breaths that make your belly move up and down instead of your chest.

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I know that feeling so well. I don't have any suggestions, because I suck at dealing with anxiety. My worst trigger place is going to class, which is really shitty because it's something I have to do everyday, which means everyday will have a little battle between the anxiety that tells me to run and hide and ditch, and the rational part of my brain that knows I can't do that, as much as I want to.

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Not an anxiety patient myself but I do happen to be VERY afraid of the camera and have faced the same situation at the BMV (what my state calls what the rest of the US calls the DMV).

 

I cannot smile properly (facial muscle paralysis due to neuropathy and further injury due to a bike crash) and am plum just not photogenic even though others claim that I am attractive.  In other words, "who's the ugly dolt in the photo there? whoa wait that's you?!"

 

Reasonable fear.  I think that those without GAD/other anxiety issues may experience the same.  Whether we suck at being photogenic or suck at going to class...  (though going to class = something different, at least we don't get judged on appearances there, although I understand how boring/stupid/pointless class generally is).

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If I'm going in to a situation I know is going to make me anxious, I often scope it out beforehand if I can. I mean, I go stop by a couple of days early and just stick my head in the door and get a feel for what the place looks like, how busy it's likely to be, etc. Then I can review likely trouble spots in my mind and do things like plan where I would be happiest sitting or standing, and know where the bathroom is and so forth. Also, I take my iPod and some earplugs everywhere I go, so I can make a little bubble of my own space. Sometimes I find taking a snack of something really familiar to nibble also helps. I use a baggie of dry Cheerios.

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 Also, I take my iPod and some earplugs everywhere I go, so I can make a little bubble of my own space.

Yes, this is good. I stay buried in my phone when I'm anxious in public. Even if I'm just flipping through old texts not even reading them, or checking the weather or my bank account fifty times. I just keep looking at the phone like I'm doing something important.

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and know where the bathroom is

 

^THIS is key to where I go and whether I go out or not.  If it is a new place, I usually go on an empty stomach so I know I wont need a bathroom (or most likely wont) so I can scope the place out as to where the bathroom is.  I always worry about the IBS and all of a sudden needing a bathroom right away, and the consequences of one not being there or not knowing where one is.

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Then again, for photos, there is the other alternative... think of something funny that really makes you laugh!!

 

Although extremely large smiles are prohibited in most states' driver's license pictures, thinking of something like that should quell your anxiety.  I just think of something that is IMO silly/funny/otherwise grin-inducing if I have the fate of having to sit for a picture in any situation.

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The MTO (not DMV here) is frustrating for me! I get anxious because there's always the fear of "I forgot something!" and having to wait in line again...

The worst though, is emissions testing.. the 20 minute test where they tell you if your car can be on the road or not.. My check engine light came on. In my new car. It was my moms, and the light would randomly come on and off. Let it be the damn gas cap! But it is an auto fail if the light is on. She's taking care of the test, but that DAMN LIGHT had been out for 6 months.

 

Sorry.. car stuff. :)

In our MTO they have funny license plates to look at..

 

Ours is also amusing in that we get one shot at our picture. I look like an IDIOT in mine. We should post our pictures (license pics only, no part of the licenses!) No smiling of any kind allowed here!

 

Ever notice none of the employees have any kind of personality or sense of humour? Ugh. Such a boring place. And SLOW.

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Another thing I just thought of is that they only gave me ONE chance to write my signature before locking it in ... and my hands were shaky the day I did it.  My signature is one letter, a dash, and a dot (I changed it 10 years ago because I couldn't read my own handwriting/signature).  You'd think I could just write the one letter out ... well my hand squiggled a little, and it looks like a 5 year old wrote it.  So I held on to the expired one where my signature looks like it should, just in case.

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Well it seems I'm not alone here! The DMV (or equivalent) for you guys seems nerve wracking too!

The system, that car test sounds like it would be very anxiety provoking! Yikes!

And Melissa, that's too bad about your signature. I only got one chance at mine too. And.m y hands were shaking too! Argh!

And the people who work there DO always seem the same! Like personality wise. Well I guess that t would be a pretty boring job. Hmm...it would bore me anyways!

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I dunno, maybe it's because have the 'BMV' and not the 'DMV' as most US states do, but workers at our BMVs are, if anything, a bit overly friendly.  Last time I had to be at one (to transfer a vehicle title and file a new residency address), the agent and I just talked about how silly it the BMV laws in our state were.

 

Then again, maybe it's just us.

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