I do not consider myself an anxious person.
I used to consider myself an anxious type of person, but I have mostly grown out of it.
To this day, however, there are still a couple of things that give me extreme anxiety. Driving is my number one.
Driving anxiety is something that I struggle with constantly as a 19-year-old college student who is sociable and constantly working.
Yes, I do have my license. Yes, I drive on occasion.
But most of the time, if I can get out of driving, I will.
My friends will drive places, my family members will drive to events and I would take public transportation before I have to use my own vehicle and drive myself.
Driving gives me anxiety for what seems like a million reasons, but for those who do not understand, let me break it down for you.
My first problem with driving is having people in the car.
If I were to get into an accident, thanks to my lack of automobile skills, I am terrified that I would hurt passengers in my vehicle. I am terrified that I am going to hurt myself lots of the time, too. I am terrified of possible injuries, deaths, car wrecks, my insurance going up — all of it.
My second problem driving, which has been a hard pill for me to swallow, is that I am genuinely just not confident in it.
I think that as a Type-A personality, when I discover I am not good at something, I totally put myself down and never try to improve upon it.
My third problem is my sense of direction and security.
I have a poor sense of direction, and if I do not know exactly where I am going, my anxiety instantly kicks in. If I am going to a new city or new place, I have to travel there countless times before I feel even remotely comfortable being the driver on the expedition.
I do not feel secure as the driver of a vehicle.
Driving around is like a foreign language to me. I haven't fully grasped it, I don't understand the love for it, and the more I think about it, the more it freaks me out.
When I am in the driver's seat of the car, it feels like someone dropped a dumbbell on my chest.
You may be thinking that my anxiety is all in my head. You may be thinking that this is a simple task and that my "problems" with driving can be easily fixed.
Sure, I would love to just get over my fear of driving. Sure, it sounds so simple.
But for the person with driving anxiety, it is like telling them this thousand pound machine is in control. It is like telling them that their life is in the hands of something inanimate. I feel out of control when I drive, no matter the circumstances or driving conditions.
Not being able to drive makes me feel so childish.
I feel immature, dependent on friends and family around me. It makes me feel like less of an adult when I have to tell people that I am too nervous to drive. It makes me feel unhelpful.
My anxiety is a huge burden to me, my friends and my significant others. Thankfully, I have people in my life that try to understand accept my anxieties while driving.
Thanks to them, I want to get better. I want to be able to get behind the wheel and save them gas, money and time on my part.
Thanks to them, I realize that my struggle with driving does not define me — no matter how much I say it does.
Thanks to them, I know now that driving does not define my level of maturity or dependability. Thanks to them, I know that being able to drive is very important, but not more important than my mentality.
My goal for the year is that I will be able to get on the highway before winter break and be able to visit my friends.
I know my fear is not uncommon. I know that it is OK to have anxiety about some things in life.
However, I know that it is time for me to deal with this anxiety, as it has now impacted where I go and what I am able to do. It impacts when I am able to do things and who I can spend time with. These limitations have become too much for me.
It is time for me to face my fears.
They do not define me. They do not limit me.
I have learned that I am greater than my fear of driving.