Driving in a Car

When I was young I experienced a lot of trauma. And as a result there are a lot of things that have a trigger on them that let me know I am doing something that is similar to what I was doing when the trauma happened. For example dusk is a killer for me. The time when the light is there but isn’t all at the same time. Very dangerous time for me. I get panic attacks or I have a hard time being with people or I just plain stress out. I always have a light on to make that transition easier. For that time when we lived without electricity. I would just lay low until it was dark. When it is dark I function just fine. It is the in between part that is hard.

But one that I am especially proud of overcoming, mostly, is driving. I can drive to town (about 15 miles away) without very much difficulty at all. No panic or anxiety. But farther than that and I would have problems.(This due to trauma on a long drive.) I have always had to have someone drive me. That can be problematic. You don’t want to stress out your friends and yet you need to get somewhere.

This is where watching the television show Monk paid off. He manipulated his surroundings to suit his needs. He would alter, regardless of the circumstance, what was there for what he needed, or for an environment in which he could function. I try not to inconvenience people as much as possible.This is where we differ.

Overcoming this particular fear took some deep looking at. I had to look at what I was afraid of. I was afraid of the car breaking down while I was driving and not being able to get help. So I got AAA for myself. The next thing that I could take care of was getting a disposable phone. Not one with a plan or anything, just a cheap phone. Now if something happened I didn’t have to worry about being stranded. I could contact someone if I started to panic or if something happened to the car. A small sense of safety was established.

Then came the practicing. Driving a little farther every time I went out. This was an incredibly liberating thing. I was driving myself to where I need to go. I had established a sense of freedom. The day I drove a friend to a place I would normally have had to be driven was celebratory.

This led to my other fear, The Highway. That also was overcome in the same way. I am not ready to drive cross country. But I can make it the hundred miles across the state.

So many of my fears and triggers are yet to be faced. There are still so many have things that I don’t want to look at. But it is nice to know that even my friends who don’t have trauma backgrounds have things they need to overcome. Sometimes it is nice not being special.

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5 thoughts on “Driving in a Car

  1. This is so interesting, Leslie and so touching. You re-invented or invented for yourself behavioral interventions. I loved reading this.

  2. Monk is such an inspiration. Just the idea that I could manipulate my surroundings to make myself feel safer, what a liberation!

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