Getting your drivers license is something that most teenagers accomplish when they turn 18, for me, the thought of driving a car was an utmost terror and dread.
When I turned 16, the most common question I was asked was “when are you going for your learners permit?”; something I didn’t get till I was six months away from my 18th birthday. My thought process behind not obtaining my learners was that if I didn’t have it I couldn’t drive, which was exactly what I wanted. I see cars as a dangerous weapon which can cause serious injuries, collisions, kill myself and others. Even though many other people would agree, my thoughts surrounding driving were pushed by my anxiety. I wouldn’t just feel nervous and worried, I would get psychically ill, which lead to feelings of dislike and unwillingness; it was as though the benefit of driving and getting my hours up, wasn’t worth getting sick over.
That was before I started taking medication for my mental illnesses, so I am unsure if my anxiety over driving resulted from driving-related circumstances or just apart of my anxiety disorder. Either way, I am in a much better mental state when driving now, more so that after completing over 165 hours of supervised driving (when I only need to reach 120), I went for my probationary license and passed!
Even though I have only driven down to the shops and back once by myself since getting my license, I was surprised by how calm I was, considering I do have an anxiety disorder. I was expecting to be a total mess, worry about doing something wrong or hurting someone on the road, having no trust and confidence in myself, but I was fine. In someway I am thankful for my anxiety towards driving makes sure that I don’t rush trying to get into a traffic as my driving instructor told me that I go when there is enough time and when I feel safe to do so.
It is hard to say what I’m more pleased with, me nearly 21 and finally being able to drive myself somewhere or winning over and defeating one aspect of my anxiety. Anxiety holds me back from a range of things and to know that driving isn’t one of them anymore, makes the winner of the two.