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Thread: Another "Panic driving on highway" post

  1. #1
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    Another "Panic driving on highway" post

    Yup, I know lots of people suffer with this and we're supposed to fight it and keep doing it until the panicking stops. But I just find that so hard to fathom right now because it happened again today and fight it as I might, I really think if I hadn't gotten off the highway, there may have been an accident.

    Intellectually I know that the highway is probably safer than city streets. And the driving should be MORE relaxing, because there are no kids or dogs darting out between parked cars, there is no chance of someone running a stop sign or red light and side-swiping me, everyone is going in a straight line in the same direction, etc. etc. It should be a MORE relaxing drive, but the friggin' panic sets in so fast and then I freeze and feel like I will faint. Yes, I forced myself to breathe, I tried EFT tapping, I tried doing mental math problems in my head for distraction, but I HAD to get off the next exit. I am trying to analyze what it is about a highway that causes the panic and all I come up with is that I am now conditioned to panic since it's happened so many times.

    But here's the other puzzling thing: some days, I can get on the highway singing and whistling as if it's the most pleasant task in the world, and other days, I freeze up as I'm getting on the entrance ramp. My stress levels are pretty much the same every day now that I've stopped working, so why was today such a horrible day for me? Nothing is bothering me mentally or emotionally.

    So, I am tempted to just accept that at this ripe old age that I should only take back roads to any destination I need to get to and stop punishing myself by trying the highway all the time. The other part of me thinks it would be so nice to be free of this - I'm thinking maybe a hypnotist could help?

    Thoughts / comments?
    Sue

  2. #2
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    Re: Another "Panic driving on highway" post

    The 'fixer' in you is trying to find a solution to the anxiety. And getting frustrated (maybe even angry) at not being able to stop it. You're trying to analyze a problem that's a moving target. It's like you want to drive on the highway and find a way to make the anxiety stop right now, and nobody can do that.

    For me, driving on a motorway used to induce anxiety because you're far more trapped than driving on normal streets. You can't easily just pull over and stop if you need to, and on the motorway you are in a situation where there is a prolonged period of time before you're home.

    Perhaps your retirement is causing you stress because you are relatively free of things to think about and do, perhaps the fixing you used to do at work (I'm assuming that's how you spent a lot of your time) has left a mental space for anxiety to fill? I don't know.

    But accepting the anxiety is here for now involves sitting WITH it, not trying to find a fix.

  3. #3
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    Re: Another "Panic driving on highway" post

    Thanks, Joe.... what you say makes sense. And you know me so well.

    I didn't just fix things during the day when I was working, we were a global company so I was connected to the job 24/7. I literally would be on conference calls at midnight on occasion, or getting calls at 5:00 a.m. depending on what country the call was with. And I was referred to by all the global executives as "the glue that holds the U.S. facility together". So there is DEFINITELY a huge void in my mental space, but one would think that would be a GOOD thing. I guess it takes time, and did I mention I have no patience?

    Also, my tics are out of control. Trying to figure out why, but I guess anxiety and tics go hand in hand. And yes, I want to think there is a physical reason this is all happening because then I can probably fix it. Being at the mercy of my complicated brain leaves me feeling helpless and out of control.

    FYI, since I am a doer and a fixer, I researched a bunch of certified hypnotists in my area last night, found one with great credentials and reviews, and have an appointment with one next Tuesday. I can't imagine it could hurt in anyway and maybe it can help, especially since I BELIEVE it can help, and our thoughts are very powerful. Even if it works as a placebo, I'll be great with that!

    You want me to sit with the anxiety instead of trying to fix it, do ya? That's a TALL order, my life has been filled with finding answers and fixing problems and I enjoy it! But there are lots of other things in this world that need fixing, so I will try to lay off figuring out why I'm experiencing this and just accept that I am. Actually, I just felt a slight twinge of relief in typing that. But I'm still going to keep the hypnotist appointment..... can't hurt, right?
    Sue

  4. #4
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    Re: Another "Panic driving on highway" post

    Quote Originally Posted by DustingMyselfOff View Post

    I didn't just fix things during the day when I was working, we were a global company so I was connected to the job 24/7. I literally would be on conference calls at midnight on occasion, or getting calls at 5:00 a.m. depending on what country the call was with. And I was referred to by all the global executives as "the glue that holds the U.S. facility together". So there is DEFINITELY a huge void in my mental space, but one would think that would be a GOOD thing. I guess it takes time, and did I mention I have no patience?
    Reading between the lines, it sounds a lot like you're struggling to let go of that person. That person has no place in your new life.

    I'll give you an example. I used to work in a similar environment. I've always been fairly stocky, masculine. I've always been fairly aggressive and quick to temper. I used to take pride in my ability to 'sort out' any situation be it physical or mental. I had a tested very high IQ, and therefore I was awesome. But it's all nonsense at the end of the day. IQ is just one measure of a person, and being aggressive just makes you a bit of a dick. When anxiety took me down, it took me down hard and fast. I became too scared to do anything, and I learned over the years I HAD to let that person go, because that identity was hurting me.

    The 'fixer' in you is looking for the next buzz of success, it's an ego thing. You can't fix this though. It's not physical, but it's also not mental. It's more of a holistic problem. You've lived a stressful life for years (whether you felt it being stressful or not, it was) and now it's over you're left with a habitual way of thinking and being that has no place in your new chapter.


    Quote Originally Posted by DustingMyselfOff View Post

    Also, my tics are out of control. Trying to figure out why, but I guess anxiety and tics go hand in hand. And yes, I want to think there is a physical reason this is all happening because then I can probably fix it. Being at the mercy of my complicated brain leaves me feeling helpless and out of control.
    It's not physical, but that doesn't mean you can't fix it. And being in control is a myth. Nobody is in control of anything except one thing. The one thing we are in control of is how we react to 'the moment'. Be aware of how you are feeling, and choose how to react.


    Quote Originally Posted by DustingMyselfOff View Post

    You want me to sit with the anxiety instead of trying to fix it, do ya? That's a TALL order, my life has been filled with finding answers and fixing problems and I enjoy it! But there are lots of other things in this world that need fixing, so I will try to lay off figuring out why I'm experiencing this and just accept that I am. Actually, I just felt a slight twinge of relief in typing that. But I'm still going to keep the hypnotist appointment..... can't hurt, right?
    Again, ego. That's not a criticism, it's just how the brain works. You may find equal comfort CHOOSING to accept what's happening now and accepting the challenge of a new way of thinking in a new chapter in your life. For me it was a remarkable relief not bullying the problem into submission, and the paradox of not trying to fix it actually fixing it was quite a revelation. And hypnotism can't do any harm. I tried it a couple of times myself before I really suffered with anxiety. Once to quite smoking which eventually morphed into trying to investigate other issues too, and then once after anxiety started, with little success. I personally don't think it has any place in treating anxiety, but that's not to say it won't help you gain some insight into your current situation.

  5. #5
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    Re: Another "Panic driving on highway" post

    Quote Originally Posted by ankietyjoe View Post
    Reading between the lines, it sounds a lot like you're struggling to let go of that person. That person has no place in your new life.

    OMG - let go of that person!?!?! That person is me!!!! It's all I've ever been, and yes, it's what has made me feel valued and worthy and needed and gave me a purpose! Yes, it stroked my ego, and my ego needs stroking! I spent my entire childhood being and feeling unwanted and try as I might to get someone's attention by doing good things, I was still ignored. Being successful in my career was so rewarding!

    I'll give you an example. I used to work in a similar environment. I've always been fairly stocky, masculine. I've always been fairly aggressive and quick to temper. I used to take pride in my ability to 'sort out' any situation be it physical or mental. I had a tested very high IQ, and therefore I was awesome. But it's all nonsense at the end of the day. IQ is just one measure of a person, and being aggressive just makes you a bit of a dick. When anxiety took me down, it took me down hard and fast. I became too scared to do anything, and I learned over the years I HAD to let that person go, because that identity was hurting me.

    Well crap, I don't know who I am outside of that person. Guess that's a clue in itself. :(

    The 'fixer' in you is looking for the next buzz of success, it's an ego thing. You can't fix this though. It's not physical, but it's also not mental. It's more of a holistic problem. You've lived a stressful life for years (whether you felt it being stressful or not, it was) and now it's over you're left with a habitual way of thinking and being that has no place in your new chapter.

    Yes, yes, YES! I need the buzzes of success! I always take on impossible challenges and they bring me to life, but when I've conquered it I feel lost and need to find another one. And stressful life? Due to a lousy childhood, most of my adult choices were very bad ones, and some very dangerous. I was always chasing the high high's and as a result got a lot of low low's.... my life has been a rollercoaster. And yes, the job was VERY stressful.


    It's not physical, but that doesn't mean you can't fix it. And being in control is a myth. Nobody is in control of anything except one thing. The one thing we are in control of is how we react to 'the moment'. Be aware of how you are feeling, and choose how to react.

    Ugh, giving up control. Wish me luck.

    Again, ego. That's not a criticism, it's just how the brain works. You may find equal comfort CHOOSING to accept what's happening now and accepting the challenge of a new way of thinking in a new chapter in your life. For me it was a remarkable relief not bullying the problem into submission, and the paradox of not trying to fix it actually fixing it was quite a revelation. And hypnotism can't do any harm. I tried it a couple of times myself before I really suffered with anxiety. Once to quite smoking which eventually morphed into trying to investigate other issues too, and then once after anxiety started, with little success. I personally don't think it has any place in treating anxiety, but that's not to say it won't help you gain some insight into your current situation.
    Sorry, I messed up the formatting with some of this post so a few of my replies are above in the quotes section. You're a very wise man, and convey your messages so well, I may be printing some of them out so I can refer to them often as reminders. Unfortunately you probably had to suffer a lot to become so wise, but I guess that's all part of the process. :(

    Thanks for always offering such great thoughts and insight - I do value them and relate to them.
    Sue

  6. #6
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    Re: Another "Panic driving on highway" post

    It took me more than 10 years to learn what I now know, so don't beat yourself up for not adjusting immediately.

    Self compassion and humility are very powerful traits to have, and not a sign of weakness.

    Your own observations on your childhood are all the analysis you need. Your behaviour is formed in childhood and those traits are deeply ingrained, but the brain is elastic for life. You can choose to go down another path because you've spent a large portion of your life proving your worth. You have nothing left to prove, and continuing to try and do so may cause you far more grief in the long run.

  7. #7
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    Re: Another "Panic driving on highway" post

    Quote Originally Posted by ankietyjoe View Post
    It took me more than 10 years to learn what I now know, so don't beat yourself up for not adjusting immediately.

    Self compassion and humility are very powerful traits to have, and not a sign of weakness.

    Your own observations on your childhood are all the analysis you need. Your behaviour is formed in childhood and those traits are deeply ingrained, but the brain is elastic for life. You can choose to go down another path because you've spent a large portion of your life proving your worth. You have nothing left to prove, and continuing to try and do so may cause you far more grief in the long run.
    That reply brought tears to my eyes. You're right - I'm done proving my worth and needing affirmations. I AM ENOUGH! Thanks, Joe.
    Sue

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