It’s been a very long week.
All sorts has been going down.
We’ve had meetings in London (me), projectile vomiting and the other (him), an infestation of fleas (cat) and school trips (son).
I am knackered. For various reasons, I am lucky if I’m getting 5-6 hours sleep at the moment (normally I like to ensure I’m banking a minimum of 8) so I’m currently running on fumes, Tonight, luckily, those fumes will be alcohol. So, that’s something to look forward to.
Inspired by the hectic nature of this week, my dearly beloved picked his moment and decided to broach a sensitive subject with me.
The sensitive subject I’m about to regale you with is one that crops up every now and again. It’s been a few months since it was last discussed, so it stands to reason that we’re due the conversation.
“Rach”. He says. I know what’s coming. It’s like I can read his mind. I can almost hear the cogs ticking. The thought has popped into his head and he’s going with it.
“I really think it’s time you thought about learning to drive”.
It’s Thursday night, I’m knackered; due to his nocturnal loud hurling, moaning and well, I’ll spare you the details on the other. But he’s going there. We’re going there.
I’m 31. By rights I should have learnt to drive over 14 years ago, however, being the Queen of excuses that I am, I’ve managed to dodge it. Sadly, I think my luck is about to run out. The time has come for me to swallow my pride, anxiety and laziness and stick myself behind the wheel. Of a car. I’m actually going to sit behind the wheel of a car.
Woah. When I type it out like that and read it back I can almost feel my palms begin to sweat. I think I can even hear my heart beating.
The very thought of learning to drive fills me with fear and dread.
I didn’t even obtain my provisional licence until I was 28. And have managed to put off obtaining the pink licence for the subsequent 3 years.
But now, I know, I need to do it.
I just don’t know how I’m going to do it. I can’t even picture myself doing it.
Even my Mother, who doesn’t drive (she did for a few years but gave it up in her 20’s due to anxiety) concurred that it was time for “one of us to drive”. I knew what she was getting at though, I knew it would be me that would be taking one for the team.
Perhaps, because of my Mum’s thoughts and fears around driving, this has somehow rubbed off on me and led me to be resolute with not wanting to learn to drive.
I can remember when Wes and I started seeing each other. We were sat in the pub one night having one of our conversations about the future. “If we ever have kids, you know you’re going to have to learn to drive, don’t you?” He said. “Yeah, I will, I’ll be driving long before then”.
Ha. I probably said it with such confidence an’ all.
Laying my cards on the table, the reason I’m so against learning to drive; so terrified in fact, is because of how I view a car.
This may sound dramatic and I’m the first to admit I’m a drama Queen but hear me out (or read me out) before you denounce me as utterly ridiculous.
I look at a car as a potential killing machine.
Every time I hear of a car accident or someone being knocked down this just compounds my thought even more.
Irrational? Probably. But real? Absolutely.
That fear is real. That thought is always there whenever I think about learning to drive and I don’t know how to escape it.
The catastrophising aspect of my anxiety doesn’t lend itself well to this whole learning to drive thing. Every situation possible goes through my head.
I see myself causing a car crash. I see myself pranging my car (‘ark at me referring to a car as mine already). And I see myself in a constant state of anxiety every time I embark on a journey.
And I don’t know how to get over this.
I’m the first to admit to my bad points.
I’m lazy. I’m easily distracted. I find it hard to concentrate. I’m impulsive. And I’m sometimes forgetful.
This is beginning to read like my school reports.
I worry that because of the aforementioned character traits, this doesn’t stand me in good stead when it comes to a) learning to drive and b) actually driving.
What if I suffer from a lapse of concentration?
What if I forget what I’ve learnt at a crucial point?
What if I end up wrapping my car around a tree?
OK, the last ‘what if’ is an extreme one, but it’s still something that I worry about and would worry about constantly were I to do this.
I know I’d dread every time I had to get behind the wheel. I worry that doing this would end up making my already bad anxiety even worse.
But, saying all that, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the therapy I’ve received over the years is that ‘thoughts are not facts’. Just because I think these things, it doesn’t mean these things, these worries, will happen.
I’d be interested to hear from others who have anxiety around driving. Perhaps you don’t drive because of similar fears. Or perhaps you do and you managed to overcome your fear and now you’re a confident driver.
Either way, I know my reluctance to learn to drive is beginning to cause issues. And I also know that I don’t want to reach a certain age and regret my non-driving status.