‘At 22, I had two kids and still couldn’t drive. Every time a car got behind me, I had to pull over and cry.’: Woman battling anxiety says ‘don’t let anyone make you feel less for not driving’

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“I was 23 when I finally got my driver’s license. I am now 26, and this is my hand after I drive on the highway. It is one of my biggest fears that I had to overcome.

When I was younger, around ten, I was involved in a car accident, and I think that kind of stuck with me.

When it came time to learn how to drive, I couldn’t make myself do it. I watched all my friends get their licenses, as I depended on my husband and parents to drive me.

At 22, I had two kids and still couldn’t drive. I tried, don’t get me wrong, but every time I got in a car to practice, I had a panic attack.

Every time a car got behind me while I was practicing, I had to pull over and cry.

When I turned 23, I decided I would book my license test, and literally force myself. I wasn’t ready, but I felt very pressured and that I needed to drive.

When I took my test, the instructor asked me to back up into a stall, while other cars waited around me to back in.

I froze.

I remember staring at all the cars waiting for me, and the instructor waiting for me to back in. She even said to me, ‘It’s okay, just relax. You can do this.’

I sat in the middle of the parking lot in that car for a good minute before I could move.

I backed in perfectly.

‘Well, you passed!’ She said.

I burst into tears. I tried to explain to her I wasn’t crazy, and that this was just a huge step for me.

I have been driving for three years now, and I still have my moments.

If I go on the highway or somewhere I’m not familiar with the roads, I panic.

I hold my steering wheel so tight my hand goes numb and turns red. I clench my teeth so bad I get a headache. I get so sweaty I need the window down even if it’s cold out.

It’s a work in progress, and that’s okay.

I’m just sharing this to let you know that fear of driving is real. And it’s scary.

It’s okay if you don’t want to drive, or don’t even have your license.

Get it when YOU are ready and comfortable.

Don’t let anyone make you feel less for not driving.

You will drive, one day, when you are ready.”

Courtesy of Caitlin Fladager

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Caitlin Fladager, and originally appeared here. You can follow her journey on Facebook and InstagramSubmit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Caitlin:

‘People always tell me how lucky I am to be a stay-at-home mom. All I can think is, ‘Then why do I feel so f*cking lonely all the time?’: Woman shares candid reality of being a stay-at-home parent

‘Anxiety is just in your head.’ ‘It’s not as bad as you make it out to be.’ This is what anxiety looks like. My raw, scratched up face and chest.’: Woman candidly shares the reality of anxiety

‘I’m the backpack of the family. I carry all of your things. Put it all on me. Physically, and mentally.’: Mom pens sweet letter to children, ‘I love being your safe space’

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