Anxiety/Serious Phobia Issue

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Fate has gone and whacked me upside the head again. I suppose I should've expected it when I'm enjoying school so much.......

    Found out via the Director that our pediatric clinicals will be at cincy Children's.

    My heart dropped thru my shoes.

    I've never been confortable with interstates or freeways....even as a passanger.....and flat out have always refused to drive on them. Since being run over by that truck.......being uncomfortable with this has esculated into pure torture for me. I avoid it at all costs......and I'm like a person hanging onto a cliff by their fingernails when I just have to do it. Utter sheer terror the entire time.

    Which of course is why I rode with Stang to Cleveland.

    There is no way I can make that drive for clinicals. There is no "back way" to childrens from where I live that would use rural highways and city I'd probably get so lost I'd end up in Florida.

    My first thought was anti-anxiety medications. But I don't think that would work either. My brain literally shuts down on the darn things. I haven't taken them since I started school 3 yrs ago for that reason. I can't keep a train of thought long enough to hold a conversation, let alone function at clinicals.

    I am refusing to panic about this. (it's not easy) We have probably months before our peds clinicals. But I do need to figure something out.

    I happen to have one of easy child's hs friends in the class, sweet girl, and we get along. I'm thinking about asking her about car pooling to children's together with me paying her for gas. Only hitch is that we have to make sure we've got the same clinical days at that time. Right now we do. And that the instructors don't have an issue with scheduling us together.

    Otherwise.........I will try it on my own......and odds are I will never make it to that first clinical sesson.:(

    I know this may sound downright silly to many. But I can't help it. It's left over PTSD from the accident. Me and cars/traffic barely get along as it is......the interstate/freeway is just too much traffic, too many cars traveling at high speeds.........and just thinking about it makes my blood run cold.

    If it had been Dayton children's I most likely could've handled it. Lived there and had to go there so many times with Travis when he was little that husband had to show me in town streets to get there..........I could manage it. Not cincy. That place scares the crappola out of me anyway.......those people drive like they're on suicide missions.:surprise:

    I feel like such an idiot with this. The only person I can say anything about it to is easy child.......and that's because she's seen my reactions......and realizes I have no control.

    Stang will tell you that I had to warn her I might end up on the floor board of the car in the fetal position without notice...and that it had nothing to do with her driving. Seriously. And I covered my phobia pretty well, I only jerked a few times. But that took so much concentration not to react that I have none left over for actual driving.

    Gawd this is soooooo hard to explain. And it sounds pathetic even to me.:ashamed: I can just imagine me trying to explain this to my instructors. ugh

    I will find a way, somehow. Cuz I didn't get this far to let this stop me. I just don't really have a clue how I'm gonna do it. Lord only knows if easy child's hs friend will make it that far in the program......although I think she will.....anything could happen.

    And to think, last week I was worried about finding this nursing home out in the boonies for our first set of clinicals...........lmao........that seems like nothing compared to cincy!!
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    It's not pathetic. It's not silly. It's very real for you and you absolutely don't have to apologize. But it is something that you need to come to terms with if you are going to succeed at this program you are in.

    How soon until the clinicals start? Is it enough time to start work on a sort of desensitization program? Just thinking out loud here...

    FWIW, Lexapro really, really helped my difficult child 1's needle phobia. He initially needed Ativan on top of that, but got to the point in less than a month or so where he refused the Ativan and was able to breathe through the blood draws and just cognitively cope with the situation (used some guided imagery techniques, too).

    There are ways to get over this -- it will take work and time, but you deserve to not be held hostage by that previous trauma. You have worked so hard to get where you are, it would not be fair to yourself to let this stop you.

  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Just reading your post brought back the feelings I know you are going through. I have done the same with driving downtown Minneapolis - I just refuse to. It brings so much fear that when I was 16 years old and driving from Superior, WI home to Brainerd, MN, I ended up in the hills of Duluth because the road signs said left to the Cities and right North. There was no way I was going to the Cities so I went North. I didn't realize that I had to take the freeway toward the Cities.

    I shut down for elevators and driving in Minneapolis. I do know the terror you are going through. I am getting somewhat better about elevators. It is super hard still but stairs are getting harder. I do not ever forsee me ever driving downtown Minneapolis though.

    I had a co-worker tell me one time that I had to drive in Mpls at some point in my life. I told her no, I do not!

    Maybe that is why I can understand my difficult child's anxiety and hesitation in other people when they just refuse to do certain things. Sometimes it does go so much further than a "I don't want to" sometimes it reaches that terror point of really can not make your body do this.

    I hope you can get together with more students and maybe start a carpool for all clinicals.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lisa...I do understand. I hope you can talk to the instructor and get paired with someone for carpooling. If you can do that, then I would do the close my eyes thing going in to Cincy. I have this huge fear with bridges now. Have no idea where it came from but I cant do them. I would be sunk if I am somewhere I had to drive across one every day and it was bad. There is one bridge in Charleston SC that I simply refuse to ever get on. Refuse! Period...end of story. Not even in the car with someone else. Tony does it every day. Ugh.

    Some bridges I can breathe through or be in a certain lane...makes it ok. Some, I just cant handle at all. With Cincy, I think if you do the eyes closed, breathing through it for several days...well eventually you will get desensitized. One day you will realize you dont have your eyes closed and you are talking as you get there.
  5. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Not sure if you have access to this, but EMDR therapy has been used extensively with PTSD and anxiety issues and is very succesful. I went through it and while it seems like it's hokey, I saw results within 2 or 3 visits.

    Here is a link to some info.

    Just a non drug non brain dulling thing that may help. Hugs. Hope something will work out.
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I'm sure this is worrisome but you are resilient. You will figure something out.
    "Obstacles are what we see when we take our eye off the goal" Keep reminding yourself of what you are working towards. Financial independence and stability. Problem solving is something all warrior mom's do. Do it for yourself.
    I grew a small phobia with bridges. The one's that as a passenger you look out over a 2 ft wall and see nothing but a river waaaaaaaaay down there. I didn't want to stop traveling or going where I wanted to go so I closed my eyes, turned my head and thought about other things.
    Of course my little fear is probably way different than a full blown anxiety attack but I'm afraid if I had obsessed over it that it would have grown into just that.

    I hope you can figure out a way to reach your goal. Do you know anyone who lives in Cincy so you could just stay through the clinicals? You would avoid daily anxieties.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I was thinking along the same lines as Fran....maybe you could find a friend to stay with in the city so that you don't face a daily commute?

    Not sure if that's realistic as I don't really understand about "clinicals"...

  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good idea about maybe finding a short term roommate situation for clinicals too. Check craigslist.
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Sending supportive hugs. You'll figure something're one determined lady!
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I've done the therapy for this already. psychiatrist and I worked intensively on it. Guess I should've said that this PTSD orginally had me to where I couldn't leave the house or ride in a car at all. My reactions in a car at that point were so severe that I'd nearly cause the driver to have an accident.

    Me driving again at all is a huge accomplishment. And I still have moments when the anxiety will hit me straight out of the blue and I have to talk myself out of it....or find a way to struggle thru it until it passes. I had that happen twice this week driving on the rural highway to school. Those moments I can handle.....even if it means pulling off the road until it passes. I can't do that on a freeway.

    I've spent 6 yrs attempting to desensitize myself out of this using the awesome techniques of the psychiatrist. And while I'm better than I was a few years ago.....yeah, no where near the point where I think I could drive it myself. I go to cincy whenever easy child invites me, grit my teeth, try to force myself to keep my eyes open...... I do the same in Dayton.....a place I'm very familiar with as husband and I used those freeways daily almost......and it just doesn't get me anywhere. The only real progress is that I've stopped screaming and withdrawing to the floor board.

    Odd thing. I've no fear whatsoever of death. psychiatrist and I looked long and hard at this to attempt to figure out what it is that I'm afraid of. Death wasn't it. It's the excruciating pain that went along with the accident the last time, the fear of feeling that went on for hours without pain medications while careflighted from one hospital to the other and God only knows how many docs and tests to check me out before they felt it safe enough to give me pain medications. Usually the mind forgets the pain in any real sense. You know it hurt alot, but you don't normally recall the intensness of it. Unfortunately I do......and it's got my brain stuck in Fight or Flight.

    No fear of death because when I was lying on the pavement with the very real probability of dying....I wasn't the least bit afraid of it. (it was weird, but very true)

    I've conquered or found ways to cope with all of the situations that trigger the response...except this one. Maybe it's because the fear was already there before the accident, I dunno. But 6 yrs hasn't really improved it.

    Wasn't an issue until the clinicals because I wasn't planning on working anywhere near a large city. Plenty of places around here to choose from.

    I'll figure it out. I have to ask the instructors when our pediatrician clinicals start. Usually they're pretty far into the clinical part because they want you to be a bit more experienced before they turn you loose on kids. lol There is one instructor (uber nice lady) who I think will understand as she has the same thing with bridges. If nothing else maybe she can help me come up with ideas. Or maybe she'll know a medication for the anxiety that won't make my brain turn to mush.:faint:

    Can't stay in cincy as we also have classes at school other days during the week. Plus no one in the program is from there and I don't know anyone who lives there. So no go there.

    I will find a way. I'm stubborn like that. lol Even if I have to make a family member ride with me while we make the trip a zillion times with me driving on weekends before clinical starts. I'd just rather not die in the effort....sort of defeats the purpose. lol :tongue:

    I'm glad I found out about this at this point where I can work on a solution. If they'd sprang it on us at the last minute I'd have freaked. Surely out of 21 students I can find at least one person willing to carpool if I offer to pay the gas.

    Thanks for the suggestions........and for making me feel not so pathetic about this. I know psychiatrist believes it's mostly due to the brain injury, but I've never really been like this and even all these years later it's hard to accept.

  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Lisa - HUGS!!! For years after I totalled my Dad's Honda I couldn't do the freeway if it was even slightly windy, raining, anything.

    But ya know what? I'm still not fond of driving. And my best friend lives 40 minutes away. If I took back roads it would be an hour and a half.

    Let me know when they are. I'll work on possible alternate routes too that won't take you to Timbuktu.
  12. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    My GPS unit has a setting where you can ask it to find you a route that avoids interstates. Would something like that work for you?

    They have come way down in price so it wouldn't be a big investment and you would never get lost! I don't know how I ever lived without mine. I have the world's worst sense of direction.

  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I vote for the carpooling, too. Talk to the instructor- I doubt it will be that big of an issue. I understand feeling that way- I used to get anxiety pretty bad. I still get it, but it doesn't cause the same panic that it used to. My mother has panic attacks when she drives but she can't/won't identify a specific trigger (like interstates) so it can come and go at any time. At least yours makes sense and is justifiable to people (like the instructor) so try not to worry so much about it and take this time to form a plan.
  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    My mother learned to drive in her late forties and to this day will not drive on the highway.

    I still fight the "freeway fobia". Despite that, after husband died and I lost the house, I moved 300 miles away from the few of my family that are left.

    I do try to take the highway down when I go to visit, but there are days when it feels like a long distance panic attack.

    The panic started way back when I was eighteen and there was no specific triggering factor. The one thing I know is that my bipolar first became really apparent during that time and my anxiety in general skyrocketed.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Lisa, Driving Cincy IS scary. I lived there for 7 years, working downtown for 3 of them. It was horrible. People all think they are in Nascar and are competing for the most accidents caused award.

    Your fear is real. in my opinion it is totally natural to be able to feel the intense pain and be terrified of it. My bro still remembers the intensity of the pain when he was in an accident. The only pain I have ever been able to "forget" was the pain of childbirth. It takes major work to be able to handle an operation. I remember the pain and how bad it was and how little they helped me.

    You have done an amazing job of handling this phobia. You will find a way to handle this. Talk with your instructor. And with your classmates.

    You will find a way to cope. I have faith.
  16. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Lisa - you ARE more then welcome to stay here (I'm in College Hill, not too far from Clovernook, so you can get to Children's by going down Hamilton, up Ludlow).

    If that doesn't work, let me know and we'll try to come up with a way to get you there without going the highway. Does Columbia Parkway bother you? Or RT 32 in Batavia?
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Kathy a GPS might be a good idea. And Skeeter we just may have to plan that back route. I just didn't know anyone who knew the area well enough to give me a reliable back route. I can drive rt 32 into EastGate.....I don't like it, but I can manage it. Which is good as the rest of my clinicals are at Cleremon Mercy hospital, which is off rt 32.

    I like that this is looking more do-able. :)