Clouded said: Yesterday, I was driving at night (it was 7pm but it was very dark outside) and I had to integrate the car on a highway and I freaked out because the other cars were moving really fast and there were so many of them, I couldn't see well and this was one of the first occasions that I drove at night and I experienced a full blown anxiety attack right there because I feared that I will cause an accident if I got on the highway. I was completely disoriented and I pulled over somewhere that was prohibited to park and I started crying because I was so afraid
That sounds very scary for a person not used to driving at night, Clouded.
... I would have been scared too - I'm sure the first time I integrated onto a highway - even in daylight - I would have been feeling the scary tension of it.
If we break it down to what is real - and what is imagined, it becomes more manageable. I'm not saying it goes away, or goes anywhere, it just becomes more manageable.
eg: Absolutely, unless we have no sense of personal responsibility, we are going to be nervous at times while in supposed
'control' of a vehicle that goes fast, mixes with other vehicles going fast and over which at the very base of our logic we know we only have very limited control in the environment.
So the more we up the risk factors, the more the anxiety levels rise.
I would be more concerned about those who feel no such concern / anxiety, even over those who feel that their concern is overwhelming and have the common sense to pull off the road (even into a no parking area) when they are unsure if their capacity can meet the reality safely.
Your description is full of your actual awareness of the environment and an honest assessment of your capacity to drive within that environment with the actual risk factors
that were in evidence (volume of traffic flow, speed of traffic flow, lack of clear visibility, inexperience in driving in those conditions). That's actually a good thing! Your meltdown was a blessing!! It allowed you to stop and experience the full comprehension of what you were doing.
Overconfidence or blind ignorance to one's actual
capacity or the perception of actual risk factors, is one of the biggest killers on our roads, and in workplace incidents.
It's not like I have levels of anxiety that start from 1 (mild discomfort) to 5 (panic attack), if I feel something, it starts at 4 and quickly escalates to 5.
- if ^ is 'always true', how then do you know that mild discomfort (1) and the stages 2 & 3 of discomfort exist?
I've noticed that those who have a higher than average sense of personal responsibility and awareness, which comes from a very real higher than average capacity, tend to have more 'serious' conflicts of emotions & melt downs when things are felt to be outside of their very considerable capacity.
This might be out of synch with how they believe they 'should be', or how things 'should be', or how capable they 'should be', and because so much is actually within their ability to respond to, your description of the melt down is very apt. It appears as if everything is hunky dory and then CRASH as if there has been no progressive discomfort.
Being out of one's depth is scary, and where others with less capacity get more used to keenly going through those stages of discomfort and disappointment, the more capable you are generally, the less you have to learn to deal with the discomfort because stuff usually 'works out' as you're pushing on.
Let me ask - and please be honest (because thus far you stopped your story before its actual ending/resolution) what happened after the crying?
Did you eventually come to terms with the reality and apply your capacity to the best of your ability?
Did you abdicate driving completely or did you simply learn what it feels like to be scared while in 'control' of a motor vehicle when it feels beyond your capacity?
You've stopped your 'story' in your mind and here on the page at the 'cliff-hanger' the point that has no resolution yet. If you focus on that point and hold your emotions at that level of course you will not be able to relax. Your system will be pumping out all sorts of conflicting hormones in response to your thinking.
Your story had an 'ending' - and that 'ending' is likely not that you are incapable of following it through to the conclusion, wherein you can relax, wherein you are not in any danger, wherein continued reaction and/or recrimination are not necessary.
The ... and eventually it ended well
, allows one to relax after tension, to breathe out when we've held our breath in surprise or disappointment.
Your fears are not abnormal.
Your response to a sudden sense of threat are not abnormal.
Your awareness of the distance between your expectations and your reality, are not abnormal. (in both capacity and willingness)
If you haven't already read it, there is a wonderful book that speaks to the realities of fears Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
by Susan Jeffers http://www.susanjeffers.com/home/detail ... catID=2234
.. it is a wonderful insight from someone who has been honest enough to really look at what frightens us, and provide strategies for unpacking the fears.
It's not that others are not or have not been afraid of the same things, it's that they've learned - either naturally or with some conscious work, to overcome their fears and respond in ways that are not felt as extreme.
Stop being so hard on yourself. Being authentically human is to be fragile at times, and that's okay too. If you think that your experience is not normal, you'd be believing the hype, instead of the reality of our mortality and our capacity to make mistakes. This awareness in you is a good thing!!
I see you being very authentic in a very pretentious world.
The real world just is what it is, and that's okay too.
If it's not 'okay', it's not over, there is still more to integrate / reconcile.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen