I suffer from drivers anxiety.
What this means is that I don't just dislike driving, I experience actual distress and dread as I drive, no matter where I go.
Most of the time, when I'm driving to or from somewhere familiar, I'm able to keep the anxiety level really low. I turn on the radio or my music, and I relax. It gets harder when I hit traffic, or there's an accident in front of me. But I deal.
I keep my driving radius pretty small, and I avoid highways whenever possible. I'm usually willing to make my driving time up to a 50% longer if I can avoid highways. Highway 85 is bit easier for me, because there's a long stretch where trucks are prohibited. But the 101? That's really hard for me.
The people in my life know about my anxiety. It doesn't just hit me when I'm the one who's driving; I get nervous whenever I'm in a driving car. Sometimes they use my anxiety against me, to create impromptu scenes—like that night I got so scared in the backseat of the car, I had to put a blanket over my head. (Yes, hilarity ensued, and pictures were taken.)
Sometimes, my anxiety drives the people in my life crazy. And I'm sorry for that.
For the past year or so, I've been able to attend more events in other cities, because Mistress Vicki and I have come to a mutually beneficial arrangement where she drives my car to and from events. But that is not always possible.
I have missed events I desperately wanted to go to, because I could not figure out a way to get there (or home), and I was too ashamed to admit I couldn't just drive myself.
I'm sorry for that, too.
I'm asking for some compassion here. Yes, I realize it's ridiculous that a 39 (almost 40) year old woman is afraid to drive. Go ahead and laugh; I know it's pathetic. If all you can offer me is pity, then offer me that.
But please don't think I don't want to see my friends, or that I don't care, or that I'm just not bothering to make time. Believe me, if I could just get in the car and drive for an hour (or more) to see you guys, I would. But I can't.
I'm sorry. I'll take the pity—and the contempt that always comes along with it—but please try to understand.