I commute for my job. It’s usually between a half hour to an hour, depending on time of day and the amount of traffic. Not a big deal, right? Well, it really isn’t a big deal, but when you have a history of panic attacks while driving, every minute you are in the car can be agonizing.
I have this incredible fear that I am going to be in a car accident. That someone is going to come over in my lane and force me into another car. Or that a car will rear end me and propel me into the car that is in front of me. I fear that I will be hurt in the imaginary accident and suffer pain, both mentally and physically. I always have a hawk’s eye on all traffic. Evaluating if there is a car next to me and how close they are, if there is a car behind me and their following distance. Plus, how close I am to the car in front of me and if I feel that I could stop in time before I would hit them, say that they quickly apply their breaks. I try and anticipate the actions of all the cars around me and have all these proposed situations mapped out in my head, just in case. The whole art of driving to and fro is a hell filled agony,
Today I was a bit mentally distracted and was zoning out. I was still playing the “what if” game in my head, but everything was in a fog. Numerous times I caught and forced myself to refocus my attention. I kept checking my rearview mirror to make sure that there were not cars in my proximity. I was focusing a bit of attention on what was behind me and in some ways neglecting what was in front of me. And it hit me, is this how I view life? Am I focusing too much attention on what’s behind me that I am not paying attention to what is in front of me?
How often do we allow the events in our past to crowd our vision and keep us from clearly seeing what is in our future? With a history of abuse, I have many fears that affect me nearly every day. But this morning, I felt empowered to let those things go. I thought that if I stop accessing those memories perhaps they will shrivel up and die due to lack of attention. This seemed probable. If I allowed the old narratives to fizzle out, my mind would be more free and able to look at what is in front of me. If I stop hiding and avoiding the things and people that I am afraid of, it is more likely that I will be able to move forward, move into the future, hell, just be in the present.
By focusing so much on my past, it is impossible to clearly see what is ahead of me. Spending too much time in the past, takes my eyes off the road and increases my risk that I am going to run into something and cause an injury inducing accident. Drawing a line in the sand, so to speak, and stating that today is the first day of living in the present and no longer dwelling in the past, will free me in ways nothing in the past every has.
Are you living in your rear view mirror? Is it time that you refocus your attention on the road in front of you?
#abuse #past #panicattacks #anxiety #depression #bipolardisorder #fear #lettinggo #driving #caraccident