I hate driving in cars. I can drive in a car by myself with absolutely no problem, but when I am in a car, with other people, I go into panic mode. The longer the trip, the worse the panic attack. You might ask yourself what I am even panicking about. The girl has emetophobia, not car riding phobia.
I decided to do a little research about what it is like to be afraid to ride in cars. I wanted to know, if that was my only phobia, what would the symptoms be. I looked it up on a website devoted to curing phobias. I in no way endorse this site, but it does have the best definition of various phobias I could find on-line. That being said I quote the following from the Change That’s Right Now website, “Known by a number of names – Amathophobia and Fear of Riding in Cars being the most common – the problem often significantly impacts the quality of life. It can cause panic attacks and keep people apart from loved ones and business associates. Symptoms typically include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and overall feelings of dread, although everyone experiences car ride phobia in their own way and may have different symptoms.”
Riding in cars does in fact cause me to have panic attacks, I experience shortness of breath, sweating, even the nausea they describe. The big difference between myself and someone who experiences these symptoms simply because they are riding in a car is the reasoning behind the phobia. The whole car ride I am thinking to myself, is that person sitting next to me going to throw up. Why? Well we all know that emetophobia is the fear of vomiting, but I think it gets worse in an enclosed space. Worse yet, being in a car, a moving vehicle, means that if the person next to you does in fact get sick, you can not get out. You are stuck in the car with your worst fear.
I have often wondered what I would do if someone actually did get sick next to me while I was driving. Most people would laugh it off, find it a funny story, but honestly, it could cause me to stop breathing, to get into an accident, or even pull off the side of the road and refuse to get back in the car. Saying it out loud, or rather typing it out this sounds ridiculous, but this phobia is so strong, so powerful, that this is how I feel. I know it’s ridiculous, I know that I sound slightly off my rocker, and don’t think for a minute that I wouldn’t love to stop feeling this way. I would love to be someone who can go on a car ride, and enjoy it, but I am not.
There are a lot of strange comforts that I find in my fear, but this is not one of them. Driving in cars is an inevitable part of life. My family deserves to go on vacation without their mommy having crazy “what if” thoughts. I should be able to go to a bar with my husband and not drive home panicking that he will be sick, because, and this is a whole different topic, chances are I have cut him off well before he would even be drunk enough to get sick. I know I need get help.
Fortunately, I do ride in cars, my fear has not overtaken my life to the point where I am stuck in my house. As much as I hate this fear, at least it does not, and never will completely control me, and that in and of itself is a victory to be proud of.