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Learning to Drive at Twenty-Two

by Caitlin Fladager 4 days ago in anxiety
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I got my license because I had to ... not because I wanted to.

I was 23 when I finally got my drivers license. I am now 26, and this is my hand after I drive on the highway. Driving is definitely one of my biggest fears. One that I had to overcome. ⁣

⁣When I was younger, around ten, I was involved in a car accident, and I think that kind of stuck with me. ⁣When it came time to learn how to drive I could not make myself do it. I watched all my friends get their license, as I depended on my, then boyfriend now husband, and parents to drive me around. ⁣

⁣At 22, I had two kids, and still could not drive. I tried, do not get me wrong, but every time I got in a car to practice, I had a panic attack. ⁣

⁣Every time a car got behind me while I was practicing, I had to pull over and cry. ⁣

⁣When I turned 23, I decided I would book my license test, and literally force myself to learn to drive. I was not ready, but I felt very pressured to learn so I could take care of my kids independently. I needed to learn to drive. ⁣

⁣When I took my test, the instructor asked me to back up into a stall, while other cars waited around me to back in. ⁣

⁣I froze. ⁣

⁣I remember staring at all the cars waiting for me, and the instructor waiting for me to back in. She even said to me “It’s okay, just relax, you can do this.” ⁣

Red bruised hands after driving on the highway.

I sat in the middle of the parking lot in that car for a good minute before I could move. ⁣

⁣I backed in perfectly. ⁣

⁣“Well, you passed!” She said. ⁣

⁣I burst into tears. I tried to explain to her I was NOT crazy, and that this was just a huge step for me. ⁣

⁣I have been driving for three years now, and I still have my moments.⁣

⁣If I go on the highway, or somewhere I’m not familiar with the roads, I still panic. ⁣

⁣I have to hold my steering wheel so tight my hand goes numb and turns red. I clench my teeth so bad I get a headache. I get so sweaty, so I need the window down even if it’s winter and cold outside. ⁣

⁣Driving is a work in progress, and that’s okay. ⁣

I’m just sharing this to let you know that fear of driving is real. And it’s scary. ⁣It’s okay if you don’t want to drive, or don’t even have your license. ⁣

⁣Get it when YOU are ready, and comfortable. ⁣

⁣Don’t let anyone make you feel less for not driving. ⁣

⁣You will drive, one day, when you are ready.


About the author

Caitlin Fladager

Mother | Wife | Mental Health Advocate

Telling my "Reel" truth about marriage & motherhood on Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok & Vocal

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (9)

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  • Carol Townend2 days ago

    Well done you. I lost a boyfriend in a nasty crash when I was very young, then when I was 18, I was hit by a car whilst pregnant. I have PTSD, and even now in my 40's, I still cannot take driving lessons. I can sit in the passenger seat whilst my husband drives, but sitting in the driver's seat makes me panic and lose control. Thankyou and well done on your success!

  • Leigh Hooper3 days ago

    Thank you for talking about this! I'm 22 and my test is next month, learning to drive is the scariest thing I've done but stories like this let me know I'm not alone in my fears!

  • drkenny3 days ago

    What a good story!

  • Joseph June3 days ago

    Interesting story, well told.

  • This was really interesting to me because I have multiple family members with a driving phobia, to the point where I sometimes wonder if it's hereditary. I'm proud you were able to overcome your fear, and I know you'll get better and better at it with time and practice!

  • Yuley Burrow4 days ago

    I don't remember feeling anxiety around driving, but my driving instructor when I was 18 was afraid to death. I've since gotten to be a better driver but back then I was young and stupid.

  • Damika B4 days ago

    I'm sure someone can relate to this story and it's great you got out and at least tried to overcome your fear of driving. It is a start. I didn't get my license until I turned 21. Be sure to check out my stories as well:) New here

  • Hi Caitlin, great story. I, myself, will be learning to finally drive and get my license at 22. My first attempt was a fail so here I am still trying. I remember my first time behind the wheel and all I could think about was crashing but I’m totally glad everything worked out for you.

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