My anxiety has never been as high as it was a year ago when taking my driving test was all I could think about. Although I am more confident than I was I’d be lying if there weren’t nights where thinking about driving didn’t keep me awake.
So seen as it’s been a year since I passed my driving test, and it is World Mental Health Day I thought I’d do a little update. A year, can you believe it?
I knew that after passing my driving test that I was going to have to do a bit of grading to become a confident driver. So here was my initial plan that I put together for an ambassador post I did for CP Teens last year:
- Drive with someone in the front seat.
- Drive with someone in the back seat.
- Drive independently.
- Remove the emergency brake- (I only have this because I learnt to drive in my car nothing to do with my driving abilities, even though that is pretty debatable).
Yet due to the pandemic, this plan has taken a little longer than anticipated. I am on stage 3 which is actually where I intended to be! But I do wish I could say I had more experience of driving independently than what I have had.
As I say, the pandemic, not long after I passed my test we entered lockdown 2 and well, we know the rest. So, where was there for me to drive to? Yes, I know I could have gone around the block and taken advantage of the quiet roads and just got more confident. Yet, I didn’t, although the worries around passing my test had gone, that anxiety got moved to driving independently.
I had final year assignments and placement, fatigue levels were already quite high as spoken about openly during that time. So, the last thing I wanted to do in my spare time was to increase my anxiety by driving.
After placement, I was determined to do more driving and get on to step 2 at least! So, I was going out more regularly, it still wasn’t as often as I’d liked to or needed but I did have spoons to save whilst writing my dissertation.
At the end of May, when university was coming to a halt, I decided enough was enough. I needed to independently go to a local appointment and I was going to drive yet having never driven independently before I decided to take a friend.
This was still a big step for me considering a month prior I was have jumped in a taxi.
Then on the way back from that appointment I dropped my friend off and drove home for the first time independently.
My friend literally lives a few streets away (one long street may I add), but I cannot describe the feeling I had when I got back home independently. It reminded me why I’d been fighting so hard to drive for all these years and gave me the determination more than ever to drive more (just so you know this is NOT an inspirational porn post just my feelings).
Since then I have been going out more regularly doing local trips and I never thought I’d say this a year ago but I LOVE driving. I haven’t driven in a month because my car has been in the garage and now it’s back I, unfortunately, have been unwell and haven’t had the spoons to go far. But I couldn’t believe how much I missed driving and my car when it was in the garage.
I do enjoy driving despite my anxiety- I do make mistakes and I’m not the driver I want to be just yet and due to my car being so heavily adapted I worry about ‘messing it up’.
I know I’m not the best driver and I’m certainly not as good as I wanted to be a year post passing my test but I am getting there and I am SO HAPPY with the progress I am making even with the odd mistakes getting me down. I still have a few goals to achieve before I can remove that emergency break (not that anyone uses it) and eventually take my P plates off but I know I’ll get there and I cannot wait for the next chapter of my driving journey to begin.
~Everyone carries out their occupations differently and in their own time.~ Had to add an occupational twist, didn’t I?
Thank you for reading,