Suddenly lowered anxiety?

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
So, 2 weeks ago, we bought a car. I was supposed to test drive it right after my husband but I freaked out and said that I could not. Up until about 10 days prior to that, I hadn't driven in about 15 months. We were in this new city and I was totally overwhelmed with driving just another unknown vehicle after a rented van, truck and U-haul.

Since then, I have driven him to work and home 7 times - 160 miles per day. My driving anxiety - anxiety I had for the entire 14 years that I lived in rural Oregon and only drove to the city 1-2 times per month - is almost gone. I would say that at least 80% of the anxiety I felt behind the wheel has left me.

But that's not all. I just went to the mall. Ok, so a covid mall is WAY different than a regular mall but there were people there. I had zero panic. I hesitated before getting to the door because I didn't want to get near others entering the building, but that was it.

I even managed Wal-Mart the other day with very little reaction. I said Wal-Mart. Don't get me wrong, I hate Wal-Mart but I had reason to go and I did and I never lost my cookies or my marbles. This was totally unexpected.

I want to ask what the hell is wrong with me? I'm not on new anxiety pills. I'm certainly pre-menopausal but isn't that supposed to make anxiety worse?

I suppose it is possible that this is happening because a whole lot of recent stressors have been lifted. There's no more Portland public transit, significantly decreased money concerns and I do finally have a therapist after over a year without one. I guess that could explain it. Maybe.

I cannot help but be suspicious. Me shopping without feeling like I am going to be pounded into a wall by customer aggression while profusely apologizing for daring to take up their shopping space is absolutely unheard of and it only got worse with the virus and all the new rules and shopping paths that no one follows. The road was only a little better.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
I suppose it is possible that this is happening because a whole lot of recent stressors have been lifted.
This is likely one factor.
Since then, I have driven him to work and home 7 times - 160 miles per day. My driving anxiety - anxiety I had for the entire 14 years that I lived in rural Oregon and only drove to the city 1-2 times per month - is almost gone. I would say that at least 80% of the anxiety I felt behind the wheel has left me.

But that's not all. I just went to the mall. Ok, so a covid mall is WAY different than a regular mall but there were people there. I had zero panic. I hesitated before getting to the door because I didn't want to get near others entering the building, but that was it.
And another factor is - sometimes, it just takes doing something a few times for it to become more comfortable. You're driving your husband, and it's going fine - and each time it's not anxiety-triggering, you replace an old response pattern (anxiety) with a new one (a little anxious, but really fine).

This ca n have positive ripples into other areas. I see a connection between driving (being out, doing a task) and going into a mall. So, the positive experience you're getting while driving is spilling out into other task-based navigational situations.

It's good stuff - nothing abnormal about any of it.
 
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