I'm trying to find out if anyone has had a similar situation to mine and how they've dealt with it. For the past month I've had anxiety about driving on the interstate, especially when I think I might get stuck in traffic. It started when I had some stomach bug which caused me to get extremely nauseous when I was driving and I had to pull over ASAP and find a place to vomit or use the bathroom. This happened a couple of times and the second time I even had to call coworkers to come get me and my car and then have my wife come drive me home.
Now ever since then, I've had a fear of being stuck in traffic somewhere and getting sick again without having anyway to get out of the situation. I don't get any bad physical symptoms like I've heard some people describe on other sites, but I still have this big worry in my head that just won't go away. I'm usually fine driving around local roads, but I have to drive through Atlanta for work and traffic is often bad, especially in the afternoons. Driving on back roads isn't much better during rush hour due to a lack of good places to pull over and stop in downtown. I have no experiences with anxiety before that was this intense, so this is kind of a new and scary feeling for me. It's also not like driving has ever bothered me before this. I've put over 100K miles on my car in the past 4 years from driving all over the eastern U.S. for work and never had any lingering issues. I did have one time a couple of years ago where vertigo almost made me pass out while on the interstate and I had to pull over while it passed, but I had no lingering anxiety from that experience after the vertigo symptoms cleared up.
I think it doesn't help that in the mornings, I always feel a little out of it no matter how well rested I am. I've had days in the past where I woke up just feeling a little more tired than usual and that turned into something serious within a few hours. Now it's like my brain is always questioning whether or not I'm really OK during those first few hours of the day. It also doesn't help that whatever made me initially sick left me with bad sinus congestion that still hasn't completely gone away and last week actually took a turn for the worse, though this week it seems a little better.
Luckily my boss has been understanding about the issue and said I can work from home on days I can't make it into the office because of this issue, and a coworker has been able to give me rides most days. I still want to hurry and get over this issue though since I don't like depending on other people and my coworker works a different schedule than what I like to work. He's also the only coworker that lives in the same direction I do, so if he takes a day off I've either got to try and drive in myself or work from home. A doctor and therapist said it sounds like post traumatic stress from the incidents when I got sick while driving and that with time it should go away on its own, but it doesn't seem to be getting better. Am I just not giving it enough time? Today the doctor prescribed me Lexapro, so I'll see if that helps any.
I have tried driving through Atlanta this weekend when there wasn't any traffic, and I had my wife with me as a kind of security blanket, and I was mostly fine, though still a little nervous when I reached areas that typically are backed up in my commute. I also tried driving some when we went on a weekend trip outside the city, and I was completely fine then. It really seems to be just traffic in particular that I have issues with, though I haven't tried driving much on the interstate alone.