Most teenager long for their driver’s license and the freedom of driving. Youth ran to get their license at 16 and dangled their keys in front of others, causing envy and longing. At least, that seemed to be the response of my friends and family.
I, on the other hand, dreaded cars and everything related to them. Driver’s Ed was one of the worst experiences of my life. The fear tactics that amused other classmates terrified me. Anxiety about crashing and nightmares with graphic images haunted me even when I was a passenger. Worse yet, my intrusive thoughts (probably from OCD) would enter my head and refuse to leave. Suddenly, I kept visualizing killing others and myself in horrible ways. The responsibility and power one has when they drive a car crippled me with fear.
However, my mother and father encouraged me and my driving skills while pushing me forward to get behind the wheel. Thus, I have been driving for awhile now and even commuted to a university 45 minutes away every day. Despite my lingering thoughts and fears, getting around by car has become an easier process as I have grown slowly in confidence.
But accidents like the one of Friday convince me that I am a “bad luck charm” for drivers and cars. Yes, this is magically thinking, but the feeling still washes guilt and terror over me. Every bad thing that happens with cars in my family seems related to me.
First of all, someone rear-ended me because he was not paying attention to the road. This totaled the car and left me with whiplash. Despite my great fear, I finally got back onto the road and going places again.
Then, the ice under my car made it slip and go over the median into oncoming traffic this winter. Thankfully, no vehicles came at the time otherwise I might have been killed. A group of wonderful people helped me out of the snowy bank on the highway. I can never thank them enough because I do not know what I would have done alone.
Finally, the accident yesterday where the big truck pushed our car into the barrier because he was turning from the wrong lane, shook me up dreadfully. Images of us dying and those moments where I thought I would be crushed keep flashing through my mind. Plus, my mother was taking me to an eye appointment which causes great guilt. If it had not been from me, none of us would have been in the car driving at that moment. Sounds silly, but I feel like the accident was because of me.
Perhaps these feelings are OCD, a way of dealing with PTSD and anxiety, or the magical thinking that sometimes accompanies aspergers. Anyway, I know that my response is illogical and a lie (as my father is quick to point out). However, it continues to haunt me especially now that the insurance is giving us trouble. I just wish I could do something to help and/or change myself.