Since before I could drive a car, I’ve had the same reoccurring nightmare about driving over a specific bridge and falling backward off of it. Gravity is not enough for the mighty Mazda, because in my nightmare, she’s going up, up, faster, slower, backward, and suddenly I’m in my car losing control and falling backward into a deep, dark vacuum. Do I live? Do I die? Not sure. I think I always wake up during this part.
The problem arose when I allowed this nightmare to translate over into my reality. Sounds silly, I know. But one day I thought I was literally about to be sick or pass out from driving over said bridge. By my early twenties, I became uncomfortable driving over overpasses and by my 25th birthday, I refused to drive over ANY and ALL overpasses. If you have ever been to Houston, you know that this is quite debilitating on the roadway because I swear, all roads lead to overpasses. *exits, sits in traffic, turns left underneath all the overpasses above, re-enters roadway ten minutes later*
Fellow anxiety sufferers may recognize this behavior, but it took me awhile to admit that I had “anxiety” as it seeped into other parts of my life (reading my past few posts, I’m certain that you’ve already diagnosed my madness). I began reading self-help books incessantly. I don’t think they helped a ton, because mostly I was FOCUSING on my anxiety, the very pest that was the source of my misery! But something I DID learn was that in order to overcome your fears, you gotta face them. FACE YOUR FEARS. Take a good look at them, think about how much bigger you are than them (we’re talkin’ elephants vs. mice) and face them head on.
So I began driving over small overpasses, noticing how uncomfortable I was. I also recognized that the bridges weren’t breaking beneath me, and I was still in control of my noble Mazda. I kept driving over the overpass day in and day out until I no longer thought about it. I could sing along to my radio and then look in my rearview mirror and my fear was behind me. Then I started driving over other overpasses, and a few weeks ago, I drove over the tallest overpass that I have seen in Houston. TWICE. Ain’t nothin’ but a thang.
I have NOT driven over the one big bridge in my dreams that haunts me, but I am going to before I move out of Houston. I honestly feel like I could without freaking the eff out. Maybe I can even get it on video? Who knows. But I will f’sho document when I conquer that. Allow me to leave you an image (thanks, google):
It looked much scarier in my dreams…
What are your fears? How did you conquer them?
Keep moving forward. Or up and over a bridge.