Learning to Drive (Part 1)

I was trying to learn to drive. I must have taken at least 20 lessons over the course of 2 years. Most of them were shortly after I turned 17, and then I left a huge gap before taking another 2 or 3 lessons when I was almost 19.

First of all, I stupidly thought that I was going to be an awesome driver and that I would pick it up super fast; I wanted to impress my Dad, and be a good woman driver (no offence to women drivers – but some of you do let the team down!!).

Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen with my coordination and lack of ability to concentrate. I made the huge mistake of telling my driving instructor that I had some difficulties due to my disabilities, so he quite literally took me for a ride (he barely taught me anything and let me have lesson after lesson so he could make money out of an easy target).

I loved it at first, I felt like I was grasping the concept and doing well, progressing at a normal speed. But then I started getting stressed out with other things during a day I was due to go driving on, so when I got in the car I was already in a bit of a mess. I began forgetting how to do things, or worse, knowing I needed to do something NOW and not being able to make my brain tell my limbs to work.

Some lessons were okay – the ones where I’d been chilling out at home all day and nothing had gone wrong. But if I’d been at school, my lessons were terrible. But then it was the school holidays and I thought I could really make some progress without any other distractions, but gradually things built up and I was still struggling. I found it really hard to do everything that needs to be done, at the right time. It’s like, my brain was trying to send the signals out in the right order, but it was all getting jumbled. I knew how to do it; my body just wasn’t capable of doing it fast enough - which is a really frustrating feeling. It was also getting dark by the time I had my lesson and the bright lights from the other cars was too much for me. I literally couldn’t see. I assume this is due to my Scotopic Sensitivity. The other issues I expect were down to my Dyspraxia.

Eventually the inevitable happened and I had a panic attack whilst driving. I managed to pull over and then just burst into tears, my head feeling like it was about to blow up. My instructor drove home and I officially gave up. I couldn’t face it anymore, through fear I suppose. But more than that, I felt I wasn’t safe to be driving. And that, even if by some miracle I passed – what would happen if I panicked somewhere less convenient and without someone on dual controls to help me out?

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