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Spring Break – On the Mountain Roads

So…I didn’t die…yet.

I don’t know why I have this horrible fear of the roads, well, I do know some reasons. I am terrified of mountain roads, winding twisty roads, roads that make me feel like I am going to go flying of the side of a cliff. I know where that fear comes from, but as I get older it seems like my road fear is increasing. In fact, all my fears are increasing exponentially lately.

Every little bump on the interstate ignites my startle reflex and I feel panic rushing up into my throat. I want to slow down, and sometimes I wish we could just pull over and take a break. Like I need a break to breathe, and to stop moving in order to reorient myself and get my literal feet on the ground.

I realized during this trip that one of the reasons I am so fatigued and my neck and shoulders hurt so badly after any long period of time in the car is that I quite literally stay clenched near the entire time. My stomach, my hands on the door….I was even clenching my toes! I can’t help it, I can’t stop it, and it is definitely getting worse.

Again, I am typing this from the front seat of the RV in a failing attempt to distract myself and stay a bit calmer as darkness falls on these country roads. I really am trying to not drive my husband completely batty. He get angry thinking that I am always critiquing his driving, but that it not it…well sometimes it is. But it is my own panic. I see the break lights ahead and I try to break. Maybe it is about control? I can’t control the break petal!

So as I am looking down tapping away on my iPad, Tom is yelling from the back because he is getting very tired and we are not there yet, and my mother can’t seem to figure out how to work an iPad charger so his iPad died (so we’re not going to be putting her in charge of the battery charger on the RV anytime soon). Then the GPS says something, but I don’t hear what and hubby asks me what it is telling him to do.

I’m frazzled instantly. I need to slow down, concentrate, read the signs, see where the GPS says to go and it is taking longer for me to do that than for the exit to approach. He begins to get off the exit, and everything feels too fast. He’s under the turn speed limit, but it isn’t slow enough. Getting off the exit makes my stomach turn, it feels like we will tip over. We won’t, I know it, but it doesn’t stop the panic, or my teeth from clenching, the growling grumble, and the final, “would you slow down?” Can’t we just crawl for a while?

It takes at least another 20 minutes to get back to my normal knotty self.

Where did I leave off? That’s right…the idea to rent a RV and drive it to NC to my brother’s house, for several reasons. The kids could spread out, not if, but when they get car sick there is a bathroom on board, AND it would be a great new adventure to do some camping because we have never been camping, and I am not sleeping in a tent.


Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.

One Comment:

  1. awe man you’re making me nervous for our drive… ugh.
    though maybe its the RV to blame, they are so tall…

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