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To the Teenagers With Anxiety Who Are Scared to Learn How to Drive

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Driving is supposed to be one of the most exciting things a 16-year-old can accomplish — except, it is the exact opposite for me. I have failed that dreaded driving test twice. All of my friends have their licenses, and I am a teenager who still cannot pass the test.

As hard as I try, there is always a new fear that presents itself. At first, I was too scared to get behind the wheel, too scared to hurt anyone driving with me or the other cars on the road. Luckily, after a year and a half, I’m finally comfortable enough to be on the road on a really good day. I’m also terrified of failure. I am so afraid of making mistakes and messing up with each instruction given that I revert back to incorrect habits that I have practiced fixing from the very beginning.

Driving with my parents doesn’t bother me — I trust them. But when my instructor gets into my car, a complete stranger that has the power to fail or pass me, I shake at the wheel. My fingernails leave imprints on the steering wheel and my knuckles are completely white as I try my hardest to listen to the list of orders given. My instructor has her window down and the noise adds extra stimulation to the already racing thoughts in my mind. My instructor yells and writes down note after note as I continuously fail to follow her commands. The anxiety finally begins to break through in the form of tears.

By the end of the test, my chin is quivering while I listen to my instructor give me all of the reasons why I did not pass. My mom is in the waiting room, waiting to praise me for passing because I have come so far. But one look at my face and she knows that I have failed yet again. I try to keep myself together as the tears stream down my face while my mom and instructor arrange another time for me to take the test again.

Then, the cycle repeats. I feel like a failure when I cannot accomplish something that seems to come so easy to others. I want to do my best, but I don’t know how. Anxiety keeps me from accomplishing the same things as other teenagers.

To all of those teenagers who are struggling with anxiety, or any kind of mental illness, you are not alone. I hope that by speaking out, maybe you will be able to connect to my story and seek comfort in your own battle. There is help, and there are those that understand. Never give up and always keep moving forward. You are so loved. Please never forget it.

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Thinkstock photo via kieferpics

Originally published: August 30, 2017
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