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Driving with MAV. Any advise would be extremely helpful!


The first time my dizziness struck me, two months ago, I was driving and got so panicked about how I was feeling that I pulled on the side of the road and called my husband to pick me up. Ever since I haven’t driven. I feel too spaced out and uncomfortable to do it, but I also think I developed some sort of anxiety when getting behind the wheel. I’ve tried driving around my neighborhood a few times but start getting very anxious and get more dizzy and it’s just a disaster. I can’t stay at home forever though and would like to slowly start driving again. Anyone had this problem? Any advise on how you overcame it or tips to drive with this condition would be extremely helpful!


Sorry I"m always posting :slight_smile:

I would get on the meds to help control the condition to be honest and would not drive unless you are controlled.

Having said that I have never had an issue driving strangely, but then I wasn’t driving when my symptoms were truly at their worst.


Not at all, I truly appreciate your responses! You’re very helpful :slight_smile:

I agree. I have a toddler and really don’t feel comfortable driving around with him while feeling like this. It’s just very frustrating to be stuck at home or depending on my husband to drive me around. Some days I’ll feel somewhat ok minus some slight spaciness, and I feel like I would be ok driving short distances, but like I said, my anxiety is getting the best of me.


Anxiety is the pits, get on the meds and lose it entirely (ok you get some residual anxiety but it really declines over time as you get used to the remaining symptoms).

If you are really lucky the meds will eliminate the symptoms completely (they did for me briefly, but some crept back - but i’ve not titrated up very far to keep meds at a compromised level)


I totally understand the anxiety about driving! I have no choice but to drive a round trip of about 35-40 kilometers, 4 days a week. I experienced a spin/earthquake 3 times during last year and found it terrifying. My guardian angel must have been looking out for me as each time the road was relatively clear and i could pull over until it passed. They usually only lasted about 20 seconds - but a lot can happen on the road in that time! Whilst I hated having to drive, I also realize that I might never drive again if I avoided it for too long. We live out of town, so driving is a must.
I have been ‘almost O.K. for over a month now, and have just resumed driving after a 2 week "Christmas’ break. -so far so good, and I no longer arrive back feeling exhausted! I certainly don’t think it is a good idea to drive if the dizzies are frequent or you are feeling really spacey. My husband had to do the trips at my worst times, but a lot of the time I was what I call ‘functional’ ie feeling slightly nauseous, spaced out, ‘drunk’, those almost subliminal greying out feelings, and exhausted all the time!
The way I coped (I have to deliver and collect work for my Dental Technician husband) was to leave as early as possible after the morning work rush, choose my route carefully where I could pull over easily wherever possible and get it over with as soon as possible. Any shopping that I had to do was also a very quick affair without lingering to check out the shelves. Even if I only needed a loaf of bread - I take a basket trolly , ans sometimes wore my poaroid sunglasses in to the s/market…working on triggers being additive and accumulative!
A lot depends on where you live, of course…I live in a small/medium sized town, though sadly a large portion of the drivers on our roads got their drivers licenses in a lucky packet - if at all! ALSO, having a toddler in the car is a big consideration!! As James suggests, perhaps get meds of some description to help your anxiety, then try taking short trips on your ‘better’ days to build up your confidence. You do need to get a handle on your anxiety, otherwise it might start taking over your life. Good luck - and sending good vibes!


I totally understand your problems with driving too because on one occasion brain fog was so bad I drove on the wrong side of a bollard when turning into a road!!! I also didn’t know what gear I was in. Very uncomfortable. But this was all before I started taking nortriptyline. Now I cannot drive at night but am fine during the day. The meds have taken away the anxiety and most of the brain fog so that I feel as if I know what I am doing now. I hope you get help soon because the longer you leave it the more problematic it will become. Are you going to see a doc about your anxiety? Take care.


Thank you all for your responses! Like I said, some days I feel just slightly spacey and I feel like I would be fine driving but I think the anxiety feeling makes it seem worse than it really is. I do think that postponing driving feeds the fear and anxiety even more. I am strongly considering going on an antidepressant to help with all the MAV symptoms as well as the anxiety caused. I’m also considering Cognitive Behavioral therapy. I guess I’ll take it one day at a time. I’ll just start driving around my neighborhood with my husband in the car and see how I do. If I feel too spacey, I’ll definitely have to go on the AD before attempting to drive again.


That’s true of any avoidance behaviour - the more you avoid something, the more anxious you get about it.


Keep driving! (Safely) don’t stop doing the things you need or want to do. Your brain takes a long time to compensate but it can!


Having your husband in the car at first is a great idea! Keep on truckin’!!


What meds do you take if you don’t mind me asking? Thx!


I have this same problem with night driving, but am determined not to let it take me down. I’m about to be 40 and refuse to already be like my 70 year old mother who has the same condition and hasn’t driven at night in over 10 years. The lights at night are very overwhelming to me and I feel like I almost have no depth perception when I turn. That being said, I am determined to keep doing all normal activities. I know that once I stop I’ll have trouble getting the nerve to do it again. Hope this helps! :slight_smile:


Just 20mg of Amitriptyline nightly.


To me it’s the opposite… I actually feel like I can drive better at night because during the day, all the light and visual stimuli gives me a slight disoriented feeling. At night, my mind feels clearer. It’s weird!


This whole thing is weird isn’t it?! I definitely have to wear sunglasses during the day, but nighttime is my true struggle. Good luck to you!


Wish Amitriptyline had worked for me. So many on here seem to have good luck with that medication. I had awful side effects, so had to stop taking it. :confused:


Frustrating. I got dry mouth at first and was a bit euphoric, lol. Did you also rule out Nori?


Ana, I also have a toddler and don’t feel comfortable driving with her in the car. I feel for you! I do drive sometimes by myself, but not at night.


I think having my son in the car makes me even more anxious because I obviously want to feel as focused as possible when driving, and feeling like this makes it hard to focus at all!


After my second ginormous bout of “earthquake” (great descriptor-pisses me off when people say they get lightheaded too…as if) I really struggled with driving for several weeks. My balance PT recommended HD sunglasses. Didn’t help. She reminded me I could drive slow in the right US lane and pullover if needed.

It is anxiety as much as visual disturbance. Cymbalta destroyed my migraines a decade ago (a side effect I noticed in hindsight) as well as curing some fear of heights etc. As I am MAV without headache, about to give it another whirl. That could be an option for driving anxiety.