Sunday, September 25, 2011
After my husband died, quite a long time ago, I had a dream in which I was driving along an aquaduct..(aqueduct?) like this, from Cooma to Canberra. It was perilously narrow, but, thankfully, straight for the 100kms or so.....(yes, I hate that incorrect construction: I should say, "I was thankful that...").
The dream seemed symbolic: I was alone on a fraught, narrow path to somewhere different.
Canberra, I had some association with, but why Cooma I have no idea - maybe a suggestion that I didn't feel that I was starting from home.
After that dream, I developed a phobia of driving over bridges.
Prior to that, I would have been unsympathetic to phobias: now, I had to grip the steering wheel, keep my eyes focussed on the other side, blot out everything else, and hold my breath and wait to reach solid ground. As I did...(although sometimes I strayed far too near the middle of the bridge, to the deserved hostility of other drivers).
It wasn't the fear of the bridges that was the only problem: it was the limp, sweating, weakness after I crossed that compounded the issue.
And the fact that it was irrational and illogical was maddening. I had driven for decades with no issues.
To be honest, there was also an issue with my car. Many had been recalled because of a computer error: the company had writen to me, but the local dealers refused to recognise it. I spent many $oos on trying to fix the car on its habit of stopping abruptly. I was a silly air-head woman. Barbie-headed. And then at last it happened to them when they were returning it to me. And then they fixed it.
After this, for some years, I challenged the phobia by driving my children here and there. On the whole, the phobia won the challenge.
From which, I can assure you that getting back on the horse after you have fallen may work for the moment, but it can also suggest that finding a different method of transport is a more sensible option.
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," is a typical platitudinous lie that they tell children. What doesn't kill you can make you weaker. And weaker.