Slippery Roads Redux

A few weeks ago I talked about driving on slippery roads, and how the traction control warning light, while being kind of redundant when the whole car is slipping and sliding about, was also a good metaphor for ignoring the warning lights of mental illness. Today, I experienced that times 10. Driving to work today involved frequent visits from the traction control warning light due to the snowstorm that we had today.

And while I know how to navigate snowy roads, today’s commute featured another thing for my anxiety to get worked up about. Everyone else.

Because the roads today weren’t just a little slippery. They were a complete mess, from start to finish. Some parts of the highway were completely covered with snow. And I could tell other cars were being forced to take it slow and were slipping and sliding. And I was just waiting for one of them to slip and slide into me because that was what my depression was expecting.

Or else, I would worry that people would be annoyed with me when I was first accelerating after a light turned green. Inevitably it seemed that those red lights I got stuck at had an SUV with snow tires behind me and wanting to go much faster than I was currently going. But all I could do was what was right for me.

We can control other people. On the roadways that is why we have insurance. And we can’t control how people react to our actions. Some of those drivers might have been annoyed that I couldn’t take an intersection as well as they could. But allowing others to pressure you into something you know doesn’t work with you and your comfort level hurts you more than anything.

So when it comes to managing your mental illnesses or driving in snowstorms, make sure you are doing what you feel comfortable with. And don’t let your anxiety about how everyone else will react decide what is right for you. Only you know that. And ultimately, slippery road or not, you are the only one behind the wheel.

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