chronic illness,  Hemiplegic Migraine,  Just Life,  Migraine,  Migraine Awareness Month

The Reason I Had to Stop Driving

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Simply put, I love to drive and at one time I considered myself adventurous. Not bungee jumping or mountain climbing adventurous but if I wanted to go somewhere there wasn’t much that could stop me. I had no fear about going somewhere by myself and was ready for a road trip any time. To me, driving equals freedom. The freedom to go to the store when I want, make appointments without feeling like a bother…the freedom to go places. Things are a lot different now. I stopped driving in November 2016 and other than a few short trips last August, I have not driven since. Why?

For starters, the Hemiplegic Migraines (to find out more click here) cause a sudden and drastic impact on my vision. I do not trust that I could get off the road without endangering the lives of others. This is the main reason I decided to stop getting behind the wheel.

Yes, I decided to stop driving months before my Doctor even mentioned it to me. I realized it wasn’t safe and I also knew that I could never handle it if I injured or killed someone while driving.

(My husband would probably say that it is the only time I wasn’t stubborn about something.) What has this meant for my life? 

The most obvious is less freedom. I have to admit that this has been the hardest for me. I can’t just decide to go somewhere just because I want to go. No more errand days or deciding to go eat lunch with my husband.

Now, my husband will take me anywhere I want to go whenever I want to go there. Even though the decision not to drive did change some things, most of the frustration is in my head.

It is kind of like putting a piece of candy on the counter and telling a child he can’t have it. I CAN’T drive so I want to go somewhere. The keys are in my purse…the car is in the driveway…but I can’t.

The least obvious is that not driving has also meant that I am never in public alone. While this is a good thing since I can’t talk during Hemiplegic Migraine episodes, a negative has come of this as well. I have become too accustomed to not being alone. The idea of walking alone in public scares me now.

Why does it matter? 

In the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t. Is it hard sometimes, absolutely! Is it frustrating at times? Of course! Does it make getting things done more complicated? Some times! But none of that comes close to equalling the value of the life that might be lost if I drive.

Diving, chronic illnessMaking the decision not to drive was not easy. I knew that it would be a definite lifestyle change but there are positives that have come from it as well. I do not use up precious energy doing things alone. If I feel like getting out it has become precious time to spend with my husband. Has your Chronic Illness made you change your driving habits?


  • Linda

    I, also, had to stop driving when about 20 years ago, on Rte. 95, at night, a driving rain storm came up suddenly along with a migraine. I pulled over and sat terrified as tractor trailers zoomed by. In time, I managed to get it together to exit highway and make it to a gas station and seek help. I lived in a city so it wasn’t too difficult to get around and my husband was willing to take me wherever I wanted to go. However, the loss of independence was heartbreaking. Along came Uber and lyft and riding became a way of life. I just told myself it is how the super rich get around, sit back and relax. Anyway, As migraines have seemingly subsided, I drive occasionally but truthfully I find I actually do enjoy riding more. Less stress.

  • Yoleen

    You are not alone! I am so glad that I came across your blog. I’ve battled with rhuematiod arthritis for a long time and two years ago developed arthritis in both my hands which resulted in deformity in my fingers and wrist. I am just 22 years old and I never got the chance to get my license and probably will never be able to drive. Some days are harder than others but I created a blog to express my feelings and to share my struggles and achievements. I look forward to reading your blog posts!

  • Shan

    It makes me so sad to read this – I hope you’re ok. For me driving is my escape and without my car living in the wilds I’d be completely lost. You’re so brave to share this with us x

  • Alice

    I’m sorry to hear that your illness has got in the way of driving, it is such a big part of freedom like you said! But it definitely sounds like you’ve made the right decision for the safety of yourself and others. My fatigue from chronic illness can stop me driving sometimes but only on bad days so it’s not completely debilitating.
    Alice Xx

    • The Frozen Mind

      Thank you for your sweet words. Hopefully one day things will get better and I can hit the open road again.

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