Let me give the survey some context:
I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. It impacts my driving. Particularly on the interstate, and on secondary roads which are unfamiliar, or that I do not travel regularly. I had a severe anxiety attack on 28 April 1998, while traveling the interstate. It was a classic anxiety attack: I felt like I was having a heart attack. As it is an organic condition, many things impact my ability to drive, and thus influence the advent of an anxiety attack.
I have spoken openly with a very close friend about my anxiety disorder. However, she seems unable to understand fully what I feel and experience. Even though I do drive, and drive comfortably, to places which I am familiar, and don’t have a freak-out while doing it, she thinks that I am easily able to drive as a general rule. Such isn’t the case, unfortunately. What my friend also seems unable to understand is that prior to 28 April 1998, I drove EVERYWHERE. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed driving. I used to work as an admissions counselor for a college, and I travelled to different parts of the United States. I have vast experience driving on many different types of roads, including Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles, to name three. The list goes on; I won’t bore you.
The friend in question was in town on last Thursday evening for business. She called , and asked if I were available to meet. We agreed to meet for breakfast the next morning, which was Friday. She is a friend from college; we have known each other for 25 years. However, it had been five years since we last saw each other. Life is busy. She came to my apartment, which, by the way, she really liked. Anyway, I drove the two of us to a local diner nearby, and she observed me driving comfortably while carrying on a conversation with her. In fact, we talked a bit about my anxiety disorder. After a nice visit over breakfast, we returned to my apartment, and, we parted ways. Later that day, I sent my friend an email, thanking her for breakfast – she treated. I also mentioned that she and I really needed to arrange more frequent get-togethers, as it had been five years since the last one, which happened to be our 20th college reunion.
On Monday, my friend responded to my email. She agreed that it had been too long since our last visit, and that we needed to make an effort to connect more often. Additionally, she asked the question I pose in the survey. She said that it was about ten miles to the hotel, and, that I wouldn’t need to get on the interstate. Therefore, I shouldn’t have a problem getting there. She concluded the request by saying if it were too much of a bother, no worried. My response to her, which is my actual response:
“As for the flats: Would really like to help, but I cannot at this point. I can travel comfortably on secondary (back) roads on which I am familiar, but the route I would need to travel, albeit backs roads, in order to get to the hotel, are not familiar. It’s more complicated than not getting on the interstate, and difficult to explain in a neat package. Also, the trip is closer to 20 miles. “
The take-away: Unless one suffers from anxiety disorder, or, is close to someone who does, e.g. a family member, people just really don’t get it.