My intrusive thoughts mainly centered around driving. For most people who live in major metropolitan areas, my commute is not that long. I drive forty-five minutes one way to work. I take a more direct route which bypasses the rush hour traffic. My commute leaves some colleagues shaking their head in disbelief especially when my girls were infants and toddlers.
Now I enjoy my commute. It is a way to decompress from the work day, and I can transition back to wife and mom. I listen to podcasts, music, or talk to family and friends. This time of year is stunning with the leaves turning shades of red, orange and yellow.
When I was struggling with postpartum anxiety, my commute was hell. Images of jerking my steering wheel into the oncoming lane of traffic flashed before my eyes. I drive on a two lane county highway for the majority of my commute. It’s frequented by lots of semis. I would picture my car flattened like a pancake. I would see twisted metal all around me. All I saw was destruction. These images were stuck on a nonstop loop in my head. I would arrive at work, slick with sweat. This went on for months. I finally tearfully confessed these thoughts out loud. When I said those thoughts out loud, I felt a sense of relief.
Today I’m reclaiming my commute as my way to commune with nature, to ground myself and to shine a light on my darkest days. The solution as some suggested was not to move closer to work. I adore our home, our community and our school. My choice is to reframe my commute. I kmpw that these thoughts are just thoughts. My thoughts do not mean that I will act on them. I’m not whispering about these thoughts anymore. I’m done hiding. Intrusive thoughts lose their power and strength when we talk about them out loud.