Overcoming fear

Message
Author
sidneyhayden
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:15 am
Real Name: Cindy Waliczek
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 15
My Motorcycle: 2006 Kawasaki Vulcan, 2000cc

Overcoming fear

#1 Unread post by sidneyhayden » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:26 am

I'm new to this forum, found after googling, "overcoming fear on a motorcycle."

I've been riding for 15 years, my skills are solid, I ride a big bike, have ridden to and from Sturgis 6 times, etc. I have not had a crash, but three years ago, had a terrible case of vertigo that took almost a year to recover from. Once back on the bike, I did fine until I encountered specific situations, especially related to speed and surroundings (heavy traffic, multi-lane traffic, being followed too closely, etc.).

Now, I have completely unpredictable panic attacks. After a great ride going out this past Saturday, one hit coming home, where I was being tailgated in heavy traffic in the mountains and there was no place to pull over. The only thing I could do to maintain my own control and safety was to slow down. Still going the speed limit, but the driver behind me wasn't satisfied. Once I was finally able to get out of traffic and stop to get my nerves calmed, my husband told me that I'm a road hazard and it's time to hang up my keys. I listened quietly, got back on the bike, and rode home with no problem.

I don't want to give this up. We have a plan for handling future situations like that (I get off the road and calm down asap), but I need to get this under control. I either need therapy, or to limit my rides to only the most predictable, or....??? Open to opinions and advice. I had to overcome a lot of fear to get good at this, and I don't want to give up, but these incidents are not fun.

User avatar
sunshine229
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1845
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 6:02 pm
Real Name: Andrea aka Mrs. Total Motorcycle
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 14
My Motorcycle: 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Location: Waterloo, ON

Re: Overcoming fear

#2 Unread post by sunshine229 » Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:14 pm

Hi Cindy,

Welcome to TMW! I am sorry to hear of your challenges. I might suggest that you talk to your doctor about your vertigo if you think that is still a problem. You would probably not want to be back out riding and have another vertigo attack. Also, doctors can help with anxiety.

That being said, if it's controllable anxiety that you want to work on then I suggest doing lots of practice riding in neighborhoods and back roads instead of being out in traffic. Work your way back up slowly. Kind of like when you first started riding. If you find at one step that you are too nervous to continue then you know where your boundary is and you either work to get past it or don't ride beyond it.

I am no doctor and nor have I suffered from this before, so I am just speaking from a supporting position and hope to give you a new way of thinking about the situation.

Mike (site owner) created a Beginner Biker's Guide, and you may want to take a look? http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/school.htm
Andrea :sun:

sidneyhayden
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:15 am
Real Name: Cindy Waliczek
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 15
My Motorcycle: 2006 Kawasaki Vulcan, 2000cc

Re: Overcoming fear

#3 Unread post by sidneyhayden » Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:38 pm

Thank you, Andrea. I will look at that - and may very well bite the bullet and go see a doc, too.

blues2cruise
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10005
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2005 10:28 pm
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 11
My Motorcycle: Rocky Mountain Bicycle
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Contact:

Re: Overcoming fear

#4 Unread post by blues2cruise » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:01 pm

sidneyhayden wrote: and may very well bite the bullet and go see a doc, too.
Good idea.

It's not easy when your husband is not supportive. That doesn't help with your anxiety at all.

I had some anxiety problems after I started riding again....when I would see someone doing the same thing that caused my crash...I would start feeling nauseous. Little by little that feeling went away.

Like you...I also don't like it when someone follows too closely....It's an intimidation tactic. I pull over as soon as I can find a space.....

Remember to give yourself lots of space between you and the car ahead.....and also....your hubby could ride behind you.
Image

User avatar
Honey Badger
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:37 pm
Real Name: AJ
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 10
My Motorcycle: 13 GSXR1000; 07 Triumph Daytona (race)

Re: Overcoming fear

#5 Unread post by Honey Badger » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:35 pm

I can't say that I've experienced exactly what you are going through, so my first and primary suggestion would be to visit a therapist or doctor to see if they have some pro tips on dealing with it without potentially placing yourself in harms way too much.

That being said, I've had a couple somewhat similar instances, triggered by a crash of my own. In 2012, at the track, I had what I call my "big crash." I was back riding 5 weeks later (as soon as I could operate a clutch), and while it slowed me down a bit (particularly in the corner I crashed in), it didn't stop me or stop my overall progress.

Then, almost a year later, while assisting at a crash scene that my group and I rolled up on, I had a flash back where some of the lost memories of my own crash filled in, but along with that I had a physical reaction as well. Not full on panic, I doubt anyone else noticed, but I sure did! Didn't think much of it until a few weeks later while sitting at a stop light the same thing happened where more memories kicked in and the physical reaction - almost like my body going into shock. Thankfully I was just sitting still and it passed after a minute, but that made me nervous about getting back to the track for fear that this could happen while riding in general.

In this case, I made an effort to remember and fill in those lost minutes since they were coming back on their own (I had a pretty good concussion at the time of the accident), and managed to fill in most of the blanks. I didn't have another incident after that, so I feel like it was almost more of a physical reaction to the memory than a "normal" panic attack.

This doesn't apply too much to your situation other than this: perhaps taking time to think about the things that scare you, imagine it in your mind (when you're NOT on a bike) and think of possible scenarios and means of dealing with it. Knowing your options is HUGE in overcoming fears, and realizing that you CAN control the situation may help prevent you from having a full panic attack. just a suggestion, again, not a professional in those fields at all!
AFM #302​

​Special thanks to my 2015 sponsors!

RiderzLaw; Dunlop Race Tires; Catalyst Reaction Suspension Tuning; MotoSport; Woodcraft; Shoei Helmets; Moto Shop; Precision Trackdays; Erich Stiegler Farmer's Insurance; Speed Mob; Cycle Gear; AXO; Driven Racing; City Bike; Chicken Hawk Racing

"Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul"
"Try not, do or do not. There is no try"

User avatar
Loonette
Site Supporter - Platinum
Site Supporter - Platinum
Posts: 2069
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:39 pm
Real Name: Kristin
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 13
My Motorcycle: 2006/Kawasaki/Mean Streak/best bike ever
Location: Crunchy Granolaville, Ohio, US

Re: Overcoming fear

#6 Unread post by Loonette » Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:04 am

Definitely have a doctor rule out anything that can be remedied with his/her help - you might possibly have an ear or sinus issue.

Try some daily meditation.... quiet time by yourself to keep the outside buzz away and reconnect with your self/spirit - this can often help disperse stress and worry.

Ride your own ride. Like the others have said, if you're feeling a bit "off", ride ahead of your husband so that you set the pace and space.

In the end, your safety and that of others is the most important thing out there. I have said for myself, that if I ever get to a point where my balance feels too compromised to be a safe two-wheeled rider, then I might be willing to take a Can-Am Spyder for a ride. ;-)

Best to you... keep us posted. <3

Cheers,
Loonette
FIRST RESPONDERS DO IT WITH LIGHTS AND SIRENS!! :smoke:
Find 'em hot, leave 'em wet...

********************
2006 Mean Streak 1600

User avatar
Kal
Site Supporter - Gold
Site Supporter - Gold
Posts: 2552
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2004 2:08 pm
Real Name: Jade
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 14
My Motorcycle: 1998 Kawasaki GPZ500S
Location: Nottingham, UK
Contact:

Re: Overcoming fear

#7 Unread post by Kal » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:19 pm

Hi Hayden

You already know that confidence is a key quality when riding and yours has taken a knock, so dont be hard on yourself. Selfcare was mentioned above.

You've had a medical issue, you've had a year not using these skills, you've not had a chance to desensitise yourself to other road users and as said above it doesnt sound like that your husband is choosing the best way to be supportive.

So self care, be kind to yourself, dont expect to pick up exactly where you left off with bikes, dont be hard on yourself. Practise riding skills and your confidence will come back.
Kal...
Relationship Squid...

GPZ500S, CB250N, GB250Clubman

Post Reply