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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had problem with stress, anxiety, racing mind for about 15 years. It has affected my ability to ride a motorcycle as it seems worse when riding on the highway.
Brief history: I had a new cruiser in 2001 and could ride it anywhere, day or night, bridges, even with a passenger. Around 2005, I went through some other stressful events in life with house, girlfriend, money and panic attacks started on the motorcycle. I haven't been able to ride on the interstate since then. I eventually sold the cruiser and currently have a dual sport. Just riding home tonight cause my mind to race and think 'what if I run off the road' and I actually feel afraid that I'll run off the road.

This feels like a mental condition not caused by motorcycle riding as I have never had a wreck. It is just worse when riding, and I would love to hear any real suggestions for a solution or if anyone else has had this problem or gotten over it.
Marty in Pensacola, FL, 52.
 

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Zip
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Do you have any other symptoms of ADHD? I've known a couple of people with racing minds who tried Zoloft and gained considerable focus and peace of mind.

Naturally, discuss this with your doctor.
 

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American Legion Rider
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Have you tried essential oils, both misted and taken internally? I have no idea if they would work for you but I've seen positive results with what my wife is doing to us.
 

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Ace Tuner
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I'm afraid I don't have much help for you but I have experienced that feeling of out of control panic before on a motorcycle.
About 60 miles from home, riding in the rain at night, I crashed because oil, grease, diesel fuel or no tellin what was on the road and impossible to see that it was there.
The bike was rideable.
Just about all the way home I felt like it was going to happen again at any time. My fear was unjustified because the possibility of that happening, at anytime, is and was quite remote. It was a fluke, an oddity.
Thinking it thru, I got over it by the time I was home knowing there is really nothing to fear in all of life's challenges.
A guy has to just keep working to pick himself up and go at it again. Doesn't matter what we fear. If we try hard enough, over and over again we can finally pull through. We may not be able to do it the first or twentieth time but we can do it. We can. We must never ever give up. When my mind starts racing toward thoughts that are not productive I make myself think of something that pleases me. It could be anything. A hobby, some funny joke that makes me smile, a happy memory, just anything to keep your mind away from that downward spiral. If you tell yourself you are happy and safe enough times, you will be.
Work to catch yourself when those non productive thoughts start to creep in and MAKE yourself think of the good things you've got, that you've done or even the good times that you'll be having soon.
I think there is a song...
I get knocked down, I get up again, they ain't never gonna keep me down.
I get knocked down, I get up again, they ain't never gonna keep me down.
I get knocked down, I get up again, they ain't never gonna keep me down.

Keep plugging along dude. You can pull it off I promise. I never lie, Ask Anybody.
S F
 

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Ride recreationally only. When you do ride, stay on country back roads, preferably with nice scenery and no to little traffic. Then you can relax and enjoy the scenery and sounds. I've been in a couple of bad accidents over the years. One of those accidents, I received some serious injuries. I had a broken neck and multiple broken bones, internal organ injuries, some major head injuries and spent almost 3 months in the hospital recovering and receiving treatment, I was much younger when it happened. I didn't ride after that accident for a few years. I kept wanting to, but didn't have the balls, everyone kept telling me that I was going to get killed.

Eventually I purchased a dirt/trail bike and started back riding that way, riding in the woods. I eventually purchased a street bike again. When I got that street bike, I rode strictly recreationally, rode country back roads with very little traffic, paid attention to the road, the scenery, and about my plans at my destination when I arrived. It kept my mind busy, I didn't think about crashing. After a while, I no longer had any anxieties about riding. After years of riding and many multi-state long distance trips, I've learned that riding on the interstates are actually much safer than riding around town, especially if you live in a heavy populated urban area like I do. The problem with interstates is that its boring, and has little to no scenery.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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We can all give you advice, whether is is good or not we can't tell. My advice is to go to your doctor and explain your concerns to him. Let him advise you or refer you to those that can. Good luck to you and hope to see you back on two wheels.
 
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Nightfly
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We can all give you advice, whether is is good or not we can't tell. My advice is to go to your doctor and explain your concerns to him. Let him advise you or refer you to those that can. Good luck to you and hope to see you back on two wheels.
Good advice John, sometimes it's best to not get in the fray. I hauled gasoline for years so you either overcome any fears you may have or you'll be dead. Getting your mind right for me never involved meds of any kind. Shrinks believe they have the power to cure your anxiety, mostly it's been my experience that they haven't a clue.
 

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Not that many years ago, I was going through,... a very difficult time. Was not related to motorcycles, but the anxiety, dread, inability to just stop thinking about it reached the point I was ready to just end it all myself.

I don't know if you're a believer or not, but I started praying. I was never a Bible thumper, I'm still not one, but I do have my beliefs. Well, it didn't happen overnight but within a few days, and I still remember the moment, it felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.

Thoughts from those days still come around from time to time, but they don't grip me like they did back then. You can laugh, say its ridiculous, whatever you want, but it worked/works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. A little more about me...
I mentioned building a house in 2005. It turned into a family project and working with my dad sometimes felt like working with Hitler. When the house was about complete, the girlfriend kept pressuring me to get the house signed over to her before we were married. I was trying get the bills paid and added gas to the fire in a way by losing some money I had invested in stocks. Honestly, that was probably the biggest cause of stress. Well, things ended with her and I just got in a mode of working a lot to pay the bills. If I had bought a house like a normal person, I wouldn't have this problem. I seem to have a way of doing things the hard way.

I used to think I could push my mind and do more and not have a problem. I found out that there is a limit and once you reach that limit, the anxiety, panic symptoms show up. That's when you have to stop the source of stress, but I didn't stop it soon enough. I still work the same kind of job as an electrical/software engineer. In school I made nearly straight A's, but no so well in real life decisions.

I am a believer in God and I have this verse posted at work to remind myself:
Philippians 4:6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

I feel like I've been divorced 3 times and not married, yet. My last fiance' seemed to want someone retired who could live elsewhere and travel back and forth to Pennsylvania all the time, but I don't have nearly that much time off. Every girl meet is pretty much broke and wants to travel the world - doesn't anyone want to settle down anymore?

I tried some medication a long time ago which made me feel worse. I'm trying to do the natural things like exercise, keto diet, sunshine. I'll go to sleep tonight and likely wake up around 1am with my brain buzzing, heart racing, and I'll have to walk around to calm down.

My story is a bit outside the scope of motorcycling, but I really would do anything to feel normal again. I would sell my house and live in an RV trailer if it would allow me to feel calm in my mind and ride my motorcycle like I used to ride.
 

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On The Road Again!
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When the house was about complete, the girlfriend kept pressuring me to get the house signed over to her before we were married.
Red Flags and RED LIGHTS flashing like crazy!
 

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Our circumstances are different but the results were the same. I had just had my best year financially, and yet I felt I was losing everything. I had been gone, a lot, and when I finally got home, I didn't "fit" in my own family anymore.

I was proud of what I was and what I had done and suddenly I can't do anything right. It was hard to make myself kneal down and ask Him for His help, to admit I couldn't fix this, and I can't bear this load anymore by myself.

I placed my burden in His hands and when I started getting all wound up, I would just remind myself that He would make things right again. I went back to work, took care of myself, did what I knew was right for me.

My family is close to me now and I have two bikes now. It will get better.

Like Joe Walsh said, "I shouldn't complain, but sometimes I still do."
 

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Nightfly
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Seems like you need to put life aside and just ride your motorcycle. You haven't learned how to live with yourself, how can you expect to live with someone else. Your answers won't be found in a script or any other bottle of pills. Stop looking outside when the answers can only be found inside. Put yourself in your own hands, associate with the best people you can find, read good books, live with the mighty but most of all learn to be happy alone. Rely on your own energies, don't depend on other people. You can do it if you believe...
 

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Anxiety and riding is a bad combination. Maybe it is medical or maybe it is life choices. There are times you have to think of yourself and make changes to reduce stress. I have a bipolar son who has had a rough time in life starting over time and time again after hospital stays. He finally accepted his condition left everything he has known and moved to Maine, got a job as a carpenter and seems to be doing better than any time I can remember in his life. He says there is no stress, everything gets done on Maine time dad. I believe you know another carpenter you admire. Good luck!
 

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I don't think that there is any magic answer that will keep your mind from thinking about terrible things that could happen while you are riding, but trying to consciously focus on what is going on around you might serve to push the negative thoughts out of your thinking. Telling yourself to look further ahead for hazards, check left mirror, check right mirror, check speedometer, check whatever other gauges your bike has, then start over again. This process will fill your mind with activity and might help in keeping it from "wandering" into dangerous thoughts, which in the worst case can become self fulfilling predictions. We all know about "target fixation", and I am convinced that there is something similar that maybe needs to be called "crash fixation", the overwhelming focus on how one might crash which then might make it actually happen. But since the mind cannot be focused on more than one thing at a time, if you can force yourself to think about the riding, it can keep you from thinking about the possibility of crashing.

In fairness, some of what you fear can affect any rider. I doubt that there is anyone out there who has never had the thought flicker across their brain, while doing 80 mph on a nice two lane road, of "what if my front tire blows out right now" or "what if a deer runs out right now in front of me". But if we convert that thought immediately into "how would I react if......" instead of "oh my God I'm going to die" we can actually overcome the anxiety and become a better rider as well as develop the confidence to handle normal riding challenges without undue anxiety.

Just my thoughts, but I do not claim to be a psychologist or Zen master.
 

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Nightfly
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Finding your courage is a life-changing decision. Fear will always be around to tell you what you can’t do, it’s up to you to face your fears, and tell yourself that you can. Running from your fears only increases the doubt in yourself. Finding courage can be a life changing decision. Your allowing fear to tell you what you can't do. When you face those fears your realize what you can do.
 

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I have had problem with stress, anxiety, racing mind for about 15 years. It has affected my ability to ride a motorcycle as it seems worse when riding on the highway.
Brief history: I had a new cruiser in 2001 and could ride it anywhere, day or night, bridges, even with a passenger. Around 2005, I went through some other stressful events in life with house, girlfriend, money and panic attacks started on the motorcycle. I haven't been able to ride on the interstate since then. I eventually sold the cruiser and currently have a dual sport. Just riding home tonight cause my mind to race and think 'what if I run off the road' and I actually feel afraid that I'll run off the road.

This feels like a mental condition not caused by motorcycle riding as I have never had a wreck. It is just worse when riding, and I would love to hear any real suggestions for a solution or if anyone else has had this problem or gotten over it.
Marty in Pensacola, FL, 52.
I agree with some of the posts above about going to your doctor and finding other ways of dealing with general stress and anxiety. Self-care is really important and things like exercise, eating right, spending times with friends, time alone, positive mindset etc etc can all help.

In terms of riding a motorcycle...have you considered taking some kind of advanced rider training? I find that a lot of riders deal with anxiety when riding and a lot of times it has to do with the fact that they are lacking some fundamental riding skills. Improving those basic skills in a controlled environment with caring coaches keeping an eye on you can help tremendously. I'm a coach with the California Superbike School and we've had many students come through our school with similar issues. A lot of times it has to do with the fact that they had a crash or riding mishap that they are having a difficult time getting over, or it's been a long time since they last rode and they are feeling particularly nervous or anxious about riding in certain situations. I even when through a time when I was scared to ride on the street because it had been 10 years where I only rode and raced on the track so getting back on the street was anxiety producing for me.

Anyway, perhaps a riding school where you can get the coaching you need to bring your skills up will help your anxiety while riding and some other lifestyle changes can help in other areas. If you have any questions about CSS or other riding schools please don't hesitate to ask and I wish you all the best for safe riding in the future!!
 

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Nightfly
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You are not going to acquire a skill of any kind by reading about it, watching a video or going to a motorcycle riding class. You may see the proper way of doing something but to become skilled at something you have to do it, over and over again. Your opening post says you've been riding since at least 2001. Damn, you should have acquired a few skills in that time. I don't believe lack of skill is your biggest problem, although everyone can always improve riding skills. I think you've lost your nerve, your afraid. Big trucks send you running for the exit, traffic is a problem, you can't deal with anything that is out of the ordinary for you. I just think you've lost your never and are afraid to take the slightest chance on your bike.

Heck, when I get back on my bike after a winter break, I'll be a bit nervous the first day. Not riding, even for a little while can bring out the insecurities that you never thought about when you ride everyday. You can talk to your friends, riding buddies and take all the pills some doctor may give you. But getting on that bike and saying "I can do this" is the only way to get back in action. Unless you need to be coddled and told how great you are. That never works..
 

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American Legion Rider
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And if it's really as bad as you think TR the chances a real good the only way to get passed this is to go to a track where you have controlled conditions. Even better by having professional instruction then as well. Doing the same scary stuff over and over will never get you passed it. Like doing the same wrong thing hoping you'll improve. Ain't going to happen. And I really hope this is taken for what it is, us trying are best to help. But we really can't.
 

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Anyway, perhaps a riding school where you can get the coaching you need to bring your skills up will help your anxiety while riding and some other lifestyle changes can help in other areas.
ding....ding...ding...ding....bingo.....we have a winner!
 
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