Re: OCD and driving
This post really hits home for me. Reading it sounds as though it was written about me. I had the exact same issue down to every detail you described. This is a less common form of OCD called hit-and-run ocd. Its tough to find anything about it online because its so rare. I know exactly how you feel. The racing thoughts as youre driving "did I just hit that person? No of course not that's crazy. But what if I just bumped them and didnt hear it because the music was too loud? what if somehow I didn't notice?" and the irresistable urge to turn around and go check to make sure you didn't hit them, which inevitably leads to you seeing someone else on the road as you're driving looking for the previous person to make sure they're ok and then now you start worrying you hit this new person and the cycle begins again. That feeling of "what if I'm just leaving a trail of dead bodies as I'm driving?" It's terrifying trust me I know. I would spend hours at a time just circling around making sure I hadn't hit people. I once circled my block 15 times in a row because I kept seeing people and thinking I might have hit them and having to go back and check. You just get stuck in the cycle of checking and rechecking. The only thing that would stop it for me is when I was just eventually emotionally and mentally exhausted and had no choice but to give up checking and go home. It even got to the point where if I was in the passenger seat I would worry that the driver had hit someone and actually ask them to go back and check which was of course quite embarassing. I eventually just gave up driving all together. It took about a year of Exposure Response Prevention therapy to get over the fear. And even now I still think about it when I pass a person on the side of the street. But now I realize that its not true, it's all in my mind. I know it seems so real but trust me it's not. One thing that helps me is asking myself this: "of all the times I've gone back and checked before, have I ever actually found a dead body or injured person? no. because its not real. Its just a faulty thought process caused by chemical imbalances in the brain." The only way to fight it is to resist the urge to go back and check to make sure you didn't hit someone. It's extremely difficult to resist that urge as I'm sure you know but trust me as you do it more and more it does get easier. Now its nothing but a quick though in my head every once in a while as I'm driving but I don't feel the urge to go check anymore. And trust me if I could get over that OCD, anyone can because mine was VERY severe. I thought for sure I was just going to give up driving for life because there was simply no way I could ever drive again without thinking I was killing people. If you've never tried Exposure Response Prevention therapy for this issue I would highly recommend it. Its very difficult, stressful work facing the fears, but trust me its worth it.
best of luck -Dan
Last edited by Administrator; 04-12-2012 at 12:21 AM.