Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Santa Monica
I'm new here. I've had this sort of driver's OCD since last September or October. A homeless man was sleeping in the alley behind my building late at night one evening and was close enough to the road portion that when I pulled in to get to my parking area, I had to make sure he was only sleeping and basically had not been flattened by me, or wouldn't be by anyone else. All seemed fine, and I was confirmed of that an hour or so later when I went back and the man wasn't even there anymore. I guess I was startled, as no one had ever been situated there before.
The shock of this and worry seemed to have changed something in me. It seemed to open a door if you will and triggered an ongoing panic which didn't keep me from driving, but had me doubling around, driving back to areas, walking around, checking streets and basically re-observing people and places, or cars, I'd passed to make sure things were alright. It's not about assuaging guilt or covering any tracks, it's about doing the right thing and not wanting to hurt anyone or anyone's property. This is Los Angeles, a driving culture, and there's so much of it in one's life out here.
For example, yesterday, I took a road into the hills of the valley area, and I passed by a young kid on a scooter. He was on the side of the road. Not in traffic, but as is generally the case, close enough to worry a guy with an OCD problem. After I passed, I imagined I'd grazed him or sideswiped him, even though I'd heard no noise or felt any bump against my car, and felt the urge to double back and make sure I had not. This was maybe two minutes later, and when I came back, I saw him riding on, swerving back and forth on the side of the road, upright and on his scooter. I went on my way again, then decided that wasn't enough, so I doubled back again. Again, two or three minutes later, I spot the kid, this time, on the sidewalk, noodling around a bit while standing on the corner, but, importantly, very much upright. It wasn't until I got home hours later at night that the panic set in again. By then, as is always the case, there's nothing you can do but trust what you saw and know (or hope you know) to be truth. You certainly can't find out any info or inquire about it. It's a very difficult and anxiety-provoking imagined scenario that happens over and over in some magnitude or another. My only instinct is to try and not obsess. I guess the fact that I kept seeing various cars go by in that direction, and on the other side of the road, should have told me that there wasn't anything unusual to contend with, to make someone stop.
Obviously, it's hard to talk about OCD, but in this case, with this type, this is literally like an imagined body count, me feeling like I have a litany of injured/maimed (or worse) bodies or dented cars or whatever out there somewhere. I care about people and I don't want to let anyone get hurt. I'm sure this is not an uncommon type of OCD, but has anyone else here dealt with this? It's feels horrible, yes, but I'm also realizing that this is just too overwhelming for my own mind to suppress.