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OCD and driving?

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Old 07-01-2005, 06:40 PM   #1
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OCD and driving?

Does anybody's OCD interfere with their driving? I'm almost 18, and I'm just learning how to drive. I've put it off because, subconsciously, I think I've just always been afraid. There's too much responsibility, and I'm terrified of killing someone. To make it even worse, my driving teacher keeps insisting that we always consider the "what-ifs": "What if your brakes fail?" "What if you pull out too far?" "What if that truck doesn't turn correctly?" As if I need to consider anymore "what-ifs"- this is what my OCD is telling me in the first place! Her personal motto is "It may not be probable, but it's always possible." This is the OCD-motto, and why I'm scared to death. The teacher and my parents are very understanding, but if anybody could give me any advice, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks again!

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Old 07-07-2005, 04:12 PM   #2
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Re: OCD and driving?

Yes! I know exactly how you feel.
I took driving lessons for about two years, on and off, but eventually had to give up completely because it was just putting me in a worse state.
I was constantlyasking "what-if" to the extent that I was concentrating more on that than the road (& therefore probably being more dangerous!)

I have managed recently to learn to travel as a passenger (fortunately I live in a city centre so I can walk most places...)

I'm only 20, and maybe one day I will be able to take lessons again.
Well done for continuing with them, but don't feel forced into it if it is too much at this time.
Good luck

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Old 07-08-2005, 02:05 PM   #3
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Re: OCD and driving?

to gatsby
the what ifs are important but you may be better off with another instructor
drivers need to pay full atrention to their driving but constant fears of crashing make you too tense and a bad driver

Old 07-09-2005, 08:51 PM   #4
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Re: OCD and driving?

This is me too. I have been driving for 28 years already and it hasn't really gotten much better. I'm only comfortable driving in my part of town because I know where all the stop signs and lights are, I know I won't get lost, and if my car breaks down I know I can easily find my way home. The times that I do venture out into the rest of the city, I often get overwhelmed and end up getting road rage.

I will be put to the test BIG time in about 4 months because we are building a home way across the city, in an area I NEVER would drive to on my own. It is so far away for me, that it actually feels like it is in another country. Except for my immediate family, everyone and everything important to me will be at least a half hour drive away.

Currently, I take xanax before I get behind the wheel if I'm anxious about the drive. This is not something that I want to do for the rest of my life so the only other option (the only thing that has proved successful for me) is cognitive behavioral therapy. By moving so far away I will be forced to face my driving fears almost daily. My psychiatrist thinks this is a wonderful decision and I do believe it will help.

One more thing. Make sure you have a reliable car. I think that I may have acquired this ocd when I first started driving because my mother's car was a rustbucket that often had mechanical problems. I never felt safe behind the wheel with that car, or with any other used car that I drove. The car I am driving now I purchased brand new 3 years ago, and I had only 3 stipulations: It had to be "easy" (no tons of buttons to overwhelm me and possibly break - automatic windows are a no-no because if you were to fall into a river or something the wires might short out ), it had to be small (with a compact car I'm not worried about hitting anyone or crossing over any lines - it's like riding a bike), and it had to have a good reputation for not breaking down (being stranded is a KILLER in my books).

If you want to drive, you will.

Old 07-09-2005, 09:25 PM   #5
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Re: OCD and driving?

I am getting my liscence in September, but I'm already dealing with all those what-ifs. When I'm driving in the car with my Mom and sister, I'm always thinking, "What if for some reason I just completely turn the wheel and drive off the road?" or "What if I just decide to go through this red light?"...I'm quite aware of how ridiculous these questions are, but it's something I just can't help.

Old 07-20-2005, 07:06 AM   #6
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Re: OCD and driving?

New too the board but omg i know the fear of driving . I dont know how you do it, especially the walking thing, i obsess about something happeing to me if i walked like getting kidnapped, mugged ect. So if you cant drive and you cant walk then what ugh.


Old 07-20-2005, 07:24 AM   #7
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Re: OCD and driving?

Well- here's an update: Basically, stupid OCD has once again held me back in life. Last Tuesday, I broke down in tears in front of my instructor before she took me driving. I figured, what's the point of even going? I was (and still am) petrified of going out of the parking lot onto the road, and I felt guilty that my mom would be paying for lessons where I was unable to advance and that the teacher would be wasting two hours of her time with me being unable to advance. To top it all off, taking Ativan was like a Catch-22: if I took it, then I might not be alert enough and I'd freak that I'd fall asleep at the wheel, and if I didn't take it, a panic attack was inevitable. So, it turns out that my mom said that I can just practice with my dad in a parking lot for as long as I want, and I don't have to have the added stress. Also, for CBT, I wrote an imaginal exposure about me killing someone while driving and just writing about it made me burst into tears and have a massive panic attack... AGood luck everybody else in conquering their OCD driving fears!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
-Hans Asperger

Old 09-17-2005, 03:36 PM   #8
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HisKid1973 HB User
Re: OCD and driving?

Wow I never knew other people felt like this. I had these issues for 30 yrs.. I was forced into driving and had to give it up after about six years because of it being too stressful.. I have trouble judging how close I am to things.. I was is a stressful job and the ocd was bad that I had to wash all the time..I was terminated from that job because of stress..I am now 55 aand appling for SSDi because of all the health issues I have.. It is God's grace I got this far. I am not on any psyc meds

Old 09-25-2005, 06:49 AM   #9
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rasaht HB User
Re: OCD and driving?

I have trouble judging my proximity to things too!

I'm 23 and have pretty much decided not to drive. I do enjoy driving, and I trust my abilities, but it's everybody else on the road I'm worried about! that and the fact that as the driver you're responsible for whatever happens; as a passenger you have no say so whatever happens happens! I don't get insane paranoias about driving, however, but I do know that my aversion to it does stem from OCD. Probably I;ve avoided driving just so I can avoid related anxieties!

I suggest get your licence and know how to drive, but don't force yourself to do it if you've got some decent public transport!

Old 09-28-2005, 09:43 AM   #10
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Dogbone HB User
Re: OCD and driving?

I have had ocd since I was eight and didn't figure it out until I was fortyfive. I would try and overcome thoughts of running off the road etc. all the time. It was tormenting, but I got through it somehow. For many years whenever I passed something on the side of the road like a pole or if a car passed me I would be compelled to tic my toe down. Not too big a deal. I still get anxious sometimes when I approach a green traffic light. If I don't get through it, the day will somehow be runied. At least I am safe with these thoughts and I don't try and run the light. So try and get through your driving tests. You can drive with ocd, and drive safely.

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