Saturday, November 26, 2011

My recent most obvious OCD problem is back to the old driving and harm issue subject. It happens regularly.

I get in my car, and look behind me while I back out of my driveway. Thus far, I'm a normal person. Then, I wonder if maybe a neighbor happened to be in my way and got hurt when I backed my car out of the driveway. Then, the "responsible" thing seems to be to check to make sure there are no injured people in the driveway.

Cognatively, I realize the very low probability. First, I was looking when I drove, so unless someone was laying right behind my car, I probably would have seen them. Even if they were hidden right behind my car, I probably would have seen them when I approached my car to get in. And then, even if my eyes failed me, I would have felt something if the car had hit anything. I know the sound of the car brushing into plants on the side of the road (leaving them unharmed) (I used to live in the country). So it is pretty sensible that if there had been a problem, I would have felt it. But once I wonder if I've hurt someone, or even if I jump straight to thinking I should check just in case like I usually do, not looking at where I just drove seems unthinkable. It strikes me as an unacceptable risk. You don't just accidently hit people with your car and then drive off without looking (this statement remains true, but the context is off since no-one was hit). And somewhere in there must be the OCD misthinking. Because I jump from a what-if to an if-then that is not far enough from a faulty since-then.

Okay, now I've thought it out. Cognatively, the risk is in the acceptable realm. Emotionally, it's not, but I'm gonna have to disobey my emotional reasoning. Maybe now I'll go ahead and do the response prevention.


  1. I get this as well. I had very bad driving anxiety and phobia the first few years I drove and this happened to me quite regularly. It still happens to me when I'm stressed or really anxious. At least now I can identify it as OCD rather than take it seriously. However, I still always check just to make sure. I don't know if I'll ever get to the place where I don't check to make sure I didn't hit someone.

  2. Hi, Abigail, I'm glad I found your blog. Your driving symptoms sound so familiar. I have driven up and down roads so many times, even getting out of the car to check for any damages I may have caused, even though I know I didn't. Glad you were able to deal with it later.

  3. Congradulations!!!! Way to go!

    I have problems with this one too. In fact i heard about this kind of ocd on oprah one day so i knew i had ocd 'tendencies'. That was years ago.

    My meds helped with this one. My driving anxiety improved 100%. I've had this since i was a teen. I always wondered why i had these thots. I've managed with the help of the drugs, to usually only have to look out the rearview mirror and i'm ok. I also look at other cars. If THEY haven't stopped at the scene of my 'accident', it didn't happen. I still won't drive on very busy multi-laned hiways. Don't need THAT stress! Glad i don't live in toronto or LA or new york.