OCD – When Driving Your Car Is Driving You Crazy.

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  • After 300 yards take the roundabout, second exit.
  • Take the roundabout, second exit.
  • After 300 Yards take the roundabout, fourth exit.
  • Take the roundabout, fourth exit.
  • After 100 yards look for the pedestrian that you knocked over two minutes earlier.
  • Didn’t see it? Okay then you must check again, after 200 yards take the roundabout, fourth exit.
  • Take the roundabout, fourth exit.
  • After 200 yards, look for the pedestrian you knocked over three minutes earlier.
  • Didn’t see it? Maybe you didn’t hit a pedestrian, please continue. I think you should check again.
  • After 50 yards take the roundabout, fourth exit.
  • Maybe the pothole that made the car bump wasn’t a pothole, maybe it was the pedestrian we talked about, or maybe you hit a second pedestrian whilst looking for the first. Don’t forget to look. You don’t want to spend the next week obsessing about the news covering a hit and run story that happened on this road, at this very time and day. You don’t want to spend the next week waiting for the police to come and arrest you.
  • Take the roundabout, fourth exit.
  • After 50 yards look for the second pedestrian you knocked over one minute ago.
  • After 150 yards look for the first pedestrian you knocked over five minutes ago.
  • Hang on! Watch the pedestrian on the pavement who’s pushing a baby buggy and walking a cute dog.

SAID NO SATELITE NAVIGATION DEVICE. Ever!

In my opinion passing your driving test is one of the most exciting moments in your life, a new found freedom. From that moment forth you no longer rely on lifts from friends or parents, you no longer rely on public transport or the shoelace express! It’s official you are no longer a ‘Bus Wanker’, and it feels awesome.

This is exactly how I felt, unfortunately it was short-lived and the reason why? Because OCD has to shit all over anything that brings any kind of joy or pleasure to your life.

Of course the GPS instructions above are nothing like any kind of narrative you’d ever hear from your TomTom, but it’s a pretty damn accurate transcription of what is going through my mind when having a severe OCD moment whilst driving.

For me, driving OCD’s modus operandi is less subtle when compared to my other common obsessions. As most sufferers know OCD can be severe and debilitating but once under control again it can lay dormant for days, weeks, months even, until it flares up again and often it’s not entirely known what triggered it to do so.

However, driving OCD can start to build in my mind and create worries before almost every journey I make. There are certain conditions that are guaranteed to create pre-journey anxiety.

For example:

A Built-Up Area/Town Centre – If there are a lot of pedestrians within my destination, crossings or traffic lights, I often panic. I can pass through these without a paranoid thought, but if OCD is lurking, I can convince myself that I didn’t stop at a red light, but simply drove through running somebody over and of course not realising.

School Hours Start/Finish – If I’m having to drive during the hours that school children are flooding the pavements, I’ll often pass them and have to keep looking into my rear-view mirror until I can see they are all still walking along and behaving no differently than before I passed them. If only by coincidence they start acting frantic, stupid or are looking back at my car, I am immediately thrown into the idea that I have hit one of them and have caused a serious injury.

Passing a Pushchair, Small Child or Dog – I can become so anxious at passing the aforementioned, that I have been known to drive so close to the central white lines that I’m pretty sure on many occasion I’ve likely scared the shit out of on-coming traffic. Then there’s always the idea that I may deliberately swerve into them, which is guaranteed to pop into my mind, one-hundred percent, without fail.

Finally, once I’ve passed the danger I have to check my rear-view mirror until I’m satisfied all is well. It’s so exhausting and such an ordeal.

So what happens when I’m convinced I’ve caused an injury or an accident of some kind?I have to turn my car around and immediately go back to check. Check if there are any dead pedestrians, animals or car accidents. If I’m lucky and my OCD is feeling generous, I can get away with going back to check only once and am satisfied, but if my OCD is being a complete nightmare then it’s a different scenario altogether.

I’ll retrace my journey to check all is well and so far, it always has been. If on the way to check I drive over a pothole, or spend too long staring at the scene where I believed I’d caused the original accident then a new panic begins. I accept without doubt that I hadn’t caused any harm whatsoever originally, but in the panic of having to go back and check, I may have run somebody over this time, whilst staring at the pavement, or maybe the pothole was a person that I hit whilst not fully concentrating. This is where I go back and check again, and again, and again.

It’s like being on a loop, the only way I can break it is by driving home and making my partner drive me over my previous route so to reassure me and not create any new panics and this usually does the trick. However, if my partner isn’t available to do this for me then I will spend days in a panic, franticly checking the local news for hit and run stories.

One of the scariest experiences is when I manage a whole journey without any OCD moments. I get home, make a brew and start to chill when suddenly I hear sirens.Bang! Instant panic is upon me instantly imagining it’s some kind of ambulance crew or police tending to an accident that I caused and cannot remember causing.

For most people driving is just driving, a way to get somewhere else quickly and conveniently, but for me it’s an ordeal that I dread. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity in my life and as most OCD sufferers know, the more a certain course of action or routine is a necessity in your life, the more fun OCD has fucking with you.

 

2 thoughts on “OCD – When Driving Your Car Is Driving You Crazy.

  1. I am so sorry that you are going
    through this. I am dealing with
    something incredibly similar and it is
    the absolute worst feeling. Your
    interpretation of the gps directions
    cracked me up because it was so
    relatable! I often think my gps must
    hate me, I’m constantly causing it to
    re-route so that I can go back and
    check that there were no
    pedestrians in the cross walk while I
    made a right hand turn. I’ve found
    that mindfulness and acceptance of
    the feelings as just thoughts and
    feelings has helped a bit, but it’s
    definitely a work in progress. I wish
    you all the best in getting through
    this!!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and leave a comment. It is one of the worst OCDs, when you just want to get somewhere and you are trying so hard not to think about your OCD or hitting somebody because that moment you do, you become convinced that it’s happened. Even though you don’t recall anything, in pop the false memories and your off, back to where you just came from! I tried mindfulness and it did help but it took some will power! I’ve definitely improved at ignoring my OCD when I’m driving, as in ive learnt to ignore it more but it still pops up at least one or twice per journey. I hope you are getting better, it is a work in progress. I tried to add an element of comedy in my article but when you are caught up in a severe driving-OCD moment, it isn’t funny at all and I sympathise with anybody who has to deal with this! I hope you keep getting better and better and I wish you all the best. Keep in touch. Nikita xxxxx

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