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OCD and driving
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OCD and driving

Okay so I have a huge problem with driving now. This is because when I drive, I'm always constantly fearing hitting someone whether it's someone walking or riding a bike. Or I'm afraid of causing an accident, that I don't hear of. I know people often say oh you'd notice if you hit someone/something. But I always think what if? and then I have to go back and check. I've checked for over an hour before and it causes me such problems. :( Anyone can relate? Or have any advice? Thanks guys :)
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1699033_tn?1345482688
Well, I can't relate exactly to what you are going through but I can relate to the whole checking thing in general and the "what-if" thing as well.  Checking and "what-iffing" are classic OCD symptoms and they need to be treated by a psychologist.  Since you have not been diagnosed with OCD, it is best to see the psychologist, talk about what is going on and get a formal diagnosis.  Obviously it has become a problem with your day-to-day living and so it is now time to get that professional help.  

For the mean time, try to self-coach yourself about the "what-if".  Replace that "Did I hit somebody on the way home?" with "I would definitely know if I hit somebody so let it go."  You then need to follow that up with not allowing yourself to go back and look.  I know it will be hard and you will probably have some anxiety about it.  You then treat that resulting anxiety with controlled breathing and more self-talk.  The controlled breathing technique is to take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for 5 seconds and count this out in your head, then let it all out through your mouth,  It helps if you have your hands on your stomach so you can feel it rise and fall with each breath.  Do this until the anxiety has subsided.  

The real key here is to not give into the irrational thought.  For instance, when I unplug the iron I say "the iron is off" so that when I have that moment of shear panic in the car about whether I turned the iron off, I can remember that I said that statement and the anxiety goes away.  

Good luck and post again if you need anything else.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I just fear that I may have not known I hit someone (like I didn't hear it because of my loud music or the car didn't hit me but hit something else as a result of my driving) Get what I mean? So, I don't know how I could change that way of thinking even though I know the norm is "you would know". I just see the tiniest possibility of not knowing so it's really hard for me to make that decision of "I would know". And if I don't check, I may feel this extreme guilt and won't feel relieved no matter what I do if I don't check. Because I feel me not checking, is wrong since I deeply care (even though it's to a high extent) if  I caused an accident of some sort. I just don't know where to draw the line. But yes, I am seeking a therapist and am trying to be more peaceful as a person like with yoga, music, walking, etc. Thank you for your input and I hope one day I can drive again peacefully..
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1699033_tn?1345482688
Let me know how it goes with the therapist.  This is something that can be overcome so don't think that you will be like this forever.  You will be able to drive peacefully again.  And I completely understand what you mean about the whole "what-if" I hit somebody.  We need to learn to live with OCD by managing it with cognitive behavioral therapy and sometimes medication.  Good luck and keep us posted on your positive progress!  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for the support and I will keep you posted!
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1933343_tn?1336246068
I suffer from this type of anxiety as well, and I hate it.  I feel like there has to be a car in my rear view mirror.  If I change lanes and the car doesn't react, then I feel that I have not forced anyone off the road.  I have even gone so far as to call 911 (your phone will take you to a local area) and check to see if there have been any accidents.  I have gone back and looked and searched.  If my vehicle gets too far from the other vehicles, I panic.  I really  do hate this.  I have also gone back and checked....it drives me up the wall, but then so do a lot of other things too.
I currently have ocd contamination fears over a pair of exercise pants.  I feel as though my body has been violated.  No one will even post on my question.  I guess they think it is an impossible situation, but it is true.  I called my family dr. twice, and now he won't answer my calls.  I guess I'll have to try to contain my obsessiveness until Monday and go in for a visit.
In the meantime, hang in there.  I wish I had an answer for you, but all I can do is let you know that driving is hard for me too.  
All this seems to be getting worse the older I get.  I used to be in control of my life.  What happened?  Take care.
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Avatar_f_tn
I feel your pain when it comes to driving. And it's so important to our daily lives. It's like I don't trust myself that nothing happened or I really do think that there is the slightest possibility that I caused an accident or hit someone and didn't hear it. I mean I know when I get into a full on collision with someone obviously. I've been in an accident before. But what about if I cut someone off and that person tries to avoid hitting me and crashes somewhere else? Ugh it drives me crazy. I think people and bicyclists should not be allowed to walk anywhere around cars! (I'm kidding even though I wish it were true) lol But joking aside, it is a struggle. I wish I knew how to trust my driving and be confident that I didn't hit someone or something. I just feel there's always a possibility even if it's the smallest possible. We can't live this way. I have ocd in other areas too to where I feel I may contaminate others so I'll wash my hands frequently for example. Could you go more into detail about your exercise pants? What exactly makes you feel violated? I used to be in control of my life as well. The ocd with driving for me started years ago, went away, and now it's back again. So maybe there's hope that it will go away again! For both of us! Anyways rather than seeing your family doctor, see a psychiatrist or a therapist/psychologist. I wish you well!
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1933343_tn?1336246068
Yes, it's that cutting off thing while I'm driving that bothers me.  I think cell phones have done it for me.  I get distracted and don't know exactly where I am, or where I've been, or WHAT I've done.  Then I have to go look.  I ask family not to call me when they know I am driving, but I usually get a call.  Sometimes I don't pick up, thinking that if it is important, they will call back and then I'll answer.  I have a very difficult time changing lanes.  It's like I look in my mirrors, I look out my windows, I change lanes, and then I check everything in my rear view mirror.  Then I still have doubts.  I actually do better in heavy traffic, if that makes any sense at all.  I get immediate feedback, and know that cars would be piled up behind me if I caused an accident.  It's crazy.  I hate it.

Oh, the dreaded exercise pants ... I of all people would buy a pair of pants and wear them without thoroughly checking them out or washing them first.  I usually wash things. I was at my daughter's, and they just felt so much more comfortable than struggling with my jeans.  I wore them for 12+ hours.  That night as I was using the restroom, I noticed blood in the crotch area (a white spot sewn in for breathing room when exercising)....There was blood on it larger than a quarter.  I could barely walk to get my daughter to come help me I was so shaken.  Thank God I had on underwear.  Now I have contamination fears that somehow I could have acquired something from somebody, like hepatitis or herpes, or something.  I know I couldn't catch hiv because it had to have been dry whenever I put them on  I do so need reassurance.  I guess people look at my post and roll their eyes, but it's all so true.  Sometimes I think that God keeps giving me bigger hurdles just to make me trust in Him the way he told us to in the bible.  Please pray for me.  I'll lift you in prayer, Dancer.  Drive safely.....and have a blessed 2012.
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh yeah totally feel your pain with the driving. I do hope you seek a therapist or psychiatrist of some sort. I'm seeing a therapist right now. Yeah I wash everything that I just bought and put them in the washer before I wear them. I bet a lot of people just wear the new items but I always have to wash them first before I wear them. Maybe to reassure yourself that you didn't get anything.. go to the doctor and get tested for hep c? I don't know if it would be a blood test or something but just to relax your mind. Also, since you're such an anxious person like I am, I suggest yoga, meditation, slow/calming music, reading...anything to distract and calm your mind. I'm doing practically all of those things. May make you a calmer person over time. I do wish you well. We'll get through this gettinbetr! Take care now and you can keep me updated if you'd like. :)
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1933343_tn?1336246068
I went to the dr. today.  He was reassuring in the fact that there was no likelihood of transmission.  I also heard from the store.  They said that if I wanted to file a claim, I would have to mail them the pants....I DON'T WANT ANYONE TO HAVE TO TOUCH THEM!  That's how grossed out I am.  I also posted in the Hep C Forum on MedHelp where most of the comments were reassuring, but I also got my butt chewed out for taking up their time with ocd.  If you want, you can go to the Hep C Forum page and read their remarks.  Thank you so much for caring.  This ocd is killing me.  I have been to several drs. and therapists, but haven't found one that fits me yet.  I don't know why we have to deal with these issues.....~~~
By the way, do you have any advice to give me about changing lanes?  :)   bye for now.
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Avatar_f_tn
So you believe the blood on the pants is a fault of the store you got them from and not from you?

Yeah the ocd is killing me too. It's hard to live with but we gotta find a way through it somehow. Maybe keep researching for new therapists, read reviews, etc. You could also read some books on ocd and anxiety because I bet this causes you anxiety too. Maybe the books could give you advice on the checking thing. I don't know what to tell you in response to the changing lanes because I can do the same thing but it's not as much of a problem for me. Just please don't check in your rearview mirrors TOO much so you don't hit the car in front of you. Be cautious. Sorry if that wasn't much help. But I'd suggest reading lots of anxiety and ocd books if the therapists aren't working. And do relaxing things to help you calm as a person like yoga, reading, peaceful music, art (if you like it) etc. Wish you well!
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Avatar_m_tn
omg! i am having this same fear... as i type especially! i am currently at home but just left my school about 30 minutes ago. I am so fearful that I might have hit someone and not known it either because i wasn't paying close enough attention, or my mind drifted. I totally feel your pain, but having had cars and motorcycles hit me, as well as having been hit by a car (driving slowly) while i was crossing the road, I know i would have heard/ felt something.

so I always know that I can feel and hear the impact but yet I too double back and check... one time I did that for over 2 hours and wasted my gas!! uggh! it is so frustrating and overwhelming. that feeling of doubt and anxiety. It has gotten better over the course of a few months and I literally yell at myself or slap myself across the cheeks and yell,  ENOUGH! GO HOME... today i drove back to my school twice, which is a good thing for me as it only took 30 minutes. as i said before it used to take hours... I hope your condition has gotten better as it has been several months since the original post!
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