So this has been a huge one for me over the years and it still affects me today. I guess with OCD there’s an element of wanting to control as much of your surroundings as possible and when it comes to driving, even though you have control over the car itself, you have no control over anyone else on the road, pavement, carpark etc etc and so my OCD is able to go a bit crazy.
Checking mirrors multiple times, not driving to certain places because I don’t like the road or car park, avoiding driving at night and driving back to check roads where I’m sure that a pot hole was me driving over a person/animal. I’ve done it all through the years and at times I’ve felt like giving up driving completely – luckily I am a bit stubborn.
I do think there are lots of crossovers with this one. I definitely know people who also get quite anxious and worried about driving in general, who don’t have OCD but the difference is when they get to their destination, they can switch off and know they arrived safely.
For me I find I’m calmer in the car but once I’m done and get out, that’s when the OCD thoughts start to kick in. Obviously I can’t remember every single step of the journey therefore how can I know that I didn’t hit anyone/thing etc etc. For me this has been one of the most limiting parts of my OCD, its stopped me going places, seeing friends, it’s trapped me in the house for days at a time, while I wait for the police to come and arrest me, so they can tell me what I’ve actually done. Gosh writing it down sounds crazy but when you’re going through it, it feels so real.
However on a brighter note I do believe I’ve made progress when it comes to driving this past year. I’ve had to push myself to go to places I would of previously avoided, which has pushed me to face my fears. Sadly as with most of the things that cause us stress, facing them head on is normally the solution.
Talking to my husband about the thing that’s stressing me out has also helped, particularly if he’s in the car at the time, as he will know whether it’s happened or not – this one should be used with caution, as obviously there won’t always be someone else in the car and you need to be able to overcome your fears on your own but sometimes just saying it out load can diminish the thoughts power over you.
Trusting yourself is another solution, this one can be really hard but knowing that you are a good driver and will be able to react to changing situations if you come upon them is essential for confident driving.
Knowing that it’s actually more dangerous to be continually checking your mirrors and not concentrating on the road ahead properly.
One of the things that makes driving particularly tricky to master is that it’s a constantly changing situation, every time you go out in the car the circumstances will be different. You have to learn to trust yourself and your reactions.
As with most of the things I blog about, I am still wading my way through them myself, so I hope the above has been helpful. As I find new ways of coping with driving, I will share them on here to try and help others. Please feel free to share any tips you have for overcoming driving with OCD in the comments below.
Stay Strong xxx