Hi Tribe, I’ve just come home…feeling very anxious…since joining the tribe I’ve gone through a lightening of symptoms, including my big bad driving OCD. Checking has been at a minimum, ie an average of 1 or 2 retraces per trip, before I’ve gone and dismissed it, and just blown it off, and managed.

But now, today, I’ve just come home, and have one set of traffic lights stuck in my mind, where I fear that, having taken my eyes off the road momentarily as I slowed down to a stop at the red, I have squashed someone and not noticed, and nor have all the passers by and other drivers around me.

I’ve done that thing of saying "fuck it, it’s OCD, and you have to fight it by not acting on it", and driving on…and here I am. This (refusal) has worked before, and it has also disastrously backfired before (ie, I ultimately succumb and go on a driving/checking binge that can last a long, long time).

What will it be today? I’m hoping that by sharing this, and writing it down, and potentially seeing how crazy it is, I will realise that it’s a crazy and impossible fantasy. Here’s some of the things I’m prone to use as self-talk right now:

  • I accept that I may never know for sure whether or not I’ve hit/squashed and killed a pedestrian.
  • I choose to act on what I saw, felt and heard (nothing) as opposed to what my anxious mind wants me to feel (anything could have happened when you took your eyes off the road. anything is possible, you might not have noticed someone going under your car).
  • I choose not to go back and check, and I accept that this may mean anxiety, shame and guilt for the rest of my life.

This doesn’t feel resolved yet, but I’m going to post it up anyway, and keep working on what I originally was going to do today. If anyone has any personal philosophies that might help, i’d love to hear them.

I hope to be able to update you all and say I didn’t check, but as you probably know, it’s hard to promise that sort of thing.


  1. Headheight 13 years ago

     Thanks for saying that. I hope i can get past it soon.

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  2. Headheight 13 years ago

    Hi Jul, thanks for asking. Not too well. I had one of those bad days… one checking bout leads to another later on, which leads to another later on, and so on. All my words above didn’t hit the spot for me, and I couldn’t my game plan together, and couldn’t get my brain moving in the right direction. I’m at home now, exhausted, but there’s still places I feel I should have checked. I’m really hoping for better times ahead, and hoping to feel like I deserve them too.

    …actually, ironically, while I was hanging out with my cousin from overseas, and experiencing a whole lot of anxiety about not having been able to check within my "time limit" of 3 hours from the moment of impact (because the police crime scene would be there for at least three hours, right?…of course…), we were watching TV, and on some vampire TV show, a pedestrian got hit by a car (okay, it’s funny), and then he started telling me about how he once hit a pedestrian while he was driving (okay, you can laugh), and he went to court for it, and was found not guilty because it was their fault. And he seemed completely cool and at peace with the whole thing. BUT, the difference is he got to SEE his pedestrian getting hit, so he never had to worry about whether it happened or not. In my case, with imaginary pedestrian collisions, I don’t seem to have that luxury!! lol

    The person he hit survived, by the way…

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  3. Headheight 13 years ago

    Hey Jul, yeah, when I can laugh about it, that’s when I know I’ve got the upper hand for the time being. I actually got a bit carried away on my real/imaginary pedestrian quandary…it got really silly and funny, but I deleted the really ridiculous stuff before submitting my last comment.

    Yeah I’m in a bad way with the driving thing, and it’s been pretty constant for the last couple of years. My car’s engine is on its last legs, and I just know, that my OCD has run this car into the ground. I’m not on meds. Last time I saw my psych, I asked him for a prescription which he gave me (for Zoloft), and actually went and bought it, and it’s been sitting in my bedroom untouched for a couple of weeks. Something inside me doesn’t want to take medication for my condition, which I know is not the wisest move.

    A big turning point with OCD, especially hit-n-run, was discovering the articles by Dr Steven Philipson. I found that “counter-intuitive” way of tackling obsessions was like unlocking a door to acceptance within myself, and it really, really worked (eg, “Oh, so I just hit and killed a pedestrian and kept driving? Woops?! Oh well, what a bummer).


    My psychiatrist is very good, but he is a bit old school, and not an OCD specialist, and he is unaware and more or less un-aligned with Philipson’s ideas, which really work for me. So I kind of feel like I’m treading water a bit with therapy (eg, his advice is to try and “be realistic” about “what the evidence tells me” in my OCD situation…to which I know the answer is “whatever I say to re-assure myself, that’s exactly what OCD is going to make me doubt”).


    Thanks again for your encouragement and support! 🙂 I’m feeling much better today…or at least, better than those imaginary pedestrians I squashed 😉


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