I need to scream from the rooftops, shoot fireworks into the night sky--heck, let's bring in a news team while I'm at it!
Send some fireworks my way because tonight is an announcement kind of night.
I drove alone. On a highway. In the dark.
Me. The one with hit-and-run OCD. The one who avoided driving for months. The one who could only get back behind the wheel with the intent of driving an inch. Just one inch.
Today I drove on a highway for 15 minutes to take one of my cats to his appointment. Clive and me. Alone on the open road. This. Was. Big.
This was not a planned exposure, albeit I had scheduled the appointment knowing I would have to take him solo.
The option of asking someone to take me was a safety net I clung to and ended up thinking I needed.
Panic set in. I doubted my readiness to drive alone at night. How could I be ready? I hadn't practiced night driving systematically enough. This had to be foolish.
So my safety net was accessed. My friend and I planned for her to come to my rescue. Never mind me doing it alone. She would bring me. But when her meeting ran later than expected, I made the decision to go with my original plan. I fired her off a text, assuring her not to worry, that I had this.
She checked in on me shortly after, ready to be by my side as quickly as possible but my goal was in motion. I was already in my vehicle, almost home, ready for the battle of getting Clive into his crate.
I promised her I would call if I needed help on the way back. Because we both knew the way back meant night driving. On a highway.
She and her partner were on standby. I was touched. The gesture was comforting. But I had found myself on the unexpected exposure.
And OCD ensured to make it a wild ride:
"Did Doug get outside while I struggled out of the door with Clive in his crate? Now Doug is going to die in the cold because I'm stupidly driving somewhere alone when help was available."
"Is Clive in his crate? What if he's not in his crate? What if he somehow escaped and I didn't notice?"
"Did I re-injure my back from carrying Clive in his crate to the car? I've probably permanently damaged my back over something that could have been avoided."
"How am I going to drive alone in the dark on the way back? What if I get us into an accident on the way there? Clive's life is in my hands."
This is why I want to scream from the rooftops. This is why a local news team should have been waiting for me upon my return home.
I want to scream from the rooftops while OCD is reminding me that I got triggered, that I checked. But I'm reminding myself that if exposures were that easy, I would have been in remission eons ago. It's not cut and dry. It's screaming from the rooftops while crying your eyes out.
Tonight was my moment on the highway. I was driving with one of my cats, facing my fear.
In. The. Dark.