EPISODE 2 TRANSCRIPT
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In this first video dissecting OCPD, I want to focus on what it actually is, how a diagnosis is made and touch a little on some of the symptoms. There’s a lot to cover and we will delve much deeper in future videos, but for now let’s figure out what we’re even talking about.
To start with, OCPD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Most people are, on some level, familiar with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). So what’s in a name? Well in this case it’s the word personality. OCPD is a personality disorder, also known as Anankastic Personality Disorder. Whereas OCD is an anxiety disorder. We will do a video down the road focusing more on the differences of the two, so let’s stay focused on defining OCDP. We need to first define what a personality disorder is.
According to the DSM-5, a personality disorder can be diagnosed if there are significant impairments in self and interpersonal functioning together with one or more pathological personality traits. In addition, these features must be relatively stable across time and consistent across situations, not better understood as normative for the individual’s developmental stage or socio-cultural environment, and not solely due to the direct effects of a substance or general medical condition. As a side note, the DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is a product of hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health and is basically the gold standard when it comes to defining mental disorders. So back to the definition. Let’s break that down a little. As it’s my video and as I’m someone suffering from a personality disorder, I’ll explain it from my point of view. For me it’s how I define myself and the lenses through which I look at the world. It’s like a broken filter that all of my thoughts have to pass through before they become speech or actions. It feels more right to say I AM OCPD as opposed to saying I have OCPD. It’s not something that comes and goes. It’s chronic. A personality disorder is just as much a part of the sufferer as their skin and brain and bones.
Now that we have an idea of what a personality disorder is, what is Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder and why does it suck? In technical terms, it’s a pervasive characterological disturbance involving one's generalized style and beliefs in the way one relates to themselves and the world. Persons with OCPD are typically deeply entrenched in their dysfunctional beliefs and genuinely see their way of functioning as the "correct" way. So now what does that mean? Again, from my point of view I describe OCPD in the basest of forms as only seeing the world in black and white. There is no room for grey. Things are either good or bad, clean or dirty, right or wrong and worthy or unworthy. It basically means I’m never wrong even though I’m most definitely wrong all the time. Hopefully it’s becoming clear as to why having this personality disorder is no fun. We tend to be deeply committed to our own beliefs and patterns, all while recognizing that that rigidity is what causing such a high level of discomfort in our lives. However, at the same time, the internal strife of someone with this is usually blamed on external circumstances or others.
Recognizing OPCD in yourself is immensely difficult. I imagine recognizing any personality disorder would be the same. When going through the process of recognizing that you have a personality disorder, you slowly start realizing that you have no idea how much of your personality is based on this disorder. Your personal tastes, your choice in friends, your religious beliefs, your politics..all of those could potentially have been shaped by this disorder. I’m certainly afraid of who I might be on the other side of this if I can overcome it in time. As to why it’s difficult to recognize in yourself I’ll reference the movie The Matrix. Upon learning that everything is not what it seems, Neo has a choice between a red pill (the truth) and a blue pill which would effectively return him to his old life. How many of you would genuinely choose the red pill? Or how many of you would want to return to the safety of your old life, the comforts of your own personal truths? Facing down OCPD is ugly and it partly involves shining a light on a lot of messy things you would much rather not take a deeper look at.
Here’s the thing though, I’m not sure I’m going to reach that many people with OCPD as a result of these videos. For all of the many, many times I’ve had to admit to people in my life that I have OCDP, exactly zero people have known what it is or have even heard of it. So whom I’m hoping to reach are those that have someone with OCPD in their life. How many of you would that be? Well it’s going to have to be all of you. The lowest statistics put the percentage of sufferers in the U.S. at 1% of the population. That would put the number at about three million, two hundred thousand. I’ve seen the number as high as 7% in places. Now that seems incredibly unlikely to me, but it does go to show how much guess work is involved because people with this just aren’t seeking out treatment. As a not fun “fun fact” curiously there are about twice as many men suffering from this as there are women.
So as I’m trying to reach all the non sufferers, aside from knowing someone that’s never wrong, because we all know someone like that and they might just be an asshole, what are some of the other things to look for? It is common for someone with OCPD to excessively devote themselves to work at a level that is detrimental to all of the relationships in their life. They would be fixated on rules (their own rules), lists, being organized and placing too much importance on minor details. Perfectionism is a big one. An unwillingness to let go of control. Possibly some level of hoarding. A belief that nobody else could reach the high standards that they set for themselves. On the outcome end, you would be looking at someone that is angry, possibly reclusive, possibly depressed, very anxious, someone that is hard to get along with, argumentative, stressed out, inflexible, pessimistic and likely someone that has a hard time expressing their feelings. You probably wouldn’t be looking at a fun, spontaneous, positive & affectionate person.
When I initially had the idea to start this project, I joined a forum for those with OCPD and for those who were in relationships or related to those with OCDP. The venom coming from the mouths of those who knew someone with OCPD was hard to swallow. It you are someone close to someone suffering, it’s incredibly likely that your life sucks a lot too. Those with the disorder tend to make the lives of those around them a living hell. Reading about how much these non-sufferers were being affected motivated me all the more to put these videos together. It’s my hope that by my admission to having this disorder, that I can start an honest dialogue that may potentially help repair some of the damage in the lives of you and your loved ones. By giving you more insight into how our brains work, I’m hopefully giving you the ammunition you need to take back the control you may feel you’ve lost. I don’t want you to continue to suffer or to feel as though you should put up with this behavior just because you have love for someone. What I do want, is for you to have a better idea as to what you might be able to do to convince the person in your life suffering, to go get themselves some help. The success rate of treatment is not high but the suicide and divorce rates are. By putting myself out there, I’m desperately hoping that some of you will learn from my experiences and mistakes.
My goal here is to be transparent. My next few videos are going to bounce back and forth between understanding OCDP better and my own personal story. So I hope that this video went a long way in informing you as to what this disorder is and what to look for. If a point wasn’t clear or you’re still confused, please leave your questions in the comments. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, please like, share and subscribe if you enjoyed this content. I’ve also included a link in the description to an online test for OCPD. The test is pretty generalized, but it could be a good place to start. All of the articles I’ve referenced in this video are also listed below in the description. Please check those out and I’ll see you next time.
OCPD Online Test: