EPISODE 9 TRANSCRIPT
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This isn’t another video explaining what OCPD is. We’ve already done that. This isn’t a video explaining what OCD is. There is more than enough videos that have been created for that purpose and I’ll link some of the ones I like in the description. Most importantly this isn’t a video focusing on which disorder is worse. That’s impossible to quantify as the disorder is as only as bad as the severity to which the afflicted person is experiencing it. This isn’t a contest despite my thumbnail. What is true is that the vast majority of people have never heard of OCPD and the few that have are likely to mix it up with OCD. What’s scary, and I’ll touch on this towards the end of the video, is the number of health care professionals that mix the two up. So what this video is, is an explanation of where the two disorders cross over, hence the mix up, and where they are very different, hence the need to understand why it’s really important to know the difference.
First, whomever named the both of these should be fired. The name and the acronym are not helping anybody. This is an annoyance people with OCPD have to face. You’ll never say I have “OCD” and someone correct you to OCPD. But us with OCPD have the inverse happen every time we mention it. For me personally, the confusion is a minor annoyance. What is frustrating is that I believe the similarity in names is one of the things hindering OCPD getting a wider exposure. People feel it’s just a version of OCD, so they don’t see any importance in understanding the difference. That is until you have to live with someone with OCPD.
If you’re watching this video I would guess that you understand what the acronyms are for, but just in case we are talking about obsessive compulsive personality disorder vs obsessive compulsive disorder. OCPD is a personality disorder while OCD is a mental disorder. So this is our primary difference and where all of the other differences will derive from. A mental disorder (OCD) is a behavioral or mental pattern that may cause suffering or a poor ability to function in life. A personality disorder (OCPD) is a class of mental disorder characterized by enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior deviating markedly from those accepted by the individual's culture.
In clinical terms OCPD is egosyntonic, meaning that the feelings one has as a result of the disorder are in harmony with one’s ideal self image. Someone with OCPD would feel that their thoughts are perfectly fine. OCD is egodystonic the opposite of this. Someone with OCD would believe that all of the thoughts associated with their disorder are in conflict with their own self image. So they would be unhappy with their thought processes and the irrationality behind them.
Those definitions might not have cleared up a whole lot, so let’s get into what that means in real terms. People with OCD most often experience incessant and intrusive thoughts commonly known as obsessions. Those obsessions are connected to highly unrealistic worries and catastrophic outcomes. As a result of those obsessions, they frequently act out behaviors known as compulsions that typically reflect unnecessary and excessive rigid routines. For example, the need to clean and wash repeatedly might stem from a fear of shaking hands or touching door knobs. The need to check something over and over might come from the fear of something bad happening to a loved one. Or the fear of being burglarized if you don’t constantly check locks on doors and windows. Now I’m sure that those of us without OCD have checked the stove, or the locks or an iron more than once from time to time. But these compulsions do not end at checking two or three times. These are compulsions that interfere heavily with quality of life.
So aside from the names, these compulsions can be where you find the crossover or similarities between the disorders. I experience what from the outside looks like ritualistic or compulsive hand washing myself. I also favor organization, cleanliness and tidiness. I act out those compulsions to a point where it affects my quality of life. So where does the difference come in? Well it’s in the thought processes behind the actions.
Those experiencing OCD consider their thoughts to be unwanted thoughts. Meaning they recognize that their thoughts are unreasonable and the thoughts cause them a tremendous amount of anxiety, discomfort and make it difficult to accomplish simple tasks. There’s an irrationality to the whole thing and they recognize it. In fact, for the many suffering with OCD that don’t get help, a lot of the time it’s due to embarrassment.
For those of us with OCPD, and to an even higher degree with those undiagnosed, we view our thoughts as normal, and hence that can be why so many go untreated. I’ve covered many of the different ways OCPD can present itself in other videos, so here it’s important to focus on the thought process behind it. If I wash my hands a hundred times, I don’t view it as irrational or unnecessary and I can give you an explanation as to why I do it. I can tell you why it’s the right way to be and why you’re probably wrong for not doing it. Until the OCPD starts to severely interfere with my quality of life, and this usually comes in the form of damaging my career and/or relationships, I’m going to be incredibly resistant to change and I’m going to fight tooth and nail to win any argument I’m in because I see myself as always right.
So with OCD, sufferers are driven by their strong desire to alleviate the anxiety of their obsessions through the act of compulsions. With OCPD, it’s a set of self imposed rules that dictate their compulsions in a desire to be perfect or correct. Those with OCD inherently recognize that their behaviors deviate from the norm, while those with OCPD feel that the “norm” should conform to them. In general, it’s probably more likely that the compulsions of someone with OCD take up more of their time than those with OCPD.
The similarities are mostly in the outward symptoms, in the compulsions. Not just in experiencing and acting out those compulsions, but in the types of compulsions as well. The impact in ones life can be similar as well if you’re suffering from either one of these disorders. Each one can result in anxiety, depression, loss or lack of interpersonal relationships, hoarding, exhaustion and isolation. I’m really hoping I’ve helped you to see the distinction between the two disorders. The real reason it’s important to understand the differences are because of how different your interactions will be with people with either one of these disorders. Even more importantly for you and for them will be your approach in helping them. For the brevity of this video, that’s going to be a topic for another time. However, if you are in a tough situation currently and you’d like some additional information right away, please leave me your questions in the comments.
Now before putting this video together I did a small poll in an OCPD support group I belong to (and I’ll put that link in the description) asking what bothers members when it comes to people mixing up the two disorders and these are a couple of the things that came up a few times. Because of how each sufferer comes up with their own personal set of rules based on the subtype and severity of their OCPD, it’s possible someone with OCPD could be really messy. So for example if you say you have OCPD, someone could respond back that there’s no way you have that just look at your house. On the opposite end, because there isn’t usually the high intensity of repetition, people that don’t know you well might think that that you just seem super organized and you’re not extreme enough to have OCPD (again thinking that the two are the same). People with OCPD can be (but not always) very combative or argumentative and one example given to me was a compulsions to constantly correct people’s spelling and grammar online to the point where it upsets other people. It’s easy to come across as though you feel you’re better than other people. That is a good point as well, that those with OCPD will many times try and hold other people to their unrealistic and ridiculously high standards. If you yourself have OCPD I would be grateful, if you felt comfortable, sharing your experience with people muddling up the two down below in the comments. I think that the more we share, the more people will come to understand the differences. So I’m asking for your help.
Lastly, I’d like to bring up what I mentioned at the top of the video, and that is that it can be very hard for people suffering with OCPD to find a mental health professional to treat them. So little is known about OCPD and OCPD seems to exist in the shadows so much that many professionals have very little to no experience treating it. This is something that’s brought up frequently in support groups for OCPD. It’s obviously a serious issue and I”m going to devote more screen time to it, but I wanted to finish with this point because it illustrates why I’m producing this video, why I created this channel and why I’m passionate about getting the word out about OCPD. It’s my desire that we can bring this disorder more into the light so that in the future it becomes easier for people to seek out treatment and we work together to reduce the stigma surrounding this and other mental illnesses.