EPISODE 20 TRANSCRIPT
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I just want to make sure that I’m happy with each video I’m writing and that I’ve given the subject the respect it deserves when producing it. So that’s what I focus on when I’m able to right now. I was going to put a personal update at the end of this video for my subscribers, but after reevaluating the length of this video I’ve decided to make a bonus companion video. I’m going to talk about some of the controversial thoughts surrounding these two disorders and some of the common complaints in a shorter video that I’ll release at the same time as this one. In addition, at the end of that video I’ll include a mental health progress report on myself as well as some details on big life changes that will impact this channel. Hopefully for the better.
OK, so why am I revisiting the topic you’ll now see a link for in the corner of the video? Well it’s actually for a really positive reason. Of all the videos on my channel, it’s the video describing the differences between OCD and OCPD that has received the most attention. I’m not surprised by that, as it’s what most online articles on OCPD focus on. And for people searching for OCD symptoms online, finding my video or one of these articles is usually how they discover OCPD even exists in the first place.
But it’s not merely because this video has done well that I'm filming a part two. The original video was one of my earliest videos and I had always wished I’d waited until I was more comfortable on camera before tackling the one subject on my channel that was bound to get more attention than any other. Also, I’ve had enough feedback on the original video to know that there’s plenty more material within this subject matter. And finally, why wouldn’t I make a follow up to this video if the first video did so well in increasing awareness of what OCPD is and what it isn’t? So I’ll not waste any more time and jump right into the topic.
I have to assume that some of you have not seen the first video, and for those people I'd suggest watching that episode before continuing with this current one. I’ve linked it in the description. But just to recap, we are talking about obsessive compulsive personality disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Aside from the obvious overlap in name, they share some similar symptoms and are often mistaken for each other. Even at times by health care professionals. But just so we are very, very clear. OCD and OCPD are not the same disorder or alternate versions of each other. I didn’t name them so you can’t blame me.
What I did do in preparing for this video was to talk with some people that suffer with OCD, OCPD and some who even have both. What this means is that a lot of what I talk about in this video will be anecdotal. Much of the information will be from other’s life experiences and not from professionals. One of the first things you find out, and one of the things I’m naturally curious about is to whether one of the disorders is more difficult to live with than the other. I’m fully aware that this is not something we should be doing, but pretending we don’t think about the things we do actually think about is not something I’m going to do on this channel. I’m wondering…you’re wondering…and so I asked. Now I don’t have a preconceived notion as to which disorder is going to be harder to live with. And as there are levels of severity to both, you’re always sort of comparing oranges to bananas. But for those that suffer with both, even they went back and forth trying to figure out which had a greater negative impact on their lives.
But before we go too much further down this rabbit hole, let’s back up and take a more clinical look at the two disorders for a minute. OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is the one that you’re going to be familiar with, unless you’ve been living under a rock, a gross, dirty and unorganized rock. OCD even comes with it’s own catch phrases such as ‘that’s just my OCD’ or ‘I’m so OCD’. By the way, I like to digress in my videos and so I’ll do that here. I’m of the mindset that nothing in life should be taken too seriously. I’m also of the mindset that no subject is so serious one can’t joke about it. Laughter is actual medicine and I don’t go around policing other peoples words and thoughts. HOWEVER, there are other people that think differently. If you are someone that tries to always take other people’s sensitivities into account, some people with OCD find it absolutely offensive when you make light of this disorder or claim to have OCD or the symptoms when in fact you do not and what you really are is just anal retentive or particular or quirky. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, you aren’t living with a mental disorder that constantly interrupts and halts your ability to live a productive and normal life. Personally, it’s more offensive to me to hear bad jokes like ‘obsessive cat disorder’ or ‘obsessive chocolate disorder’ than anything else. But although I don’t think that myself or anything about me is above being poked fun at or not taken seriously, I do understand how it’s upsetting to other’s and I was asked to get that information out there. So that’s what I’m doing out of respect to those that were kind enough to share their thoughts on the matter with me. And please don’t get pissed off if you disagree with me. I get that everyone is different and all I can do is acknowledge that.
So again, OCD is commonly known about. But what separates the memes and the jokes from the at times life disabling disorder? Well first off, it’s the thoughts that lead to the compulsions. A seemingly uncontrollable, repeating pattern of unreasonable thoughts are the crux of the disorder. These are the obsessions. Rarely is someone able to get these thoughts under control or out of their mental space without then acting upon them. These are the compulsions. In fact, the more someone with OCD tries to fight these compulsions, the more distress and anxiety they cause themselves.
Now I mentioned that the thoughts are unreasonable and so it’s important to understand what some common thought patterns might be. Please keep in my mind that I have an entire channel dedicated to OCPD, so I’m really only scratching the surface of OCD here. But to start, you can group much of the thoughts into these categories: fear of contamination, needing things orderly and organized, harming yourself or harming others and thoughts that are unwanted, such as religious or sexual thoughts. This predisposition is also known as having intrusive thoughts. Just as an example of other directions this disorder could go in you might find someone having negative thoughts about parts of their body. There really is no end to the type of disturbing thoughts someone with OCD might have, but most do fit into those four I just mentioned.
For fear of contamination, a person might not be wiling to touch anything in a public, or even their own, restroom because of contamination from germs. Or they may wash their hands an unnecessary amount of times to eliminate the germs thereby causing themselves harm by washing until their hands bleed. They might not go to a park for fear of getting dirt on their clothes. You find the symptoms most often referenced in film and media are those having to do with organization. What people don’t understand is that these thoughts are the ones that lead to compulsive checking. Checking to make sure things are in their place, or symmetrical, or lists are completed, or things are turned on and off can be carried out hundreds of times for hours on end. This can make maintaining relationships and holding down jobs impossible. Self harm and the harming of others would seem to me to be self evidently debilitating. To feel as though by not completing a compulsion you’re putting yourself at harm or you are risking harm to someone you love is obviously a horrible thought to be experiencing. Never mind the fact that you might be going through this thought process many times in just one day. And finally, the intrusive or unwanted thoughts. These may be fought with defensive alternative thought compulsions over and over inside ones own head or sadly, people may avoid contact with others so as to not inadvertently trigger these intrusive thoughts.
What I’d like to do before moving on to OCPD, is to touch on some personal accounts of OCD from the people I’ve been talking to. I’ll recount two in particular as I have their permission, but I’ll paraphrase for time.
The first person explained to me that 'OCD is completely irrational and adds an unrelated misfortune to whatever task you force yourself to do. It’s like superstition on steroids. It’s insane to correlate two obviously unrelated things, but the thought of losing something that is your world is too much to risk by not completing the compulsion. It’s so humiliating to talk about because you don’t want people to know you have to blink 34 times in 32 seconds because you yourself know it’s stupid and you’re terrified of the prospect of feeling guilty over a loss you caused or the control you lose. When you feel hopeless your mind creates worst case scenarios and presents a task you must perform over and over in order to relieve that feeling. On top of anxiety it can create panic disorders including panic attacks. It’s embarrassing because you have the faculty of mind to know these thoughts and compulsions are crazy, so you do what you can to try and hide what it is you’re doing'.
Or how about this account of living with OCD. 'I can say that with OCD I am able to recognize it’s crazy (remember these are not my words), but it makes me feel better completing the obsessions. I don’t like OCD. I recognize my OCPD isn’t normal as well as everybody else isn’t like me. But I feel that OCPD helps me to be organized. I don’t like it either, but I feel as though it is the right way to be. I know that that OCPD thoughts make me feel better than OCD thoughts. OCD seems like something I do and OCPD is like my life. It’s ingrained in me. I just feel like OCD isn’t as much a part of who I am as the OCPD. It comes up when I have an obsessive thought and those thoughts are significantly less prevalent than the OCPD ones. I don’t know how people get the two confused'.
This last experience is a perfect segue into us switching gears and moving into OCPD for the rest of this video. So aside from the names, why is there confusion between the two. Well let’s not ignore the fact that the general public for the most part is unfamiliar with obsessive compulsive personality disorder. So it’s kind of a big deal that only one word separates the two disorders. That fact isn’t helping with the lack of awareness and really complicates situations for those with OCPD when they go to explain the disorder to an acquaintance or a loved one. It’s no small thing that an estimated 1% of the population may suffer with OCPD and nobody has ever heard of it. The other reason there’s confusion is that there are some crossover symptoms. In fact, psychiatrists have been known to misdiagnose OCD if they diagnose too early without really digging into the thought processes behind the compulsions.
As with OCD, you may find someone with OCPD that is clean or organized to the point of obsessive, or rigid in their lists and schedules to the point that it isolates them. So someone that excessively washes their hands or feels that everything has to be done perfect all the time may appear to those around them to have OCD. But these two disorders are actually vastly different. For one, OCPD is a personality disorder. Specifically a Cluster C personality disorder, meaning that the disorder is characterized by anxious and fearful things or behavior. But specifically, any personality disorder is a mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. Personality disorders are deeply ingrained ways of thinking and behaving that are inflexible and generally lead to impaired relationships with others.
In laymen's terms, OCPD is a way of thinking instead of just having intrusive thoughts. It governs everything you do, from choices about what restaurant to eat at to how to treat people in different social situations. With OCPD you also find a lot of projection of the disorder. So the rules that one sets for themselves can also be demanded of others. This makes being in a relationship with someone with OCPD, whether romantic or on a professional basis, extremely challenging. Some that have experienced this have gone so far as to say impossible.
Although it might be easy to spot someone that displays the compulsive symptoms of OCPD, what you may be missing are the even more serious and harmful sides of the disorder. These may include inflexibility, perfectionism, fixation with rules, preoccupation with work and a propensity for anger when feeling out of control.
Another important difference is that it is incredibly uncommon for someone with OCPD to accept a formal diagnosis. Where with OCD those suffering are acutely aware they have the disorder, those with OCPD usually believe that they are perfectly fine and it is everyone else that is in the wrong. Most of the time someone with OCPD will never seek out treatment. And if they do, only a small percentage of those will come to terms with the diagnosis and then go on to begin treatment.
I’ll defer again to another person I’ve been talking to about their experience with the disorder. They told me that 'OCPD is more on an analytical level. It’s when you think through the details of every little thing. It’s hard to make simple choices and it causes us to struggle with making the easiest of decisions. It is also the reason that we are constantly on the defensive and feel the need to always argue that we are right. And as we put so much thought into things, more so than anyone else, we believe that we are always right. When we do anything, it’s either spontaneous because we’re too overwhelmed to think something through, or we feel as though we’re an expert because we’re so certain and calculated. Yes we can seem just as obsessive as someone with OCD, but our obsession are based on logic, not fear of unreasonable outcomes'.
All that said, I wont’ be visiting this particular topic again for a while, so let me break this down for you one last time in my own words. OCPD is like looking at the world through a bad pair of contacts that you believe to be the correct prescription. Everyone else is seeing the world the way it’s supposed to be viewed, but you’re going around insisting that you’re the only one looking at it correctly. It doesn’t matter how much harm it causes to yourself, how infuriating it is to others, it’s either your way or the highway. OCD is like needing a pair of glasses and only having a bad pair handy. You know they aren’t the right ones, but it’s all you have at your disposal to try and see things correctly. You’re both seeing things wrong, but only one of you realizes it. OCD causes you to repeat odd behavior to alleviate unwanted thoughts and OCPD causes you to behave in a manner that only you deem acceptable, damn the consequences.
I’m going to end this video in much the same way I ended my previous one. I’d like to mention that for both sufferers of OCD and OCPD it can be hard to seek out help and treatment. I think that one thing that we can all do to help is to talk more openly about mental health and to each do our part to help destigmatize mental disorders. I’ve provided some links from the previous video that I think are a good next step to getting the conversation started. I’ve also included some links to sites that I think may offer some relief for those wanting to get things out into the open.
Thanks to everyone for watching all the way until the end. Oh, and I want to give a shout to my brother Lewis Rossignol. I’ve mentioned him on this channel before. He is an incredibly talented artist and he’s just started his own YouTube channel. So I’m going to link to both his YouTube channel and his Instagram in the description of this video. You won’t regret hopping on over there and checking him out. Anyway, don’t forget while you’re here to hit that subscribe button and to take a look around and remember I’ll be uploading a companion video to this episode as well. As always please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. And despite what you’ve heard, I’m still Darryl and this is still my life in debris.