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people don't take my dx seriously


echolocation
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i really hate talking about my ocpd dx, because people can never see how it's a bad thing.

my pdoc has given my homework lately to cut time out of my work time to 1) do something fun 2) that i want to do 3) that isn't productive. i know this sounds ridiculous, but trust me, he wouldn't have given me this to work on if it wasn't hard for me to meet all three of those criteria. i don't want to get too wordy, but my self-worth is tied to my perceived productivity, and if i'm unproductive (ie following pdoc's instructions) then my self-worth goes in the toilet. so i'm working almost all the time, which is, yknow, unhealthy.

i can't watch movies or tv shows without anxiety about being unproductive. i haven't watched a tv show alone for a couple years now. that said, watching tv alone is literally a therapy goal for me. i want to work to get to a point where i can watch a show without massive fear and guilt and bargaining.

so i was telling a few friends about all this, because it's a big therapy thing in my life right now and i wanted to talk about it.

one of them said, "i'll trade you."

you want this piece of shit personality disorder? you want the endless worrying about work and the dead ends i build myself into? you want the obsessive rumination about something completely unrelated to what i need to do? you want to isolate all day because you can't see how there's time in the day to say hi to anyone? you want my shitty social skills and inability to be intimate? you want the depression and anxiety and self-harm that all branch from it?

i think people think.... that i'm bragging, or something, about how much work i do. i'm not. it's hurting me and people around me. they just wish their doctor was telling them to watch tv. which i get. it's funny. but come on, man, i would love to have a normal relationship with work and fun. and no, you don't want to trade with me.

sigh. i just wanted to vent.

doesn't have to be PD related, but have any of you had your dxs brushed off as being "not that bad"? i could use the solidarity.

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I have some questions for you. Suppose you do as your pdoc says and your self-worth does indeed fall? Do you think that you will not recover your self-worth under more healthy conditions? I think you are afraid of losing your self-worth and think that it will be impossible to recover or to build back up. I invite you to reconsider this line of thinking. 

Who taught you or gave you the idea that your worth depends on your productivity? What would happen if you suffered (God forbid) a terrible accident leaving you unable to work? Do you think that you would no longer have any value?

There is a certain amount of worth just by being a living human being. That is why we love and protect babies who drain resources rather then be productive. Consider that you are worthy just because you are a living breathing human being. What about finding worth in the aspects of yourself that make you a unique human being such as talents or abilities, i.e. your strengths? 

Finally, nothing is 100% productive. Not even our electronic gadgets that are designed to work for us. I mean, even our TVs and phones get turned off to rest or to recharge. If you are not using them, does their value diminish? No, an iPhone will still have the same value if you use it everyday or if you use it once a week. Or not at all.

The reason for this is potential. You have potential as a human being to do great things. Therein lies worth. It doesn't mean that you have to be working every minute of every day. It means that when you are needed, you are able to pitch in and be productive.

I'm not trying to tell you how to think. I merely want to present a line of thinking that has helped me.

Edited by jt07
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Personality disorders are usually some typical trait taken to an extreme degree. People will say "I wish I was more...", but not like this. "I'll trade you" is not a great thing to hear and it completely misunderstands how it is for you. You have OCD too, which I understand is common with OCPD, so you've probably also heard people say something like "I'm a little bit OCD, I put my DVDs in alphabetical order." Oh shut up! Not quite the same thing. My special PD super power (still awaiting an official diagnosis) is being alone. Being a light house keeper on a deserted rock really appeals to me. And sometimes I hear people talking about how great it is to be alone and have some "Me time" by themselves. It probably is good when it's a choice. It's also destructive when you can't do anything else.

I hopefully still have a friend who has OCPD, though I haven't heard from her in a while (Come back Em! I miss you.)

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My mum used to stick up funny quotes on the bathroom wall to give people something to read as they did their business. One of them was 'if everyone threw their problems in a big pile, you'd snatch yours right back up'. I think people misunderstand PD's because a lot of it is either 'extreme' to the point of no empathy (psychosis anyone?) or seemingly so mundane it doesn't look like a problem (who isn't a perfectionist?)

When I told my friends about my PD traits, they said 'oh I do that!' Like sure, maybe you also have mood swings, but probably not to the point of suicidal hysteria. There needs to be more mental health literacy IS2G. I think part of it is just having that social script of 'I understand why this doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but it significantly and negatively affects me. Thanks for understanding!' If you're me, that latter part is usually with a dash of passive aggressiveness thrown in. 

jt I agree, but unfortunately the OCPD part of my brain still throws rocks at me for being unemployed. Regular me gets it, mentally ill me screams if I have a lie-in. Productivity shouldn't define our worth, but sadly that message has sunk in enough at this point that working yourself to death is called 'good work ethic'.

Fluent, being in a lighthouse sounds great right now. Or maybe on an island. With no internet. Just dogs. It is destructive to have a semi-controllable drive towards isolation, but damn it, people are so much, all the time.

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@Fluent In Silence ooh, people casually misusing ocd as a synonym for neat or organized bugs me majorly. like, clearly you don't know what ocd is. ugh! people. ocpd leads to some isolation too, but not to the spd degree. a lighthouse would have a hell of a view. :-)

@jt07 you make some really interesting points. i think i see self-worth as a limited resource, like if i lose it i'll never find it again. i'm so used to basing it all on work, i don't think i know where else to look for it. as a kid the only thing i ever really got praise for were my grades. i think that mutated into me thinking that my ability to work (school, but also employment) was the only thing about me that was valuable. when really depressed, i used to dream about getting really hurt or sick so i could finally have a reason to stop working.

i like the analogy with the phones. i still have value even when i'm "off". thank you for your words, you've given me a lot to think about.

@ananke it'd be such a better world with more mental health literacy! people don't understand that it's the severity of the traits that qualify for a diagnosis, not just having them. the bit where pd traits have to impair quality of life is the part everyone glosses over. i think it's a hard thing to grasp if you have no experience with it intimately.

Edited by echolocation
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