Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bravery and OCPD
Self Discovery Word by Word

Some of the bravest people I know have OCPD.  (And some of the funniest - it was an OCPDr who shared this cartoon.) 

Nobody yet knows what causes OCPD.  Genetics?  Overly strict parenting?  A combination of the two? 

It may well be that like other mental illnesses, OCPD is primarily caused by a chemical imbalance or malformation of the brain.  So that the overwhelming fear, anxiety, and need to control is like sitting behind the wheel of a Toyota with a malfunctioning gas pedal. The question, for those diagnosed and actively battling their condition, may not be "why don't they handle life better?" but "why are they able to function as well as they do?"

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.  ~Raymond Lindquist

Those with OCPD, brave enough to face a diagnosis, brave enough to commit to medication if necessary (medication is not the answer for everyone, but is very effective in some cases at interrupting OCPD behaviors long enough to allow new coping mechanisms to become habits.); brave enough to commit to regular therapy, are my heroes.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.  ~Ambrose Redmoon

This post is part of the Self-Discovery
Word by Word Series.  Join in here.
In many cases, the bravery comes about as the result of an ultimatum - get help or get out (or I will get out.)  Sometimes even that is not enough.  The love and possibility of a more fulfilling relationship (with others or oneself) is not rated as more important than the fear of change.

But for some, they do decide love is more important, and it takes bravery and courage to make that choice.  They become strong enough to face their inner lions.

Battling any mental illness is scary.  Telling people you have a mental illness is terrifying, because of the stigma, the perception that people "choose" to be "crazy."  (Or that it'll rub off or something.  This is why I have many more readers than people who openly follow this blog.)

via mharrsch at Flickr
Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway.  ~John Wayne

To me that means, if you think there might be something wrong with you - whether it's OCPD or another mental illness, an eating disorder, a physical illness - saddle up and go get professional help.  Yes, you may not like what you hear.  Yes, you may have to make some uncomfortable changes in your daily routines.

You might even have to shop around until you find a therapist who understands your condition and can help you effectively - so what?

Not taking the steps necessary to be well, to make a better life for yourself and your loved ones, is letting the fear win.

And you don't have to.  Whatever strengths you have been using to push it down, to fight it on your own, those strengths and determination are more than enough to defeat OCPD - or any other condition.  You have the bravery, you just have to let it out.

For those who love somebody with OCPD - every day you prove your bravery.  Some prove it by staying in the relationship, and some prove it by leaving.  Neither is an easy choice, especially when there are children involved.

I salute all the brave people battling OCPD, in one way or another, every day.

(This post is part of the Self-Discovery, Word by Word series.  For more posts on this theme, a link to The Body and the Brood is live HERE .)