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ineedahug

"Everybody has something"

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I've heard some people basically downplay the struggle of OCD by saying that "everybody has something".  I've always disagreed because I think most people have brains that function the way they are supposed to, and they have no idea about the challenges I face every single day.  In my family I am the only one with a mental illness, and I've had friends that didn't even know what a mental disorder was! From my perspective, most people have it easy, and a few unlucky souls have mental illnesses that make them have to work twice as hard for the same result.

OCD affects me at work sometimes... mostly because it is so draining.  Sometimes it can be hard to think straight when I'm at work, resulting in me not understanding some things as quickly as I would like to.  

I have a coworker we'll call Jane, and she seems to be able to handle anything, and is always very sharp.  I felt like she didn't understand why I seem to struggle with things more than she does, and I told her this is because I have a mental disorder that makes life very difficult.  Then she said something that shook me... she said she has 2 mental illnesses herself.  

Jane is clearly able to work under pressure much better than I can, and I thought that was because she had a normal functioning brain.  If she has mental illnesses, that would seem to imply she is just better at managing them.  I have a hard time with this because I've spent so much time and energy learning how to better deal with OCD.  I spend so much time with therapy and reading self-help books. I replaced all my old unhealthy habits (like hours of playing video games) with healthy ones (like exercise and meditation).   What am I doing wrong?

Could it be that Jane's mental illnesses are inherently less severe, and that is why she seems more functional? Or is it more likely that she is simply a stronger person than I am? What does it say about me that I have obvious mental problems, while others who have their own diagnosis can pass for perfectly normal? 

If the idea that "everyone has something" is true, then that would mean there is no excuse for me to struggle with OCD the way that I do.  

Edited by ineedahug

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I think it's easy to believe that most people around us are Ok and not suffering a mental health issue as we do. The problem with this way of thinking is that it doesnt allow for those who disguise such problems and thus, appear to be fully functioning individuals. However, underneath that "front" could be a crumbling person who has learnt how to hide the pain that they are in. People become experts in covering up their problems. I know only too well!

The point is, you don't need to compare yourself to Jane. Jane may or may not have mental health issues, or any other issues for that matter. What matters is you. You have to stay focused on being you, and doing the best that you can do under the circumstances you find yourself in, just as you are doing x

 

 

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45 minutes ago, Lisa davis said:

People become experts in covering up their problems. I know only too well!

Absolutely right.

2 hours ago, ineedahug said:

What does it say about me that I have obvious mental problems, while others who have their own diagnosis can pass for perfectly normal? 

This comparison you're making with Jane looks very much like a compulsion. You're worrying about it when you don't need to, trying to fix a problem that doesn't need fixing. 

It is genuinely what the sufferer wishes for the outside world to see; like @Lisa davis, like myself and like so many others on here we have become experts in the field of showing everyone else that we're "ok", not giving anyone the chance to think we may be struggling very hard underneath.

Because with OCD we're worrying so much about the thoughts spinning round in our head, it feels like a lot of our mental "bandwidth" is occupied by it, making us feel slower and struggling to concentrate. I'm in that position too.

Bottom line is this, and our resident Polar Bear has helped make it so clear for me! - Don't do compulsions, don't ruminate over things that you can't control or change, it's worked wonders for me so far I cannot even tell you, and this is without therapy or meds yet.

Stay strong, be happy that people around you know what you're dealing with, it's not weakness!

:)

B

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And we all know a “Jane”

Jane did this,

Jane did that,

Janes got a better job

Janes got a new car

Now bl**dy Janes. better at having Mental health problems.

I bet Jane didn’t spend half the afternoon outside in the rain getting old paper towels out of a bin to “check” them....

yes we all know a “Jane”

 

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Just now, Closed for repairs said:

And we all know a “Jane”

Jane did this,

Jane did that,

Janes got a better job

Janes got a new car

Now bl**dy Janes. better at having Mental health problems.

I bet Jane didn’t spend half the afternoon outside in the rain getting old paper towels out of a bin to “check” them....

yes we all know a “Jane”

 

Ohh that’s a bit catty, think we touched a nerve there!

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26 minutes ago, Closed for repairs said:

And we all know a “Jane”

Jane did this,

Jane did that,

Janes got a better job

Janes got a new car

Now bl**dy Janes. better at having Mental health problems.

I bet Jane didn’t spend half the afternoon outside in the rain getting old paper towels out of a bin to “check” them....

yes we all know a “Jane”

Gosh it's quite easy to start disliking "Jane" from the above description... Being better than you at mental health problems is all I got Jane, why can't you just let me have this!? XD

Feel a bit sorry for her being topic of conversation on an OCD forum though haha.

(Ps. OCD hates it when you laugh at it!!)

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1 hour ago, BM94 said:

Gosh it's quite easy to start disliking "Jane" from the above description... Being better than you at mental health problems is all I got Jane, why can't you just let me have this!? XD

Feel a bit sorry for her being topic of conversation on an OCD forum though haha.

(Ps. OCD hates it when you laugh at it!!)

I don't dislike Jane at all (was that implied?)-- I want to know what she's doing differently.  Maybe I can adapt it for myself.

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5 hours ago, ineedahug said:

I've heard some people basically downplay the struggle of OCD by saying that "everybody has something".  I've always disagreed because I think most people have brains that function the way they are supposed to, and they have no idea about the challenges I face every single day.  In my family I am the only one with a mental illness, and I've had friends that didn't even know what a mental disorder was! From my perspective, most people have it easy, and a few unlucky souls have mental illnesses that make them have to work twice as hard for the same result.

Everybody does have something, everybody has things in life they struggle with, but that doesn't mean each persons struggles are equal.  As others have said above, regardless of whether your coworker is visibly struggling or not, the reality is YOU are struggling, so what matters most to you is handling and hopefully recovering from that struggle.  It can be tempting to compare our situations to others, and sometimes we can use that for learning, but its important to be careful (again as others have mentioned) because you can see the entirety of your own struggle, but not often do you see the entirety of another persons struggle.

So I agree with you that its wrong to downplay a persons struggle because "everybody has something".  However I disagree that most people have it "easy" and OCD sufferers are some tiny portion of the population who got really unlucky. 
 

6 hours ago, ineedahug said:

Jane is clearly able to work under pressure much better than I can, and I thought that was because she had a normal functioning brain.  If she has mental illnesses, that would seem to imply she is just better at managing them.  I have a hard time with this because I've spent so much time and energy learning how to better deal with OCD.  I spend so much time with therapy and reading self-help books. I replaced all my old unhealthy habits (like hours of playing video games) with healthy ones (like exercise and meditation).   What am I doing wrong?

The reasons Jane is seemingly managing so well could be any number of things.  Perhaps she has spent more time dealing with her issues and is therefore further along in recovery than you are.  Perhaps she has milder forms of whatever illnesses she has.  Perhaps she responds well to medication.  Perhaps she has some level of natural talent for dealing with anxiety that you don't.  Perhaps she received stronger support earlier on that better prepared her.  Perhaps her mental illness affects other areas of her life in ways yours doesn't.  Perhaps she is mistaken and merely believes she has mental disorders based on misunderstanding of the symptoms (how often we here people describe themselves as a "little OCD" just because they are somewhat more organized than other people, etc.).  There are lots of reasons why Jane's situation might seem better along than yours.  It doesn't necessarily mean that you are doing something wrong, though I can appreciate your frustration and why you might feel like that.

If you really want to know, and you would feel comfortable, perhaps the best thing you can do is simply talk to Jane.  If she is willing to share she could let you know what she has gone through and maybe it might give you some idea of where you can adjust your own recovery path.  But if her mental illness issues are different from yours, like perhaps she has ADHD, it may simply be that the two problems are too different to compare.

 

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42 minutes ago, ineedahug said:

I don't dislike Jane at all (was that implied?)-- I want to know what she's doing differently.  Maybe I can adapt it for myself

Ok you missed the humour I was trying to have there; I was joking about Closed for Repairs' description of "Jane". Most important thing is to focus on yourself and your way to recovery rather than someone being "better" at dealing with things than you, its counterproductive.

As I say OCD isn't a fan of being laughed at so it's good to deploy that against it on occasion. Trust me it feels better almost straight away.

:)

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Some people like me have physical  disabilities. There are all sorts. 
 

There is a branch of psychology called Positive Psychology & it’s based on people doing what they can with what they have & being happy with it. 

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2 hours ago, Handy said:

There is a branch of psychology called Positive Psychology & it’s based on people doing what they can with what they have & being happy with it

I dig this the most Handy. 😀 Whilst I will never cease striving to improve my health/circumstances/mental wellbeing, there is much to be said for gratitude. Counting my blessings everyday (even if some days I don’t get close to double figures!) is, for me, essential to preventing my head from falling off.

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12 hours ago, ineedahug said:

If the idea that "everyone has something" is true, then that would mean there is no excuse for me to struggle with OCD the way that I do.  

I don't think comparing yourself to others helps in any way. Struggling with mental illness is not about making excuses. Would you ever say such a thing about a physical illness - Jane and I have both broken our legs, she walks just fine but my leg still hurts, what is my excuse for my leg hurting?

And think about it this way, even though you struggle to focus at work, you have a job. What about those people with OCD or other mental illnesses who can't work because of their disorder? Or who can't even leave the house? Are they making excuses? If your answer to this is no, then why put different standards onto yourself and other people? We are often so hard on ourselves and you just have to go easy on yourself sometimes. This is bloody hard and you are doing what you can, that's all that matters regardless of other people. 

Besides, until yesterday you didn't even know that Jane had mental health issues. So that goes to show that you don't know much about her life. Perhaps she is doing well at work, but still struggling in other aspects of her life. Or maybe she got diagnosed earlier in life than you and has gone through treatment for a longer time. Or maybe medication simply works well for her and she's lucky not to experience many side effects. The list of possibilities is endless here.

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9 hours ago, ineedahug said:

I don't dislike Jane at all (was that implied?)-- I want to know what she's doing differently.  Maybe I can adapt it for myself.

My fault, 

I'm sure real Jane is very nice.

And I'm sure you have no ill will towards her.

Like I say it touched a nerve

Also I now can't get "My perfect cousin" by the Undertones out of my head.

11 hours ago, BM94 said:

Being better than you at mental health problems is all I got Jane, why can't you just let me have this!? XD

I'm the only OCD in the village.

8 hours ago, BM94 said:

As I say OCD isn't a fan of being laughed at so it's good to deploy that against it on occasion. Trust me it feels better almost straight away.

The ability to laugh at the absurdity is what keeps me going I think.

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