Mindy F.

@mindylou16 | contributor
I live with mental health disorders, but I do not let them define me. My goal is to help others overcome their struggles as I have, and help them know there are brighter days

The Difference Between OCD and Perfectionism

Perfectionism is not a disorder. There. OK, sometimes brevity explains everything, but I am not one for brevity. I’d like to explore the differences in these two entities: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and perfectionism. Perfectionism is born from goals that are pre-specified in the mind. One wishes things to be a certain way, and most importantly here that “way” has an end game. Perfectionists often get stuck in fractal-like loops where they dive deeper into more and more minute details of the product of their creation to hone it towards this end game. This can be counterproductive, it can waste time — but the key here is perfectionism has an end game in mind, achievable or not. Not achievable by external forces, or internal issues most likely — but achievability as a possibility of something that can be framed out. Simply put, regardless of its ability to happen, perfectionism starts with a goal and has an end game. OCD is quite different. At the root, OCD does not start with a goal in mind. OCD is an ongoing condition of the mind that the world around the person with OCD is not right. Indeed, the “compulsive” end of OCD may be tied to goals — usually irrationally. However, as a whole, OCD does not start with a goal. Or at least, not one that is ever achievable. I mentioned the term “product” when discussing perfectionism. That is important in the distinction we’re laying out. “Product” in this case merely means anything at all being produced. Something created, a project, to sum it up: something being done on purpose. Those with OCD are often seen by many as doing something on purpose towards an end game of sorts. What is not being seen, and what encapsulates OCD here, is those things, those obsessions over things, are merely a byproduct of an over-arching condition of the mind. Examples. A perfectionist wishes to arrange the chairs in a room so that everything seems nice and tidy for those who will be sitting in these chairs. This perfectionist may go as far as making sure every chair is facing in the absolute perfect angle so that everyone sitting in said chairs can see what needs to be seen from these chairs. Whatever the reason for the chairs, something is being produced. And the perfectionist is getting this thing right. The perfectionist may go to a point of irrationality in wasting time, spending energy getting the chairs well beyond the bare necessity of their arrangement. Someone with OCD sees chairs out of order as a part of a whole world that is out of order. Arranging the chairs — the compulsion to — is part of an attempt to make some assemblage of order out of the whole world. To somehow contribute — in his or her mind — to soothing a major worldview problem. And to be sure, arranging the chairs will not soothe this worldview, it may help for a bit. It doesn’t matter though! There is no true end game, as compared to the perfectionist who has a goal and end game in mind, and a reason for arranging the chairs. Someone with OCD is constantly living in a world they consider should be perfect and bear the brunt of it not being perfect on a second-by-second basis. OCD is constant, though it manifests itself in actions that seem to have a finiteness to them. OCD is also personal, in that one with the disorder tends to feel the universe they live in is theirs alone, and as well is not the right universe. Thus, obsessions are constantly cropping up over all of the various details of this person’s world, because this world should be, in their minds, perfect. And expanding on “perfect” in this arena — it is amorphous and liquid. There is no end game, ever. Just imperfection, known. To summarize these two entities: Perfectionism has an goal, an end game, is a mechanism within the (generic definition of) production of something, and often is approached irrationally with work expended that does not need to be expended to reach the end game. Perfectionism: “I must do these things to produce this thing to its optimum level by my standards.” OCD is part of a worldview that is askew in terms of overall lack of perfection in every single thing, and it manifests itself in what appears to be “production” but is really not. Wheels spin from the get-go because OCD is purely irrational almost always. And if not 100 percent irrational, its manifestation is always well more than a majority irrational. OCD: “I must do this thing because it has to happen to help make the terribly imperfect universe in my mind some form of OK.” We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Community Voices

Please Respect Boundaries

It's taken me a long time to learn how to set #boundaries , and how to stick with them. To learn that I don't have to please everyone. And when I feel a boundary is not being respected, I don't have to feel bad about saying no, or not fully explaining.
I say this because of a recent conversation here, a personal message. I'm glad the Mighty added personal messaging so we can all connect more fully. But, it also makes me feel more vulnerable as well.
A member messaged me and asked where I was from. I replied that I'm from the States, but I'd rather not say where exactly. This person said, "Why? I'd like to get to know you better. " I could have said, "Because of my #PTSD and #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder I don't feel comfortable with giving out personal information like where I live", but I didn't. I ended the conversation without replying. I'm not good at expressing myself when I feel triggered or upset, which is why I ended the conversation instead of explaining.
(A note to the Mighty moderators: I did not feel unsafe, which is why I did not flag the conversation. )
Do I feel bad for not explaining? No. Years ago I would have, but not now. Now I recognize that I have boundaries, that those boundaries are important to me, and I don't have to explain if I don't feel like doing so.
You may be wondering why I'm writing this here, so I will explain. Boundaries are important. They are good. And they're much better than building walls. Walls keep everyone out, but boundaries allow people in, when you want them to be. I hope this helps others know that it's ok not to explain sometimes. That it's ok to say no and stand your ground without feeling bad. And that you deserve to feel safe

2 people are talking about this
Amy JoAnn

A Letter Giving Myself Permission to Heal From Childhood Trauma

The last few years I have spent time, energy and effort on healing from past childhood trauma. Living with the psychiatric disabilities: bipolar 1, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), I have experienced both depression and debilitating anxiety. As I find my way “out of the fog” and gain more clarity, I am even more invested in my recovery. The following is a letter I wrote to myself to honor the process of healing and to give myself permission to love myself more fully. A letter to remind myself of the freedom that awaits and of my immense potential. Sometimes, we forget to give ourselves the permission we need to make mistakes, to cultivate self-compassion and to be gentler in the process. Healing is hard work, at times. I hope these words are a comfort to some who are struggling. Dear Loved One, I’ve watched you grow over the years despite being in immense pain and wanting to give up. If you recall, I was there with you each time you softened: risking vulnerability, stepping out into a land that was unknown, becoming more and more aware of the archaic coat of armor that no longer served you. I was there at the inception of your journey to heal, listening to you silently cry, expressing your disillusionment at life and those who you felt abandoned you. In that storm of grief and loss, you set your intention on healing and began even saying it “out loud,” sharing your desire for something you ultimately did not understand yet. You had become so uncomfortable, anxious and depressed due to the patterns of behavior in your life that you had become trapped, much like having a 200 pound steel ball attached to your ankle of which you were tasked to pull around each day. You were severely anxious and your body ached from the constant pain of the weight you felt was yours to bear. And still yet, you dreamed of being free, not knowing how, nor even fully believing it was possible. But, you dared to dream. Dreaming takes courage. Light and love are now flooding in to your awareness, into that once dark room of windows that had been sealed shut, where you hid for so long. Sometimes, it still scares you, as if you are in a dream and that too much sunlight, streaming in, will wake you. The warmth you are basking in is your reservoir of love; it has always been there, you just had not discovered it yet. What you refer to as “stillness,” is yours, and the more time you spend there, the more your sense of self will expand and grow. In this journey of uncertainty and anticipation, I want you to know deeply that: you are loved . You willed yourself here and you worked very hard for years to see the truth. As doors continue to open, and a more peaceful life emerges, I want you to remember the following: I give you permission to… Mess Up. You will make mistakes and there will be some that you truly regret. You’ll lose your temper, become triggered and fall back, at times, into old patterns. It’s OK. But, try not to linger there for long in self-loathing; instead step back, and learn from your mistakes. Life is full of them and they are unavoidable. Once you embrace yourself, your ability to love others with forgiveness also grows. This will also decrease your vulnerability of becoming triggered in the future. For Heaven’s Sake! Laugh More! You are not laughing near enough these days. You will never regret laughing more in life. Do Not Deny Your Emotions. You are safe with me! Cry, sob, get angry, be giddy! In my presence there is no insecurity, no fear, no feeling that you cannot express. Let it be expressed in the sunny stillness I have provided for you and just “let go.” I will still be here loving you until the end of time. Fail: Yes!! You have my permission to fail as often as you like, be it big or small. The important thing is to try. Not getting the job, failing a class, having a relationship go sour is not important to me. What is important is that you are out there experiencing life, trying your best and failing and succeeding as you go. You can come and console yourself over a cup of coffee with me any day. I want to hear of your adventures as you fail and succeed in multiple ways! Every time you try, even when afraid, is an adventure and I want to sit with you and laugh and cry about all your endeavors no matter the outcome. Protect Yourself: There may be people or jobs where is is necessary to “cut ties” in order to protect yourself. You may have to say “No” multiple times and it might be really hard for you. But you have the right to have boundaries and to say “no” as often and as many times as you need. Your peace is the priority. To Truly Be Happy: Do what makes your heart sing and be unapologetic about spreading your sunshine. Your vibration might be too much for some and that is OK. Keep searching and your light will attract those who desire being around it. Do not dim your light for those who find it blinding. Others can adjust if they like. To Not Be Good at Certain Things: We all have our weaknesses and it’s OK to admit and accept them. Love yourself anyway. We all have strengths unique to us. It’s OK to not define yourself by the aptitudes others possess. Your life is becoming more defined, be proud of your uniqueness. There truly is just one you. There is so much I want you to explore since you are becoming still enough to see the space around you. It’s just the beginning and I am excited for you! As you begin to employ healthier patterns of behavior, you will find ample space and room in your life for other people and adventures that will fill you in healthy ways. I give you permission to continue growing in love and acceptance of your authentic self. To sit in the sunlight, unafraid, as long as you like. You are loved. It is you who is cultivating the space around you that is fostering your safety and growth. Because you are truly capable and strong. You summoned me and I was here, waiting with anticipation, for the call. I am your presence of self-love and will only continue to expand with your consciousness of me. In peace, Your Spirit

Community Voices

I #Ithink I am maybe in the wrong group. #

# you wonderful people are suppose to Lyft each other and I think I bring a lot of negative energy to you all. #I am so sorry I don’t want my crap to be messing with your positive feelings.

20 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Who’s Sick Of This Pamdemic?

12 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Who’s Sick Of This Pamdemic?

12 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Feeling Proud

I just got off a Zoom meeting pertaining to a volunteer position im interested in and i’m so proud of myself for getting through the meeting without letting social anxiety tell me I was looking nervous or that I was going to mess up. I felt so nervous talking about myself but I held it together confidently and feel like it went well. I had a moment of panic at the start when I realized I didnt have headphones handy and had to excuse myself to get them, I almost let myself spiral into a complete panic but calmed myself down. I have to go pick up some documents to do with the volunteer process and then have another meeting. This might be incredibly silly to some of you, but for me this is a feat. Normally, I would last minute cancel something like this but the fact I made it through and felt confident while doing so means im making progress. Im so excited to go pick up the documents now and have the next meeting to show my anxiety that I CAN do these things without excessive worry.
#Anxiety #SocialAnxiety #proud

25 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Radically Accepting Disability

For me, 2020 has been a year of radically accepting loss and disability. When COVID hit in March, I thought I was managing my depression and anxiety pretty well.  By July, my depression and  anxiety were so high that I couldn't do my job; it was painful and I took medical leave.  I had an anticipated return to work date on September 2 but realized I just wasn't getting better.  I decided to take Long Term Disability through my company and I am currently on it and could have this coverage for two years.  NEVER would I have imagined this happening to me but it is and I am working on radically accepting this while practicing self-compassion.  I really want to lean into this and give myself the recovery, rest, and treatments that I need.  I'd like to hear from those who are accepting their 'disability' status...I've just always been one that pushed on and kept going despite recognizing the impact on my health.  I appreciate all of you!   Tony

8 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Giving Up A Favorite Show

Spoiler Alert: talking about previous seasons of Grey's Anatomy - I'm sure you've all probably seen them, but just in case, I'll warn you now.

Today I'm (trying to) give up one of my favorite shows - "Grey's Anatomy". Insert sad face here. It's been one of my favorite shows since I started watching it back in 2008 or 09. I've got season 1-13 on DVD, and binge watch them all periodically. But this time was different. I had to stop in the middle of season 10.

I had been in a funk while watching previous seasons, but I chalked it up to the lead up and aftermath of the shooting episodes. I can't watch those episodes anymore because they trigger my PTSD. Since those episodes were passed already, I didn't connect my funk to my binge watching the show. With the election so close now, 3 days away, I thought my funk this week was related to election anxiety.

And then last night it hit me: binge watching "Grey's" is triggering my medical related trauma!

About 21 years ago I had an awful pain in my side. I was a senior in high school, and still living at home. The pain was so bad I felt sick to my stomach, and also passed out at one point. The pain was located on my right side, so after 2 trips to the clinic within hours, the doctor concluded that my appendix was the problem and rushed me into surgery.

Surgery is scary enough when you know it's scheduled and coming up. But it's even scarier when you're 17 and only have a few minutes to process the news. Add on previous childhood trauma, and it's a recipe for more trauma and anxiety.

After surgery I found out it was a cyst on my ovary that had ruptured, but they took my appendix out too because it did look inflamed.

That incident has stayed with me over the years, mostly subconsciously. But it's the reason I have a fear of doctors, and only go when I'm really sick. I avoid the dentist unless there's a problem. And it's the reason going to counseling was so difficult for me. But up until last night I had no idea that feelings and memories from that incident were triggered by watching "Grey's". Until now.

Now that I know why this show is causing my funk I can, maybe, watch it again. But for now, I think I'll give myself a mental health break and stick with "Gilmore Girls".

#PTSD #MedicalTrauma #Anxiety

10 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Giving Up A Favorite Show

Spoiler Alert: talking about previous seasons of Grey's Anatomy - I'm sure you've all probably seen them, but just in case, I'll warn you now.

Today I'm (trying to) give up one of my favorite shows - "Grey's Anatomy". Insert sad face here. It's been one of my favorite shows since I started watching it back in 2008 or 09. I've got season 1-13 on DVD, and binge watch them all periodically. But this time was different. I had to stop in the middle of season 10.

I had been in a funk while watching previous seasons, but I chalked it up to the lead up and aftermath of the shooting episodes. I can't watch those episodes anymore because they trigger my PTSD. Since those episodes were passed already, I didn't connect my funk to my binge watching the show. With the election so close now, 3 days away, I thought my funk this week was related to election anxiety.

And then last night it hit me: binge watching "Grey's" is triggering my medical related trauma!

About 21 years ago I had an awful pain in my side. I was a senior in high school, and still living at home. The pain was so bad I felt sick to my stomach, and also passed out at one point. The pain was located on my right side, so after 2 trips to the clinic within hours, the doctor concluded that my appendix was the problem and rushed me into surgery.

Surgery is scary enough when you know it's scheduled and coming up. But it's even scarier when you're 17 and only have a few minutes to process the news. Add on previous childhood trauma, and it's a recipe for more trauma and anxiety.

After surgery I found out it was a cyst on my ovary that had ruptured, but they took my appendix out too because it did look inflamed.

That incident has stayed with me over the years, mostly subconsciously. But it's the reason I have a fear of doctors, and only go when I'm really sick. I avoid the dentist unless there's a problem. And it's the reason going to counseling was so difficult for me. But up until last night I had no idea that feelings and memories from that incident were triggered by watching "Grey's". Until now.

Now that I know why this show is causing my funk I can, maybe, watch it again. But for now, I think I'll give myself a mental health break and stick with "Gilmore Girls".

#PTSD #MedicalTrauma #Anxiety

10 people are talking about this