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OCPD and Procrastination

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OCPD and Procrastination

Postby gogogadgetearl » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:45 am

I'm going to try and keep this post as short and simple as possible...we'll see if that happens. :smile:

I've been doing some research on OCPD, and I believe that I have a few tendencies for it. I'm not trying to self-diagnose...but for the sake of this forum post, I will assume that I have OCPD. Following the DSM-IV-TR:

1. I am constantly preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, but not so much schedules - I'm very flexible and adaptable with my time. I typically perform better when I "wing it" or "play things by ear" than if I plan things out...now that I think about it, that may because I realize that when I try to plan things I get too wrapped up in the details and lose focus [shrug]. The rest of the list, though, applies fairly well. Recalling creative projects I have worked on in the past (web design/development), I distinctly remember strictly following standards and even creating unwritten rules for myself on the project so that it was uniform throughout.

2. I certainly show perfectionism that interferes with task completion. I actually failed to finish developing a theme for a website owned by myself and some close friends. It had potential for generating a good amount of revenue, but we were delayed due to my perfectionism - and soon discovered that another website had beaten us to the punch on offering the functionality we intended. The 5 of us lost nearly $300 each that we had invested in the venture. We eventually abandoned the website and the business that we started for it. It still bugs me today that I let my friends down.

3. I don't sacrifice friendships for work or productivity. I can easily stop what I'm doing to go hang out with friends. Unfortunately, I can get somewhat stressed-out if I know that I have an ongoing task looming over my head. Hanging with friends can counteract some of that stress, but if the task is of major importance, it doesn't help much.

4. I'm not sure about how overconscientious/scrupulous/inflexible I am about matters of morality, ethics, or values. I'm a Christian, so I definitely have certain moral/ethical principles that I hold to, but I consciously make an effort to have an open mind. I know from experience that not everything is black-and-white, so, intellectually, it's hard for me to justify an absolutist position (in most cases -- I still hold fast to a few core beliefs that are very unlikely to change, but there are really only a few). For quite a few topics (that many other Christians consider black-and-white), it's hard for me to say that I'll never be convinced otherwise. I'm a weird breed, I guess.

5. I do have mild trouble discarding worn-out or worthless objects. I often will hang on to the packaging for items just in case I need to return them -- sometimes I even keep shipping boxes from items I ordered online. However, when the object has proven to be unneeded or useless for my potential needs, or when I realize that such a potential event is no longer likely, I have no problems discarding it. I don't keep everything, but I often have a desire to keep things that "could" be somewhat useful for some unknown event in the future.

6. I am often very reluctant to delegate tasks. Cooking is an excellent example. My wife and I sometimes have problems in the kitchen when we are cooking food together. I have a tendency to step in and take control over whatever food she is preparing and I often give her overly specific instructions to follow if I can't step in and cook it myself. I was born and raised in the southeastern US, so a good bacon/eggs/biscuits-n-gravy breakfast is a huge enjoyment of mine. However, it's extremely hard for me to enjoy the meal if the bacon is not crispy, or if the eggs are not properly salt-and-peppered before cooking. If I can influence the cooking of breakfast at all (e.g., if I'm with family or friends -- not often an option at a restaurant), I will often offer to "help cook", or at least make those very requests...typically in an overly-specific manner.

7. I don't at all have a miserly spending style. I'm actually very bad at saving money (or "hoarding" it for "future catastrophes"). I'm a big fan of technology and cool gadgets, and I'm also very "brand-conscious" with clothing or anything else that has branding attached. So I often will prefer to spend the money I get/earn on new things over saving it. As for my "brand-consciousness", I lean more towards brands with a reputation for quality (or perhaps just "elite") products - but aren't yet "popular". As an example, I've just recently bought a pair of Camper shoes - which are fairly expensive ($150-$200), but fairly unknown in my local area or around my social circles. Another example is when I purchased a Mountain Hardwear Gore-Tex jacket. I had no actual need for a Gore-Tex jacket at the time, but I needed a jacket, and I wanted the social admiration of owning a North Face jacket without seeming pretentious or "yuppie-ish" by wearing a North Face jacket. Either way, I've actually had to delegate our finances to my wife (who is much better at managing them) so that I don't squander them -- it is one of the only things I'm perfectly happy to delegate.

8. I can be particularly rigid or stubborn -- especially when it comes to having myself or others (that I have influence on) meet the self-imposed rules I have arbitrarily developed (for things like cooking, web design...etc).

One thing I feel that I should mention is that I'm often fully aware of these idiosyncrasies, but I still feel compelled to do them anyway. Not always, but on many occasions I will be aware that what I am doing is trivial and useless to the goal I am aiming for, but I will still continue in my behavior because I believe that I will feel more satisfied upon completion. Most of the time, however, I doubt my success on a completed task and will go back to review it and ponder if I did things right or if I could have done them better. A great example of this: LONG FORUM POSTS. :smile:

I can intellectually justify some of the idiosyncrasies that I am aware of, and I will even defend them with logic and reason -- but I am usually open to a logical counterpoint if one is offered. There are still quite a few oddities, however, that are mostly unjustifiable - and if a friend or family member has pointed one out to me and I become aware that it is annoying or frustrating them, then I will consciously avoid the behavior so that I can stay in their good graces. It bothers me a bit to do that, but I would much rather keep the relationship standing well than to obsess over a trivial detail. At times, I will even apologize for my behavior *before* obsessing over a trivial detail.

After sharing my OCPD research with my wife over the past few days, I asked her if it has caused any strains on our relationship or on any relationships with my friends. She said that there have been times where I have unwittingly frustrated her or other close friends of ours. She then claimed that I am reasonably aware of my obsessive-compulsive behavior and do a decent job of keeping it to a minimum when I can tell that it is frustrating others. So, thus far...I guess I'm fortunate. :smile:


[to be continued...]
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Postby gogogadgetearl » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:45 am

So much for "short and simple"...although I knew that I couldn't do it...even when I typed it above. [facepalm]

I mention all of this (likely trivial) information to address a few concerns/questions I have:

1. I'm very bad about procrastination - particularly with work and school (I take collegiate classes online). Often, I am so bad about procrastination that I intentionally find things (even trivial things) to distract me and allow me to put off the actual task at hand. Sometimes I put things off so much that I knowingly let due dates slip. As a matter of fact, I am currently 1 week late with an assignment in school, and I am right now writing up a forum post instead of doing my assignment. I have significantly less problems procrastinating on tasks that I have already begun, though. Because of that, part of me wonders if I am subconsciously aware of my perfectionistic personality -- so much that I steer clear of even starting the task to avoid becoming consumed and obsessed with so many trivial details.

2. I have been treated in the past with Adderall. The psychiatrist that treated me seemed to believe that I had ADD/ADHD - although she never officially diagnosed me. She did note the lack of hyperactivity I displayed, though. I'm very animated, but rarely hyperactive. While there may be a good chance that I have ADD (I do get distracted and lose my train of thought easily), I wonder if my lack of concentration/motivation is more OCPD-related. When I take Adderall, I do notice that I can focus better and have more motivation to press on with a task once I've started it. However, it doesn't do anything to help me be more willing to begin a new task (which I consider to be a bigger issue).

Basically, I'm looking for help with addressing my procrastination. I'm curious if it's known symptom of OCPD, or perhaps if it is just how I am subconsciously reacting to my own OCPD. I'm also curious if anyone else with OCPD has similar issues with procrastination. Mostly, I want to know how to deal with it (treatment - medicinal or even self-help activities that have been proven to help with it).

Anyone out there have anything to suggest or comment on? Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated!
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Postby Chucky » Wed May 27, 2009 3:30 pm

To deal with procrastination you should just try to extract the fear of failure out of you. If you make a mistake, so what? Be confidant in your own abilities, my friend, and never let embarrassment be a part of you ever again.

Kevin
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Re: OCPD and Procrastination

Postby Sugar_and_spice » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:42 am

gogogadgetearl

Much of how you describe yourself fits me to a T. But in my case, I am "just" exhibiting the consequences of living first with a perfectionist (maybe OCPD?) father and then living with an OCPD SO.

So, the reasons why I don't think you are OCPD: You have friendships, you retain flexibility, you are aware of your idiosyncrasies.

I've been 22 years with an OCPD. You don't even come near :D
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Re: OCPD and Procrastination

Postby Chucky » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:45 pm

Hey Sugar_and_spice, thank you for replying. Unfortunately, the person who started the thread never replied back - Isn't that sad? Would you care to tell me more about your SO though? - I'm interested to hear about him.

Take care,
Kevin
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Re: OCPD and Procrastination

Postby dysfunctional chic » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:04 pm

I also suffer from these symptoms and also suffer from a fear of rejection so I often shy away from strangers and am very critical of new people. I also tend to have a hard time controlling my temper only with my spouse and kids. With friends and those who don't live with me however I will allow them to walk all over me and avoid confrontation. I figure because my family loves me unconditionally and will put up with my outbursts. I lose my temper when they don't do things exactly the way I want ie..cleaning, homework etc. I hate this about me and feel I can't control my angry outbursts when they arise. It starts with my anxiety level raising very quickly. So quickly it's only seconds later I flip out and can't stop until my anxiety goes back down. Stupid things trigger it and its never logically justified however I keep repeating this cycle. I procrastinate everything and work best under pressure like last minute things. Probably because I don't have time to stress on perfecting it. I never heard of ocpd until today and feel the definition is dead on and the most accurate diagnosis for my issues.
I would love to hear from others who suffer from this as well and possible self therapy techniques to try.
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Re: OCPD and Procrastination

Postby realitycheque » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:44 pm

dysfunctional chic: you sound a lot like my spouse. It only gets worse with time, especially when the kids become less controllable (teens). It really kicks in for 'chics' around age 41. Your Rules that your immediate family has to abide by are unhealthy for all, and are dysfunctional (your term) coping mechanisms you are deploying to provide a sense of being in control. CBT can help address the underlying irrational thoughts/feelings (and triggers) that lead to the Anxieties causing OCPD behaviors. In more severe cases SSRIs can help.

Check out ocpd.freeforums.org for continuous discussions with both OCPDers and their loved ones. There's a separate subgroup (OCPDersOnly) where you can comfortably discuss issues only with others in your situation.
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