Category Archives: OCD

What Is the Most Misdiagnosed Mental Illness?

Answered on Quora. A lot of the other answers are also very good if you are interested in psychiatry.

I work for the most part only with persons with OCD. I don’t even claim to be able to treat any other mental disorders. When I get people with other disorders, I refer them out, especially if they badly need help.

OCD seems to be poorly diagnosed. I get people who obviously have OCD who have been misdiagnosed as something other than OCD all the time. A lot of the time, the clinician simply does not know what is wrong with the person. At other times, they diagnosis is simply something like “anxiety,” which is not very helpful, as there is a lot more to OCD than just anxiety. The people given a diagnosis of “anxiety” in general were not being properly treated.

The second one I get a lot of is some form of psychosis. It is very common for people with OCD to get a misdiagnosis of some form of psychosis. I see a lot of “psychosis”, “mild psychosis”, “mild schizophrenia”, “psychotic depression”, “schizophrenia”, “manic psychosis”.

Almost all of these people are being treated with antipsychotic drugs, and in almost all cases, the drugs are not working or are even making them worse. I simply tell them that they are not psychotic, the diagnosis is in error, please fire your psychiatrist, and look around for another one until you find one who figures out that this is OCD.

The problem is that people with OCD quite commonly appear psychotic when the illness is bad. They “appear” psychotic, but if you examine them very closely, it becomes glaringly obviously that they are in fact not psychotic at all!

In addition there is a form of OCD called by its sufferers “Schiz OCD” in which the person worries and obsesses that they are going psychotic. They often worry that they are developing schizophrenia. I have seen more people with this problem than I can count. Some of them were properly diagnosed, especially by clinical psychologists, but many others were not.

The condition is further muddled by the fact that the person will start to develop a number of “psychotic-like” symptoms that can even include perceptual alterations. They develop “fake auditory hallucinations” where they think they are hearing voices but actually they are not. They are just misinterpreting ordinary sounds in the environment as hallucinations. They also develop “fake delusions” in which they worry that they believe crazy things when in fact they do not.

I am now very good at differentiating fake hallucinations from real ones and fake delusions from real ones and worrying that someone is psychotic from actually being psychotic. But it took me a long time to figure it out, and it’s not clear or obvious at all unless you are very good at diagnosing this particular condition.

Also the obsessions themselves or the illness itself can simply look like a psychosis. I could give you some examples, but space is limited here. Suffice to say that OCD can be a very strange, weird illness and the obsessions can look like delusions. You have to be good at differentiating between an obsession and a delusion, and the distinction is not clear at all.

However, an obsession that looks like a delusion has a particular “feel” about it that an actual delusion simply does not have. It’s more of a Gestalt, intuitive or impressionistic conclusion than a logical one.

Suffice to say that people with OCD often have a certain sameness about them. I like to say “they are all reading off the same script.” After you have seen enough of them, you can practically spot them 1/2 a mile away blindfolded at night, but few clinicians see that many people with OCD.

When OCD is extremely bad, it does indeed look like a psychosis, and the difference between severe OCD and “psychotic OCD” (which actually exists) is not clear at all. I had people who I mulled over for months whether they were actually psychotic. However out there they are though, generally reality testing is still somewhat intact.

You can start getting into the territory of some truly bizarre symptoms. I remember describing one girl’s symptoms to a retired LCSW with decades of experience. She said, “Well, this person is psychotic. That’s all there is to it.” I actually now believe that she was not, but if I told you the very weird ideas going through her head, you would probably immediately say psychosis too.

The problem is that in order to get good at this sort of micro-diagnosis, you have to see a lot of people with the disorder. After a while, you start seeing a common syndrome and a diagnostic picture develops. But a clinician who only sees people with those symptoms rarely if at all has little opportunity to hone his diagnostic skills.

If any clinicians are reading this, you can see that I am complaining that many clinicians do not understand this condition well, hence it is often poorly diagnosed and treated. I believe it is important for clinicians to understand this poorly understood disorder better. How to go about doing that, I do not know. That is for you to decide.

1 Comment

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Health, Medicine, Mental Illness, OCD, Psychology, Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, Psychotic Disorders

Do People with OCD Enjoy Thinking about Their Obsessions, or Is It Always an Involuntary/Unpleasant Experience?

Answered on Quora:

Do people with OCD enjoy thinking about their obsessions, or is it always an involuntary/unpleasant experience?

Actually enjoying your obsessions (or repetitive thoughts) is a rule-out for OCD. If you enjoy your repetitive thoughts, OCD is literally ruled out. I sometimes come across people who enjoy their repetitive thoughts and think they had OCD. I told them that they did not.

Most common differential diagnoses were Prodromal Psychopathy (person is developing psychopathy but does not yet have it), Pedophilia, GAD and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Also things like Homosexuality which are not even illnesses. None of them are common. The only one I have seen more than once was Pedophilia.

But by and large, people who come to me suspecting they have OCD are correct almost all (98%) of the time. Clinicians despise self-diagnosis and say it has no credibility, but with OCD at least, many persons are quite certain that they have it, and they are correct in their self-diagnosis.

Usually what happens is they get symptoms and cannot figure out what is wrong with them, so they start doing research. They come across articles that describe OCD in great detail or are case histories of OCD’ers. They read that, and something instantly clicks. They say, “That’s me exactly! The person who wrote that could have been crawling around in my brain reading my thoughts.”

Pure O OCD symptoms are remarkably similar. I also like to say I can spot Pure O OCD symptoms half a mile away, blindfolded, at night. That’s not true, but you get the picture. It’s like they are all “reading off the same script.”

The symptoms are so clockwork-like that it has led me to think there is something wrong with a person’s brain who has OCD. The symptoms are classic, almost all of them display the same core symptoms and you can go down a checklist to figure out who has it, or just recognize it by sheer intuition. In that sense it is very much like how physician diagnoses a physical illness he is familiar with quite quickly via sheer intuition. In that sense, OCD resembles a typical physical illness very much.

2 Comments

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Mental Illness, OCD, Psychology, Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, Symptoms

Can OCD Be the Root Cause of Other Mental Disorders? If So, Can It Possibly Be the Cause of Schizophrenia in Some People?

Answered on Quora. 

There are definitely some other disorders you can get as a consequence of having OCD, such as Depression, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, and suicidality. However, schizophrenia and psychosis is not one of them.

But many OCD’ers worry that they may get schizophrenia or that they are in the process of getting it. Sufferers call this S-OCD, Schiz OCD or better yet OCD with the Schizophrenia or Psychosis Theme. This is simply someone with OCD who has adopted the theme of a fear of going psychotic. As with most other forms of OCD, the fear can cause symptoms that seem to mimic the fear itself. In this case, it can cause symptoms that mimic schizophrenia or other psychoses on the surface, however, careful prodding and questioning generally makes a differential diagnosis between OCD and Schizophrenia fairly straightforward.

Nevertheless, many S-OCD’ers sadly get diagnosed with schizophrenia or other psychoses by ignorant clinicians and as a result are medicated inappropriately. This subtype of OCD is very poorly known and often misdiagnosed.

I run into S-OCD’ers with incorrect diagnoses of Psychotic Depression, Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia, etc. on a fairly regular basis. The fact that when OCD is very bad, OCD’ers appear psychotic on the surface (but are not psychotic) confuses matters even more. It takes an experienced clinician to figure out what is OCD appearing psychotic and what is an actual psychosis.

At times the two illnesses are found in the same person, and sometimes in these cases it can be hard to figure out where the OCD ends and the schizophrenia begins or figuring out if a given symptom is best seen as one illness or the other. When the illnesses occur in the same person, it is sometimes called schizo-obsessive disorder. These people, who have much better insight than other schizophrenics, sometimes have a tendency to hide symptoms, which makes diagnosis even more confusing.

But having OCD is not going to give you schizophrenia. That’s not possible.

3 Comments

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Mental Illness, Mood Disorders, OCD, Psychology, Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, Psychotic Disorders, Schizophrenia, Symptoms

Could People Who Have Intrusive Thoughts Also Have Sociopathic, Etc. Tendencies?

Answered on Quora.

Psychopaths don’t have intrusive thoughts about violence or much of anything else for that matter. Intrusive thoughts about committing acts of violence tends to rule out sociopathy right there because sociopaths don’t experience these thoughts as intrusive. Rather they just like them. If they want to think them, they think them. If they don’t want to think them, they don’t think them. But they are not going to experience intrusive violent thoughts in my opinion.
OCD and sociopathy pretty much rule each other out. You have one or the other and it would be very hard to have both. These disorders are the opposite of each other. OCD’ers experience tremendous guilt and never commit any irrational acts of violence and sociopaths experience no guilt and commit an incredible amount of violence. So you see we are dealing with two things that are the polar opposite of each other.
PS if you were a sociopath, you would not be fussing and worrying about thoughts like this, much less going on line to try to fix them. Sociopaths don’t think there is anything wrong with thoughts of hurting and killing others. They like to think about these things.

6 Comments

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Mental Illness, OCD, Personality Disorders, Psychology, Psychopathology, Sociopathy

Do Therapists Ever Think Their Clients are Unfixable?

Question from Quora:

Some people are utterly unfixable or even improvable, but they are quite rare.

There are clients who are just too far gone, and they cannot be helped at all. It is as if the person were a ceramic bowl that was dropped on a hard floor. The bowl is now in 100 pieces, and the person who dropped it is on the ground looking at the pieces and throwing up their hands. “Where do I start?” he asks in exasperation.

All sociopaths and psychopaths are unfixable by their very nature. We can’t cure the sociopathy and psychopathy because they don’t want to get better. They enjoy being antisocial, and they do not wish to change. However, we can get them to change their behavior. For instance, a homicidal sociopath may show up in the office. A good therapist may be able to convince this sociopath that acting on their homicidal fantasies would be one of the stupidest things that they could ever do. This sociopath may then be able to go through life without killing an innocent person. So we can’t fix sociopaths, but we can change their behavior somewhat, tone it down, or reduce the amount of damage they do to society.

All paraphilias are unfixable by their very nature. The paraphilia quite literally will not and cannot go away. It’s etched in stone.

Schizophrenia is largely unfixable. They need a great deal of medication, and even then in most cases, they are repeatedly hospitalized. A few can go on to lead somewhat normal or even successful lives, but these people still need continuous medication and regular psychotherapy. In addition, they need frequent interventions to stay out of the hospital.

Many illnesses such as OCD, Bipolar Disorder and Chronic Major Depression are unfixable by psychotherapy. Most of these people will need medication for the rest of their lives. However, psychotherapy can improve their conditions a lot at least in the first and last cases.

Long-term suicidality is very hard to fix. It tends to become chronic with repeated attempts over the years. The suicidal person is typically defiant and is furious with you for challenging their suicidality. You are expected to sympathize with their condition, which is actually a very bad idea. Most suicidal people are what I would call “defiantly suicidal.”

Personality disorders are generally incurable. Theoretically, they could be fixed, but these people almost never present for therapy, and when they do, it is often at the behest of others, and they do not really wish to be there or get anything done. People with personality disorders, like sociopaths, literally do not want to get better. They like their personality disorder, and they are incredibly resistant to change. There are some case reports of cures of personality disorders, but in general the prognosis is grave.

I have never been able to fix long term low self esteem, and I have tried with a few people. There is something about that condition that hammers itself into the brain as if into concrete. I do not know why, but long-term low self-esteem seems to be one of the hardest psychological problems to fix. Why this is, I have no idea. Perhaps someone else can offer some ideas.

In many cases, long-term mental disorders simply cannot be fixed or cured. However, with psychotherapy and drugs, people can often get much better than they were before. We need to stop thinking in terms of cures and start thinking in terms of amelioration.

I realize that many clinicians insist that most people can be fixed or cured of long-term conditions, but I think they are lying. They are probably trying to drum up business. Many clinicians fear that if word got out that a lot of long-term mentally ill people cannot be fixed or cured, people would stop coming in for therapy. There goes their paycheck. Therapists are a lot more money-oriented than most people believe, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I know this field very well.

Clinicians have nothing to worry about. Even if a lot of conditions could only be ameliorated and not fixed, I am sure a lot of folks would show up to try to get some improvement. Some mental disorders are so painful that any improvement feels like a miracle cure to the client. A lot of people have given up on being cured anyway, just want to at least get better and are quite happy to do so.

5 Comments

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Health, Medicine, Mental Illness, Mood Disorders, OCD, Personality Disorders, Psychology, Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, Psychotic Disorders, Schizophrenia, Sex, Sociopathy

Do Psychologists Make Their Patients Aware of the Diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Sociopathy?

I recently answered this question on Quora.

Do Psychologists Make their Patients Aware of the Diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Sociopathy?

These personality disorders seem to carry a lot of social stigma, therefore are patients made aware of their diagnosis or does the therapist just continue behavioral therapy to treat the symptoms rather than informing them of the diagnosis?

I am not a psychologist. I am a counselor. I only work with one disorder, OCD, and I can quite accurately diagnose that condition, I assure you. Nevertheless, I am not allowed to give out legal DSM diagnoses. However, I can obviously give out my opinion on a diagnosis. I can also tell the person my opinion on what they do not have. For instance, I have gotten many clients with OCD who have been misdiagnosed with some sort of psychosis. I am an expert at telling the two apart. I simply tell them that in my opinion, they are not psychotic. Then I tell them to fire your clinician and go get a new one that will recognize the difference between OCD and psychosis (many clinicians are very poor at telling these apart).

Other than OCD/psychosis, I also have to make differential dx on OCD/sociopathy, violent thoughts, etc., OCD/pedophilia, pedophilic thoughts, etc. and OCD/homosexuality. In a limited number of cases, I told clients that in my opinion, they did not have OCD but instead had some psychotic disorder, or sociopathic traits, or pedophilia, or that they were homosexuals. Most of this differential dx is pretty straightforward.

I have never had any narcissistic clients, God forbid clients with NPD. One thing nice about working with OCD clients is that they are usually very nice people. Not all of them, mind you. But if they are not nice, there is often some other reason, for instance, Borderline Personality Disorder in an OCD client could possibly make them impossibly vicious, cruel, unstable, not to mention extremely crazy, far crazier than any OCD sufferer ever gets.

OCD by its very nature strikes nice people. The fact that they are so nice, meek and kind is actually one of the main reasons that they have the disorder in the first place! For the most part, only nice people get it, and the nicer you are, the more likely you are to get it. I will leave it at that for the moment and give you a chance to think of why that might be. I know why but it goes beyond the scope of this post at the moment.

But in general, I never even give my opinion on other anxiety disorders or on any mood disorders or personality disorders. I only rarely see clients who have psychotic disorders, and the two that I have seen were already diagnosed. I also very rarely see people with personality disorders, and the few that I have seen were all females with Borderline PD diagnoses. I did see one woman for two sessions with obvious Borderline Personality Disorder, but I had not figured it out yet in the first session, and by the second session, I declined to diagnose her. She has already been diagnosed by a psychiatrist from afar anyway. So apparently I am guilty of failing to dx a Borderline PD client.

The session was about her OCD, not her BPD and she was very nice through the whole session. It would have ruined the whole thing if I told her she had BPD, and I doubt if she would have accepted it anyway. At any rate, I am not allowed to give legal dx’s anyway, so it’s apparently proper for me not to diagnose someone!

That only comes up if there is differential diagnosis. I simply say that I not only can I not legally give these out but that I am not qualified to work with any condition other than OCD, which I can actually work very well with. If they want me to work on their depression or whatever, I tell them that I have no expertise or training in that area so I can guarantee nothing and it would be similar to talking to a friend or family member.

If I were able to give out diagnoses, I think I would simply give them out in most every case. Possibly if it might make a suicidal patient go over the edge, I might decline to give one out. But I will disagree with the clinicians below. In my opinion, physicians and other medical professionals in addition to all licensed clinicians should give out whatever diagnosis is appropriate. I feel it is a moral matter. The patient or client is simply owed a diagnosis on the part of the clinician or MD and I feel it would be remiss of the clinician or MD not to tell the patient what is wrong with them, and I mean everything that is wrong with them.

This is just my personal opinion and I believe there no ethical rules on the subject. Also I respect the clinicians below for not giving out diagnoses in cases where it would not be helpful. I simply feel that this is a case were morals or even the categorical imperative trumps pragmatics or even common sense.

2 Comments

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Borderline, Ethics, Health, Medicine, Mental Illness, Narcissistic, OCD, Personality Disorders, Philosophy, Psychology, Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, Psychotic Disorders

Repetition in OCD and Other Disorders

Optimus Prime: Fair enough, he’s said what he wanted to say and has repeated it a gazillion times. As you said, the man cannot control himself. Robert, apart from NPD does he suffer from OCD as well?

Sure, I actually wish Trash well honestly. He’s just not a good fit for the site.

OCD does not = constant repetition. The thoughts repeat in the brain (definitely in my case), and some of the compulsions can be repetitive, but that is because they are trying to get it right or perfect or make perfectly sure they did it right.

That’s not what is going on here. This is different. We are looking at NPD as the primary process here.

It’s like he’s not sure you heard him the first time, so he’s saying it again or shouting it to make sure you heard. Also I think he is in love with the sound of his own voice.

I will admit that Trash is a talented and even entertaining writer. He makes this cool statement or analogy and then he repeats it in the next post because he thinks it’s such a neat little bit of prose. It often is a nice sentence or phrase, but you are not supposed to repeat it no matter how damn good the image is. You say it once and move on. He’s saying it again because he thinks it is a nice image, and he is impressed with himself, so he says it again to make sure you heard him the first time, like what people do when they say something and get no response. They often repeat it because they are not sure you heard them the first time.

I do not wish to single this man out as being “Mr. Crazy.” Face it, we’re all nuts.

And as we are dealing with a personality disorder here, I would like to point out that in my opinion, we all have disordered personalities of varying degrees. I think we all have adaptive personalities to varying degrees too.

5 Comments

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Mental Illness, OCD, Personality Disorders, Psychology, Psychopathology

False Memories in OCD

False memories are quite common when OCD gets bad. I have dealt with a number of people who were going round and round about false memories. They are not an extremely common symptom, but you do see them sometimes when the illness is bad. It’s generally a sign of a bad illness.

Ms. Z was periodically convinced that she killed people. She would have a conversation with someone for 5-10 minutes, then walk away ,and then suddenly think that she had killed them somehow during the conversation. Perhaps she had suddenly swung her fist out and beat them to death? Perhaps she had pulled out a knife and hacked them to death? Perhaps she had shot them with a gun? She would have all sorts of false memories of how she killed these people.

In the course of these false memories, she would become 100% certain that she had killed that person she was talking to in that store that day. In the next few days, she would ask around to people she knew if anyone got murdered or if she killed someone in the store that day. Of course she would always be told no. I’m sure her friends must have tired of answering these weird questions. As soon as she was told that no murder had occurred, immediately the firmly held belief that she had killed that person would vanish, and she would never think about it again. Until a little while later when she would be talking to someone again and then walk away and once again become convinced that she had killed that person…

Another woman, Ms. S., was a young college student. She was at a large California university that had a lot of long, winding trails with undergrowth. There were deep gullies on the sides of the paths that were overgrown with foliage. Ms. S. would be walking down the paths and as she walked, she passed all sorts of people coming her way. At some point, she would suddenly get an idea that she had grabbed one of the people coming her way and thrown them down into one of the gullies.

She had a pretty clear memory of who the person was she threw down there and exactly how she had done it. She would be overwhelmed with guilt, and she would take off down into the gully searching for the “body” of the person she had thrown down into the gulch. She did this on a pretty regular basis, and eventually the university wondered what she was doing floundering around in the gullies, and they sent the university police down there to see what she was up to. After a while, it become clear that she needed to go to the university counseling center.

In both cases, the women received a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder in addition to OCD. This was an incorrect diagnosis, and it was based on the fact that for a short while after Ms. S  was clamboring around in the gullies or after Ms. Z became convinced that she had somehow killed someone she was talking to, that both women were absolutely convinced that they had either thrown someone down into the gully or had killed the person they were talking to in the store.

The diagnosis was incorrect because as soon as the women were told that there was no one in the gully or that they had not killed the person in the store, the “delusion” completely vanished and they didn’t think of it again until next time. Delusions just don’t go away like that. It’s not a very strongly held conviction if can vanish with a mere word of reassurance.

We look at the whole process in a holistic sense. What is the nature of the process? Is this a characterological process (personality disorder), a mood process (mood disorder like Bipolar Disorder or Depression), an anxiety process (OCD, PTSD, GAD, Panic Disorder) or a psychotic process (schizophrenia, manic psychosis, psychotic depression, schizoaffective disorder)? It is important to look at things in an intuitive sense and get the “smell” or “feel” of what the basic process is that you are dealing with.

In the case above, this is an anxiety process, specifically an OCD process. It’s not a psychotic process, despite the fact that it superficially resembles a psychosis.

Some of these folks with false memories actually go to the police station and turn themselves in for crimes that they did not commit.

“Hi, I am here to report a murder.”

“Ok, what happened?”

“Well I think I killed someone last night.”

“You think you killed someone?”

“Yes.”

“Well, where did this happen?”

“I am not sure. I think maybe the bridge over the river.”

“What time did this happen?”

“I’m not sure. Maybe midnight?”

“Who was the victim?”

“I’m not sure. I think it was a man, maybe.”

“What weapon was used?”

“I am not completely sure. I think it was a knife maybe.”

After a while the police started to get the message. He was not there to report a murder at all. He was there to find out whether or not he was a murderer!

As the conversation degenerated, the man started repeating, “How do you know if you killed someone or not?”

The police did not know what to say to that. After he left, the police were talking among themselves. “That’s so weird,” one of them said. “What does he mean, ‘How do I know if I killed someone or not?’ How could you not know something like that? That’s so weird.” The cops were shaking their heads.

 

As you can see, false memories are quite common in OCD when it gets very bad.

I dealt with them myself at one point in 1985 or 1986. I have to admit it was a pretty nutty way of thinking. I was so ashamed of my false memories (which I temporarily convinced myself were true) that I never told anyone except for a couple of therapists. I have not dealt with any false memory nonsense in over 30 years, and I hope I never have to deal with that again. It’s truly a crazy way to think.

1 Comment

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Law enforcement, Mental Illness, Mood Disorders, OCD, Personality Disorders, Psychology, Psychopathology, Psychotic Disorders

I Am Now a Published Author

Here.

You can download my first published work above. I was published for the first time this spring in a book called:

Before the Last Voices Are Gone: Endangered Turkic Languages, Volume 1: Theoretical and General Approaches

This is the first volume of a four volume set called:

The Handbook of Endangered Turkic Languages

The first volume alone runs to 512 pages. Articles are in English, Russian and Turkish, variably. It was published out of the International Turkish-Kazakh University in Istanbul, Turkey and the International Turkic Academy in Astana, Kazakhstan. These are two campuses that are part of one joint Turkey-Kazakhstan shared university.

I contributed one chapter that runs from pages 311-384 titled:

Mutual Intelligibility among the Turkic Languages

It’s 83 pages long and has ~100 references. It may have taken me 500 hours to write that chapter. Tell that to my enemies who claim I do not work, ok? When all is said and done, I figure I may make 75 cents an hour on this work. But this is how academic publishing works. There’s just no money in it. It’s all a labor of love. In addition, most work is done by professors who have to publish as part of their professorship (publish or perish), so in effect, their professor salary is covering their publishing.

That document had to go through two rather grueling peer reviews. I had to make many changes in it to get it to publication. The second peer review had to get past the top Turkologists in the world today, and I am amazed that I made it through review to be honest.

Most people publishing in academic books or journals are academics, professors working at universities. There are only a few of us independent scholars out there (I am an independent scholar because I am not at a university). Also most folks have PhD’s, and I only have a Masters, but there are some folks with Masters publishing academically.

In general, this is a rather selective game where everyone is hyperspecializing as is the trend nowadays. Although my mentor at the project calls me a Renaissance Man, I wonder if the autodidact/polymath is an endangered species if not extinct. Everyone has to specialize nowadays.

For instance, common knowledge in this particular field would be that the only folks who could publish in Turkology would be linguists with a PhD in Linguistics, preferably with a emphasis in Turkology. Beyond that, they may prefer say 5-10 years publishing in the field of Turkology in addition to a professorship in Turkic linguistics. You can see where this is headed. I am not knocking it. I am just pointing out that microspecialization is the game now.

What follows is that since I lack the PhD or professorship or any background at all in Turkology, I should not be allowed to be published in this field, or if by some error I am somehow mispublished, all of my work should be promptly ignored as done by a nonspecialist who could not possibly know what he is talking about. Needless to say, I don’t agree with that, and I carry on tilting at windmills like a good deluded Renaissance Man who never got the memo and wouldn’t read it if he did.

The odd thing is that I knew nothing about Turkology until I plunged into this mess. I had written a short piece of mutual intelligibility in Turkic, as MI is one of my pet subjects and put it up on Academia on my scholarly papers site, and a professor in Turkey happened to read it. He wrote to me telling me he agreed with me, he wanted me to expand it into a document, and they would publish it for me. So off I went, down the Turkic rabbit hole. If you study the very high IQ types (140+), they tend to go on “crazes” like this. They also lose interest after a bit, drop the craze and move on to some new craze. Dilettantism for the win.

I also have an anxiety disorder called OCD which is well controlled. A good side of it though is that you tend to do dive down rabbit holes a lot, and the OCD makes you burrow maniacally into the rabbit hole with the notion that one is going to become the world’s leading expert on whatever rabbit hole you are digging in now. So for one or two years, I went absolutely berserk into Turkic, whereas before I scarcely knew a thing about it. The end result can be read above.

The sad result is that either due to the savant stuff or the mental quirk, I also tend to lose interest in my rabbit holes after a bit. I follow them about halfway to China, make several revolutions around the molten core, and after a year or so, come up for air gasping with incipient Black Lung, and next thing you know, I am bored, and it’s onto a new craze. It’s a bit silly, but we all have our crosses to lug, and as eccentricities go, there are many worse things that dabbling, er hobbyism, er dilettantism, er polymathy, er autodidactism, er Renaissance Manism.

Most of you will probably not find this very interesting, as it is pretty specialized stuff that is mostly of interest to people in the specialty, linguists and those interested in the subject. It’s not exactly for the general reader. But if you have any interest in these languages, you might enjoy it.

I expanded Turkic from 41 to 53 languages, eliminated some languages, turned some into dialects, turned some dialects into full languages, combined languages into a single tongue, created some new languages out of scratch and did quite a bit of work on the history of the languages.

I also reworked the classification a bit because I thought it could be done better. Even though this work does not pay much, the pay is in fame if it is at all. My work will either be accepted by the field or rejected outright or somewhere in between. I have already earned the praises of some of the world’s top Turkologists, much to my surprise. If I get fame, well, I get quoted in papers, maybe invited to conferences, and maybe even referenced in Wikipedia. There are groupies in all status fields, and what the heck, there may even be linguist groupies. If not, there are always starry eyed coeds dreaming of professor types to mentor them. I am already working that angle as it is. Writer Game, Scholar Game, there’s Game for everything.

Or my work does not go over and maybe the field decides I do not know what I am talking about.

Crap shoot, like most of life’s endeavors. Roll em, and wish upon a star…snake eyes!

PS. The title of the series, Before the Last Voices Are Gone, was created by me. I think it has a nice little song.

15 Comments

Filed under Altaic, Anxiety Disorders, Comparitive, Europe, Intelligence, Language Classification, Language Families, Linguistics, Mental Illness, OCD, Psychology, Psychopathology, Regional, Scholarship, Turkey, Turkic, Vanity

Severe OCD: When the OCD Takes Over

Disgusting or Terrified?: Can intrusive thoughts turn you into whatever it is you are afraid of?

Does breaking your rules mean you don’t have OCD?

I’m afraid of…. Sometimes I’m scared that… I’m…I can’t actually type it. Think of the worst thing you could do to someone, and you are on the right track.

But I’ve been breaking my rules. I work with ____, and I don’t even think I should be near them. My job requires that I am around _____, and I feel like I am already a thing that is bad and may have done bad stuff but probably not but you never know. This is killing me. I feel like if I actually had OCD, I wouldn’t break my rules. Ever. Period. But since I have been breaking my rules I’m worried that I am actually ____.

Yes it is still OCD, if you break your rules.

I used to have all sorts of insane rules that I had to live by. They were secret, and I never told a soul. But I was terrified of breaking them. I slowly got up my nerve and started breaking them one by one. But as soon as I broke a rule, a new one would come in! Not as bad as the previous one, but still. It was like the illness was mad that I was breaking the rules that it set up for me, and it was retaliating by setting up new rules. Then I would get up some nerve and break the new rule. It went on and on like this. This was over 30 years ago when I was in terrible shape.

If the illness gets bad, the OCD pretty much takes over and even though you know it’s insane, it starts running your life. Your mind goes split between the crazy part (the OCD) and the sane part, and you end up with a war in your head like all such people have. But if the illness gets really bad, the sane part of your mind will slowly get weaker and weaker. Like it’s a voice in your head, and it gets softer and softer and quieter and quieter. At the same time, the crazy voice (the OCD) will get louder and louder. Eventually the sane side says, “OK, look, forget it. You win. I give. You take over and do what you’ve got to do. We are running up the white flag here.”

And then the crazy part takes over. It tries to screw up your life by making you miserable and saying negative things all the time. In my case, it set up all sorts of lousy rules designed to screw up my life and make me miserable. But I became convinced that this was how it was supposed to be. I had to suffer in all of these ways because the voice (the OCD) told me that I was the worst person on Earth, the worst person that ever lived. I actually became convinced that this was true for some time.

The craziness was very carefully calibrated. I remember I used to ask the voice (the OCD) about being crazy. “Well how crazy am I going to go anyway?” The voice would come back that I had to be crazy, that there was no alternative to this. This was somehow logical, don’t ask me how. It would say that the craziness was going to be completely invisible, all in my head, and I wasn’t going to do anything even 1% crazy because we had to keep the crazy stuff secret.

We were not going to believe anything too weird, and we were not going to see things. We were not going to commit any acts of violence, and we would try to be as rational as possible. Actually one of the Rules of the Craziness was that my actual behavior had to be as close to 100% normal as possible. All the craziness was supposed to be in my head. It was amazing how calibrated the whole thing was. It implies to me that I actually was not all that nuts.

It took me about four years to work my way out of this crap. It was like a journey to craziness. A trip to Crazy World. While I was crazy, I tried very hard to fix all sorts of things about myself that I thought were screwing me up in life, so that was beneficial. I was working full-time or in school the whole time. Most people figured out that there was something wrong, but the illness was pretty much invisible and all you could see was a strange or bizarre stare in my eyes along with a lot of anxiety. I didn’t actually do much of anything nuts.

Eventually after four years, it was like I just got sick and tired of it. It was like I took some sort of a journey that I needed to take for some reason, like I got something out of my system. Being crazy is pretty lousy, and if you have any self-esteem at all, you will get pretty sick and tired of it after a while and just want it to be gone. I also grew a lot as a person and changed a lot of things about myself that needed changing.

I had one other episode five years later in 1991 that was very, very bad, but I went on pills for the first time, and that dealt with it. I haven’t had any serious episodes like that in 25 years.

Even though I have not had any serious episodes in 25 years, I am still very much afraid that it will come back, and I will be like that again. But if you take pills, that seems to keep it away. Also it seems like you have to work on your head a lot, like all day,  every day to keep your mind in a nice, sane place.

1 Comment

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Mental Illness, OCD, Psychology, Psychopathology