You Know What Drives Me Absolutely Neurodivergent About Being Neurodivergent?

That I end up questioning everything I do, to the tune of… “wait… do that because of x mental illness or is that a ‘normal’ behavior?” Of course everyone I talk to about it just says something to the tune of “you really need to be less concerned with fitting inside these labels and attributing your behavior to something, and more concerned with living a happy life.” Which like, fucking yeah, obviously it’s not a great life strategy to be constantly analyzing my own behavior patterns to attribute them to the current diagnoses I have. Believe me, I’m well aware of that, because every time I do it, it makes me more stressed out and makes me feel like I have no control over myself, that it’s possible I have an incorrect diagnosis, and that maybe I’m missing something that I should bring up in therapy but don’t because I’m afraid of getting the “that’s pretty normal” answer or the “you don’t need to worry about that” answer.

For example, to make this a little less ethereal. I’m currently in the process of choosing graduate schools to apply to. The process was going fine until I realized how god damn fucking expensive it is to apply to grad schools. Then I started doing more research: can I find schools with programs I’m excited about where I wouldn’t feel the need to retake the GRE? have I missed programs by not paying enough attention to them? is there a way I can craft a set of schools that I’m happy with but which don’t cost nearly as much to apply to? After a little bit of running in circles and looking at programs I had already looked at 3 or 4 times, I decided the best way to do this was to briefly evaluate all 150 or so accredited programs in my ideal specialty. Yeah. That means going to 150 websites and getting the predetermined information to put on a spread sheet, which often means going through every faculty page in the program, which can be anywhere from 5 to 40 pages.

About 30 schools in, I started to wonder if my likely obsessive approach was a symptom of my OCD that I just hadn’t happened to catch yet. I mean it fits and it doesn’t. In the model of Obsession makes you anxious -> you perform a Compulsion to relieve that anxiety but it really ends up creating more anxiety I can definitely make it fit. Obsession being the fear that I’m either missing the mythical “perfect school,” doing research in a way that’s going to end with me paying way too much money to apply, or that I would never know when to stop if I didn’t do it in a perfect and organized fashion. Compulsion being building an fairly ridiculously time consuming spread sheet that allows me to evaluate every single program out there so I can have evidence telling me I didn’t miss something and I did it the best way. This, of course, leads to the anxiety of doing such a spread sheet.

So it fits. Or… grad school is a big deal to pretty much everyone that chooses to go and it’s understand able that I want to make sure that I’m making the best and most informed decision.

See how those both seem like perfectly rational explanations? That’s what frustrates the hell out of me. Because if we go a layer deeper, if there’s additional ways my OCD presents itself, I have a really intense desire to know. Why? Because to me OCD isn’t just a diagnosis, it comes very close to being part of my self-concept, part of who I am. And here’s where the meta comes in: that is very likely a party of my Borderline Personality Disorder, the desperate grasp at anything that I can use to identify myself with. Of course it could just be that I like answers and it frustrates me when I can’t for certain make these connections, which is a fairly normal thing based on your personality type. You see how this kind of ambiguity could kind of drive me up the wall? I’m not fond of ambiguity. I do not live in the gray area. Likely because of my BPD tendency towards black and white thinking. Or maybe it’s just because most people aren’t 100% happy and comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. See? Neverending.

I have no idea what point I was making with this. Pretty sure I was just semi-coherently ranting because it’s been frustrating me. I suppose I could give a big, grandiose ending about the nature of psychological diagnosis, especially ones that cover such a gigantic range of human behavior, but I honestly just don’t have it in me. So I’ll leave you with this: don’t fucking vote for Trump!

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