OCPD Depression

All people are guilty of thinking negatively at some point in their life. It is only human. But when this seemingly harmless act is repeated over and over again, negative thinking can become a dangerous addiction that leaves its victims feeling hopeless. This addiction is called depression.

Depression is one of the more common addictions that people with OCPD are likely to struggle with.


First things first – I must address the chemical imbalance theory of depression. The chemical imbalance hypothesis is an unproven, convenient theory that oversimplifies the cause of depression to the depleted serotonin levels of the brain. In his book, “The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Anti-Depressant Myth,” Dr. Irving Kirsch goes into detail about how “the idea of depression as a chemical imbalance of the brain is a myth.” People with OCPD do not fall into depression because of any chemical imbalance in their brain. They fall into depression because of compulsive negative thinking.

So what causes OCPD negative thinking?

One of the main ingredients of OCPD negative thinking is “all-or-nothing thinking.” This type of thinking splits life events as being either “completely disastrous” or “absolutely wonderful.” But why does the pessimistic view repeatedly win over the optimistic one when people with OCPD judge their experiences? The pessimistic view wins because the majority of life’s experiences fall below the high standards of people with OCPD.

So we have established that people with OCPD tend to think negatively when they do think. But how frequently do they think? Do people with OCPD think frequently enough to develop an addiction for it?

Yes, people with OCPD are thinkaholics. The intellectual overexcitability of these highly sensitive people causes them to spend much more time thinking than most other people do. Anxiety turns this natural inclination into more of an obsession. People with OCPD think so much that they may be heavily burdened with issues of existence and loneliness. This can lead to existential depression when it is combined with “all-or-nothing” negative thinking. A lot of people with OCPD who are fearful of their overwhelming emotions are also used to thinking their way out of their feelings. This “flight into reason” not only reinforces the brain pathway associated with excessive thinking, but it also creates a whole new problem associated with depression.

In her book, “The Drama of the Gifted Child,” Dr. Alice Miller wrote,

“The true opposite of depression is neither gaiety nor absence of pain, but vitality – the freedom to experience spontaneous feelings. It is part of the kaleidoscope of life that these feelings are not only happy, beautiful, or good but can reflect the entire range of human experience, including envy, jealousy, rage, disgust, greed, despair, and grief.”

It is exactly this vitality which is missing in the lives of so many people with OCPD (read more about OCPD “Composure and Emotional Non-expression“).


See your depression for what it is. It is an addiction. You do have the choice to put an end to it. But like all other addictions, you need to go “all-in” in your effort to stop doing the things that feed into your addiction. There is no easy way out of it, no “quick fix” pill you can take to end this addiction. You must force yourself to develop a habit of thinking positively.

Stop thinking in “black and white.” When difficult feelings come, do not think your way out of it. Feel your emotions without judging whether they are good or bad. Be calm as you say to yourself, “Ah, so this is what betrayal feels like.” Throughout your day, force yourself to smile even if it feels unnatural – your brain will follow and supply you with the emotions that have been linked with that behaviour. During the day, force yourself to go out and spend time with people even if all you feel like doing is lying down in bed.

If you are currently on antidepressants, do not suddenly stop taking them. Talk to your physician about gradually discontinuing your use of antidepressants.

If you relapse on your depression, just try again. Relapse does not mean you must go back on antidepressants. It just means you might need clearer boundaries. Some recovered alcoholics do not even have a sip of beer. Like them, you may need to keep yourself from having even a “sip” of negativity.

It is not so out of the ordinary for people with OCPD to experience sudden drops in their mood even after they have made all the right changes to their pattern of thinking and the way in which they experience their emotions. Do not be discouraged. Your emotional sensitivity may be causing you to unconsciously empathize with the pain and suffering of others.

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14 thoughts on “OCPD Depression

  1. Dismissing the “chemical imbalance” of depression is a rather black and white attitude to a complex and not yet entirely understood condition that is truly as varied as the people who suffer, so be wary of taking as gospel the convenient arguments of people writing books to build their careers. Science is only ever the latest theory after all. That said, your thoughts around addictive negative thinking in person’s with OCPD and depression are very astute and helpful. Thank you.

    • Daniel Kim says:

      Thank you for liking my post 🙂 Yes, of course I am wary of that. But I think I have more reason to be more wary of taking as gospel the arguments of big for-profit pharmaceutical companies that have all the money to fund universities in the education of the efficacy of medication, shifting the focus away from psychotherapy. I also question the monetary incentive attached to prescribing medication in the US.

    • I agree with Daniel on this one, drug companies seem to be making too much money from this. Either the world has become extremely sick in the past 100 years (compared to 2.5 million years of human existence) or there is something wrong.

  2. pratham says:

    Daniel Kim, one sentence : Buddy you are genius. I completely agree with your statement that OCPDs are “thinkaholics”. But question is, how do you stop that ever buzzing mind? And what do you do when it stops? How would it feel like? How would i handle it, if at all i attain that state?

    • Daniel Kim says:

      You have to think about what you are thinking about. You get better at it the more you do it. You do not have to stop thinking altogether. You just have to disagree with negative thoughts and agree with positive thoughts. In areas that I am addicted to negativity, I actually talk to myself inside my mind in a very positive voice. I concentrate on the positive thoughts hard enough to block out the negative ones.

  3. Joel says:

    Depression as a manifestation of chemical imbalance vs. environmental incident is analogous to the Escher artwork of one hand drawing the other and vice versa.

  4. I have an idea that this dichotomous thinking is not a result of thinking the wrong things, but, rather, having expectations too high.
    I would hypothesize that given high expectations, any person would go into depression. Thus, I would recommend changing expectations by studying the world around yourself – see how things really are, how interconnected they are and how no one thing can be “the answer”. The answer does not exist – life has no meaning – and that’s ok 🙂

    • Daniel Kim says:

      It’s quite interesting that the “life has no meaning” answer has brought you more peace. I would think that it would cause existential devastation for the majority of people.

  5. Joel says:

    Speaking of hypersensitivity and compulsion, every time I go on this blog I feel the irresistible urge to fly Korean Air (superb first class). Something about the color…

  6. Kari says:

    I firmly agree with your theories. Depression is an addiction. I’ve battled and am winning. The only solution was to realize that I am addicted to angry, negative and sad things.
    I would deliberatley listen to sad or angry music to “go there”. Like a drug. I would deliberately not clean, to “go there”. I would disrespect myself, to “go there”. Depression is tantalizing and satisfying in a sick way, like drugs.

    The solution, I found was to just stop.

    Like when I quit smoking. I picked a date to stop my addiction. I forced myself to stop the negative thoughts. I forced myself to clean when I didn’t want to. I stopped allowing the negative feeds like bad news, sad movies, angry music, negative friends. I forced myself to think realistic and/or postive thoughts.
    I quit depression. It’s working. I don’t go all or nothing though. I do allow temporary sadness. As long as I don’t take days off work to do it. As long as I’m not upsetting anyone else. As long as I know, it’s only a day and tomorrow will be different. You can’t be happy all the time, but you sure as heck can stop thinking about being depressed and down on yourself so often, when you “just say no to depression”. Over and over.
    Every negative thought…..just no.

    One day you’ll look back and say “hey who was that dark person?” and you’ll be content to…just be.

    Sound crazy?

    Not as crazy as constantly feeding a depression addiction.

  7. passer-by says:

    “This addiction is called depression”
    * Do you mean OCPDians are addicted to the feeling of being depressed? like an alcoholic or those who play computer games excessively?
    * Sometimes i wonder if a person gets “addicted” to depression because of some other reasons

    another question on the paragraph discussing about OCPDians as thinkaholics
    * Does it mean “normal” ppl do not spend as much time on thinking? If yes, what are they doing when they have nothing to do at all? Is it possible that a human can stop thinking for a while even when he/she is not sleeping?

  8. Aaron says:

    Hi Mr. Kim,

    This website is remarkable and extremely helpful. How would you recommend approaching a loved one with undiagnosed OCPD, where they would not admit to this and would get angry or defensive? What words would help or be comforting?

    • Daniel Kim says:

      Thank you Aaron! Just be the voice of positivity around their negativity, let them know that they will be ok when they worry and are fearful, just love them in the areas they show a lot of inner brokenness and need for love.

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