So I have to write 10 pages worth of a paper for psychology. So far I have almost eight, and I'm splitting it into two papers (that's allowed so long as there's ten pages of text total). This one is a self-diagnosis, which I think is probably the last thing he wants to read, lol. I'm wondering if it's just too much to turn in... diagnosing myself with borderline personality disorder may be a bit weird of a read, but the paper is really vague, it's just supposed to be on how psychology applies to your life and well... um... that's pretty applicable, huh? Well, I'm letting you guys read it. Yeah it's long, kiss my ass, my blog, you read or die! Nah I'm just kidding, skim if you like. Here goes...
Life on the Line
“Disorder” is a harsh word to use; I prefer something more along the lines of “unique”, or perhaps “different”. After all, if I am correct in my self-diagnosis – as opposed to the possibility of it being self-diagnonsense – then I am part of a select group. According to recent statistics, people who have borderline personality disorder are only two percent of the general population. I am, however, male. Since women are three times as likely to have this disorder, I am conversely three times more unique. Isn’t that a positive spin? The question to be addressed now, I suppose, is why I believe I have this disorder and why I would admit it if I do. Consultation of the DSM criteria is definitely in order.
“1.) Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.” When I was about eleven, I remember hysterically crying because I believed I had lost the person I considered to be my best friend. He was angry with me for something I cannot recall, and had begun to surround himself with a circle of friends different from my own. Needless to say, I made a complete fool of myself and in the process actually did end up pushing away that friend permanently. Around the same age, I met a cousin of mine who had never visited before; I believe her name was Jenny. Jenny was extremely polite to me, and treated me as an adult even though I was a child. As a child, I was constantly annoyed with the fact that no one treated me like an adult even though I could read, write, and learn better than most adults. I instantly placed her on a pedestal, and when she turned her attention to other people, started moping about until eventually I cried and told her that I felt like she had abandoned me. Those are the two most striking examples of this symptom I can recall. That particular one has been purposefully toned down to nearly undetectable levels as a conscious attempt to make myself appear more normal. The motivation for this is that people tend to like me more if I appear to be sensible and mature.
“2.) A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating extremes of idealization and devaluation.” This is a consistent theme throughout my entire life. When I was a child, I believed my father was a great man. He worked off-shore to supply his family with what they needed and always was nice to me when he came home. Eventually, alcoholism took over his life and he lost his family, home, and a vast sum of money; I now think of him as the scum of the earth. I idealize my mother to an extreme, and she is the standard by which I judge other parents. At one point in my life, I found out that my mother was not perfect and became very depressed about it for weeks. I felt betrayed, even though the issue in question had absolutely nothing to do with me. It was as if just by losing her image of perfection, she had wronged me (yes, I have since recovered from that and found a happy sense of pride in my mother for being just the woman she is). Around thirteen I discovered the Internet and became obsessed with having the friendships I craved in real life play out online, and treated instant-messenger conversation boxes like real people. Around fifteen, I found a friend in a girl named Liz, and we became quite close. Every weekend I went to her house, and we talked constantly. I considered her safe, since I had noticed years earlier my attraction to males, and knew she would not care about this. Eventually, I found out she was heavily attracted to me and she fell from her pedestal for a while; again, I felt betrayed even though it definitely was not betrayal. How could she betray the solace of a friendship, pollute something so perfect with stress? I stopped speaking to her for a year after I moved across the state, and finally got back in touch with her recently. This pattern has also occurred with every boyfriend I have ever had. At first, I am extremely interested and affectionate, but after a while I notice their faults and realize that they are not who I had made them out to be in my head. This is something I am still working on coping with.
“3.) Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.” Oh, this is a fun one. At different times in my life, I have been a completely different person and defined myself in different ways. Often, these choices are arbitrary or based on some small event which I believed at the time to be life-changing. From birth to around twelve years of age, I was a classic smart kid. I made straight A’s, was years ahead of my grade level, could have competed with high school students on any standardized tests, and was consistently honored for these things. At thirteen, I simply got tired of the role and became a stoner for about a year. I smoked marijuana daily, changed my circle of friends to those who could provide me with it and socialize in a manner which was marijuana-friendly. I got tired of this quickly, and became a more hardcore druggie. I spent one summer doing absolutely nothing but taking massive amounts of dextromethorphan. By the end of the summer, I had grown completely accustomed to taking approximately 1500 milligrams daily. This transitioned into a gothic stage, which came about when I was sixteen. I painted my nails black, began changing my circle of friends, wore dark clothing, and had nothing to do with any social events. The only time I was markedly social was when a close friend of mine who I trusted completely would invite me to do something, which was rare. I moved across state after that, and reverted back to my druggie state for lack of a better choice. After cavorting around with abusers of cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, benzodiazepines, alcohol, LSD, and countless other drugs, I yet again got bored. At this point, I decided I would do what no one was expecting; quit slumming around, go to college, and become a doctor (a frequent choice of answer for “what do you want to be when you grow up?”). No doubt I will eventually grow bored of that, but my changes have become less and less drastic over the years so I feel certain that I will be able to cope accordingly.
“4.) Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse, reckless driving).” Each boyfriend I have had over the years I have had sex with within a week of meeting. At my heaviest, I was close to two hundred pounds in weight; I now weigh one hundred forty-five as a result of a strict diet and exercise program which led to my mother accusing me of being anorexic when I lost nearly forty pounds in approximately three months. Maybe I was anorexic, but I do not believe I am qualified to go on a tangent on that particular disorder until I consult Wikipedia (yes, that was a joke). My original weight was a result of binge eating; I would not eat breakfast or lunch, but would eat constantly from the time I got home to the time I went to sleep. I have already covered my record of substance abuse. On March 14th of 2006, I was arrested and charged with DUI and driving without a license. The full list of charges that the police and others involved could have pressed on me is as follows: DUI, driving without a license, reckless endangerment, grand theft auto, and possession of paraphernalia. Thankfully I was a first time offender and they warily let me off a bit easily. If none of that strikes one as impulsive, then the fact that I am writing down a story of borderline life in a paper for psychology class surely should.
“5.) Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats, or self-mutilating behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars, or picking at oneself.” I outlined my plan for suicide to my psychiatrist on the first day we met. She listened calmly, and I explained calmly and in great detail that a manifold path was the only way to go. She also asked to see my wrists and was hardly surprised to see the crisscross pattern. This sort of behavior lasted for approximately one year, at which point I decided that it was simply a drain on my life that I was not willing to accept or accommodate any longer. I have since had the occasional suicidal thought, sometimes at random, sometimes from a traumatic triggering event. Even so, the simple defense mechanism I employ seems to be effective in preventing any sort of further thinking in that direction; starting at one and ending at one hundred (though I have never had to use numbers past the mid-twenties), I name reasons my life is great. At this moment in time, I cannot conceive of any singular event which would trigger a serious suicidal urge.
“6.) Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)”. Intense episodic dysphoria is summative. I described to my psychiatrist how looking into my pack of cigarettes to see that I was down to the last one would set me to crying. When I had to wait to cross a street as a result of unevenly spaced cars as opposed to actual congestion of traffic, I would have an urge to hurl anything I was holding at the idiots holding up my progress. My emotional responses are still, at times, inappropriate to the situation. I have made great progress in this area, though, and I am careful to ask myself whether or not someone else would react the same way. In particular, I select certain people who are models of behavior for me, and ask myself how they would react (for example, my mother or my best friends). If I am still having difficulty in dealing with an inappropriate emotional response, I call one of a few close friends and discuss it until I feel that the issue is resolved.
“7.) Chronic feelings of emptiness, worthlessness.” This has been a constant in my life, and I have developed coping mechanisms accordingly. Occasionally I will have an instance where the feeling is so strong that it is nearly crippling, and I am completely unable to get anything accomplished. Usually these last no longer than a day, and I simply take that day off from doing anything important. This is inconvenient, I admit, and sometimes I grudgingly work through these episodes, but I find that they pass more quickly and easily if I take a day for myself and pursue only entertaining and whimsical interests. These have come further and further apart, and are usually preempted by a calculated avoidance of stressors which collect until I have no choice but to deal with them. The best solution, I have found, is to deal with each individual stressor as it comes without delay.
“8.) Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).” I control my anger quite well as a result of living in a household with a violent alcoholic for years. I have nurtured a sensitive side, and I consistently attempt to consult it whenever I am angry. A highly developed conscience has kept me from violent acts which I might regret. Even so, it does not keep me from inappropriate anger. The example above with traffic while attempting to cross a street is a good one. Once in a cafeteria, I asked a worker to please give me a double portion of an entr