psychological disorders

Day 46

When I take revenge, I often don’t do it purely to see the other person miserable. It may be interesting to see how I hurt someone, but often I have an ulterior motive.

An example, this girl spent two years constantly attempting to walk over me and would talk about me behind my back and was generally a disturbance to my work life by trying to get other people to dislike me and ‘gang up’ on me. So, I found out who her boyfriend was and I managed to break them up. I did this without anyone ever knowing I had anything to do with it. This meant that her attention was then focused on crying over her loss, everyone else’s attention was on her, and I had a clear path to get on with what I wanted. Seeing her misery was also rather enjoyable.

All revenge must be suitable for the situation. The best way to carry out revenge is to do so subtly without being caught but still being the reason for their misery. Never be tempted to take the spotlight for your genius revenge plot, because it will only end badly for you and it isn’t worth the five minutes of fame.

Revenge doesn’t have to be in your face. No one needs to know it’s you. I find the best tactic is to skulk in the dark and slowly implement changes to destroy them in any way I need. For example, in Dexter season 7, his babysitter’s boyfriend Lewis was causing him problems. So after warning him, he found a way to get Lewis fired from his job and dumped his his girlfriend so then the guy was out of his life. No one ever knew it was Dexter.

All revenge needs to be is payment for their actions. If you follow this, don’t leave a trace. Threats must be face to face and then there is no proof of this ever having happened.

But really this depends on whether you want someone to know that they are getting what they deserve for hurting you, kind of a warning to leave you alone, or if you just want to get them out of the way and see them suffer from behind a mask.

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Here’s a clearer version of my ADHD info graphic
Happy ADHD awareness month everyone!!

I can get other people to change their opinions and perspectives based on what I think. Not with arguments or portraying my point of view with facts to back it up, but instead solely on how I say it.

My sibling for example told me they thought Oasis, the band, were ‘shit’. I openly told them that their opinion was wrong, that they needed to be educated properly and that if they actually listened to any Oasis, they would know they were not, in fact, 'shit’. I said it forcefully, as if it were something I was passionate about. My sibling now likes Oasis.

This is the same with everything. I have strong opinions on everything that I present 'passionately’ and forcefully to the point where people agree with me.

I don’t know why this works, but it does, and I am definitely glad it does.

It’s ignorant to act as though DBT will cure all people with personality disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder. Just because something has a higher rate of success than other forms of treatment does not mean it is the end of the line.

Sometimes DBT doesn’t help people, and that’s okay, it just means we have more to do to help mentally ill people. Do not blame mentally ill people for not being able to comply with a form of therapy. They can’t comply because they are mentally ill, it isn’t working because they are mentally ill. 

We must find more ways to treat and help mentally ill people. We are not at the end of the line, and no not everything works for everyone, even if it has a high success rate.

  • Inner Voice: (quivering, timid, frightened) What if that terrible thing we have been fearing for months happens?
  • Our Voice: (bold, fearless, forceful) Then when and if it does happen we will deal with it just like we've dealt with every other so-called "crisis" in the past. I don't have time to worry about this. We'll just deal with it when the time comes.

This is a great example of what I mean when I talk about the symptoms of personality disorders. Lots of people have the traits described in personality disorders. Most people have them at the “adaptive” or “subclinical” levels. Not many people experience these things to the “disordered” or “severely disordered” level described above.

Note - these specific examples are not enough in and of themselves to diagnose a personality disorder; a personality disorder is a collection of many different traits that all must be experienced at the disordered or severely disordered levels.

Theodore Millon, Personality Disorders in Modern Life (second edition), 2004.

Image transliteration after the jump.

Keep reading

Are You Dissociating?

“Dissociating is one of the most common responses to abuse and trauma. It involves feeling numb, detached or unreal and (while it happens to everyone once in a while) is experienced more frequently and severely in survivors. Dissociating people vary widely in symptoms and may experience any or all of the things from the following list.

You may be dissociating if you:

• find yourself staring at one spot, not thinking anything
• feel completely numb
• feel like you’re not really in your body, like you’re watching yourself in a movie.
• feel suddenly lightheaded or dizzy
• lose the plot of the show or conversation you were focused on
• feel as if you’re not quite real, like you’re in a dream
• feel like you’re floating
• suddenly feel like you’re not a part of the world around you
• feel detached and far away from other people, who may seem mechanical or unreal to you
• are very startled when someone/something gets your attention
completely forget what you were thinking just a moment ago
• suddenly cover your face or react as if you’re about to be hurt for no reason
• can’t remember important information about yourself, like your age or where you live
• find yourself rocking back and forth
• become very focused on a small or trivial object or event
• find that voices, sounds or writing seem far away and you sometimes have trouble understanding them.
• feel as if you’ve just experienced a flashback (perhaps rapidly) but you can’t remember anything about it.
• perceive your body as foreign or not belonging to you”

Emotion: The Tyranny of the Brain Chemicals

by Saṃsāran  

Since the time of the ancient Greeks, people have divided the psyche into thought and emotion. Philosophers have noted that “we” become our thoughts. So, who is this “we” if it is not our thoughts? I’ll tell you. This “we” is our subjective emotional state. A thought without an attached emotion is a black and white thing. A colorless thing. It seems that everything we do is to achieve a pleasant or at least a non-unpleasant emotional state.

Our outside circumstances are not the end goal. We do not wish to have riches and power for their own sake. We want them because we believe that if we have these things we will be content and it is contentment which is the ultimate accomplishment of any animal. The opposite of content is discontent and discontent is mostly anxiety. 

People seek out pleasure because it is a source, albeit a temporary one, of contentment. People bungee jump not for the “thrill” which is just a word for controlled fear, but because our brains reward us after a brush with danger with a burst of contentment. We made it. This time.

We drink and drug for contentment. Just ask any junkie. After orgasm. there is the “afterglow” which is a brief period of emotional reward for having mated. All animals experience this in some form. 

Since everything we do is an attempt to achieve this emotional state and this emotional state is a chemical state then we are slaves to these chemicals. If these chemicals are out of balance then no matter how rich, powerful, smart, wise or successful we are it will not be enough. It is easy for most of us to believe that if only this or that happened we would just be happy. It is harder to understand when those we perceive as having these things are miserable. Kurt Cobain blew his brains out? Young, rich and successful?  A new Dad?

Robin Williams hangs himself and he is wealthy beyond belief and universally loved. In fact, a lot of successful people become hopeless because they have achieved their dreams but are still discontent.

Is there an answer for this human dilemma?

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”
– Socrates

How to Deal with a Narcissist

1. Don’t expect empathy, understanding or praise and recognition from a narcissistic person. Keep your private thoughts and feelings close to your heart, and don’t open up and make yourself vulnerable.

2. Expect them to be rude and to say offensive things.

3. Don’t be offended by the things they say and do as it’s not about you – they treat others the same way.

4. Make a lot of their achievements and praise them publicly as they’re always looking to be noticed and affirmed.

5. Don’t try to get a narcissist to see things differently as they’re not going to change, or be influenced by you.

6. Understand that a narcissist is going to drain you dry – and will guilt you into think that you haven’t done enough. But it’s actually not true. They just can’t be satisfied.

7. Don’t push for a meaningful relationship with them as it will always be one-sided … look for love from someone else.

Have you ever known a person who was severely anxious who often reacted with bursts of anger and aggression? Perhaps that describes you. We do this because anger negates fear. The brain releases chemicals known as catecholamines. These chemicals prepare us for a fight and one of the things they do is suppress any fear we may feel. It is a kind of self-intoxication.

Epinephrine Molecule

Jeffrey Dahmer - A Psychological Insight

We all know about the atrocities of the Milwaukee Cannibal, but what drove him to commit such acts?

Dahmer pled guilty but insane before the actual trial. Psychiatric experts testified that he knew right from wrong, regardless of psychological state. So what did Dahmer suffer from, and how did this impact his crimes?


 Psychological Summary

There are many different possible diagnoses for Jeffrey Dahmer. Upon psychological inspection, many different possibilities arose for Dahmer’s mental state. 

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Perhaps the most obvious diagnosis, APD is a disorder that has been flirted with by psychologists to explain Dahmer’s behaviour. It is catagorised by the following: 

- Exploit, manipulate and violate the rights of others
- No remorse or regret
- Irresponsible, no regard for social norms
- Very few long term, meaningful relationships 
- Problems with temper and frustration
- Lack guilt for their actions
- Blame others for their own short-comings
- Break the law consistently

This may seem like, on the surface, an appropriate diagnosis for Dahmer. However, the way in which he killed, and his self professed reasons for doing so, do not fit the criteria. Many psychologists deny this as the driving force behind his crimes, as his motives seemed to be propelled more by insecurity, self gratification and instability, rather than anger. 

Autistic Development Disorder 

Many children suffer from a form of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, which inevitably carries through to adulthood. It is categorized by the following:

- Social & communication difficulties 
- Exhibit behaviours that other would deem “different” and “repetitive”
- Intense obsessions 
- Is often coupled with Social Anxiety and General Anxiety Disorder
- Monotonous or flat speech
- Uncomfortable with human touch

No two people present the same Autistic behaviors, so categorization is difficult.

Jeffrey Dahmer developed from a very young age an obsession with bones, namely animal bones. Lionel Dahmer (father) said in his book “A Fathers Story” that he encouraged this behavior, as he felt it may lead to a career in the medical field. He ultimately viewed this obsession as a harmless one.

In school, Dahmer had a lot of trouble with social interaction. He spoke of this himself in a later interview from prison, stating that  “The subtleties of social life were beyond my grasp. When children liked me, I did not know why. Nor could I formulate a plan for winning their affection. I simply didn’t know how things worked with other people…. And try as I might, I couldn’t make other people seem less strange and unknowable” 

Experts that assessed Dahmers behaviour, say that there is a connection between Aspergers and sexual development, aggressive behavior and low mood.

Borderline Personality Disorder 

After molesting a 13 year old, psychologists found Dahmer to be uncooperative, angry, manipulative and emotionally unstable. He later told his probation officer that his life lacked meaning and purpose. Could this empty feeling, coupled with an unstable disposition be a sign of BPD?

Categorization:

- Emotional Instability
- Disturbed patterns of thinking or perceptions
- Impulsive and reckless behavior
- Unstable sense of self
- Extreme fear of abandonment and rejection
- Intense and unstable relationships with others 
- Obsessive behaviors such as obsessing over other people

In his confession, Jeffrey Dahmer said he murdered the men to prevent them from leaving and abandoning him. This intense fear of being “left” is very common among BPD sufferers, and this, coupled with his extreme denial of his homosexuality (unstable sense of self) may make BPD a likely diagnosis. 

Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified; with Schizoid, Antisocial, and Schizotypal Traits

Psychiatrists that assessed Dahmer found that they were unable to conclude what afflictions he suffered from. The above diagnosis was given.

How would JD have been treated on the outside?

There are many different therapies that are available for the above mental health problems. Below is a selection of these that may have been implemented: 

Borderline Personality Disorder 

- DBT - Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
Coupled with medication for related depression and anxiety

Aspergers 

-
A combination of Social Skills Training, Speech and Language therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis and Medication

Many psychologists also think that a combination of Psychotherapy, Psychopharmacology and Hormone Therapy would have helped Dahmer to live a functional life.

How was Dahmer treated in prison?

Dahmer received no official therapy in prison for his mental health issues, other than the pastoral care of the prison minister. 
He converted to Christianity whilst in prison. Was this a genuine move one Dahmer’s part to seek forgiveness and live a better, more fulfilling life? Or was it yet another desperate attempt to fit into a group and establish an identity for himself? 

Had Jeffrey been given the opportunity to receive quality mental health assessments and care, some believe he could’ve served as a “guinea pig” in how to treat extreme deviance such as this. 

Replacements for Ableist Language - OCD

A recent ask made me realize that I should probably have some kind of series to help educate writers about ableist slurs / offensive uses of words relating to mental illness, and offer replacements to use for writers.

Note -  It is ScriptShrink’s official opinion that anyone who has been the target of the ableist language used here is fully and 100% able to reclaim it if they so choose.

This was going to be a single post, but it started getting huge so I’m splitting it up. First up is…

OCD

Wait, Shrink, you might say. Why is “OCD” in a series about ableist language? Obviously it’s not a slur, right? True, it’s not a slur, but that doesn’t mean it’s not sometimes used in an ableist, demeaning way.

What it literally means:

It’s an acronym for “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.”

When you should use this word / phrase:

When you’re referring to the disorder itself and / or people who actually have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

When you should not use this word / phrase:

When you’re referring to people, behaviors, or things that are not related to the actual disorder.

Why you shouldn’t use this word / phrase:

OCD has a lot of symptoms that are often debilitating to the people who have it, and by associating this disorder with casual, non-clinical level symptoms (such as simply preferring being organized or being focused on details), you make it harder for people who actually have OCD to make their struggles heard and understood.

Examples of how to this word / phrase appropriately:

“She’s been diagnosed with OCD - she washes her hands for hours a day.”

“I have OCD. I have disturbing, intrusive thoughts and do compulsive behaviors in response to them.”

“In the DSM-5, OCD is in the same category as Hoarding disorder, Body dysmorphic disorder, Trichotillomania, and Excoriation disorder.”

Examples of how not to use this word / phrase:

“You actually fold your underwear? You’re so OCD.”

“I’m so OCD about brushing my teeth twice a day.”

What to use instead:

NOTE - I am not saying that any of these words are synonymous with OCD, or that people with OCD necessarily have these qualities. These are just alternatives that can help people describe what they really meant before they chose to use “OCD.”

All of these words have different meanings and connotations. Don’t just pick a word off this list at random - look it up and see if it’s the right one for what you really mean.

Cleanly
Conscientious
Controlling
Detailed / Detail-oriented
Disciplined
Exacting
Fastidious
Finicky
Fussy
Meticulous
Methodical
Nitpicky / Nitpicker
Orderly
Painstaking
Particular
Perfectionist
Persnickety
Picky
Precise
Punctilious
Scrupulous
Self-controlled
Squeamish
Strict
Systematic
Thorough
Tidy

So that’s it for the first part! What ableist language or slurs would you like to see me cover in this series next?


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Life with a personality disorder is not a “roller coaster.” I stand in line waiting for a roller coaster, eagerly awaiting to take the ride.

Life with a personality disorder is more like owning a pet chimpanzee. Outside observers think they are so quirky, but chances are good that when all is said and done, this thing will rip my skin off.