Therapists reinforce the cult of individualism by imposing responsibility for all a woman’s problems on the woman herself. As long as women can be sold the myth that our problems are the result of unique and individual human experiences, we will be powerless against the social conditions that create madness. We must recognise that it is not we, but society’s definition of us, that is pathological, and we face real problems generated by real social tyranny.
Susan Williams, Mental Illness as a Social Disease
Personality disorders are characterized by four criteria:
1. Distorted thinking patterns:People with PDs have distorted thought patterns about themselves and the world around them. These extreme and strange ways of thinking are generally most evident when interacting with non-disordered personalities. Distorted thinking can often be sorted into five categories:
Black-and-white thinking: For the person, everything is all-or-nothing. They either always get their way, or never. In an argument, the person is absolutely right and the other person isabsolutely wrong, there is no room for nuance or both parties to be correct/incorrect.
Idealization and devaluation: Similar to black and white thinking, the person fluctuates between seeing others as flawless and perfect, or hopelessly incompetent and flawed, even malicious or evil. These fluctuations can be triggered by even minor-seeming events.
Suspiciousness and distrust: The person has a heightened sense of suspicion of others. They may believe that humans are inherently manipulative or harmful, and constantly search for these motives in others’ actions. For example, a small gift may seem to them like an act of manipulation or bribery.
Odd and unusual beliefs: The person believes in strange things, contrary to the person’s culture.
Perceptual distortions: The person experiences brief “glitches,” such as hearing their name called in an empty building or seeing another’s face change before their eyes. These distortions are not considered hallucinations or delusions because the sufferer can often distinguish them from reality.
2. Problematic emotional responses:People with PDs often have emotional reactions, contrary to their culture, that are either too modulated or too exteme. For example, people with schizoid PD are very over-regulated and consequently cold and indifferent, while people with histrionic PD are very under-regulated and thus prone to extreme mood swings and reactions.
3. Over/under-regulated impulse control: Similar to the above, people with PDs are either over- or under- constrained in controlling impulses. For example, people with avoidant and obsessive-compulsive PD are over-regulated and consequently extremely controlling over their environment, while people with antisocial or borderline PD are under-regulated and prone to risky, reckless behavior.
4. Interpersonal difficulties: As a result of the above characteristics, a person with a PD often experiences considerable difficulty in relationships of all types. For example, a person with borderline PD may often frustrate their partner by starting arguments, acting on their distorted thoughts and under-controlling their impulses.
Cluster A: The Odd, Eccentric
Cluster A disorders are characterized by social awkwardness and withdrawal. Disorders within the same cluster have a high comorbidity; if you have one PD, it is very likely that you have some symptoms, or even another fully-developed PD from the same group. Note that these symptoms are not checklists; every case is unique and not everyone will experience the same symptoms.
Does not develop attachment; it’s debated whether this is an inability or a choice not to, most likely varies with the individual
Emotions are shallower, more fleeting - default state is virtually emotionlessness
May have trouble identifying emotions and/or putting them into words
Apathetic, listless, detached
Anhedonia (lit. lack of pleasure) , avolition (lit. lack of want, desire)
Lacks affective empathy, the ability to “walk a mile in one’s shoes” and feel as someone else does. However, most schizoid people still posses cognitive empathy, or the ability to recognize, categorize, and name emotions in others.
Indifferent towards praise and criticism
May have a rich, detailed inner world OR be somewhat unimaginative, prefer mechanical and scientific pursuits [citation needed - contributions welcome]
Overt schizoids do not disguise their personality and often appear cold, aloof, indifferent, callous, dull, uninterested, boring. Often speaks tersely and/or in a monotone.
Covert or “secret schizoids” present themselves through a persona that is sociable, friendly, and engaged.
Few/no friends or confidants - if any, they’re probably first-degree relatives
Seem listless, directionless, without goals
May avoid things like seeking a job or higher education due to avolition, a desire to avoid engaging with society
Will probably not seek out professional help on their own or for being schizoid per se - most see a psychologist only at the urgings of a family member and for an unrelated illness, such as depression
Due to these factors, SzPD appears to be among the rarest PDs but is probably underdiagnosed
Primary features: odd beliefs, unusual thought patterns/speech, social discomfort
Holds suspiciousness and paranoid ideations about other people or the human species in general, especially based on fears of physical/verbal/sexual violence - contrast to social anxiety, which is based on fears of embarrassment and misreading social cues
Feels acute discomfort in social situations and interpersonal relationships that does not diminish with familiarity - usually due to paranoid ideations, but a certain level of / comorbidity with social anxiety is not uncommon
Experiences minor cognitive and perceptual distortions such as movement in the corner of the eye, a sensation of weightlessness/melting limbs, hearing their called name in a crowd - as stated in the introduction, these are generally not considered to be delusions or hallucinations.
Experiences magical thinking, or the belief that their thoughts influence reality - a development of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may result, as the schizotypal person struggles to control certain malicious or frightening thoughts and develops rituals to pacify or neutralize them
Experiences ideas of reference; believes that other people notice them, notes passing events (ex. a popular advertisement) as having a hidden message or meaning
Holds odd beliefs and superstition (that are unusual for the patient’s culture and upbringing) . An American example would be a person that believes they can read minds, that their thoughts are being stolen, or that they are targeted for alien abductions.
May experience psychotic episodes (e.g delusions, hallucinations) when under extreme duress - frequent, non-stress related psychosis is indicative that the schizotypal person has progressed to schizophrenia.
Dresses oddly and inappropriately; may be mismatched, ill-fitting, dirty, or inappropriate for the occasion/setting
Odd thinking and speech patterns - may be overly abstract, metaphorical, vague, elaborate, ornate, or focus on the “wrong things” in conveying a message - schizotypal people can be hard to understand or follow in a conversation
Inappropriate or flat affect, an inability to express conventional emotions or depths thereof
Primary features: pervasive distrust and suspiciousness
Paranoid Personality Disorder is generally not diagnosed if the person has already been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia.
Strong, constant assumption that others are out to hurt, manipulate, and/or humiliate them
Puts tremendous effort in maintaining safety, distance
Tends to ruminate over past slights
Tends to hold grudges, jealousy, envy - includes romantic/erotic jealousy and suspicions of infidelity
Constantly worries over and/or questions the loyalty of others
Reluctance to confide in others - fears that the confidant may use that information against the paranoid person
Constantly searching for malicious intent in others - to the paranoid person, a simple apology can be an attempt to re-earn their trust and manipulate/hurt them again and again in the long run
Emotional state dominated by suspicion, distrust, and hostility
Places importance on self-reliance, autonomy
May pre-emptively attack someone they feel threatened by
Expresses psychic distress through: complaining/criticism, argumentativeness, aloofness, stubbornness, sarcasm, a desire to control their environment
Keeps self guarded, secretive - may appear devious, cold, callous, even cruel
Combative and suspicious nature provokes others ► reinforces the original belief that other people are out to hurt them ► becomes more combative and suspicious, provoking others ► reinforces the original belief… and so on and so on, creating a feedback loop of hostility
Hey.. You’re gonna be alright.
I know it’s hard.
I know it hurts like no physical pain could compare to.
But you’ve made it this far.
Please, stay with me just a little longer.
No matter how hopeless things seem, please don’t go.
Don’t let your mind give in to the agony.
This saying may be cliché but things will get better. They will.
when you want to tell someone something very important to you because you want them to help you but you’re too paranoid they’ll laugh about it and joke about it with others, or think that you’re cruel and disgusting
Your disorder doesn’t make you less valid. You are a strong person to go on living with your problems. You are a strong person to accept yourself as you are. Don’t forget that. You are not weak. You may seem weak, people may say that you’re weak, but it’s okay if you know you’re strong. And you are. Believe me. Whenever you feel desperate, whenever you feel like your disorder is making your life worse, remember that there are many people out there who have to deal with the same problems with you. You’re not alone, there are people to help you. There are people who love you, just go on and search for them. You’re important, your problems are important and never listen to your disorder when it’s telling you that you’re sick. I love you.
It’s been just over 3 months since I was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression/Anxiety… it is still hard to talk about because it’s such a conflicting feeling. Going on meds was something I never thought I would have to do, but I can honestly say they have saved me. They let me be the mom this little guy deserves and that’s the most important thing to me.
Paranoid thoughts of the day:
-All these people are staring at you. They know. (What do they know?) THEY KNOW.
-There’s someone in your house. Just past the threshold of darkness. They want to kill you.
-You’re sick again. You must be dying. You aren’t going to live past 30, if you do survive.
-They know. (Seriously, what the fuck do they know? And who are they?) T H E Y K N O W.
Don’t you just love being paranoid that someone is going to break into your house at night and murder you? Or being terrified to go to school because you’re scared you’re going to be shot? Or thinking you’re going to get shoved off bridges in the car? Or maybe the grocery store will be shot up the next time you go????
No amount of bouncing around on a ball in some class with a group of women in the same predicament. Inhaling and exhaling on command, realising you have no idea how to breathe manually.
Scrolling through online catalogs for tiny human clothes, wondering how so little fabric can cost so much.
Floored in the cookie isle, feeling like you may never know happiness because they’re out of white chocolate coated oreos.
Overjoyed at the first kick, then, a week later, shouting at your belly to stop, because it’s not cute anymore when someone drums away at your ribcage.
Then, THE DAY comes and you could be in the best clinic in one of the top GDP countries with no guarantees. You could live in a mansion and drive your sports car all the way to a renowned birthing center and you will still find yourself keeled over in pain, spread out barbarically, split in half.
For the lucky ones, the worst thing we’ve ever been through is followed by the best, as pain fades to background music, accompanying the cries of our newest and sweetest love.
people with cluster A pds are strong. while all clusters have their own challenges, considering the rarity of cluster As makes it all the more harder because there isnt much of a fall back or a relatable for people with these pds(and being on the schizospectrum can be terrifying in itself)
so shout out to the people living with paranoid personality disorder
shout out to the people living with schizoid personality disorder
and shout out to the people living with schizotypal personality disorder
the roads been rough but we can make it out together or on our own
Can I just say that postpartum mental illness is real & terrible & you arent any less of a parent if you happen to struggle with it. Your struggle is real. Your struggle is valid. It’s okay to not be okay, even if you have a baby. Never be too afraid of judgement or repercussions to speak out & get the help you need to be the best parent you can be & be happy again. <3
The moment you announce that you’re pregnant, there’s no shortage of horror stories - from the terrifying birth to the uncertain college years, every mother seems to have a tale to tell. These stories are often bookended with how regardless of the sleepless nights and the constant worry looming overhead, having a baby is the best thing that’s ever happened to them. I’d like to think that I was never naive about having a baby - I worked in childcare for almost a decade. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But no one can truly express to you just how hard it can be until you actually experience it yourself. You had all those months to prepare for it, but nothing ever really does. Because out of nowhere, your life is split between two realities: what it was like before, and what it is now. I’ve told people the strangest part about being a new mom is waiting for things to feel “normal” again, but slowly realizing that they never really do. At least, not in the way that it was before. What you have now is a “new normal,” and like all major life changes, it just takes time to get adjusted. What no one told me was that while it might be the happiest time of your life, there’s also a quiet, dull ache of grief for the life you had before. It sounds so terrible when I actually say it aloud, but it’s true. Life - as you knew it - is gone now. And you’re suddenly putting your every need on the back burner for this little person. “You barely eat anymore,” Daniel told me a few days after we’d come home from the hospital with Cece. I pondered that for a moment. I couldn’t recall my last full meal. I hadn’t even thought about it; it didn’t even cross my mind. And in the first three and a half weeks since Cecilia was born, I think I maybe showered 4 times… (I’m working on that). As the hours pass and days melt into weeks, time doesn’t really make sense anymore. As she whimpers and sucks on her fingers, I think to myself that she couldn’t possibly be hungry already. Then I realize her last bottle was 3 hours ago - it feels like it was only 15 minutes since I did this. Diaper change. Bottle. Burp. Diaper change again (because thanks, Cece). Then rocking her back to sleep. Maybe. Hopefully. Then the cycle repeats. Over. And over. And over again. And I’m mad at myself that the parts of me that seem to be struggling the most are the selfish, “human” parts. The part of me that doesn’t WANT to make another bottle. The part of me that crawls into bed with a heaviness on me as I remember that I will not sleep more than a couple of scattered, restless hours before she needs me again. The part of me that audibly sighs when she immediately dirties her fresh diaper that I just changed seconds ago. The part of me that brokenly sobs on the phone to my husband while he’s on his way home. The first time I left them alone together, I remember explaining to Daniel with the certainty of an expert that there were logical steps to take to get her to stop crying. I even wrote him a little cheat sheet: Is she hungry? Is she peed? Is she pooped? Does she have gas/need burped? Does she want her binkie? Is she swaddled? Is she too cold? is she too hot? Does she want to be held and rocked?
But then 4:30 pm rolls around - Cecilia’s Witching Hour - where my cheat sheet is rendered useless. And nothing logical helps, nothing seems to soothe or her keep her from crying. Her screaming this time of day is the kind that slices through the entire house, cutting down everything in its path. It is shrill and loud; alarm bells that demand to be heard. And I can neither hear nor focus on anything else. I can feel my anxiety rise as I try to bounce, rock, swaddle, pat her into silence. I look at that clock knowing I have another three hours until Daniel returns home, and I just need to keep it together until then. How strange that those three hours feel so long - a sharp contrast from all those other hours that seem to bleed into one another and are gone in a flash. Then 6:30 pm is here, and she has finally given up, finally let sleep overtake her (but only in my arms). I almost wish she wasn’t so still and calm, so Dan can walk into the mayhem and see that I wasn’t making it up. That today was hard. Her cries are still ringing in my ears, although not so painfully now, as we settle into the silence. Once I can think again, I look down at her precious, perfect face. I want to cry when I realize that it’s useless to try to memorize each line and curve of her because her face is changing every day. How strange that I wanted nothing more than for her to sleep only moments ago, but as she sleeps now I already miss her. She is looking more and more like a baby now, less like a newborn. I am reminded time doesn’t discriminate, it passes with or without us. I am achingly aware, in this moment, that I need to cherish every second I have with her. But some days - days like today - it’s harder and harder to remember that. And that just makes me even more angry at myself. Because my home feels like a warzone. Soiled diapers are littered around, bound tightly into little balls that resemble grenades. Tiny clothes, stained with spit-up, are scattered across the room like fallen soldiers. I haven’t fully slept in days. But she’s asleep now. Finally. And I have that nagging feeling that I might have won the battle, but I’m losing the war. I’m terrified to move from this position that seemed to finally quell her discomfort and get her to drift off to sleep… but not so soundly. One wrong move and she’ll be up again, declaring war on me and everything around us - her pleading screams feeling more and more like a warcry. I’ve never felt more helpless than I do in those moments where I cannot soothe her. Sometimes I’m anxious. Sometimes I’m scared. Mostly, I’m just exhausted. And right then, I’m sick to my stomach for feeling this way. How? How could I possibly feel anything but complete bliss with this perfect little being in my arms? I think about how much I wanted her to stop crying before, meanwhile, there are mothers out there that don’t get to hold their babies in their arms. There are childless mothers out there who would give anything to bring a baby into this world and tend to her cries. There are mothers out there who would give anything just to hear their babies cry one more time. Shouldn’t I be grateful? Shouldn’t I be so damn happy that my baby is healthy and here, and WOW, she has a set of lungs.
Dan calls me on his way home, and that’s when I let myself break down. He listens patiently as I cry to him about how hard it is. I am torn between loving this little thing in my arms so much, and admittedly (guiltily, and humanly) resenting her for not letting me comfort her before. As I weep, Dan is still about an hour away from us. He’s stuck in traffic, helpless to do anything to soothe me. And I can’t help but wonder… Does he feel about me the way I feel about Cece, sometimes? He offers me advice the way I offer her a pacifier - she spits it out and so do I. I don’t need him to fix it… I just need him to understand.
And I think he does. Or at least he really tries. And in that way, I’m incredibly blessed… but then come more lingering feelings of guilt. It’s not as though I am doing this alone, as some mothers do. He’s there for me, offering me help and reprieve that I hardly accept in the moment. Because I told him that I know exactly what she needs just based on the furrow of her brow - as a mother should. But today, I am glaringly aware of my shortcomings and it makes me feel defeated. But even through the toughest nights, the fear, and the guilt, I know that this time is only temporary. This acts as a mantra when she’s inconsolable, and a lesson when I just want time to stop so I can hold her just a little longer. The contradictions you face being a mother are so vast. I could be doing the mounting laundry and tending to my to-do list as she sleeps, but I’d rather just hold her and savor every second I have with her. It won’t be like this for long - this thought both soothes me and breaks my heart.
Daniel gets home, with food, and a hug. Cece’s still asleep, splayed out across my lap, so Dan and I can just be us for a little while. We watch a movie. We laugh. These are the times it feels like what normal used to be. But there’s always that part of me that knows she will be awake again soon, and reality will settle in again. Cece sleeps well that night, only waking with hardly a fuss for a clean diaper and a fresh bottle. I get longer stretches of sleep, and wake up to her cooing and smiling. As she looks up at me, I am back in love again - somehow even more wholly than the day before. Just when I think it’s not possible to love her more than I do, I feel something shake loose within me and my heart expands - more room to let the love in. Things will never be how they used to be, and I know that I don’t want them to be. It’s harder… but it’s better. They warn you that it’s hard, you know. And they are totally right about that. But they are also right that it is completely, undeniably, beautifully worth it.
*someone says my name 4 miles away* *whips head around in the direction of the backstabber* someone is talking about how much they hate me and everyone knows im bad they started a rumour and now its making its way around omg i cant trust anyone anymore wtf no more socialising for me
tfw people say nice shit to you but because of your mental illnesses your brain refuses to accept them as even potentially genuine
and you just sit there hating yourself because you feel like AN ASSHOLE for not being able to just accept ONE goddamn compliment without cross-checking and overanalyzing it like you’re the fucking FBI or CIA trying to decipher enemy intelligence
meanwhile anyone says mean shit to you, even just in a joking way, you 100% readily and seriously believe it like it’s the fucking word of God