Down the rabbit hole

As Ive mentioned before I’d very much like to pursue a career in psychology. Presently that will pretty much take a miracle in the form of a lottery win but at least it’s some sort of potentially attainable goal. Someday. As part of that interest I read psych text books for fun. Yes, for fun. I tend to focus on the areas of healing from trauma and issues surrounding that because that’s me. Im relatively self aware in that sense at least. I cant afford the schooling but I still like to learn it and Im fascinated by how all this book knowledge actually applies to real world situations and people. Another consequence of that, aside from ‘diagnosing’ those around me, is I tend to identify with certain diagnosis. Im diagnosing myself. If that’s even a thing. On the upside maybe it will lead to me actually healing at some point and being able to have a normal adult life. Someday. Really there is no downside and I feel a lot less lost and out of control and like there’s actual hope. And I dont think Im that far off. Im hoping to go talk to a clinical psych and see what they say but that’s another someday. Im not even working right now due to another lockdown so theres no money for therapy in the budget but there will be…someday.

Ive always kinda wrestled with the possibility that I am bipolar. My biological mother is and it has a genetic component but I dont really have the highs and lows like I should. Im normal and I crash. Those crashes are always preceeded by some sort of incident or event in my life that usually dredges up all those feelings of worthlessness and abandonment Ive carried around and tried to bury since I was a child. My best friend thinks Im depressed but I dont think that fits either. I have depressive episodes. I also have social anxiety, abandonment issues, impulse issues and an oversized self-destructive streak. These are all labels it’s taken me years to work out. Despite decades of therapy as a child and teen, and then as an adult when it all started to go sideways, Ive never really been told what my actual diagnosis is or how to overcome it for that matter. Ive had to figure it all out on my own.

Ive run the gauntlet of options and rifled through the DSM, knocking off options as I go. Im surprisingly sane. I thought I’d be disappointed but Im not. I’d rather be more sane than not it seems.

And here is where I sit now. Im relatively sure Ive got borderline personality disorder, BPD. In the grand scheme of mental illness its not a bad one to have and it can be beat without heavy medication or a stint in a padded room. It explains everything including why I can literally talk myself up or down out of an ‘episode.’ The cutting, the suicidal thoughts, the self destructive behaviour, and overreactions to varied emotional situations. It’s all there and all stuff Ive slowly been getting better at managing. Considering the plethora of things I could have wrong with me I can deal with this one I think. And Ive been doing all the right things already. Additionally it’s actually a reactionary ‘illness’ caused by trauma. It’s not something I was born with or something I’d consider wrong with me. I was made into this, I didnt start this way. So there’s a person before all of this that I can still try and get back to. Someday.

In the process of working that out I stumbled upon NARM (neuroaffective relational model) NARM offers an explanation of the reactions that occur in the various mood disorders and how those reactions come to be behaviours. Basically how trauma creates a survival mode and how that differs, and is the same, for all trauma survivors. It also offers, and is primarily concerned with, healing and overcoming those behaviours which is where I latched on. NARM essentially postulates that childhood trauma doesnt define a person but it creates a series of survival mechanisms that serve no purpose to an adult. Rather than the hardwired destruction, you’re-permanently-broken theories that prevade child psychology/psychiatry it explains why various thought processes occur and how to combat them. It’s about learning to let go of those behaviours and kind of becoming who you were always meant to be, as though that person exists somewhere buried beneath layers of survivor armor. It offers hope and that’s probably why I latched on to it. I could use some hope.

All that being said NARM is fairly new, still unproven and goes against pretty much every other theory out there. Including things like brain scans of neglected and abused kids proving their brains are rewired so there’s that. Ive never had a brain scan and Im a big fan of ‘ignorance is bliss.’ If I dont have proof that Im wired wrong well then I must not be and I can be fixed. I can overcome all the crap Ive armored myself with my whole life. Someday.

That may also mean Im setting myself up for the crash to crush all previous crashes. I guess time will tell.

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