Every once in a while I write what I have felt, noticed, and learned by experiencing my life which is to me as if I'm swimming in a river/ water current. Someday, I'll get to a boundless expanse of ocean... and become a part of it and will be released...
I have done this kind of writing around 10 years ago (it became more than 100 pages long essay at that time! I kept writing for three years. That one, I wrote in my own native language. This time, I chose to write this in English since most of my life now, I think in this language.)
After moving to US, I have experienced so many new things in this my new home-base. 7 years passed. And now, I strongly felt the time has come; I need to write out my thoughts to clarify something inside me, again. I have started this for my own sake, but I gradually wonder... there may be, also for someone, something interesting to read...? Maybe no one will find anything in this. But, it's still okay. Anyway, so I decided to post what I wrote, here. This is really long so I will divide it into some parts.
So... here is Part 1.
For some people who have suffered and haven't known the clear reason why they have many difficulties in life, being diagnosed as a certain mental, developmental, or personality disorder(s), may help those individuals to accept why they have been struggling. It may give them a clue to understand their pains and the self. So, for those who are suffering with their behavioral patterns/ way to live and see things in their lives, diagnosis can be a supportive thing. But also, I think, what people can understand by being diagnosed is still just like standing at the entrance of the big forest. You may be able to feel what kind of place the forest is from the entrance too, but it is really so much deeper. If people truly want to know what is inside, they can go further and may be able to find things much more...
Those individuals who have been diagnosed as same disorder may have some similarities but never the same (I felt sometimes the people being diagnosed as the same disorder can even have polar opposite traits). Even if someone has been diagnosed his or her disorder as such and such, the diagnosis/disorder is NOT all about the person. ...I know I have been writing this in a very redundant way, but really I encountered several situations that some (actually many) people were as if they believed individuals with same disorder were the same.
Additionally, I feel the DSM-IV-TR has a really significant limitation. Of course, those specialists/psychiatrists are most likely not to use it like as a cooking recipe book, in order to diagnose people (I hope so!) but I have heard several stories that even the specialists have diagnosed people incorrectly (Again, I believe that they were not only using the DSM-IV-TR to diagnose but also counseling, etc.) The psychiatrists may prescribe some medications which might help the people temporarily but I don't think that is the final solution for people who suffer from their difficulties in life.
Some guide book type of things for people whose loved one with such and such personality or developmental disorder, I found the advice by the specialists/authors are useful but also have the dangerous possibility of stigmatizing or generalizing each individual who has gotten his or her diagnosis. I felt by reading the advice, as if people assumed individual with a such and such disorder ARE "this" (generalize them) so we should do "that" if you have to interact with them. I felt those things are sometimes very insensitive for people who got a diagnosis; because (again I say) each one is different and differently suffering even if the consequences what they have done might seem similar from others on the surface level.
Like I said the advice from the guide book and so on, might be useful for people in order to take care of themselves, who have been struggling because of difficult interactions with people with difficult personality traits. (Of course, most of the time, those books are for those caretakers and not for people who suffer for a disorder) However, I'd like to state my views of this again, the advice such as how to interact with those who are with complicated personality or developmental disorder, could cause unwanted stigmatization. I think there is no clear 'textbook' type of thing to give people the right answers for each relationship.
(note: I still think, for some people following the advice may work for improving their relationships and, in the consequence, if it helps the people with a disorder, to ease their emotional conflicts out, it will be wonderful. But it is not easy. Anyway no matter what each people tries, nobody can change or rescue others but only the individual who wants to change, can do.)
From here, I'd like to focus one personality disorder which is Borderline Personality Disorder, a.k.a BPD. For me, BPD is a very familiar personality disorder even before I knew the name. I heard the name for the first time in my twenties from my ex-boyfriend who was diagnosed as BPD. I have read about it and noticed later that I tended to be attracted to people who have lots of Borderline personality traits. No longer I do at this point of my life, but when I was young, I chose to be with people who have BP traits.
Now I knew the term which describes what I have done to the people with BP traits; it is "enabling". Yes, I was an enabler who was very exhausted to take care of people who were struggling with a very high conflict emotional crisis, such as suicidal attempt, depression, drug abuse, and/or fear of abandonment. (note: again, there are many kind of "enabler"s out there. So I don't think the description from some books or articles is exactly match to what I was.) But at the same time, I needed to be asked "S.O.S" by those people. Why? Because, this is very complicated, so, many others may not be able to understand what I'm about to try to explain but... My reason was... I projected some parts of myself inside me, who was not able to come out, on those who with BP traits. I saw myself inside them. Their help, S.O.S messages were, to me, my S.O.S.. I said to them, "Trust me. I never leave you. I'm with you." when especially they had done terrible painful things to themselves (or me and others too). But actually I was saying so, to the part of myself inside me.
Now after experiencing therapy sessions, I call the parts inside me as my "inner child". Those words I said to them were exactly something I wanted to hear from someone. Taking care of them was actually equal to taking care of myself during that time. I envied people with BP traits inside. Why? Because, I also wanted to scream out like them. I wanted to hear someone to say, "I'm always with you. Even if other people hate you, I love you. If you can't control your emotion well and hurt yourself or others, No worry, I'll take care of you, for you. I'll be always on your side. I'm here for you."
I could not open the emotion like those who with BP traits. Instead, I hided the part of myself. Like I mentioned, each individual is so different and those people who have BP traits and asked me to help were very different from each other. But some of things they did to me and also I did to them had common sense. (Note: I only knew one of them was diagnosed as BPD but others were not. So I am not really sure whether they really were with BPD but I could see strong BP traits in them and because of that struggling a lot in their lives.) AND also I noticed later, actually I was the one who pulled the BP traits out of those people. Even if it was unconscious level of thing; however, instead of screaming out by myself, I have let those people scream and ask me to help, for me.
It was very complicated. I was really wanted to scream "help!" and someone to say me "I love you. I never leave you." But at the same time, I never wanted to be like them whom I chose to be with. I never wanted to be like, someone who say "I can't live without you" (needing someone to feel the individual is worthwhile to stay alive), asking help all the time, longing for acceptances (even by doing various things which are usually hard to be accepted). I have a fear of "having fear of abandonment". I have fear of being a needy person. Instead, I want to stand alone and be a strong person. That's the reason why I chose those people who could do that for me. In this dynamic of relationship, I could be a rescuer. (But actually now I know, I also needed those people to need me. Without being needed, I could not believe I was worthwhile to live. In that case, at the very bottom,
we both were same. In the same vortex...)
I believed that during that time, I loved them but now I have a doubt: I just tried to accept or love the screaming myself inside me, by doing so? I don't even know whether I really loved them... Could I love myself deep inside by taking care of those who? The answer is no. No way. I may have felt so temporarily but never truly. When I decided to leave from those individuals, I really hated myself even more strongly. (I could not take the emotional roller coaster type of relationships forever and ended the relationships with every one of them but I always chose same type of person again, and again.) The end of my twenties, because of one of my relationships with the person who was with BPD, I could get a strong wake-up call inside me. After his suicide attempt by using his car, I also hit by another car accidentally, I literally flew away and hit my head and then felt like woke up from a long nightmare. "WHAT AM I DOING?" In the ambulance car to a hospital, I laughed at myself and the whole situation. I decided to completely separate from the individual who has been suffering with his emotional conflicts/ BPD and any of those who has the traits, basically someone needs unhealthy attachment.
It was not easy time to recover from the injuries, physically and even more mentally. I was depressed and hard to do anything. I stayed inside and was alone most of the time.
And one year later, finally decided to change my life. I truly exhausted to be like that I used to. I really wanted to do something that I wanted to do for myself in order to re-build my life. I decided to move to the US to learn photography. To do so, I studied English and saved money crazily. It was really beginning of the great change.
Make long story short, finally I moved to the US and started learning photography. It was really truly amazing experience. I felt I could find a vehicle that I could express something inside me and then could fly freely (internally)! Until I graduated from my college, I finally felt I was here for myself, now. It was truly great feelings to have. However, after my graduation, simply, I lost again. I really didn't know where I was and where I could go from the point. I felt no road to walk forward. Depressed.
(to be continued)