Sarahjanus's Blog

February 24, 2012

Borderline Personality

I tried a few of the online tests and quizzes for Borderline Personality Disorder this morning. I’ve been diagnosed as having this Disorder. The diagnosis was part of a battery of tests run when “we” were trying to figure out what my problems were. My therapist and I came to the conclusion that I had insulated myself from some traumatic childhood event(s) but we were unable to release the emotions and eventually the therapy fizzled out.

The first quiz I tried returned a score of 27, which on their scale put me in the 24 to 32 category and made it “likely” that I had the disorder. The next category was 32 and up which made the disorder “severe”. That’s a bit of a jump if you ask me, all the way from “likely” to “severe” with the difference being how you answered a couple of questions.

The second quiz was longer and it returned a table of results;

Paranoid: moderate                Schizoid: high              Schizotypal: very high

Antisocial: high                       Borderline: moderate             Histrionic: moderate

Narcissistic: very high             Avoidant: high             Dependent: moderate

Obsessive-Compulsive: moderate

At least now I have something to do for the rest of the day, look up schizoid, and schizotypal. To tell the truth, there is nothing new or unknown in these results. I was finishing a degree two years ago and one of the credits was a course that required a series of introspective papers. The course was predominantly about Organizational Behaviour, but anyone who has completed one of these credits knows the over-arching concept; you cannot understand others until you understand yourself.

The two “very high” ratings are not positive areas of anyone’s personality. As you can imagine, I wasn’t too happy to get the ratings back. In the early event, the quizzes were supplied as part of the program and somewhat endorsed by the instructor. The caveat was that quizzes are only quizzes and the outcomes can be impacted by many factors. Anyone who has completed a university credit in research can list the factors so I won’t go into great detail here. Suffice it to say that being quizzed is enough to influence the outcome.

One of the most significant issues for me is the either/or answers. My example is; do you avoid social situations because they make you feel uncomfortable, yes or no? Well, I sometimes avoid social situations because I feel uncomfortable. There are other times when my confidence is sound and I have no problem in a roomful of friends, acquaintances and strangers. There are times when I enter a setting feeling confident but I quickly begin to feel as if I don’t belong so I begin to withdraw mentally and soon after, I will withdraw physically and leave.

Another question asks if I trust people upon introduction and will share personal information with them. That’s a poor paraphrasing of the question, but I hope you get the drift.

Do I trust people upon meeting them? No. I trust no-one. Eventually every-one will give you up. It is the way of the world. But, will I share details and confidences with acquaintances instead of with my friends and intimates? Yes, but I do it because I care less about what acquaintances think of me. When I meet some-one I can be honest and straight-forward with them. I don’t begin to lie to people until they become part of my life and then, I worry about what they think of me so I begin to control what I say so as to always appear in the best light.

Do I engage in risky and destructive behaviours? Yes. There has been a history of binge drinking, drug use, extra-marital affairs. I have ridden and continue to ride motorcycles. I’ve driven recklessly and crashed cars. I like parachuting, and flying ultra-lights. I’ve ridden bulls for the rodeo. The question becomes; did I do these things because of a personality disorder, or because I repressed the urge to cross-dress, ignored the latent homosexuality and refused to consider the very real possibility that I might live more comfortably as a woman?

Consider this, all of those behaviours began to gather dust and fade into my troubled past as I surrendered more and more to the cross-dressing drive. Allow me the opportunity to cross-dress for a few hours at least one day a week, and I become a very calm and at-peace individual. Even in times when I can’t dress, give me a few hours shopping for women’s clothing and the tensions will ease. So is the cross-dressing the answer or is it just another behaviour on the continuum of risky and destructive activities. The consequences of getting discovered and “outed” are pretty significant. I don’t know the answer to the question.

I have also been told by my unsuccessful therapist that I predictably engage in behaviours that are likely to destroy or at least disrupt my primary relationship and consequently my existing happiness. Again, the same question can be asked. Do I cross-dress because it is a true personality facet or is it just another way of ensuring that I will never be happy?

I have compiled my blogs into a volume to which I now add diary entries. Even here there are things that I can write to myself about without being ready to share them with the anonymous world. Is that the epitome of narcissism, not sharing personality quirks that might cause unknown and anonymous readers to think less of me?

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November 9, 2010

Am I man or woman?

The insanity of life is often worth mentioning. I have made mention before, of participating in university courses. I’m trying to complete a degree program. The insanity of that exercise is that I’m retired now so the degree itself will not be of any concrete benefit. I returned to the program when I retired, because I promised myself I would. I quit the program when I was working because I couldn’t manage work and the schooling. Working towards the degree when I was still employed was supposed to give me a “leg-up” in the competitive promotional process. I had the educational component looked after but I never managed the political side of things.

All the “silver lining” people out there will be saying that I can congratulate myself for returning to undone business and finishing it. But the degree itself is not the subject of this blog.

One of the exercises in a course recently completed was an introspective essay based on the theories of behaviour studied. The essay was worth over 1/3 of the total mark for the course. I put what I thought was a decent effort into the work.

I know what my mental state is. I am no longer confident that I am a male. I may be a “woman at heart”. This is a state of mind that has flowed from the urge to cross-dress. As the cross-dressing progressed so did the gender confusion. What I’m not sure about is the why of it. Is it because I truly believe that I am a woman living in a man’s body? Or is it because I so detest my male life and behaviour, that I want to commit the ultimate escape of changing my sex. Then I can deny my history and my mistakes, and start fresh.

My libido is next to non-existent. This is a fact that I live with every day. I have no urge to engage in sex with my wife. She has adapted and accommodated my short-comings so far, but she warns that sex is an integral part of her drives and it must be.

My wife is a beautiful woman and a beautiful person, I would dearly love to have her as a friend, woman to woman. She has made it clear, in the conversations about sex, that she doesn’t want a room-mate. She wants a man as her partner. If (or when) I am exposed as a cross-dresser, latent homosexual, potential transsexual, I’m sure it will mean the end of this relationship. This relationship doesn’t have the strength to be that flexible.

In completing a variety of personality quizzes and in being assessed (at a different point in time) I know of my lack of caring and compassion for others. I know of my conflicting traits of lacking self-confidence but engaging in high risk behaviours. I suffer from clinical depression. I’ve been diagnosed as ADD but high functioning. I’ve been assessed as having a Borderline Personality Disorder. Personally I wonder if further testing might have changed the diagnosis to Schizoid or possibly Schizotypal Disorder.

But enough about me, knowing all these things about myself, I wrote a reasonably accurate introspection. I set out the quizzes I had completed and I “ball-parked” the scores. Honest accuracy might get me barred from the school. I applied the theories and provided my recommendations.

The feedback for the essay complimented me for my use of humor to entertain while still making it clear that I understood the work and could apply it to real-life examples. In spite of the issues I have with self-confidence and self-esteem, I was complimented on the display of confidence apparent throughout the paper, a confidence that was credited with being integral to my success.

I know I’m a bag of broken toys. I also know that I can put on a hell of an act, given a chance to get the lines and cues right. The world doesn’t see it. The world only sees what it expects to see. I could go on acting until I die and no one would ever know the person under the clothes. I can appreciate what actors mean when they talk about taking a role home with them.

Now the question for me to ponder is; what is real? Am I acting when I portray the man or have I slipped a cog, and I’m acting when I cross-dress?

My wife says that I’m never happy. She asks if I know why, or if I know what it would take for me to be happy. I have to answer that I don’t know why and I’m not sure what it would take. Silently I wonder to myself if everyone is entitled to be happy. Is everyone even mentally capable of knowing happiness? Are some of us destined to be morose dark individuals who can only ever look in on the laughter and never be part of it? Or, would I be happy if I could express myself as a woman and all the conflict in my life is due to never being what I should have been?

These are just some thoughts or today. For what it’s worth, I’m leaning towards “I could be happy if I lived as a woman” but nothing in this world is sure except death and taxes, and that’s the easy answer.

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