I have a very obsessive nature. I’m not sure how much of it is OCD, and how much of it is just who I am. Maybe there’s no difference. Anyway, the point is that I get obsessed with certain things from time to time, and sometimes the obsession is about mental illness.
Earlier this year I was obsessed with psychopathy. I was so obsessed that I convinced myself that I was a psychopath. I told myself that all of the emotions I’ve ever felt was just me lying to myself. I even went so far as to take some online personality tests to check, including but not limited to the PCL-R. For those of you who are unfamiliar with diagnosing psychopathy, the PCL-R is the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised, and it is a test that determines the level of a person’s psychopathic tendencies. In Europe the accepted low score for a psychopath is twenty five, although in the US we don’t categorize a person as a psychopath unless they score at least fifty. My self scored results came to twenty two, so not enough to count in either country, but high enough to convince me that I must at least have borderline personality disorder.
Now, there are a number of factors that affect the outcome of these tests, and the primary issue that one has to consider is that self diagnosis is always a bad idea. You should never make medical or psychological conclusions about yourself, because you can not be objective. It is way too easy to skew your results when testing yourself to get the outcome you desire, rather than a true answer, and any test you administer to yourself should be purely for entertainment, and taken with a grain of salt. Also, a factor that affects me personally is that I took the test when I was on my manic cycle, which means that my ability to discern the emotions of myself and others was impaired. Basically, I took a test to discern my empathy level when it was at it’s lowest, and tried to use those results to convince myself that I have no empathy.
This is not the first time I’ve done this. In high school I tried to convince myself I was a kleptomaniac. I stole pens from doctors offices, and dentists offices, pretty much any pen that wasn’t on a string I stole. I thought about stealing constantly. When ever I went into a store I thought about all the different ways I could take a five fingered discount, just slipping something into my pocket out of view of the cameras seemed so easy, but I never went through with it. I absentmindedly walked out of a store with something in my hand, I think it was a soda, or a candy bar, and I immediately went back inside and paid for it. Clearly, I was not a kleptomaniac, I just wanted to be.
That’s not to say I never stole anything. When I was eighteen or nineteen, I helped a friend rip off a bottle of diet pills, and when I was living on my own for the first time, and didn’t have any money I stole a can of mandarine oranges and a chap stick. I felt the thrill of doing something illegal, of course, how could I not? However the guilt was overwhelming, and I still feel it today.
Neither of these diagnoses are particularly desirable, but I wanted them so badly. I thought the kleptomania would make me cool, if you can believe that, and the psychopathy, I think I just wanted an excuse to stop feeling guilty when I hurt people’s feelings. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, I have to take responsibility for my actions. I can’t wave the magic wand of mental health and absolve myself ofaccountability. I am who I am, and I am liable for any and everything I do or do not do. Hell, even if I had proven my theories correct, I would still be responsible, I just would have different trials to overcome in order to be a better person than I am now. In the end, we all have to take charge of our own lives, and be the person we want to be rather than letting diseases, or disorders decide that for us.