Diagnosis: Assessment

This post, combined with the following two, articulate my experiences and reactions to be diagnosed as a psychopath.

I remember when I was diagnosed as a psychopath.  Like many stories of people who had the privilege of taking the PCL-R voluntarily, I was first introduced to the term by an acquaintance.  They wondered how I could so easily ruin people, how callous I was, how I possessed a severe lack of empathy, why I was so self-centered, and so on.  At first I shrugged it off thinking that such was horseshit and only terrible people who do terrible things could be in the realm of psychopathy. As I did my own research, I realized that psychopathy is a mindset more than it is a reflection of action.  I realized that such a mindset could very well be mine.

I think of a certain This American Life segment that sums up how I should have felt going into the assessment.  I think most would have extreme apprehension at the possibility that they may be considered “darker” (I disagree with the idea of psychopathy being equivalent with immorality, but that is a topic for another day) than they ever expected.  I went in with nothing more than morbid curiosity.  I honestly answered the interview questions and was sent on my way.  It seemed to be more of a monologue than an assessment.  However, I’ve given many talks and presentations before, so talking about myself and my actions is nothing new.  I left feeling even more curiosity than anything else.  The only real question or fear on my mind was that the assessment was not statistically sound as I have been trained to be skeptical of such things from my days studying mathematics.  I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I suppose that if it is reliable enough in practice for classification, that is good enough for me.

The results came back a time later.  Once again, I felt no nervousness or fear of my assessment score.  Once again, curiosity was primary.  The diagnosis was not surprising.  I am a psychopath according to the PCL-R.  The closest to raw emotion that I felt over the diagnosis was actually elation.  I had been searching for answers for why I worked the way I worked and there did happen to be a name and a condition for those behaviours.  My primary concern became what that diagnosis actually meant outside of the hysteria society places upon the word.

Diagnosis: Reflection

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