Receiving a diagnosis of psychopathy did not change the person that I am. It merely gave a new vocabulary for the person that I always had been. I could then begin to learn about myself further. There was a word, a diagnosis, for the facets of my life that seemed so alien to others. This diagnosis had research associated with it, which would be a treasure-trove of valuable information for learning. No longer was I a seemingly unconnected mess of behaviors and thoughts. I was able to retain my individuality and complexities, but I now had an idea of what a large part of me was. Like early humans mastering the spoken word, I could now communicate with myself and with others a cherished and important of my being: my psychopathy.
Many argue that the use of labels reduces the individuality of those associated with such. I believe this can be true. I am much more than my gender or psychopathy. I am a complex individual with many nuances and quirks. I am unpredictable, wild, and not caged easily. Would not the diagnosis of psychopathy cage me or put me into a box that I could not escape? I don’t believe so. The individual’s use of the label means much here.
A label can be vital for understanding the conditions one lives with. The chronic pain sufferer the learns they have arthritis can take steps to change their activities as well as accept the potential lifelong pain. The psychopath can learn behaviors to rein in impulsivity and better understand the path they must walk to stay free, while also accepting (which is usually not a problem) that they will forever be psychopathic.
As importantly, this vocabulary allows for concise conversation with others. That said, no two psychopaths are exactly alike: we have our individual differences as well as strengths and weaknesses. However, with a proper explanation, the word ‘psychopath’ can turn volumes of explanation into a few sentences. With those that I correspond with, we can can get to the interesting qualities of the person without belaboring the condition. With myself, I can have a similar conversation, focusing on the quirks that make myself who I am and setting a good portion of the larger picture aside as a single word.
There is no shame in being a psychopath. The diagnosis was a gift for me in many ways. It allowed me to see a bigger picture, even if some details are murky, and allowed me to research the condition in order to live the most fulfilling life possible. It let me realize that there are others like me and it gave me the vocabulary to speak articulately with my confidants as well as my psychopathic brothers and sisters. I am a label? No. However, the label makes many things much easier.