Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of when I had electroshock to tame severe chemical depression that had crippled me for much of my life. The treatment option was as extreme as the depression that it combatted. Click the link in the opening sentence if you wish to read more about that facet of my life.
I spent yesterday in thoughtful reflection, attempting to put in perspective the whirlwind of events that have occurred in the past year. Depression free at the conclusion of electroshock, I nearly quit psychotherapy. Had I quit, though, I would have never stumbled upon great insights into my personality. No, I never expected that the conversations my psychotherapist and I would have could possibly lead to discussions regarding ASPD and psychopathy, but they did. I am a better person as a result, being armed with knowledge regarding my inner workings and how to stay in the right when it comes to the law and society. My reflections from yesterday were a reminder, most importantly, that there is always further introspection to be had and knowledge to gain.
I know that I am a rare breed. Most of my psychopathic siblings lack the restraint and desire to introspect that I possess. I am certain the combination of the two are essential to my own well-being and freedom and, ultimately, I do not lose sleep regarding thoughts that many with the same antisocial tendencies that I have will not share the same fate. None of us can escape our thoughts, but we can try to grow in such a way to where those thoughts remain just thoughts.
In many ways, introspection and mindfulness are a lot like nicotine gum. Whenever we feel our thoughts coalescing into actions, we can step back and examine the reasons behind our desires and the possible outcomes should we act. There was a time when I thought that I was invincible; that no scheme nor endeavor could possibly fail. Ironically, such a time was long before I had ever heard the word ‘psychopath’ associated with my name nor even really knew what a psychopath actually was.
Introspection is much more than a means to avoid the temptations of antisocial behavior, though. It is the ultimate gift of being alive. By challenging ourselves to turn our gaze inwards, we can explore the nuances of life as seen through our lives. We can gain glimpses into our true identities even if the exact representation will always remain unknown to us. If anything, seeing the outline of the figure in the shadows allows us to be even more amorphous, knowing where we begin and end as well as the image we should project to others. You can be anybody you want for anyone you want should you have enough knowledge about your own workings.
The last year has been both heaven and hell for me. Lying on the gurney and having my brain shocked into seizure was an ominous beginning, but the knowledge I have gained as a result of being free of my true demons has been nothing short of amazing. The diagnosis of psychopathy – once my true personality was separated from depressive madness – was not a curse; it was a blessing. It forced me to undergo introspection and to finally tackle the unnameable characteristics of my life that threatened my financial and social well-being. It forced me to look inside and give a name to the shadow that I believed myself to be but could never articulate.