How many victims are created by the thought that neuroplasticity is out of reach for some? Restated, just how many people with personality disorders or mental illness succumb to caricature simply because they are told that they cannot improve? Anyone that has followed my journey these past four and some years should know how I feel on this subject. Sometimes, the best cure is simply to be told that one exists, and that it is worth fighting for.
I ended therapy for the time being. The sessions as of late were incredibly one-sided, with my drive to change problematic behaviors nearing zero. Therapy is only effective if the person receiving therapy is open to change. Right now, I’m struggling to make it from day to day, dealing with the unforgiving assault of organic and environmental depression. I could change things. I could find activities and mantras that would help ease the pain that I live with currently. I could reduce my chain smoking and disdain for my health. I could change many things. However, I do not wish to at this time. I suppose on some level, chaos and a slow death is working for me, and until I come around, there is simply no point in wasting my therapist’s time or that of my own. All of this parallels the decision psychopaths have to make regarding their behaviors. If there is no desire to rein in one’s destructive behaviors, then no amount of coaching or analysis showing the benefits of such will resonate. A psychopath has free will, of course, but she must choose wisely when it comes to using that free will. She can choose to be a force of destruction, leaving lives – including her own – in the wake, or she can channel her energy into adapting to the mold that society requires. Ultimately, this decision lies solely with her.
I find that I can “turn on” affective empathy for those limited few that I form emotional bonds with. The degree to which my affective empathy is expressed is directly proportional to the strength of that emotional bond. Granted, there are many hurdles involved in forming emotional bonds, and I can count on one hand the number of emotional bonds that I have formed in recent memory and none of them have survived more than a few months before becoming of lesser intensity. All of this is confusing, however, given that in the twenty-six years before therapy, I felt none of this. Therapy is molding me and changing me, though at a glacial pace, and I wonder where I end and conditioning begins. I cannot discount the usefulness of having a paid professional helping sort out my myriad strengths and weaknesses, but I wonder if I am losing myself in the process.
The image in the mirror is distorted. I can vaguely make out that the reflection before me is, in fact, me. I have changed in many ways since I began psychotherapy four years ago. The creature that only went to session as a means of placating her husband has grown into one that actively seeks ways to better herself. What started as a journey to understand one’s depression turned into much more, and the bigger picture had to be revealed for any progress on any front (intrapersonal or interpersonal) to be had. All of that said, there are demons that cannot be shaken and all progress is relative. The only cure-all is the realization that the individual can ultimately create change. All of us have the capacity to change, though it would be a lie to state that we can expect total change in any form.
I had a brief but interesting conversation with a friend earlier today. She was concerned that in these mellow days of mine that I may be susceptible to being “fixed” by another person. She wondered if I was risking the loss of my very soul via my efforts to shapeshift yet again for something that I want. I reassured her that this would not be the case. I’m not in the business of fixing others and I am not with any desire to be fixed myself. I am who I am. Warts and all, I celebrate my condition to the extent that I can and to the extent that I can keep myself out of poverty and out of jail. Why does everyone assume that the antisocial needs to be fixed? Why do they think I want to be fixed?