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Discussion Starter #1
I am usually a pretty healthy 4 now -- usually levels 2-4, sometimes level 1. However, sometimes due to my mental illnesses I will briefly fall to unhealthy levels of 4, sometimes even level 9. Before being properly medicated I was a very unhealthy 4. I am bipolar with PTSD and anxiety. These are the reasons I think I became an unhealthy 4 starting around age 19 and stayed that way for a few years. I didn't think I would ever get out of that, but finally I found the right medication combination. I know some people think medication just covers up problems, but unmedicated I'm seriously crazy and feeling negative emotions for no reason I can think of. When I'm medicated I can reflect more on my feelings and actions and understand them better. I don't feel like a different person. So my point is I'm usually around the healthy levels of 4, switching levels fairly often. What level(s) are you usually at now or in the past? Do you identify with the different health levels?

Here they are, for reference:
Healthy Levels

Level 1 (At Their Best): Profoundly creative, expressing the personal and the universal, possibly in a work of art. Inspired, self-renewing and regenerating: able to transform all their experiences into something valuable: self-creative.

Level 2: Self-aware, introspective, on the "search for self," aware of feelings and inner impulses. Sensitive and intuitive both to self and others: gentle, tactful, compassionate.

Level 3: Highly personal, individualistic, "true to self." Self-revealing, emotionally honest, humane. Ironic view of self and life: can be serious and funny, vulnerable and emotionally strong.
Average Levels

Level 4: Take an artistic, romantic orientation to life, creating a beautiful, aesthetic environment to cultivate and prolong personal feelings. Heighten reality through fantasy, passionate feelings, and the imagination.

Level 5: To stay in touch with feelings, they interiorize everything, taking everything personally, but become self-absorbed and introverted, moody and hypersensitive, shy and self-conscious, unable to be spontaneous or to "get out of themselves." Stay withdrawn to protect their self-image and to buy time to sort out feelings.

Level 6: Gradually think that they are different from others, and feel that they are exempt from living as everyone else does. They become melancholy dreamers, disdainful, decadent, and sensual, living in a fantasy world. Self-pity and envy of others leads to self-indulgence, and to becoming increasingly impractical, unproductive, effete, and precious.
Unhealthy Levels

Level 7: When dreams fail, become self-inhibiting and angry at self, depressed and alienated from self and others, blocked and emotionally paralyzed. Ashamed of self, fatigued and unable to function.

Level 8: Tormented by delusional self-contempt, self-reproaches, self-hatred, and morbid thoughts: everything is a source of torment. Blaming others, they drive away anyone who tries to help them.

Level 9: Despairing, feel hopeless and become self-destructive, possibly abusing alcohol or drugs to escape. In the extreme: emotional breakdown or suicide is likely. Generally corresponds to the Avoidant, Depressive, and Narcissistic personality disorders.

Source: 4 - Enneagram Type Four: The Individualist
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'd say I can range anywhere between healthy and average these days, 1-6. Last week I was in the healthy pretty much the whole time. I can feel myself more in the average at the moment. I think it's because I haven't painted the last two days. Once my self-discipline slips, I slip.
I'm the same way! When I don't have a creative outlet I'm less at peace.
 

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I've been around levels 5-8 lately. I fled myself when things started getting unbearable and ran off into a relationship and now that I've withdrawn from even that, I don't know where I am. I feel I could go either way at this point; though I'm going to try to steer myself upwards. I always forget how amazing creative outlets can be. I'll try that when I'm less lethargic. I usually hit rock bottom at least two times per year and I hope it isn't coming soon. My energy is just gone for now, but I know it will return. It's so hard to take care of myself and to care about the outside world. I respect any of you who have been here and are doing well for yourselves (or are trying).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm sorry you are struggling, @sleeper! I used to be very suicidal and got kicked out of college for it and went to the psych ward twice (one time in the Eating Disorder unit for anorexia). I promise things can get better!
 

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I think I have been at all of the levels at one point or another... but usually I hover around 5. I'm rarely in the "healthy" levels. I think probably some of it is that I am cyclothymic, OCD spectrum, and have panic/anxiety disorder with specific phobias. When I'm stressed I know I definitely go to the 7-9 range.... I get myself so caught up in my emotions and introspection that I am practically paralyzed and feel like I can't do anything to help myself... I also struggle with the "morbid thoughts" and the desire to self-harm, although I haven't actually cut in a while (now if I could just quit picking and pulling at my skin...). The scary part is that even where I am today is better than I was a few years ago, when I was practically always in the unhealthy levels. Now I'm medicated and have a therapist, and it seems to be helping a lot, but still not to the point that I'm really "healthy." Every once in a while, especially when I'm in a cyclothymic up-swing, I'll get spurts where I act like I'm at a level 1-3, but they don't last long, and I think they're probably pretty artificial, because there's always that undercurrent, the knowledge that it won't last.

@unico- I completely agree with you about medications. I resisted going on any for a long time because I thought it would turn me into some zombified alternate version of myself, but that's such a misconception. For me, medication is one of the only ways to get through the day without obsessive thoughts driving my anxiety level through the roof and triggering a panic attack (although I have panic attacks for no reason at all, too... but the OCD and my phobias compound things...). Medication doesn't change my personality or who I am; it just helps me be a better version of myself... a version that I can live with, and that the people around me can live with. It's definitely not a cure-all, though... it doesn't fix the problems... just makes them more manageable.
 

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I tend to bounce between levels 6 and 7.

I'm just glad I've gotten out of the level 8 range. I was probably there around my senior year of high school. It was nasty. Withdrawing from people, having constant arguments whenever criticized, coming home from school and bursting into tears. Rather unpleasant to say the least.

I'm doing a little better now.
 

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I feel like I'm between a level 4 and 5. I can relate to everything described at level 4 at this point in my life. The only ones of level 5 that I would say that I can still relate to right now would be being self-conscious (I feel like I'll always struggle with that, my tritype I'm pretty sure is 4-6-9), I still have a lot of trouble getting out of myself and being spontaneous. Like setting things up with people that I haven't seen in a long time. I always feel extremely hesitant and usually don't. I mean, I would like to, but I feel really anxious about it as the time draws near. Maybe it's a way I protect my self-image, because I don't want to put myself in a situation where I can't predict how it will turn out and that scares me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I usually hover at level 5/6/7 on most days. I'm use to be level 9. It was painful and isolating.
Ugh, I agree with you on that! I was on level 9 first due to unproperly treated severe bipolar and severe PTSD, then later with an abusive boyfriend/bad breakup where my anorexia got worse and I just wanted to die. It was a long climb out of that for me. Occasionally I still fall back into an unhealthy level because I can't handle stress at all.
 

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I think I've been through all of these. Level 9 was scary, good thing it didn't last long.
Right now I'm probably at 4 or 5.

Last year, was probably 6 or 7.

Year before that, I was probably 1-4 depending on the day.
Oh that was a good time.
 

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Gosh, I think I am mostly at average, but can hop around in the healthy ranges then sink right over to unhealthy fairly quickly.

I'm just allover the place.
That seems pretty normal, I think fours are volatile by nature for the most part. Interestingly, now that I'm sitting around the average ranges, I don't think I'm moving about much, I seem to be in a comfort zone, think I'm biding my time. When I was healthy, I was really challenging myself with some stuff and I'd jump really quick down into unhealthy for a couple hours or days before reverting back to healthy. I was all over the place as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think I've been through all of these. Level 9 was scary, good thing it didn't last long.
Right now I'm probably at 4 or 5.

Last year, was probably 6 or 7.

Year before that, I was probably 1-4 depending on the day.
Oh that was a good time.
Glad you are out of level 9, @adverseaffects! I've been there, too, and it's horrific:( I'm bipolar with PTSD, which is why I hit 9. Do you have a mental illness by any chance? (Sorry if that question is out of line!)
 

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@ImmanentThunder, I have been there and I seriously empathize with you:( I hope you start feeling better!

@Grac3 I also have huge problems being spontaneous (partly due to my autism). I really wish I could be more spontaneous... I would be more fun to be around:p
 

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Glad you are out of level 9, @adverseaffects! I've been there, too, and it's horrific:( I'm bipolar with PTSD, which is why I hit 9. Do you have a mental illness by any chance? (Sorry if that question is out of line!)

No, I didn't have a mental illness. maybe I am exaggerating saying I am at level nine, but I honsetly think I was.
I was in 8th grade, I had been going to a new school every year for the past four years or so.
My best friend was bi and would kind of do sexy stuff with me then push me away, so then I ended up cutting off that friendship because she would prefer others to me and pretend not to know me and I was kind of in love with her and kind of hated her... and she would try to control me and say hurtful things to me. We have since made up and are so much better, but I was really hurt by some of the stuff that went on.
I was at a new school and had no friends, again.
It was a private school and my parents paid a signifigant amount of money to take me there.
My dad would pick me up hours late everyday, and even the faculty would leave before he got me. He couldn't help it, he was working, but he has always been a workaholic. He worked himself from living in his car to being a successful teacher, and well, basically work is his savior and his curse, and he takes all his frustrations from it out on us in irrational bursts of anger.
Anyways, I don't know why this year, but I was going through puberty, I was in love with a boy who didn't like me back, people were mean to me, I hated how I looked and wasn't eating, my dad told me he hated me, we were having horrible drawn out fights all the time where he'd say horrible things and throw things and threatened to kick me out, he told me he was going to make me live in San Francisco with my aunt and made me believe that for a day then once I packed my bag told me he didn't mean it, my mom was on night shift at the hopstical in the psych ward so she was sleeping all the time, extremely stressed and depressed, my dad was stressed from work, they were very controlling this year because of me going to the private school and wouldn't let me see my one friend and punished me excessively and I worked all the time at this prep-school to get good grades, because my dad picked me up late all the time I got home at seven or so for hours worth of work, I had no connections or social skills, I was embarrassed to go out in public and couldn't go out anywhere without layers of make-up, I hated myself, had no one to talk to, felt alienated from my parents and trapped in my house, no control over anything in my life, I totally turned inwards into myself and stopped talking and just drew pictures ALL the time, couldn't ever sleep, I'd just stay up crying all the time or with thoughts racing behind my eye lids, I was working so much and so lonely and so tried all the time, and my parents were embarrassed of my acne and would bring it up all the time so I was on pills for it that made me throw up, doxycycline, and I was dizzy and couldn't eat because of it, felt gross and hated by my peers. A boy who liked me then teased me about being 'emo' and people would joke I did drugs because my eyes were dilated all the time. I didn't realize looking back that people were trying to be friends with me and I made it impossible, but how could I relate to them with what was going on inside me? My eyes were dilated because I hadn't gotten proper sleep in days and I didn't talk because I was depressed.
Anyways, I thought about suicide and was thinking of going through with it. I think my parents didn't realize what was going on in me until I had a major breakdown and was screaming and sobbing and throwing glass breakable shit at them and then hid in the closet and wouldn't come out and kept telling them I was going to kill myself.
They got better after that.
mostly it wasn't anything going on external but just extreme resevers of self-hatred and inhibition. One of the major things that set me off was being "in love" with the guy at my school, it wasn't real love, I was just obsessed with him, and seeing that peer group, it was tight knit group of maybe 20 kids that had known eachother a long time, from affluent families and I really wanted to integrate in and belong to it, but I didn't know how. I had no social skills. I wanted to laugh and be friends with them, wanted to tell the guy i liked him, but I was SO inhibited, I couldn't talk in front of the class, could barely talk at all, had a hard time with eye contact, jokes, with physical touch, with anything. I just thought I was horrible and ugly and useless and didn't see that ever changing.

Oh, to be thirteen.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Wow, @adverseaffects, that sounds like depression to me!:( Maybe situational depression, but still depression. Healthy people usually don't think about suicide. My mother, for instance, is prone to anxiety and has had a lot of abuse and stressors, but has never felt suicidal. I'm sorry you went through all that trauma. It would kill me if my mother said she hated me (my father has been dead 11 years).
 

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Wow, @adverseaffects, that sounds like depression to me!:( Maybe situational depression, but still depression. Healthy people usually don't think about suicide. My mother, for instance, is prone to anxiety and has had a lot of abuse and stressors, but has never felt suicidal. I'm sorry you went through all that trauma. It would kill me if my mother said she hated me (my father has been dead 11 years).
I think my family situation, and feeling so lonely was not good. I think my parents were not supportive of my struggles at school, and my dad got very angry if I shared my feelings of lonliness or isolation because they were paying so much money for me to go there, and they didn't want to think I was not having a good experience or that I was ungrateful. So to be grateful I just didn't talk about it.

But because I kept everything inside, it came out in weird ways, I was defensive and angry in what I did show, and that did not foster good communication. I was only thirteen, but if I was in the same situation now, it would not be handled that way. It was a growing experience.

Thanks for the forum for me to type out that beast :)
 
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