What age range are you in?
I am 16 years old.
Any disorders or conditions we should know about?
I have been professionally diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, mood swings/depression and anxiety. Before that, they thought I had ADHD. However, this turned out to be a wrong diagnosis. I also suffer from OCD symptoms. In the past, these symptoms mostly consisted of compulsive behavior, but the symptoms are primarily obsessional now (a very good example of this would be intrusive thoughts). In my young life, I have talked to very many psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors etc., and I still feel like none of them have ever found the real "cause" and answer to my issues. Therefore, I personally do not believe anymore that any of the aforementioned diagnoses are accurate labels for me.
Other than these diagnoses, I have been suffering from suicidal thoughts/ideation/urges for about five years, and obsessive-compulsive behavior is also something that has been present for a long time since childhood. Feeling and "thinking" suicidal is just a part of me, and I am on antidepressants and antipsychotics for these things. I have never truly acted on my suicidal feelings/thoughts except for threatening to kill myself on multiple occasions and self-harming maybe once or twice. I could go on about all of my (possible) disorders and conditions forever, though, because there are just so many things that I (can't) deal with, and, apparently, so few causes and solutions.
1. What do you think your life is about? What drives you in life? This can be something like a goal or a purpose, or anything else that comes to mind.
My entire life has been about a few specific goals so far: finding out what is "wrong" with me and why I am the way I am, getting better (as in becoming a mentally and emotionally happy and stable person), finding my true passion and/or dream in life, and finding at least one person in this world who truly understands who I am and loves me for who I am and connects with me in a way that no one else has been able to yet.
However, I don't think my life is about just one thing. I think my life is about very many things, all at the same time. I would have said it's about getting to know myself and understanding myself and accepting myself and believing in myself, but at the end of the day, my life is not just about myself. It is also about getting to know other people and understanding them and accepting them and believing in them, and getting to know life and understanding it and accepting it and believing in it.
The thing that seems to drive me most in life is... hope. Motivation. Inner strength. Willpower. Faith. Change. Improvement. The self-confidence that people believe I lack most of the time. Believing that everything will be okay in the end, and that I can and will survive anything. The thing that drives me in life, is life. I guess I could really put it that way.
2. What were you like as a kid?
I was very lonely. For as long as I can remember, people have told me that I am very smart and mature for my age. I was very sensitive, trusting, compassionate, mentally creative, a fanatic writer, and most things in school came easy to me... except for the social aspect. My mother still remembers how I used to walk around the schoolyard all by myself, but I have had some "friends" in the past. I have been very many different things as a child. At home, I could be very emotionally extreme, aggressive (yet not in a violent way), rebellious, disagreeing, expressive, afraid and, at times, even hysterical. But I could also be quiet, introverted, happy, fun-loving, caring and sweet. I personally think I was always a little "weird" as a child, and I have always felt different and strange and unaccepted. I have been bullied and left out on very many occasions and I have lost a lot of people whom I originally considered to be real friends of mine.
3. Describe your relationship with your parents. Does anything stand out about the way you interacted?
The dynamic/relationship between me and my parents has always been a very complicated one - and, at times, even highly frustrating. (As far as we know, my father is an 8 and my mother is a 2, in case anyone was interested in that.) Even though I have very loving, fun, spontaneous, caring and generally accepting parents, I have been in a lot of struggles and conflicts with them since I was a child.
My father is not open about his feelings at all, and I suppose that is the thing that has always bothered me most about him; he very, very rarely shows his own "weaknesses", and although that isn't necessarily an issue for me, I have always felt like he didn't (or doesn't) understand or appreciate it when I show mine. He frequently tells me to "man up" and "stop exaggerating everything and being such a drama queen". Deep down, I know that he means well, but I do not always realize it in the moment itself. Especially since he can be very "loud", assertive and even aggressive when he's angry or annoyed, and he can get angry and/or frustrated about the smallest of things - just like me. We always ended up yelling at each other (sometimes we still do) and I generally do not talk to him about my problems. On a more positive note (I'm an expert at seeing the negative and dark sides of things...), he has an amazing sense of humor and he rarely ever fails to make me laugh.
My mother is generally very caring, fun-loving and protective, just like my father (who can, in fact, even be extremely overprotective and worried sometimes), but when she's angry, she can be very mean and emotionally manipulative, and she will talk about "all the things she has done for me" and "everything she has sacrificed for me" and "how I never give anything in return" (like love or gratitude) and "just treat her like a slave".
I'm not quite sure if there's anything that really stands out about the way we interact(ed), but we have always struggled. I actually think this may be the hardest question for me, because it isn't easy for me to describe how I feel about my parents at all. They love me, they do everything to make me feel happy and safe and they have always fought for me, but still, I have always struggled very much with the feeling/thought that they don't truly see me or understand me.
4. What values are important to you? What do you hope to avoid doing or being?
I value honesty, trust, loyalty, fairness, wisdom, thoughtfulness, acceptance and, most of all, equality. Human rights. I am very devoted to standing up for things like sexuality and gender identity rights, and I don't believe in pure black or white or good or bad things/people. I believe that everyone deserves the right to be treated equally and as human beings, even those who have made the most terrible mistakes and done the most horrible things in their lives. At the end of the day, we are all people, and there is still so much left to learn and understand about us all. Therefore, I also value understanding and open-mindedness very much; being able to step outside of the comfort zone of your own mind and open yourself up to other kinds of people, beliefs, opinions and ideas. At the same time, though, I also value individuality and difference very much; so even though I believe we are all equal, I don't think we are necessarily the same, and I think it should stay/be that way.
The thing I avoid most is losing control, especially when it comes to feelings of anger and aggression. I do not easily express these feelings, except at home - but not entirely, either. I also avoid discriminating and being or coming across as judgmental or narrow-minded. However, I can be judgmental and prejudiced without wanting to, and this is something I really dislike about myself.
5. Aside from phobias, are there any fears that characterized your childhood? Have they continued into the present day, or not, and if not, how have you dealt with them?
The things I have always been very afraid of are my recurring nightmares, which I have had ever since I was about four years old, and... myself. My mind. These things - the nightmares and my own mind - have always felt so alien to me, so disconnected from everything and everyone else... so unlike the real world. And I also believe I have a certain fear of death, but not like a phobia. I fear death as if it's a thing or a person that is trying to lure me, something that is trying to take me over completely. I feel as if I am constantly battling death. As if I am battling a serious disease that could take my life at any moment. Except it's mental and emotional, and not a physical disease. It's hard to explain. I really fear the loss of control, losing myself, losing my mind, going "insane". Becoming a "monster" and destroying everything around me... including myself.
6. a.) How do you see yourself?
I see myself as the most complex creature that I know, even though I always claim to be the only one who really understands me. I also see myself as someone who strives for equality, acceptance and fairness, and all the other values that I mentioned in question 4. I am versatile, generally open-minded, loving, understanding, polite, caring, protective of those I really care about, passionate and loyal once I fully devote myself to something, and - in certain ways - creative. I have various interests and opinions, and although I sometimes have trouble openly expressing what I think or like, I stand by the things I believe in and I like that I am able to see the many different sides of things. And then there are also those times when I get so deeply involved in my own thoughts that I even see myself as indefinable and alien... which, I feel, is starting to happen more and more often the older I get.
b.) How do you want others to see you? I would like others to see me as someone who is thoughtful, intelligent, mature, understanding and strong. I would like them to see me as helpful and trustworthy, someone they can always rely on. And I like being seen as special and different when it's meant in a positive way. It also means very much to me when people think I am beautiful, because I am very insecure about the way I look - especially when it comes to my face.
c.) What do you dislike the most in other people? I dislike narrow-mindedness, stupidity, rudeness and disrespectful behavior toward authorities. I also have this strange "habit" of disliking things that are considered the "traditional" and socially accepted way of doing things. Example: the guy is supposed to propose to the girl. Why can't the girl propose to the guy? Things like that. To put it very bluntly: f*ck the system!
7. Which habit do you most automatically act on? Rank the following habits from most to least automatic, on a scale of 1 (most) to 3 (least).
a.) Work for personal gain with more concern for self than for others.
b.) Strive for a sense of tranquility in yourself and the world around you
c.) Decide what is right for the betterment of something or someone else.
1 = A
2 = B
3 = C
8. Where does the wandering mind take you? What provokes this?
When left alone with my mind, I usually end up brooding about the darkness and complexities and psychological mysteries of myself and the world. The longer I think, the scarier and darker and more intense my thoughts become. The thoughts are usually about my own flaws and the mental and emotional complications about myself that remain unresolved to me. I don't know what provokes it, because it is always present somehow; my mind is never quiet, and sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes it absolutely isn't.
9.What makes you feel your best? What makes you feel your worst?
I feel my best when I'm safe and comfortable and at peace, surrounded by the things that make me feel happy and serene, such as nostalgic music or the comfort of my bed or nice food or a cup of tea or a TV show or movie that I really love. Nostalgia is one of the best feelings in the world to me, if it isn't the best feeling. And I feel my best when I have things to strive for in life; goals to work toward. Without knowing where my life is going, I feel helpless and restless. Some things that make me feel very good include singing, writing (although not as much as when I was younger), acting and roleplaying, listening to music that holds a lot of personal value and meaning to me, being around animals (especially cats), daydreaming and sleeping. Something that also makes me feel very good is when I hear or read about or see things that give me faith in humanity and in the world again. Positive things that happen in the world. Love. Family. Trust. Development. Positive change.
What makes me feel my worst is a much more difficult question for me to answer. A lot of things make me feel bad. I feel my worst when I am so full of chaos and feelings of helplessness and restlessness and anger and aggression, that I can literally feel it burning inside my chest, making me want to scream until I have no voice left. When I want to hurt myself and put an end to everything. But it's always something else that "provokes" it and then sometimes, it's nothing at all.
10. Let's talk about emotions. Explain what might make you feel the following, how they feel to you or how you react to the emotion:
Anger is an emotion that I hate with a burning passion when I feel it, and yet, it is something that is always present in me somehow. Perhaps I mistake tension for anger, but I always feel restless and aggressive in a way. The only way I really express anger is by yelling at people, but even that is something I only do at home, with and to my family. Around other people, I don't know how to express my anger. I simply can't. Maybe I'll raise my voice a little and appear frustrated or annoyed, but on the inside, I am screaming and shouting and slamming doors and throwing chairs and crying and showing people how desperate I truly feel... You could say I "repress" my anger, but I don't even really have to put in any effort to repress my anger or aggression anymore. I just control it very easily. I would never want to hurt anyone, but I can't help but imagine how shocked people would be if they saw the real me... the real, angry, helpless, desperate, scared and broken me.
I suppose I feel ashamed whenever I'm in public. I always feel like people are staring at me or judging me, or frowning or even laughing at how I look, but perhaps that is anxiety rather than shame. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what makes me feel shame, or when I feel it. When I make an awkward mistake in public that makes people laugh at me, maybe? That's the only thing I can really think of... Or when I have disappointed or hurt someone I love. But then I usually feel more sad and guilty and angry with myself than anything else...
I have always experienced a lot of anxiety. Social anxiety, mostly. I can barely even leave the house without feeling anxious and judged and misplaced among other people. I feel like everyone is staring at me, and I am very insecure about my face. It sounds stupid, but I am always aware of this. How I might look to other people, how they might see me and perceive me. I'm aware of every person that passes me by and I get lost in my insecure thoughts. I'm always anxious around other people. I'm even anxious when I'm going to do something fun with another person, because I can't stop imagining everything that could go wrong and how awkward it could be and how much I might disappoint them with who I really am. Especially when I was younger, anxiety was always a huge issue for me. Fortunately, it's no longer as bad as it used to be.
11. Describe how you respond to the following:
I do not handle stress very well. It bottles up inside of me and I start to feel tense and chaotic and restless, and I will get extremely lost in my own thoughts and fears and feelings. I take it out on my family by being reactive and panicky, and I usually won't be able to talk to other people when I'm under a lot of stress, unless they are able to stay calm and help me and are actually willing to listen to me and be there for me. Usually, when under stress, I will have certain "fantasies" that are of a very negative and painful and dark nature, and I might listen to music that enhances the emotions that these fantasies cause me to experience. I usually really victimize myself while doing this, wishing someone would "rescue" me from myself. Either that (victimizing myself), or it's the complete opposite: I am the "bad guy", I am the one who hurts other people, and everyone fears me and is controlled by me; I am no longer the lonely, ugly, pathetic little girl they all want to hurt and bring down...
b.) negative unexpected change
I generally don't like very unexpected things, but nevertheless, I believe I can handle change quite well. It might take some time for me to adjust to new things, but eventually, I'll be able to deal with it and accept things the way they are. Even negative things, although it really depends on how negative and unexpected they are. But even then, I am usually able to deal with it after some time. I may be a bit (or very) panicky and unable to cope at first, but I always find a way in the end, like with everything else that is difficult for me.
At school and with most other people, I try to avoid conflict as much as I can and I would rather be invisible sometimes. I don't know how to respond when people bully me or say something mean, and I usually wish no one would notice me at all, or that they would at least think I am not interesting enough to confront. Because being confronted and being in conflicts with other people honestly scares the crap out of me.
At home, I provoke conflict a lot, and I always react to it.
12. a.) What kind of role are you naturally inclined to take in a group? Why? In groups of friends, I am usually the one who is on everyone's side, so to speak. I try to help everyone out as much as I can and I prefer not to choose anyone over the rest. Usually, all people in the group will trust me and confide in me, and I am the one they turn to for help and advice when they're having issues with someone else in the group, or need my opinion on a certain issue. When I want to, I can be very social and kind to everyone, and then I usually end up being "everyone's friend" even when I secretly don't like all of them as much as I seem to. When I don't want to, however, I just... have no one. I don't make enemies or whatever when I don't feel like being social or kind to anyone; I just stay away from them and jump back into my head.
b.) If put in power, how do you behave? Why? When I really like something, I am usually full of ideas, and I am very enthusiastic about it and try my best to inspire and excite other people as much as I can. Generally, I don't really know how to behave when I am in put in power, but that might be because it rarely ever happens. I suppose I mostly try to get other people to be devoted and enthusiastic about the project/idea/event/whatever it is that I am in "power" of, by being devoted and enthusiastic myself. (I honestly feel like I completely misunderstood the question, but oh well, I tried.)
c.) Do you tend to struggle with others who have authority over you? Why? No, not at all. On the contrary; I get along with most authorities very well. I respect them and their work very much. Teachers, for instance. I usually get along with authorities and adults much more easily than I do with my peers, because I am able to think and behave maturely and actually take things in consideration to discuss/debate topics as good as I can. I think the reason I usually don't struggle with authorities is because I know that they only want to help and support me, and whatever I do, they are going to have authority over me anyway. Unless I feel that they are taking advantage of things and "abusing" their power.
13. What do you see or notice in others that most people don't?
I am very quick to see/notice and unravel other people's underlying feelings, issues and concerns.
14. Comment on your relationship with trust.
I have been thinking very long and hard about this question, but I honestly haven't figured out an answer to it yet. When I do, I'll get back to this.
15. Briefly: What religious and/or political beliefs do you have? Do you think they influenced your responses in this questionnaire?
I am not religious and I generally do not care that much about politics either. I consider myself an agnostic atheist (not believing in the existence of any deity, but at the same time not claiming to know if a deity does or does not exist) and I don't think this has influenced my responses.
Optional Question (due to personal nature)
Discuss an event that has impacted your life significantly; more importantly, how you responded to it.
There may be one or two "event(s)" that have impacted my life quite significantly, but they are indeed of a very personal nature, and I honestly wouldn't know how and where to start describing these things.
Which of the following temptations do you find yourself acting upon the most? (And briefly state why)
- To constantly push yourself to be “the best”
- To be without needs, well-intentioned
- To replace direct experience with concepts
- To have an extreme sense of personal moral obligation
- To think that fulfillment is somewhere else, because I have never truly felt at home anywhere. I don't feel like I belong, I don't feel like I'm "at home", so I keep believing that there must be a place somewhere in the world... somewhere I feel safe... somewhere I want to be... somewhere I can be myself... somewhere I belong.
- To cyclically become indecisive and seek others for reassurance
- To overuse imagination in searching for yourself (I had a hard time deciding between this one and the one I went with eventually)
- To avoid conflicts and asserting yourself
- To consider yourself entirely self-sufficient
What's something you are: a.) thankful you have b.) wish you could have? Why?
a.) I am thankful for my ability to persevere through difficult circumstances, my willingness to learn and my sense of individuality.
b.) I wish I could feel like I belonged, like I was part of something, and like I wasn't all alone in the world. I wish I could have understanding, of myself and the world, as well as understanding from other people toward myself. I wish I could have peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of everything; rest. Stability. Tranquility. Connection and "sameness", while at the same time remaining "different"; but no longer so much that it feels like a burden.