Secret Week 1: I Have a Dependent Personality Disorder

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why on Earth would I write about my weaknesses publicly? 

Ashley from After Nine to Five is hosting Secret Week, a link-party for sharing secrets. She motivated me to participate because I want to show my soul mates that they are not alone. Although we live in a "super modern" (yeah, I'm gonna use a lot of quote marks this time) society, there is still a lot of ignorance about mental issues. Those who need help don't know what the hell is "wrong" with them, other smart asses generalize, judge, even insult others. However, my main goal is to talk freely about a certain topic, my mental health more precisely. I don't care if anyone will think that I'm a crazy bitch with daddy issues. I don't care if people who know me IRL read this and talk about it behind my back. But I will be enormously happy if my story helps at least one person* who suffers from anxiety, depression, PTSD and/or OCD. I will also be glad if I open eyes to someone who usually asks: "Why doesn't she simply leave that bastard?". I know I could act anonymously but I wanted a stronger impact. And well ... to test my self confidence. I welcome both positive and negative comments but anything inappropriate and childish will be deleted.

So what's "wrong" with me?

Actually I'm a quite "normal" 20-something girl. I actively visit lectures at university,  I'm planning to start my own business and I go out sometimes. But ... all this wouldn't be possible today if I wouldn't get an appropriate medical treatment after my mental breakdown. Although it may sound dramatic, it was really a slow process. I was diagnosed with dependent personality disorder (DPD). This is only an etiquette, given by medical institutions and it's not necessarily right. But the diagnosis itself helped me better understand and even change my behavior. As the name suggests, people with DPD strongly depend upon others. So working on my independence is my major life goal. I've been working hard on my "personal growth" and I've changed A LOT. Sometimes I feel like I don't have the same personality anymore. I'm going to describe how I felt almost all of my life. This will be a description from me, not a medicine one from a text book (if interested in the "facts", you can start with Wikipedia).

How does DPD feel? or a peek in my mind

It feels like I don't have a mind of my own. I seek approval from others all the time, even for the smallest things. I don't care about myself at all. Desire to do anything for myself is non-existent. My only wish is to make others happy, even if that isn't really good for them. I just want to please everyone. Even random people on the street. But if I want to please as many people as possible, it's not enough to grant their spoken wishes - I have to train myself to read their minds. Pleasing others makes me happy, even if I have to do unpleasant things to myself. I'll do everything, no matter how irrational it seems. Total submission. I know this isn't normal but it's the only way I'm able to react. I don't know how to decline anyone - I don't even think about it. I spend hours thinking why someone doesn't like me. I'm never single for a longer time. Abusive men are my perfect match. I'm super understandable and empathic. I forgive other everything, but never forgive myself. I don't have any ambitions because I don't believe in myself. I'm a huge perfectionist - "all or nothing" is my motto. I don't know how it feels to be angry - I can only be sad, blaming myself to be so stupid.

This is totally f* up! Is there any hope?

YES! Although I wrote the above paragraph in present tense, it is mostly history for me. This is how I felt 5 years ago (and the most part of my life, since childhood). Today I feel totally different. I still have hard time turning people down and I tend to avoid conflicts. But otherwise I'm putting myself in the first place and I feel confident in social situations. I finally experienced anger for the first time in years. I don't care what people that aren't important to me think about me. I'm working hard on achieving independence and it makes me feel good. It's not easy to change your personality but it IS possible. 

I will share my learning experiences and tips at the end of this series. However, I want you to know that there is usually an important context behind mental illnesses. In the next couple of months I'm going to shortly describe the context that "created" and escalated my disorder. For better understanding from your side and for releasing some tension from mine. 

Take care.

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