May. 13th, 2016 08:15 pm
[personal profile] snarp
Rambling and depressing personal post.

I think a lot about this article "Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?", because of this part about the kid's dad:

Growing up, he said, he had also been a difficult child — albeit not so problematic as Michael. "A lot of parents didn't want me around their kids, because they thought I was crazy," he said, closing his eyes at the memory. "I didn't listen to adults. I was always in trouble. My grades were horrible. I would be walking down the street and I would hear them say, in Spanish: 'Ay! Viene el loco!' — 'Here comes the crazy one.' "

According to Miguel, this antisocial behavior lasted until his late teens, at which point, he said, he "grew up." When I asked what caused the change, he looked uncertain. "You learn to pacify the rough waters," he said at last. "It just happens. You learn to control yourself from the outside in."

That's really familiar to me. Just, not on an outward-visibility level, because that wasn't the sort of behavior that achieved my personal goals. My grades were good because it wasn't hard for me to keep them up, and I knew that that was a good way to get people to leave me alone.

I didn't get in fights as much as a lot of the guys, but when I did, I was always the one to use violence first, and I never regretted it after - "they deserved it." I remember genuinely wanting to kill some of these kids.

(Like, sometimes the other person HAD done something shitty - I don't in retrospect think I was in the wrong for attacking the teacher who told me I was going to hell and hurt my arm, or the kid who'd been sexually harassing me, because the school was pretending it wasn't happening and my behavior was the only reason it got dealt with - but most of the others had done nothing to deserve this.

Hence my discomfort around people who are constantly in one or more arguments, and never apologize. I wasn't in the right even half of the time, but I thought I was never wrong.)

(I think I was worst during the times when I had my solipsistic delusion going on: "the world is fake, it's all just shaped by a hostile sentient energy field that's trying to somehow trick me and make me dissolve into it" + the sort of sensory hallucination that I could feel/hear the field.

But I remember wishing I could hurt someone at times when this wasn't going on, so. Not a good reason! It wasn't the energy field whose nose I wanted to break.)

This lasted up until I was maybe sixteen or seventeen. I'd been on mood stabilizers for about five years - as far as I could tell all they did was make me groggy, but I took them because otherwise Mom would throw a fit.

I remember a specific day sophomore or junior year that I was hiding in the bathroom during class, sulking after some kind of hissy fit (probably over a low grade I felt I didn't deserve). I was trying to figure out what sort of shitty theatrics might get me whatever it was I wanted, since the kind I'd just pulled hadn't worked for me.

Then I thought: "I've got to stop throwing tantrums like this. I've got to learn to work harder. I won't be able to do the stuff I want to if I keep this up."

Which, yeah, still the same selfish way to look at it! "Learn to control yourself from the outside in" = the outside wasn't giving me the responses I wanted, so I modified my behavior to try and look more like the person I thought I should be.

But it felt like the moment a cutscene ends in a game: like for a long time I'd just been watching myself, and now I knew control was possible.

Something clearly changed in me then - maybe I "grew up" in some cognitive/chemical sense, or maybe the Seroquel finally did what it was supposed to? Who knows. But after that, I knew that I could at least try to hang on to myself emotionally, which previously hadn't even seemed to be an option. Before, what I'd felt had been all that was real - therefore, I would act on what I felt.

Though I didn't think of it this way at the time, this fit really tidily with my solipsistic delusion. Do people end up with the delusions/hallucinations that fit their personal inclinations, or do our psychotic symptoms shape who we are? Shrug.

My metaphor for "fixing" myself was programming-based: I was "modeling" myself like a simulation person, building myself up out of code/polygons into something that acted/looked a little more human, and in the same way "modeling" the world like a simulation world, so that it would feel like a place I was properly a part of. With enough time, observation, testing, and tinkering, my self and my world would be indistinguishable from that which was external to me, and I and it would "become real."

Eventually, it worked for me!

But brain surgery and drugs also turned out to be necessary.

Neuro problems are really fucked up. I don't feel I really even became an adult, under my personal definition, until sometime in the last four years or so. I'm going to be 31 soon, and I'm still not, and probably never will be, the sort of person I'd like to be. So much fucking wasted time.

Intellectually, it took me a long time to stop believing in the solipsistic delusion. I didn't want to believe it, but it seemed so true and reasonable and inescapable. "Becoming real" meant "forgetting" that I was part of a fake world, and simply becoming part of it; losing my consciousness of its falseness, forgetting sound/feel of its "hum."

I don't believe it anymore, but I never forgot any of this. I used to be scared of becoming someone I wouldn't recognize; now I worry about becoming the person I was when I was fifteen again.

Date: 2016-05-14 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] loligo
I'm glad you posted this. I wish I had something more to say than "Brains are weird," but they *are*, they so are.

(I was thinking about you earlier today -- I haven't seen the new Steven Universe yet, but I was noticing that you hadn't posted about it yet and wondering if you were okay.)

Date: 2016-05-17 06:17 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] leakinglavender
I wish I had more concrete things to say to this, but they're all kind of melting into incoherence. Gonna babble at the text prompt and hope the result is vaguely on-topic and not devoid of substance.

I hope you don't become that person again too, but from limited experience of you, I'd say the danger's not particularly imminent. Maybe not as far away as one would prefer -- sometimes we worry about this shit because excessive fretting and sometimes we worry because we see plausible ways it could happen, and hearing your narrative here it's easy to see the fingerprints of past-you there in current you (even though current-you is, to my experience, quite a different person), and so much of it is under the control of Weird Brain And Biology Shit that may or may not respond favorably to... whatever. Still, that's kind of an impressive feat of self-engineering, and it probably doesn't go away overnight. You've had bad spells, but just as you can't get the time back, you also don't move neatly backwards here.

I know the wasted time feels entirely too well, though.

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