Me, a Psychoanalysis

Sometimes I look at my reflection and see someone else.

Before I begin, I would like to say that I am not writing this post to 1) call attention to myself, 2) seek vengeance against my parents, or 3) justify my actions/flaws. Rather, I am writing this in the hope to understand myself and the way I work so that I may achieve a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, I would like to spread awareness of the effect of childhood psychological abuse. So, Mom, don’t freak out because this is not an attack of you.

A few days ago, I was in a lecture of my Human Security course and the professor was speaking about the impact of warfare on child soldiers. He later elaborated on the psychological and neurological trauma of such children. Furthermore, these effects were not limited to children in armed conflict, but were present in anyone suffering chronic abuse during their early lives. When he continued about the lasting handicaps in abused children’s adult lives, I was quite disturbed by how much the description applied to me. This afternoon, I decided to do some research of my own and this article explains my life with an eery accuracy. Essentially, the brain undergoes significant development during early childhood and is irreparably damaged by certain stressors.

Things That Are Wrong with Me

  1. Left brain deficiency. In studies of abused subjects, their right hemisphere was as developed as their non-abused counterparts, but their left hemisphere lagged significantly. Since the left brain is the center of analytical function, victims of abuse tend to lose all cognitive capabilities under stress. My therapist once remarked that despite having a high IQ, I had the EQ of a five-year-old.
  2. Hippocampus damage. Especially sensitive to the stress hormone cortisol, the hippocampus plays an essential role in memory and emotion. Research shows that the left hippocampus of abused patients was 12% smaller than that of the healthy controls. Damage to the hippocampus manifests in deficient verbal memory and dissociative symptoms. Sometimes, I dissociate so well that I forget entire years of my life or I walk into traffic believing I won’t be killed.
  3. Lack of left and right brain pathway. Due to the decreased size of the middle parts of the corpus collosum, abuse victims are prone to dissociative identity disorder, formerly multiple personality disorder. At any given time, I primarily operate with a passive, depressed identity that cannot remember personal history as well as the other more hostile, protective, or controlling identities.
  4. Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Difficult to diagnose and difficult to describe, TLE manifests primarily in emotional symptoms and not physical ones. Sufferers rarely lose consciousness during these partial seizures. This is an example of what is likely a TLE episode.
  5. Borderline Personality Disorder. The lack of left and right brain integration combined with smaller corpus collosum predisposes abused patients to BPD. One of psychiatry’s least understood disorders, BPD patients shift suddenly from a cold, logical, left-hemisphere state to a highly negative, critical, and emotional right-hemisphere state. While the other four on this list were new to me, I’ve been aware of my BPD symptoms for awhile now. Without warning, I switch between two polar personalities who desire entirely opposite things.
  6. PTSD. Self-explanatory; the majority of abuse survivors also suffer from PTSD. My list of PTSD triggers are enormous — religious establishments, large gatherings of Asians, my childhood home, etc. I don’t even want to talk about what happened the last two times I was at a religious retreat…
  7. Panic disorder with agoraphobia. That’s what happened the last two times I was at a religious retreat. In short, I thought I would die, I felt like I was going to die, and I wanted to die.

In conclusion, let’s all take a deep breath and celebrate the resilience of humans. In spite of everything that plagues me on a daily basis, I’ve managed to build a life for myself that I am enjoying for the most part. While I have much to figure out about who I am and what I want, I am working every day to gain a sense of self and to build real relationships. I can’t change the past and I am who I am today because of it — my dark and twisted fiction wouldn’t be so dark and twisted if I weren’t so dark and twisted, right?

If you yourself experienced childhood psychological trauma, take the steps to improve your quality of life. If you know someone who suffered from childhood abuse, be sensitive of their lingering symptoms. Don’t tell them that time will “heal” everything and encourage them to become more informed about their possible psychological conditions. Finally, if you are aware of children in compromised situations, do not hesitate to report it — prevention is everything.

To hope,

R

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4 thoughts on “Me, a Psychoanalysis

  1. Hi babe,

    I am not freak-out. I was trained by you not to be easy to freak-out any more. But I felt I was hit again. Also, I am really, really sorry that I didn’t know how to love you and was too strict on you. But I hope you do forget mom and have the ability to move on. I know you can. It hurt me to know that you still were hurt by it. But I hope you can be more responsible for your own life, not to blame on anything else. It takes time and please be easy with yourself. You are definitely not a 5-year-old EQ. I don;t think any5-year-old can survive to live on Paris alone, not even on college campus. I will bring you home if that is the case. Love, Mom

    ________________________________

  2. Oh, Rebecca ! I don’t think there’s something wrong with you if you can actually write this way. Well, I’m no psychoanalyst, but…. I don’t know. It’s amazing that you can even recognize the symptoms, if they are symptoms at all.

    Well, anyway, take care, and cheers !

  3. Pingback: Laundry Woes « Rebecca Cao

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