“Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast” – histrionic vs. dysthymic features

Sometimes my mind doesn’t know what it wants. I frequently have two opposing sets of impulses, one due to the histrionic features of my mixed personality disorder, the other due to my chronic depression.

Characteristics of histrionic PD according to the ICD-10:

  • (a)self-dramatization, theatricality, exaggerated expression of emotions;
  • (b)suggestibility, easily influenced by others or by circumstances;
  • (c)shallow and labile affectivity;
  • (d)continual seeking for excitement and activities in which the patient is the centre of attention;
  • (e)inappropriate seductiveness in appearance or behaviour;
  • (f)over-concern with physical attractiveness.

“Associated features may include egocentricity, self-indulgence, continuous longing for appreciation, feelings that are easily hurt, and persistent manipulative behaviour to achieve own needs.”

Characteristics of depression according to the ICD-10:

“[…] the patient suffers from lowering of mood, reduction of energy, and decrease in activity. Capacity for enjoyment, interest, and concentration is reduced, and marked tiredness after even minimum effort is common. Sleep is usually disturbed and appetite diminished. Self-esteem and self-confidence are almost always reduced and, even in the mild form, some ideas of guilt or worthlessness are often present.[…]”

Most of the characteristics in both descriptions apply to me. But take a moment to consider just those features in bold and try to imagine what it’s like to experience all of them at the same time. And often. I can tell you what it feels like and I can tell you that it’s frustrating and exhausting. Here goes:

I’m not like you, I’m bloody special! I want you to look at me and notice me and talk to me because I’m cool and interesting and entertaining but, then again, what are you really thinking of me? Will you realise how fucking awesome I am? What if I make a fool of myself, or you notice that I’m a really dull person? I don’t even know what to say anyway… And why are you looking at me like that? Is there something on my face?!? Why am I even here? I should be at home where no one can see me and I don’t have to talk to anyone. Oh no, oh no…. I want my bed! Or a big hole in the ground! FUCK YOU FOR NOT RECOGNISING MY GENIUS!!!!

I’ll go and wallow in self-pity now…..

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