A Narrative By Brandon Beckelheimer
Well my name is Brandon Beckelheimer. I'm 21 years old. And I have been prescribed at least 19 different medications for mental health related reasons. I have been diagnosed with virtually every major disorder. Doctors have been unable to decide what my main problem is. One told me I have mere ADHD. Another one says it is major depressive disorder combined with generalized anxiety disorder. Another says it is bipolar disorder, whose antipsychotic treatment nearly had the opposite effect...
One doctor suggested my problem is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, which is different from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCPD is a disorder of the personality that doesn't include the fear of something going horribly wrong all the time. It's defined as "preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, excessive attention to details, mental and interpersonal control, and a need for power over one's environment, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency." Absolutely NOT me.
Point in case, even medically trained doctors really have no clue what they're doing. To dabble with a field as ethereal as the mind is a large undertaking. Consciousness is a subjective reality. I imagine the experience of consciousness in another form as a means of leisurely pleasure. In other words, I create 'imaginary friends' who I know absolutely do NOT exist except within my own consciousness. However, that does not stop me from being able to create a figure that apparently comes to life and adapts its own traits. I talk to them. I pretend they are real. I do this out of a desire to communicate with my own unconscious mind. When asked if he believes in God, famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung responded that "anytime someone says God, they are truly referring the unconscious."
I'm intrigued by many things, but what most intrigues me is psychology of consciousness. This includes animals, even the ones which rely on mere instinct. Is instinct something that we don't rely on? Are we not merely a response to the previous stimulus? Does Free Will exist, and is the mind truly in our control?
Along with this, I play volleyball competitively. I graduated with an athletic scholarship out of high school with a volleyball scholarship to one of the top ranked teams in the nation. I was so excited to go there, but when I took Adderall to help me with my AP exam, I was doomed. I found a way to get this absolutely addicting and euphoric drug prescribed to me by using the excuse that I have ADHD, and then I took it with me to college. I was living in a dorm, shut away in my room mostly, burying my body in pills, 6-7 in a day sometimes. I was finishing each bottle within a week and waiting three weeks for my parents to ship the next bottle. I lived through this state of heavy binge-ing followed by three week crash and managed to survive my first semester of college with a 3.5 GPA, making me eligible to play on the team.
The second semester I increased my dosage. Then came the collapse. I did not go to class beyond the first week. I attended every volleyball practice as normal, knowing my coaches wouldn't know about the condition of my grades. I quit the team a month before the season was to end, with intentions of signing to play with another school. I signed with another school, and never showed up. Instead I buried myself in my bedroom, zombifying myself with Adderall binges with a laptop as company for intense research.
During this time, which lasted for quite a while, I discovered the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. It is a personality test rooted in the work of Jung which reveals key insights to the processes of the human mind. So I discovered my type (ENFP) and studied it fervently, almost as if I was trying to find myself in another man's book.
Next came my discovery of the Enneagram of Personality. This was like a paradigm shift of understanding to me about how the Universe works. This subject goes into such depth about the human mind that it can be used to transcend your self. Mental health issues often correlate to Enneagram of Personality, as described by Claudio Naranjo in his book Character and Neurosis. He also explains what the purpose of his research:
"The broadest distinction in the body of Fourth Way Psychology that I seek to outline, is between 'essence' and 'personality -between the real being and the conditioned being with which we ordinarily identify; between the greater and the lesser mind. Where Gurdjieff spoke of personality, Ichazo spoke of ego-more in line with recent usage (ego trip, ego death, ego transcendence, and so on) than with the meaning given to 'ego' in today's ego psychology. The distinction is similar to that proposed today by Winnicott between the 'real self' and the 'false self,' yet it may be misleading to speak of essence, soul, true self or atman as if the reference were something fixed and identifiable. Rather than speak of essence as a thing, then, we should think of it as a process, an ego-less, unobscured, and free manner of functioning of the integrated human wholeness."
My goal is to unify the existing structures and psychological models to form an Equation of the Psyche that can be used to describe the aspect of a person's behavior, desires, needs, wants, fears, motivations, essentially their "I". I'm pretty far away from where I want to be, but know I will survive in the end. The key to life is just to live and that's enough to be grateful for.