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Why I Both Love and Hate My Personality Disorder

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Some of the words others have used to me describe me are happy, energetic, boisterous, charismatic, funny and upbeat.  I’ve always been an excellent storyteller, and can draw a crowd in an instant. Those are some of the things I’ve always loved about myself. I never knew that most of these traits were actually part of something called histrionic personality disorder (HSP).

Up until two years ago, I had never even heard of histrionic personality disorder. After a long battery of tests with my psychologist, this was on the list of diagnoses that I was given. I rushed home to research it, and remember thinking, “OMG, that’s me” as I read article after article about it. It was eye-opening and really helped me to learn a lot about myself.

So what is histrionic personality disorder, exactly? Well, personality disorders are grouped into A, B, or C categories.  The disorders that fall into the B type are generally those labeled as “dramatic.” Histrionic personality disorder is made up of a specific set of traits that involve: attention seeking and/or seductive behavior, a constant need for validation and approval of others, feelings that relationships with others are actually deeper or intimate than they actually are, a dramatic or theatrical personality and manner of communicating, an infatuation with one’s own outward appearance, emotions that may change quickly, low tolerance for delayed gratification, and a variety of other things. If you’d like more information, I suggest checking out this link from Psych Central.

The list above really just hits the tip of the iceberg on this particular personality disorder, but I think you get the idea. I swear, it’s not all bad, though. I enjoy being the fun-loving, chatty life of the party. I enjoy and excel at giving presentations and running meetings for work, which has helped me to advance my career. I can rock an interview like a boss. Also, my charisma makes me really great at de-escalating tense situations. There are so many things about this “disorder” that I find advantageous. I’m glad they are part of who I am. Having histrionic personality disorder does have its pitfalls, though.

I hate that I’m constantly seeking validation from others to help form my own personal self-esteem. I have struggled with my own self-worth, and need that “atta girl” or else I feel I must be doing poorly. If I walk into a room and people stop talking, I suddenly feel that they must be saying something negative about me. That drives other people and me crazy. If I’m depressed, the whole “obsession with looks” part goes out of the window, but when I’m manic, I am always all decked out to the nines with hair, makeup and dress. I take pics and post to social media to make sure everyone sees that I’ve got it going on that particular day. I have been known to push the envelope on work dress code allowances, such as dress length and cleavage-bearing. I can’t really say why, but I crave that positive attention from anyone. Part of it, I suppose, is that my own self-esteem generally sucks. Lastly, I hate that I tend to overreact to situations. That is where self-awareness comes into play for me. I have to think through situations to determine if I’m “blowing something out of proportion” or if I have a legitimate reason to feel as strongly as I do about something. I’m sure my bipolar disorder and histrionic personality disorder can directly feed into each other, so that can complicate things a bit, as well.

I personally feel that having histrionic personality disorder isn’t such a terrible personality disorder to have. As long as I remain mindful and keep myself in check, it can sometimes be advantageous. Histrionic personality disorder isn’t that uncommon, either. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in this disorder.

Do you have histrionic personality disorder as well, or know someone who has it? What is it like for you? I love hearing from my readers (validation, duh, lol). Let me know in the comments.

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

Photo by Roberto Delgado Webb on Unsplash

Originally published: December 29, 2018
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