Over the years I’ve always had problems with self-image. Courtesy of body-image issues/body dysmorphia I don’t view my body in the way other people do, whilst courtesy of anxiety and a myriad of other MH issues, I don’t see how I act the way other people do. Since my teenage years, since my abusive relationship, I’ve created such a negative view of myself that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say I see myself as the most repulsive piece of human excrement that has ever existed.
That no matter what I do, nothing is ever good enough.
That no matter how hard I’ve worked, nothing has changed since those dark days of breakdowns and homelessness.
Which makes this post so much harder to write, for there is now concrete proof that I have changed.
One of the first things I did upon joining GT House was to complete a BASIS-32 questionnaire. For those not in the know, this is the behaviour and symptom identification scale (BASIS); a self-reporting measure of the major symptoms and functioning difficulties experienced by people as a result of mental illness. It is a simple tool that identifies a range of symptoms that occur across the diagnostic spectrum.
The BASIS-32 is made up of a series of thirty-two questions that you rate on a 0-4 level; 0 = no difficulty, 1 = a little difficulty, 2 = moderate difficulty, 3 = quite a bit of difficulty, 4 = extreme difficulty.
These scores are then totalled across five different areas – relation to self/others, daily living, depression/anxiety, impulsive/addiction and psychosis – to give an understanding of where you’re sitting in relation to your functioning/mental health.
This is where I was standing last November, when I completed my first BASIS-32 with GT House:
As you can see, when I first completed the questionnaire ten months ago there were lots of extreme difficulties, which sounds about right for someone who had been homeless and isolated for nearly five years, so nothing to argue with.
However, when I completed the questionnaire yesterday, things looked a little different.
When I completed this questionnaire I had no memory of what I’d written last November, so to see a substantial drop across the board has thrown my mind into a complete hissy fit; it’s so used to thinking negatively it just doesn’t seem to know what to do with this information.
Does it valiantly try to find reasons to dismiss the figures as bogus or does it perform some sort of spontaneous jig in celebration of my awesomeness?
Perhaps one day it will decide! :)