When we see a human behavior as a “sign of something else” we begin magnifying it.
When we live in a culture where people normally do this, we tend to think it is right to do this even to ourselves.
People often feel relieved when their “signs of something else” have been analyzed—either professionally or by self-administered questionnaires—to reveal what that “something else” is.
Once analyzed and categorized, the “something else” itself becomes a sign, or a meta-sign, a diagnosis that explains behavior while directing us to a cure based on whatever that “something else” is.
The DSM reads like a Ptolemaic system of circles and spheres. In it signs are identified, quantified, and classified to indicate what they stand for, what their “something else” is.
Professionals are needed to do this work of course, and though the manual rests on “scientific” tests and other measurements, it changes every few years and very few people are getting better because of it. Moreover there is very little consensus among thoughtful people, including psychologists, about what the classifications of “mental illness” or “personality disorder” actually mean.
This is a sure sign that something is wrong.
I submit that what is wrong is our systems of classification of mental disorder do not describe the actual disorders because these descriptions exist on a different level from the disorders themselves.
It is widely observed that many disorders as currently classified blend into each other, share attributes, are co-morbid. It is also widely known that when disorders are extreme, sufferers can exhibit symptoms of all of them.
This indicates that the human mind is a complex system that becomes disordered by over-emphasizing or under-emphasizing parts of its system.
And this may be why drugs, psychedelics, shock therapy, or shamanic rituals sometimes help. Because they reset the entire system.
If you don’t want to use drugs, can’t get psychedelics, don’t want to undergo shock therapy or shamanic ritual, I suggest you try FIML practice. If you have a good partner, are fairly intelligent, and want to truly optimize your psychology (not just terminate your ambiguous disorder), FIML will probably do this for you. In fact, even if you can get psychedelics, FIML is better.
A disorder is unique to its system and though we can speak of some generalities that may apply to it, these generalities exist at a different level from the disorder itself and cannot provide a cure.
To cure a disorder the disorder must be experienced as it is happening by the sufferer. If too much of the disorder is revealed at once or the sufferer is simply confronted with its classification, more harm than good may result. If small bits of the disorder are revealed over a longish period of time, however, the sufferer will be much more likely to gain beneficial insight into the disorder.
In my view, all people everywhere are deeply disordered and thus all people everywhere would benefit from FIML practice. People who may not benefit from FIML include, among others, those who cannot self-observe, who are severely alcoholic, whose disorder prohibits self-analysis (narcissism, for example) and, sadly, those who cannot find an honest partner.