"I am too stupid for that," the woman (I'll call her Annie) said to me after I asked her what prevented her from going on to pursue a college degree. I asked this question in the context of a psychiatric evaluation I was doing. Annie had been hospitalized following an overdose that she genuinely thought would kill her. A standardized assessment of her intellect had documented that her IQ was in the High Average Range, and in no way shape or form was she "stupid." But that is how she saw herself. In fact, she saw herself as weak or lacking in most every respect. Although she was of average attractiveness , she saw herself as ugly. Although she could play musical instruments, she saw herself as having no talents. Indeed, she was almost relentless in seeing herself as worthless and inferior. Diagnostically, she met criteria for an Avoidant Personality Disorder and a "double depression ." I was doing this evaluation at a time when I was thinking a lot about human self-consciousness. As part of my dissertation, I was studying cognitive biases and the fact that most people self-enhance and seek to paint themselves in the most rosy picture… Read full this story
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