"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis
As I was swotting on Sunday night at the 24-hours McDonald's for Monday's Psychiatry paper, I got a bit of a jolt from the notes. In the section about personality disorders, there was a description of one that read like 20 seconds summary of my personal psyche. Damn, I have actually heard friends of mine describe me this way to other people about me using the exactly same words!
"Hey, this one really sounds like me," I said to some of my friends, who was there with me that night. I remember when I started out doing that - studying in McD's - I was pretty much alone. Now it had become the in-thing to do, apparently.
Lai Yin, who was also there at the time said, "Yeah, I thought of you too when I first read that! I memorise the personality disorders using our some of our batchmates as examples for each. That was yours."
Okay, if the smartest girl in class uses me as a mnemonic device for it, I thought, that pretty much clinches it, right?
I think I have Schizoid Personality Disorder.
According to the ICD-10 (id est, the 10th edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems manual), I have to fulfill 3 of the following criteria in order to qualify for a diagnosis,
- Emotional coldness, detachment or reduced affection (I pretty much embody this when it comes to family members).
- Limited capacity to express either positive or negative emotions towards others.
- Consistent preference for solitary activities (I love reading and spending ALL my waking hours on the internet - with very little use of any social or networking tools - and prefer to eat and watch movies at the theatre alone).
- Very few, if any, close friends or relationships, and a lack of desire for such (I have a girlfriend, one genuinely close friend aaand... shit, that's it).
- Indifference to either praise or criticism.
- Taking pleasure in few, if any, activities.
- Indifference to social norms and conventions (So much so that I go out of my way to defy them repeatedly - I've been called a contrarian because of that).
- Preoccupation with fantasy and introspection (Too easy... Next!).
- Lack of desire for sexual experiences with another person (Alright, before anyone says anything, I like sex, alright... I just don't like it as much as, um, some other things).
Now, according to the DSM-IV (the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) which I feel to be the more authoritative text on such matters, I need to fulfill 4 out of 7 similar-sounding criteria which are worded slightly differently from those in the ICD-10. I score a five, and I think I fit them better than I did with the ICD-10 ones. To avoid the personality quiz fallacy, I took pains to research the specific meanings behind those criteria. So yeah; I wasn't cheating or anything.
Other scoring systems I've managed to dug up on the disorder also include stuff like avoidance of competitive relationships, over-sensitivity, eccentricity, tendency to daydream, introversion, in possession of a sense of superiority (in spades, according to Phoebe), and self-sufficiency (a Christian actually accused me once of being so deluded by my self-sufficiency that I am unable to surrender to God). I got all of 'em.
It's official: I'm schizoid. And I'm okay with it.
Coincidentally, I also read that a diagnosed schizoid will not give a fuck if other people see him or her as having a mental disorder. Funny.
Anyway, according to Disorders of the Self by James F. Masterton and Ralph Klein, I'm more correctly classified as a "secret schizoid" - which does not mean I'm hiding it from anyone, no. It just says that I may appear social or engaged superficially, but in actuality, remain aloof and emotionally distant. Influential and famous dead psychoanalyst Ronald Fairbairn (1889-1964) said that the schizoid individual is able to express quite a lot of feeling and to make what appear to be impressive social contacts but in reality giving nothing and losing nothing, because since he is only playing a part. This cuts eerily close to something one of my ex-girlfriends said about me once.
Also, for a long time now, I kept saying "I think I work best in a long distance relationship," over and over again without knowing why, and have thought at length about how odd that is. Philip Manfield, in his book Split Self/Split Object, affirms that in my case. He said that people who have schizoid personality disorder are happiest when they are in a relationship in which the partner places few emotional or intimate demands on them, as it is not people as such that they want to avoid, but both negative and positive emotions, emotional intimacy, and self disclosure.
Most importantly, this helps to explain why my previous relationship was such a catastrophic train-wreck. You'd be hard-pressed to find an uglier breakup than that.
Then regarding the schizoid profile on sexuality... let's just say that it hits very close to home. Some of my... "proclivities" have been troubling me a bloody lot. And no, I don't I want to reveal what they are on a publicly accessible online journal, thank you very much. Don't bother trying to read about it because there are more than one sexual spectrum ascribed to the schizoid personality, and I only fit one of them (though I fit it very, very much). Unless I've confided into you about this before, there's no way you can possibly guess which one it is.
Anyway, I've got to wrap this up now even though I would very much like to continue oh-my-goshing over several more of my revelations regarding my personality. Maybe some other time, eh. I have to go get Phoebe from KL tomorrow (YES, SHE'S BACK!) and bring her down to Malacca for a 3-day-stay. The entire year through, everywhere I go, I have been mentally scouting out potential dating loci I want to bring Phoebe to in my town - it's like, I could be sitting in a cafe or walking down a nice street and suddenly think, "I wish Phoebs can be here." Three days aren't a lot, I know, but it's all we have to spend together this entire 6 months. I'm going to make each second count.
Good night, people-with-regular-personalities.
k0k s3n w4i