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#1
Old 10-26-2010, 09:57 PM
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Ask the woman with schizoid personality disorder

Schizoid Personality Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines schizoid personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster A) as:[27]

Quote:
A. A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood (age eighteen or older) and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
1. neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family
2. almost always chooses solitary activities
3. has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person
4. takes pleasure in few, if any, activities
5. lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
6. appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others
7. shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affect
B. Does not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a mood disorder with psychotic features, another psychotic disorder, or a pervasive developmental disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
It is a requirement of DSM-IV that a diagnosis of any specific personality disorder also satisfies a set of general personality disorder criteria.

In the draft of the DSM-V it is proposed that schizoid personality disorder should be represented and diagnosed by a combination of core impairment in personality functioning and specific pathological personality traits, rather than as a specific type.[28]
Two years ago, when I was seeking treatment for what my primary care physician thought was dysthymia (and then escalated to major depression), I was diagnosed with schizoid PD. It was one of those "bam!!" in your face moments when up becomes down, and you suddenly feel like you've been jerked out of the matrix or something. Many people who get a diagnosis of schizoid PD feel like, "Yeah, I knew all along". But not me. Perusing the web one day, I stumbled across a page about PDs. I read the description for schizoid PD and passed over it. I thought if I had a PD, it was probably avoidant or something. But not schizoidism. But I didn't think I was avoidant either.

And then half a year of therapy passed and certain patterns were starting to emerge. I realized that my whole life has never really been "normal"and that the things my therapist were talking about as benchmarks of mental health were not only unimaginable to me, but totally unwanted. In fact, the idea of having friends and boyfriends made me feel even more suicidal. I returned to the web and took another look at the DSM. Suddenly, BAM! The pieces fell into place.

The strange fantasies about everyone one in the world vaporizing in a nuclear holocaust except for me.

The resentment and stress I feel when people try to befriend me or try to convince me to do things with them.

The emotional difficulties. I have a very hard time dealing anger, both my own and others. But it's weird; multiple people have described me as emotionless even though I feel like I'm smiling and laughing just like everyone else. Shortly after I was pinned with the PD diagnosis, I got another one from a psychiatrist. Alexithymia, which means you have a hard time putting words to emotions. If I have this, I think I have a mild form. I know when I'm really angry and really sad. But often I have to ask how other people would feel in a given situation for me to be able to understand how I'm feeling.

I'm close to my twin sister. We talk about once every two weeks. But she'd be the first to admit that we aren't confidents as you would expect twins to be. There are certain topics that I just cannot comprehend or contribute to. She's my best friend, though. Without her, I wouldn't really have one.

Most importantly, I do not have sexual desires. I have no been attracted to anyone physically or emotionally. Ever. Sex is so unbelievable and foreign to me that sometimes I think, "People actually do that?!" Because we live in a very sexualized society, where everyone is either mated to someone or dating someone or talking about doing either, I often feel like an alien. The alienation drives me to things that make sense to me, like growing and learning about plants and arts and crafts.

I never feel lonely. I might feel bored, but I have never desired the company of others. I also cannot remember ever missing anyone for an emotional reason. The only time I remember wishing my workaholic mother was home instead of at a conference was when I needed help with my homework. But I don't recall ever hungering for her presence.

Probably the only thing in the DSM that doesn't fit 100% is the "appears indifferent to praise and criticism". That one is context-specific. If someone who I don't respect praises me, or I think someone's just blowing smoke up my skirt, then yeah, I'm pretty indifferent. But if it's someone who I think has good judgement of character and no reason to lie, then I do feel honored. Criticism is kind of the same way. Most of the things I get criticized about don't bother me (my style of dress, the way I speak, my physical awkwardness). But if someone says something that denigrates my competency or work ethic, then that will probably get under my skin.

So I've provided some background. Ask away, if you care.

Last edited by monstro; 10-26-2010 at 09:59 PM.
#2
Old 10-26-2010, 10:05 PM
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So, why are you here?

What makes you desire the intellectual and social exchange of a message board when you have no parallel desire in real life?
#3
Old 10-26-2010, 10:12 PM
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Huh. I'd heard the term before but I never knew what the disorder was, so thanks for educating. And wow, you are almost my complete opposite. Interesting.

Is it related to schizophrenia? You don't have psychotics breaks or "episodes", right? How do you get along at work and with the rest of your family besides your sister? Are you identical?
#4
Old 10-26-2010, 10:20 PM
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My family once thought I might have Asperger's. They took me to get diagnosed and the professional diagnosed me with Schizoid Personality Disorder. They were all wrong.
#5
Old 10-26-2010, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threemae View Post
So, why are you here?

What makes you desire the intellectual and social exchange of a message board when you have no parallel desire in real life?
I like learning and I learn a lot by being here. When someone has a problem that I can emphathize with, I also like that because I often feel so unempathetic in real life.

I also get a lot of advice here. I have shared just about every social trial and tribulation that I've dealt with for the past eight years here on the Dope because I don't have real life friends that I can unload on. And my poor sister can only take so much.

In real life, conversations are much different than on the internet. In real life, you don't have time to consider what you want to say and formulate your thoughts so that you can speak intelligently. My speech fluctuates between eloquence and being extremely halted and incomprehensible, depending on what I'm talking about (if I'm talking about my personal life, the latter is usually the case). I have lots of typos sometimes, but most times I sound intelligent from my key board. Also, most real life conversations, even amongst friends, are very superficial. Sports. Housewives of Atlanta. Which guys in the office are "hot". I have some tolerance for that kind of stuff, but it really tires me out after a short time. On a message board, you can pick and choose what topics you want to "listen" to and participate in. Who wouldn't like that?

Last edited by monstro; 10-26-2010 at 10:27 PM.
#6
Old 10-26-2010, 10:47 PM
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I seem to remember someone else having a schitzoid personality here. Have you ever talked to them? I'm sure you could find a lot to empathize with them as well.

If not, I'm hoping someone remembers the guy's name.
#7
Old 10-26-2010, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Alice The Goon View Post
Is it related to schizophrenia? You don't have psychotics breaks or "episodes", right? How do you get along at work and with the rest of your family besides your sister? Are you identical?
There is a very low but significant relationship between schizophrenia and schizoid PD. Many schizophrenics are described as having had schizoid characters before developing the disease, but most schizoids do not develop schizophrenia. In my case, I would not be surprised if I have an elevated risk. I had a paternal uncle with severe schizophrenia and a first cousin on the same side of the family with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (it was probably schizoaffective disorder). He ultimately committed suicide. I have another sister with bipolar disorder, though I don't know frequently she has episodes. Genetic and neurological studies have demonstrated a link between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. and in fact they often treated with similar medications. Anxiety and depression and addictive personalities are also wrife on my dad's side of the family.

As far as I know, I have never had a break. But what would be minor stress to most people (like unwanted sexual advances, for instance), can send me rapidly into suicidal mode. But most stress unfazes me. I am not afraid of walking the streets at night, riding my bike up and down the streets of Manhattan (which I used to do a lot,), public speaking, or even working in alligator-infested waters. So really, interpersonal stress is the only thing that causes me to freak out. Otherwise I'm perfectly normal.

I get along fine at work. I've been labeled as quiet and introverted and "quirky", but only one person has gone beyond that and questioned my sanity (and if you ask me, she's the crazy one!) I have obsessive-compulsive symptoms with tag-along bizarre body movements, so sometimes that makes me stick out like a sore thumb. Well-intentioned people will say, all tender-like, "Are you doing okay? I'm worried about you." Gag me with a spoon. I have to launch into this long explanation about how I'm fine, that it's a neurological thing that I've dealt with a while and usually hide successfully, and that I feel no pain. But people still say the "I'm worried about you" stuff. I don't know if it's genuine or fake. I think it's fake, but of course I don't say so.

Family is fine, as far as I know. I just recently felt comfortable enough to tell my mother about my diagnosis. She said something like, "Well, we all make choices..." and I had to correct her and say my personality wasn't a choice. But otherwise she was understanding and said that as long as I was happy, she was happy. I don't know if I'm happy, because every time I think the depression thing has gone away it comes back, but I've made peace with schizoid PD. I don't use it to make exuses and I have purposefully pushed the envelop (like I just came back from a spontaneous trip to San Francisco). But I no longer hate myself for not being "normal" anymore. I have come to understand my limitations and not expect too much of myself. And to also stick up for myself when well-intentioned people tell me I need to "get out more" or try to fix me up with someone.

My twin is fraternal. We are not total opposites. Both of us are introverted; it's just that I'm pathologically so and she isn't. As far as I know, she has reached all the benchmarks of normal adulthood. I don't know why we came out so different. Maybe she ate more of her vegetables than I did as a kid.
#8
Old 10-26-2010, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Alexithymia, which means you have a hard time putting words to emotions. If I have this, I think I have a mild form. I know when I'm really angry and really sad. But often I have to ask how other people would feel in a given situation for me to be able to understand how I'm feeling.
What's it feel like to have Alexithymia? I think I am an exceptionally well adjusted person but I often have a very difficult time explaining to people how I'm feeling. Have you learned any coping techniques or how to deal with it? When you say putting to words emotions, does that mean you always know how you feel but can't reduce it to words for others or is there confusion even internally?
#9
Old 10-26-2010, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Invisible Chimp View Post
My family once thought I might have Asperger's. They took me to get diagnosed and the professional diagnosed me with Schizoid Personality Disorder. They were all wrong.
I have gone to a multitude of docs. None of have told me that I am on the autisim spectrum, though they have prescribed me with the same drugs given to autistic people because of my obsessive thoughts and movement problems. I have to admit to wondering if I have Asperger's, especially given the repetitive thoughts and my life-long fixations with objects, but decided that I would never know the absolute truth because it would require digging up childhood memories that I do not have. Also, I don't think I have problems making friends. It's actually wanting friends that I have difficulty with.

But I do know I fit the diagnosis for schizoidism, so that seems like the more parsimonious explanation.
#10
Old 10-26-2010, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Fuzzy Dunlop View Post
What's it feel like to have Alexithymia? I think I am an exceptionally well adjusted person but I often have a very difficult time explaining to people how I'm feeling. Have you learned any coping techniques or how to deal with it? When you say putting to words emotions, does that mean you always know how you feel but can't reduce it to words for others or is there confusion even internally?
Most times it means I don't know how I feel. My therapist has this chart with cartoon faces exhibiting about thirty different emotions, and she'll ask me to point to the one that best describes what I'm feeling. I can never find "me" on the chart. I'll have to ask her what she's feeling and then see if that describes anything close to what I'm feeling. Sometimes she'll guess my emotional state for me and then I'll tweak it a little. Sometimes I'll say I'm not sad, and then she'll hold a mirror in front of me and say I sure look like it. So there's a weak to moderate disconnect between my emotional state and my consciousness.

One of my doctors assumed I was an anxious person because I often look up the side-effects of certain drugs and refuse to take them based on what they are (tardive dyskinisia is a no-go for me). That's not anxiety; that's being a conscientious patient. I told him I did not think I was anxious, but of course he prescribed an anti-anxiety med. And of course I did not take it. I have asked my therapist numerous times what anxiety feels like, and I know that I don't often experience those physical sensations.

Occassionaly it means I do know what I'm feeling but I can't explain where the source is coming from.
#11
Old 10-26-2010, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Invisible Chimp View Post
My family once thought I might have Asperger's. They took me to get diagnosed and the professional diagnosed me with Schizoid Personality Disorder. They were all wrong.
Psychiatrists are fond of labels, and DSM4 be damned if they can't squeeze you into one. I, too, was diagnosed with a multitude of mental illnesses, including SPD.

@Monstro,

Politically, how would you describe yourself?

And, what do you do for a living?
#12
Old 10-26-2010, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mil0 View Post
Psychiatrists are fond of labels, and DSM4 be damned if they can't squeeze you into one. I, too, was diagnosed with a multitude of mental illnesses, including SPD.
Oddly enough, none of my doctors (it's not like I've had a ton, but I have been to multiple ones) have been label-happy. My psychotherapist's official diagnosis is chronic depression, although my schizoidism frequently comes up. She kept her suspicions about my PD secret for a long time, so it wasn't like she diagnosed me with it the moment I took the MMPI-II (the standard psychometric personality test). I think the focus on depression is for insurance purposes. PDs are considered pre-existing, untractable conditions by many insurance companies, so they often refuse to pay for their treatment.

None of the psychiatrists have pinned a formal label on me except for depression, though they've thrown a pharmacy of drugs at me. Drugs designed to treat everything from epilepsy to schizophrenia to ADHD. One of the nurse practioners who wrote me a 'script told me that "a lot of different disorders can be helped with the same drugs, so that's why we don't spend a lot of time with diagnoses". The cynical part of me thinks they just don't know what the hell they're doing. But at least, I suppose, they're trying to help.

Quote:
@Monstro,

Politically, how would you describe yourself?

And, what do you do for a living?
I'm pretty liberal. I don't care what other people do as long as it doesn't bother me. I don't get real passionate about politics, except when things are just blatantly wrong and people are defending it. I don't like any "-ism" because I consider myself a rational person. "Morals and values" are nebulous concepts to me, but "nice people" and "mean people" are very clear-cut.

I'm an environmental scientist who works for the state. I will be promoted this December, so yay me.
#13
Old 10-27-2010, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I like learning and I learn a lot by being here. When someone has a problem that I can emphathize with, I also like that because I often feel so unempathetic in real life.

I also get a lot of advice here. I have shared just about every social trial and tribulation that I've dealt with for the past eight years here on the Dope because I don't have real life friends that I can unload on. And my poor sister can only take so much.

In real life, conversations are much different than on the internet. In real life, you don't have time to consider what you want to say and formulate your thoughts so that you can speak intelligently. My speech fluctuates between eloquence and being extremely halted and incomprehensible, depending on what I'm talking about (if I'm talking about my personal life, the latter is usually the case). I have lots of typos sometimes, but most times I sound intelligent from my key board. Also, most real life conversations, even amongst friends, are very superficial. Sports. Housewives of Atlanta. Which guys in the office are "hot". I have some tolerance for that kind of stuff, but it really tires me out after a short time. On a message board, you can pick and choose what topics you want to "listen" to and participate in. Who wouldn't like that?
Thanks for explaining, I was wondering the same thing when I read your OP.
#14
Old 10-27-2010, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
But people still say the "I'm worried about you" stuff. I don't know if it's genuine or fake. I think it's fake, but of course I don't say so.
While you can get fakes at this like you can at other things, my experience with Americans is that the immense majority would find it a terrible invasion of privacy to ask about someone else's health and mean it. Same as Americans say "how are you?" (or similar) and mean "hello" instead of "please give me a brief synopsis of the current status of your life", you know. If they're asking, either they

* really are worried enough about you and view you as enough of a friend to dare ask,
* are from a subgroup (from Southerners to Chinese-Americans to recent immigrants) where "concern for your neighbor" is considered a positive trait, and therefore ask sooner than a Standard American would,
* are from one of these groups and doing it because it's socially polite in their circles rather than out of genuine concern, but will still do their best to help you if they can - again, because that's how their momma raised them,
* or are bad enough at social stuff themselves that they never caught on the notion that "you're not supposed to ask". Again, the concern would be genuine.

From what I know about you and your social environment, I think the second option is the most likely.

Last edited by Nava; 10-27-2010 at 06:28 AM.
#15
Old 10-27-2010, 07:01 AM
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I find it invasive, Nava, even if if they are genuine. Like it's an attempt to needle info out of me.

Also, it makes me feel like my slip is constantly showing and that I'm not doing a good job of "being like everyone else". Like, what is that is that I'm doing that's worrying them? I feel like it would be an invasion of their privacy to ask them, so I don't.

Seems like if they were all churned up inside with worrying, that instead of bumming me out by telling me (and possibly giving me a complex), they would do something nice. Like buy me a Coke or something. Actions mean a lot more to me than words.
#16
Old 10-27-2010, 08:51 AM
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I wasn't trying to tell you to feel nice about it, just trying to answer your own question.

They are trying to do something for you. It's not something you want done. Fair enough.
#17
Old 10-27-2010, 08:57 AM
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Do you feel as though your aversion to relationships is motivated by anxiety?

If you met someone in real life who in no uncertain terms had a similar outlook on life as you, do you feel as though you would be more emotionally or intellectually attracted to that person than for other random people?
#18
Old 10-27-2010, 04:03 PM
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Have you ever had a significant other (I hate that phrasing) in your life?

Do you believe you will ever acquire the desire to have one?

Do you wish you had the desire to have one?


mmm
#19
Old 10-27-2010, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
They are trying to do something for you. It's not something you want done. Fair enough.
I think it seems fake to me because I can't imagine myself actually worrying about them. That sounds really really bad, I know, but it's true. If all of my coworkers suddenly disappeared tomorrow, I would probably say to myself "that's kinda messed up" and then go on to check my email. So perhaps it's lack of empathy for their empathy that explains why I'm bothered by their (probably) well-intentioned comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyarms553
Do you feel as though your aversion to relationships is motivated by anxiety?
Relationships generate anxiety in me, so that makes them unpleasant and things to avoid. But it's not the type of anxiety that a social phobic has, where they are anxious even before the interaction begins. I'm only mildly shy--I've gotten more out-going as I've gotten older. I have no problems with small talk. I never feel self-conscious, even when I probably should. The anxiety creeps in when I realize I've gotten in over my head and don't know how to back out gracefully.

It's gotten me in trouble, as another thread in this forum illustrates. I initially present as a "normal" person socially. I know what to say to break the ice and make people feel at ease around me. People, especially quiet, nerdy types, seem to find me approachable and then try to get closer. But then I push them away because it doesn't take too much for someone to breach my personal boundaries. An invitation to a party is enough for me not to want to be around that person anymore. I know it's strange and not beyond my control to change, but that's just how it is for me.

Quote:
If you met someone in real life who in no uncertain terms had a similar outlook on life as you, do you feel as though you would be more emotionally or intellectually attracted to that person than for other random people?
I do not know. I can't conceive of "attraction", of wanting to be around a person all the time and having them in my headspace all the time. I imagine I could probably form a friendship with someone with a similar character style--like a relationship where we might hook up maybe once a month to catch a movie and go out to eat afterwards. Those are two things I do alone all the time, but I admit they are more fun to do when you are with someone else. But anything beyond that would be too much. A person wanting a long-term relationship with me would absolutely need to understand that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard
Have you ever had a significant other (I hate that phrasing) in your life?

Do you believe you will ever acquire the desire to have one?

Do you wish you had the desire to have one?
No, I've never had an SO.

I don't want one either. The stress involved in acquiring and maintaining one just seems to be too much for it to be worth it. The lack of libido also makes this a non-issue for me.

The last question is trickier. I would like to have desire for love and not freak out everytime it comes close. Everyone always talks about how wonderful it is, and it seems like I'm missing out. So yeah, I guess I do wish I had the desire. It would make me feel not so weird sometimes.
#20
Old 10-28-2010, 12:04 AM
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I dunno, Monstro. You sound pretty well-adjusted to me.

You're straightforward and seem to have pretty good insight. You own your strengths and weaknesses. I don't hear any excuse-making or whining.

I know several people with Schizoid PD and, while their lives don't look like ones I'd like for myself, the important thing is that they are satisfied with them.

Sounds like you are doing what you need to do to keep optimum emotional health and that your work life is progressing. That's all any of us can do.

Do you really want to call yourself Monstro? Maybe it doesn't fit at all.
#21
Old 10-28-2010, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post

Most importantly, I do not have sexual desires. I have no been attracted to anyone physically or emotionally. Ever. Sex is so unbelievable and foreign to me that sometimes I think, "People actually do that?!" Because we live in a very sexualized society, where everyone is either mated to someone or dating someone or talking about doing either, I often feel like an alien.
I feel the same way. I'm asexual, not schizoid, but (to borrow a term from Temple Grandin) I feel like an anthropologist from Mars watching other people's relationships. More to the point, what I feel like is one of those sci-fi parables about the Power of Love/Friendship/Fuzzy Bunnies, where the logical aliens cannot comprehend emotion. They only see that it leads people to do stupid things, and they conclude that they're much better off not having them, and the audience is supposed to chuckle sadly at the ignorance of the e.t.'s. I hear about romance and I read about romance, and I see people falling in love and lust, and all I can think is, "How strange. I'm lucky to have avoided that headache."

Er, what I meant to say is... well, it's late at night ad studies have shown that sleep-deprivation is akin to drunkness, and I'm not really sure what I'm saying. See you tomorrow.
#22
Old 10-28-2010, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Tethered Kite View Post
I dunno, Monstro. You sound pretty well-adjusted to me.

You're straightforward and seem to have pretty good insight. You own your strengths and weaknesses. I don't hear any excuse-making or whining.

I know several people with Schizoid PD and, while their lives don't look like ones I'd like for myself, the important thing is that they are satisfied with them.

Sounds like you are doing what you need to do to keep optimum emotional health and that your work life is progressing. That's all any of us can do.

Do you really want to call yourself Monstro? Maybe it doesn't fit at all.
Thanks for the compliments. I don't know if I have good insight, but I do try to improve myself. Not for the sake of others, but so that my life can be as stress-free as possible. Also, the reoccuring depression and my schizoidism do very bad things when they come together. Most times I'm completely functional, but sometimes I get really close to the edge of self-destruction. In that way, I can almost sympathize with the craziness of borderline PD.

When I first got the diagnosis, the first thing I did was to search out an online community of schizoids. But after about a month of lurking and posting on a couple of message boards, I decided to stop. I found such places full of people writing in purple prose about how much they hated their parents (although having no interest in moving out and getting their own places), teenagers obsessed with the idea that they could have it and trying to classify their every thought and action as being "schizoid traits" (perhaps creating a self-fulfilling prophesy in the process), and people with mild-to-slightly moderate cases like mine who think it's not a real disorder--seemingly ignoring the fact that schizoidism has high co-mobidity with depression, self-destructive behavior, schizotypical PD, and a whole host of other bad things. There is also an air of superiority amongst some schizoids, who think they are smarter and better than "normals". Narcissism, really. But then they talk about their lives and you just shake your head. Never had a real job, still living with parents, absorbed in anime (I swear, every schizoid except for me seems to be into anime), and always complaining about how empty, hopeless, and boring life is. They refuse therapy, choosing instead to take refuge in their own little bubbles. They live and breath their PD. Everything that happens to them gets filtered through that; it's as if they use it as a crutch, a sword, and a shield.

Then there are the wannabes. These are people who talk about how much their schizoidism sucks, but then in the next breath mention that they've never been diagnosed with anything because they don't have money to see a doctor, how they regularly hang out with friends, and even have a spouse or SO! I'm always like, "WTH?" Yeah, you might have a schizoid style. Lots of introverts do. But how in the hell can you call yourself a schizoid (as in, someone with a PD) when you have friends, talk about how horny you are, and have a SO? Not having those seem to be the meat and potatos of the disorder, IMHO. But when you mention this, these people will get defensive and say, "You don't have to meet ALL the symptoms!" Well, this is very much true. I meet some of the criteria more than the others, and it would piss me off when people would question my diagnosis just because I would mention I cried at the end of Toy Story (or something trivial like that). But I would think there are some criteria that you must meet for your diagnosis not to be absolutely ridiculous. It's like someone claiming to have Asperger's and yet they don't have social problems or sensory issues. What's left except symptoms a lot of quirky people have?

The only thing I can think of is that there are "ancillary" symptoms along with the ones listed in the DSM. A lot of people will focus on those moreso on the others because they are much more common. Like depersonalization, which is common with anxiety disorders. Or having a rich fantasy life. But if you have an active right-brain, chances are you will have a rich fantasy life. Anyone who has dreams of being a novelist has a deep fantasy life, but that doesn't make them schioid. Couple having a fantasy life with a very introverted personality, and I can see how someone could think, "Hey, I must be schizoid!" Strangely, unlike the other PDs, there are lot of people who seem to want to be schizoid, like it's just another way of being and not really a disorder. I can understand that point-of-view, but I do think it's only a minority of people with schizoid PD who would say they've never suffered from it. If a person hasn't suffered from it, then perhaps they don't have schizoid PD but rather a schizoid character style.
#23
Old 10-28-2010, 02:40 PM
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Hee. A forum of Schizoid PDs! That's a funny concept right there.

A diagnosis is . . . just a diagnosis. Shorthand that points us to what we can expect if we don't work to improve our situation. Wear it as a daily label or just be the best you you can be?

Go forth and make lemonade.
#24
Old 10-30-2010, 07:58 AM
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That whole list just described me, but having an HMO I only get diagnosed with the usual anxiety and depression. They just throw drugs at me.
#25
Old 10-31-2010, 09:54 PM
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See, this is why I like the Straight Dope. You get fascinating testimonies about other peoples' lives, and you get to ask them intrusive questions! Were you the nosiest person on the planet, you couldn't get this sort of stuff in real life. So, thanks, Monstro -- this is really interesting.

So let me ask -- do you think the drugs help? Seems to me like a strange thing to treat with drugs, in the sense that I feel like you've come to terms with the disorder.
#26
Old 10-31-2010, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac View Post
See, this is why I like the Straight Dope. You get fascinating testimonies about other peoples' lives, and you get to ask them intrusive questions! Were you the nosiest person on the planet, you couldn't get this sort of stuff in real life. So, thanks, Monstro -- this is really interesting.

So let me ask -- do you think the drugs help? Seems to me like a strange thing to treat with drugs, in the sense that I feel like you've come to terms with the disorder.
Thanks for appreciating this thread. I was unsure whether I should start it or not, because people with PDs are so awfully stigmitized. But most people don't even know about schizoid PD and may not be aware that someone they know has it. They may think that a certain person is an aloof snob, when really that person could be insane in the membrane.

Just kidding.

About medication. I take two drugs for my movement disorder and to try to damp down the repetitive thoughts I have. I take a benzodiazepine and just started taking a new drug called Intuniv (which is an ADHD med). I take another for my depressive symptoms (Wellbutrin), which is often prescribed for schizoid PD as well because it mitigates some of the negative symptoms associated with it (like lack of motivation and desire).

Are they working? Yes, but not completely. I still have jerks and tics and parkinsonism and akathesia, especially at night. Just not as bad as I used to. I still have repetitive thoughts, but they aren't as loud (and I'm not sure if me staying busy with activities has been more effective than the drug experimentation). I still have depressive symptoms, but they are sporadic (which is frustrating because just when I think I'm "cured", the bad thoughts return). I do think the Wellbutrin has allowed me to feel genuine desire for things in life, which is reduced in most schizoids. When I find myself wanting to do something, I do it immediately. Some could view this as being impulsive, but it's more like, "OK, I just felt really good thinking about this idea/object/place. So before I lose this feeling, I need to check it out now." So sometimes if I get a burst of inspiration for an art project, I'll take off early from work and get right on it. If I have a craving for a certain food, I'll get it ASAP. If I want to go to Yosemite and see a giant sequoia, I'll fly out there and have a good time. Before I was on the drug, I would do things not because they brought pleasure, but because I just didn't know what else to do and hey, why not? Everything was "meh". Not bad, but nothing to write home about either. My brain wasn't even trying to come up with things to look forward to. My mother would ask me what was going on in my life and I'd always say the same thing. "Nothing."

I'm still like this, but in a different way. A person my age usually has some kind of goal they're striving for, whether it be buying a house, a new car, finding someone to settle down with, rising up the job ladder, etc. I usually don't think farther than the day. I don't set goals and have no long-term wants. It's almost like the future doesn't exist as a possibility to me...instead it's all a black wall. But I'm slowly changing in this area, with baby steps. Like, I've started up a sidewalk vending business on the weekends. I've been having fun thinking of the different things I can make to sell each week, as well as the different ways I can market them. Because I have a 9-to-5 and my craftwork is something that would consume my time anyway, I have no pressure to do well or make a profit. It's a perfect way of observing people, manipulating them (), buffeting my self-confidence, and developing an ego. I'll let you know how it works out.
#27
Old 11-01-2010, 01:07 AM
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So when your coworker said that you "don't understand women" he was right?
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#28
Old 11-01-2010, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
The only thing I can think of is that there are "ancillary" symptoms along with the ones listed in the DSM. A lot of people will focus on those moreso on the others because they are much more common. Like depersonalization, which is common with anxiety disorders. Or having a rich fantasy life. But if you have an active right-brain, chances are you will have a rich fantasy life. Anyone who has dreams of being a novelist has a deep fantasy life, but that doesn't make them schioid. Couple having a fantasy life with a very introverted personality, and I can see how someone could think, "Hey, I must be schizoid!" Strangely, unlike the other PDs, there are lot of people who seem to want to be schizoid, like it's just another way of being and not really a disorder. I can understand that point-of-view, but I do think it's only a minority of people with schizoid PD who would say they've never suffered from it. If a person hasn't suffered from it, then perhaps they don't have schizoid PD but rather a schizoid character style.
I think it's because a lot fo people know about the good and not the bad. For example, if you have a social anxiety disorder, then you'd probably think it great if you no longer had any desire to be social. Anxiety solved. But then you have the anxiety problems you already mentioned, so it's not as good as it seems.

Anyways, since my previous question was apparently not that good, I'll try another. One of the unusual things about romantic relationships is that people are often attracted to those they can't have. Have you encountered someone who apparently had a crush on you? Would you notice if they did?

Last edited by BigT; 11-01-2010 at 05:07 AM.
#29
Old 11-01-2010, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
Anyways, since my previous question was apparently not that good, I'll try another. One of the unusual things about romantic relationships is that people are often attracted to those they can't have. Have you encountered someone who apparently had a crush on you? Would you notice if they did?
I'm sorry that I missed your earlier question. Was not my intention.

I have had a number of people who had crushes on me. The last major one ended up horribly, because I think the guy was mentally unstable himself. But his feelings were not on my radar, no. Everyone who worked with us knew, but not me. I think that's why it hurt him so much, and why I felt so guilty.

The whole thing has now made me hypersensitive to romantic overtures. There's a coworker who goes traveling a lot, and he'll bring me (and me alone) little trinkets. I always thank him but leave it at that. I think he may still have pleasant feelings for me, but senses that I'm not going to grab his bait any time soon. Probably thinks I'm gay. Oh well.

Then there's another colleague who I started a thread about recently. Strangely, I haven't heard from him since so perhaps that was all overblown. But like I said, I'm primed now to be on the look-out for potential heart-breaking. Not to the point where I avoid being friendly with people, but if someone is being extra nice to me, I'll ask another person if they think it could be something deeper.
#30
Old 11-01-2010, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I think it's because a lot fo people know about the good and not the bad. For example, if you have a social anxiety disorder, then you'd probably think it great if you no longer had any desire to be social. Anxiety solved. But then you have the anxiety problems you already mentioned, so it's not as good as it seems.
I know I'm responding to you ass-backwards. It's early in the morning. Forgive me.

I think you're right. I think it's like this with a number of mental disorders, like Asperger's and schizophrenia. Peope are attracted to the "beautiful mind" aspect of such conditions. And the truth is that there are benefits to being asocial and self-absorbed. For instance, I have never really been affected by peer pressure or trends, and unless a societal convention makes sense to me (like not murdering everybody), then I don't care about following it. A coworker who is on the constant hunt for a "man" once told me that people "should" find someone to love and who loves them and grow old together. I bluntly said "I don't believe in shoulds." All I have to do in life is stay black and die (old-folks saying, apologies). All the other stuff that people come up with to do is just gravy. And I feel empowered by this belief.

Then there's the often intense creativity associated with schizophrenic spectrum disorders. There has never been a time in my life when I did not have some project going on. I think being so creative and capable of hyperfocusing has been protective and given my otherwise aimless life some purpose.

But honestly, I think some people just want to be special, or perhaps have an excuse for why their lives suck. I think that's another reason why I stopped posting on those boards. People would actually get disappointed if they didn't fit all the criteria. Like you get a prize in the mail if you do.
#31
Old 11-01-2010, 08:16 AM
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Meh. My other question depended more on other people remembering who I was talking about. And your description of your disorder makes me think that he may have not had the same disorder. He seemed to be capable of having a girlfriend; even if he didn't understand the social customs involved, he seemed to at least enjoy the company/sex.

BTW, I'm impressed with your apology in your second response. That's a rhetorical apology--a concept many neurotypical don't seem to get.
#32
Old 11-01-2010, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
No, I've never had an SO.

I don't want one either. The stress involved in acquiring and maintaining one just seems to be too much for it to be worth it. The lack of libido also makes this a non-issue for me.
Sorry if this is too personal, but are you a virgin? Also, how old are you? (If you don't want to answer these I totally understand)
#33
Old 11-01-2010, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post
Sorry if this is too personal, but are you a virgin? Also, how old are you? (If you don't want to answer these I totally understand)
No, it's okay. Nothing fazes me.

I am a virgin and I am 33 years old. I'm not proud of it and I've only told literally a couple of people ever IRL. But not having the physical or emotional drive, it really isn't an issue for me.

I'm not completely insensitive to the stigma associated with being an adult virgin, though. I cannot watch five minutes of "40-Year-Old Virgin" because it just makes me feel bad. Or when people tell a high-strung person that they just "need to get laid", that also stings. But most times, I really don't care. It's kind of like if the idea of eating meat disgusts you, you're not really going to care that you can't eat a hamburger. Because you're used to eating other things and like them just fine.

Last edited by monstro; 11-01-2010 at 06:19 PM.
#34
Old 11-02-2010, 02:04 AM
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Actually I was on Paxil and then Celexa for years and it removed my libido almost entirely. I went for several years without sex and it got to the point where I couldn't understand why people would DO that--it just sounded so unappealing. So I can understand how you feel though thankfully I no longer feel that way myself.

Interesting thread; thanks for starting it.
#35
Old 11-02-2010, 04:36 AM
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I'm now wondering whether psychologists would class "having wanted one man, and only one, but that one as far as it's possible to want someone" in your whole life as a disorder or merely atypical (my maternal grandmother, and no, she's not interested in women).

Threads like this are one of my main reasons to be in the Dope, it's one of the two places I know where someone can say "I have [insert condition here]" and people's responses are more along the lines of curiosity than either politeness or rejection (the other one is Mensa meetings).

Last edited by Nava; 11-02-2010 at 04:36 AM.
#36
Old 11-02-2010, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Then there's the often intense creativity associated with schizophrenic spectrum disorders. There has never been a time in my life when I did not have some project going on. I think being so creative and capable of hyperfocusing has been protective and given my otherwise aimless life some purpose.
This is interesting. I think a lot of people assume that a person without social/ romantic desires and dampened affect have no passion and are lacking in creativity. The stereotype of an artist is intensely emotional, perhaps bipolar experiencing mania.

What do you create? Has this changed significantly over time?
#37
Old 11-02-2010, 03:36 PM
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1. neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family
2. almost always chooses solitary activities
3. has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person
4. takes pleasure in few, if any, activities
5. lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
6. appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others
7. shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affect
How is this different from an anxiety disorder? Anxiety can create all those symptoms as well. After a period of not socializing because you're too scared, you can become so used to solitary life that you would prefer it over socializing. How can psychologists tell whether you don't like relationships because you are so used to avoiding them or because you simply don't like them?
#38
Old 11-02-2010, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by wipetheclock View Post
This is interesting. I think a lot of people assume that a person without social/ romantic desires and dampened affect have no passion and are lacking in creativity. The stereotype of an artist is intensely emotional, perhaps bipolar experiencing mania.

What do you create? Has this changed significantly over time?
When I was a kid, was very much into drawing. I never drew real things or realistic things...just bizarre looking faces. Some were disgusting (I went through a phase where every face had to have a shower of vomit spewing out of the mouth). Some showed intense facial expressions, like extreme anger or happiness. And others were just weird. I was also fond of drawing mind-numbing mazes. I am a little ahead of the curve as far as my drawing abilities go, but I'm not gifted or anything. But as a kid, it was pretty much all I did, even into high school. If I had continued with that level of intensity into adulthood and gone to art school, I probably would have turned out to be a pretty good cartoonist.

I don't know why I focused so much on faces and emotional expressions. I maintained a stone face as a kid like I do now, so perhaps I was trying to tap into the energy I couldn't express? Teachers would bring their concerns about my lack of smiling to my mother during parent-teacher conferences, and her response was always the same. "She just has a solemn face". It's true and I don't think anyone would have described me as a joyless child, but I think if my mother had been more observant about my life in general, she would have taken the blunt affect, along with other things, as a warning sign. Her solution was just to nag me about smiling more. I'm sure the teachers' comments were embarrassing for her.

As an adult, I've been pretty much engrossed in painting glassware. I'll go to thrift stores and buy old vases, clean them up, and then do faux-stained glass painting on them. Over the past two years, I've gotten into embellishing terra cotta pots and tin cans with clay and paint and transforming them into cool flower pots. Some samples can be seen here. I'm a plant-lover, so it makes sense that my art relates to plants. I currently have over a hundred houseplants (my back bedroom is essentially full of grow lights and shelves). I get totally consumed by the plants, flower pots, and the glassware. They're pretty much all I focus on outside of work.

I used to give my flower pots away. I walk to work every morning and my eyes latch on to certain houses for no particular reason. If I liked a house, I would secretly leave a flower pot with a plant on the porch. This summer, I think I left about 45 pots on 45 different porches and stoops. Because I'm neurotic, I would actually check on them every day and make sure the people were taking care of them (I would often be late for work ). Sometimes the pots would disappear shortly after I would leave them, and I would have visions of someone smashing them and throwing away the plants. So I would hate when the pots would disappear and love it when they stayed visible and I could see the plants thriving. But after a long time of trying to persuade me, my therapist finally convinced me to stop giving them away and actually sell them. That way I wouldn't have to "worry" about the plants. The logic being that whomever bought them would actually "love" them just as much as I do.

I'm sure a psychoanalyst would have great fun shrinking my brain. But alas, I go to a behavioral therapist.
#39
Old 11-02-2010, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Lakai View Post
How is this different from an anxiety disorder? Anxiety can create all those symptoms as well. After a period of not socializing because you're too scared, you can become so used to solitary life that you would prefer it over socializing. How can psychologists tell whether you don't like relationships because you are so used to avoiding them or because you simply don't like them?
I don't really know, not being a psychologist. But I'm sure a person gives away certain clues if they have social phobia versus a schizoid character. If they are emotionally engaged, but very shy...if they express a desire to be with someone or have friends...if they have strong relationships with a close but small circle of people...if they frequently talk about worries and fears, irrational or otherwise....then they probably have social anxiety, perhaps an avoidant PD. If they present as cold or detached...if they constantly say "I don't know" when you ask them questions about how they feel or what they want...if they present as slightly eccentric...if they never express desires, particularly social desires...and if they don't appear to have anxiety issues and actually seem to live a risky, dangerously independent life, then they probably are schizoid, not avoidant.

I'm not saying it's easy to separate the two and it is possible to be "schizoid-avoidant" (although I think it's a strong probability such a person is schizotypal or at least heading that way). But I don't think it's impossible to figure it out if you get to know a patient long enough. And the scores on the MMPI-II can differentiate the two as well.
#40
Old 11-03-2010, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
As an adult, I've been pretty much engrossed in painting glassware. I'll go to thrift stores and buy old vases, clean them up, and then do faux-stained glass painting on them. Over the past two years, I've gotten into embellishing terra cotta pots and tin cans with clay and paint and transforming them into cool flower pots. Some samples can be seen here. I'm a plant-lover, so it makes sense that my art relates to plants. I currently have over a hundred houseplants (my back bedroom is essentially full of grow lights and shelves). I get totally consumed by the plants, flower pots, and the glassware. They're pretty much all I focus on outside of work.

I used to give my flower pots away. I walk to work every morning and my eyes latch on to certain houses for no particular reason. If I liked a house, I would secretly leave a flower pot with a plant on the porch. This summer, I think I left about 45 pots on 45 different porches and stoops...
Why can't I have a neighbor like you?? I wandered over to your Flickr page--I would love one of those flower pots (or glass vases) to magically appear on my porch! What a lovely gift to your neighborhood!
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#41
Old 11-03-2010, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Dolly Madison View Post
Why can't I have a neighbor like you?? I wandered over to your Flickr page--I would love one of those flower pots (or glass vases) to magically appear on my porch! What a lovely gift to your neighborhood!
You could always move to Richmond.



Thanks for the kind words. Believe it or not, despite the fact that I officially sell them, I practically give them away when I'm dealing on the street. People pay want they either can or feel like. So I don't make a ton of money...just enough to recoup supplies. And because I use recycled materials and relatively inexpensive paints, that's really not that hard to do.
#42
Old 11-03-2010, 06:11 AM
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Nobody has asked yet, but you did mention that you have no desire to have sex with another person. Do you have sex with/by yourself? Now or ever or never? (and don't feel obligated to answer, I know it's a forward question)

I'm curious as well if there is a name for the um, thingy, where I, like you, don't like to be invited to social gatherings and intensely dislike the company of family and have no friends. Because I have that symptom, though my mental condition hasn't been diagnosed (and mine results more from social anxiety than impassivity like yours, from the sound of it). Part of my problem is an intense aversion to doctors and diagnosis as well so yeah, I dunno... I may never get it taken care of... I have good health insurance, but I never use it except for physical emergencies (like my kidney stone).

Sorry, didn't mean to make this all about me. But is there a name for that thingy in the previous paragraph?
#43
Old 11-03-2010, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Nobody has asked yet, but you did mention that you have no desire to have sex with another person. Do you have sex with/by yourself? Now or ever or never? (and don't feel obligated to answer, I know it's a forward question)
No problem.

I started seeing my psychologist about two and a half years ago (I think it was that long ago...I genuinely can't remember). Every time we would talk about sex, she would ask this same question, except in a very clinical way. "You've never stimulated your clitoris?" She'd ask. When I would say no, she would ask if I knew where it was. Yes, I did. I do have a PhD in biology, which I know doesn't make me an expert in human anatomy. But I know some things.

So I think maybe eight or nine months into our sessions, she asked if I would do an experiment for her, just to see if I was inorgasmic or not. She directed me to a sex toy store and told me to buy a vibrator. She even explained how to make it work (not on herself, of course, but through gestures). I have to admit, it was a very surreal conversation. My doctor is old enough to be my grandmother, though she doesn't really act it. It was strange having a conversation about this...issue...with someone so much older than I am.

Anyway, I did my "homework" assignment. I was shy going into the sex toy store For some reason, I thought it would actually be more of a clinical place...like walking up to a pharamacy counter and just asking for a vibrator. I didn't know she'd referred me to an actual sex shop! And I didn't know there would be so many to choose from. I actually had to ask for *gasp* help. The woman who assisted me was cool and all, but I'm betting she was thinking I was some kind of retarded. She gave me the cheapest, easiest to use thing they had--a Pocket Rocket. It took two weeks of daily practice for it to "work" and when it did, oh boy. It was such an intense feeling that I'm not sure "pleasurable" would really describe it. It took a few more times working with it for me to not get apprehensive when the "moment" would arrive and to let myself enjoy the sensation.

I use it about once or twice a month, usually when I'm bored. I'm taking Wellbutrin, which is supposed to make one horny, but maybe that particular side-effect is counteracted by the sedative effect of the other drugs I'm on. Don't get me wrong; I like that I can make myself have an orgasm. But I still don't see how that is enough to motivate people to seek out other people as much as they do. Maybe it's an emotional thing that I'm lacking.

Quote:
I'm curious as well if there is a name for the um, thingy, where I, like you, don't like to be invited to social gatherings and intensely dislike the company of family and have no friends. Because I have that symptom, though my mental condition hasn't been diagnosed (and mine results more from social anxiety than impassivity like yours, from the sound of it). Part of my problem is an intense aversion to doctors and diagnosis as well so yeah, I dunno... I may never get it taken care of... I have good health insurance, but I never use it except for physical emergencies (like my kidney stone).
I don't like doctors either. I just happened to stumble across a really good one. Every time she refers me to a different psychiatrist for drug treatment, I stick with them for a few months and then stop going. But I've stayed loyal to my psychologist. So it may be that you just need to find one good doctor--someone who won't spend most of her or his time trying to label you with something and will actually have real conversations with you.

Before I understood what was going on with me, I would passively avoid family members. They would leave messages on my phone that I wouldn't return (much to their chagrin). They would email me and it would take days for me to get back to them. I don't dislike my family members, but I just wouldn't feel like "catching up" because there's no "catching up" in my life. Everything's constant, pretty much.

If you are socially anxious there is something called "social anxiety disorder". People with avoidant PD's usually have this. You need to see if you fulfill the criteria for avoidant PD. If you do and decide to ever go to a doctor, don't tell them anything. Let them figure it out on their own. You may be wrong. Or they may be the type of doctor who doesn't believe in PDs. There are many of them out there (I kind of think my own doc is like this). This may work to your benefit.

Some schizoids develop anxiety in anticipation of dreaded human interactions and so avoid them. I kind of do this myself. If I see someone from, say, high school, I'll immediately hide behind a corner. Even if that person was nice to me. Just the idea of having to do the whole "Hey, howyadoing?" thing can make me feel sick because it's all an act. Another crazy thing I do: sometimes if I go to the store and see the same cashier that I dealt with on a previous visit, I probably will have a strong urge to leave. Some times I do. I guess I just don't want to be "remembered", if that makes any sense at all.

But if you have negative feelings towards everyone and it is not generated by super self-consciousness or worry, you may just be misanthropic (which isn't a psychiatric term, I don't think). You could also be depressed (depression can make one irritable over the most minor quirks). Only a doctor could tell you if you've got a real condition.

I think the most important question is does it bother you?
#44
Old 11-03-2010, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Anyway, I did my "homework" assignment. I was shy going into the sex toy store For some reason, I thought it would actually be more of a clinical place...like walking up to a pharamacy counter and just asking for a vibrator. I didn't know she'd referred me to an actual sex shop! And I didn't know there would be so many to choose from. I actually had to ask for *gasp* help. The woman who assisted me was cool and all, but I'm betting she was thinking I was some kind of retarded. She gave me the cheapest, easiest to use thing they had--a Pocket Rocket. It took two weeks of daily practice for it to "work" and when it did, oh boy. It was such an intense feeling that I'm not sure "pleasurable" would really describe it. It took a few more times working with it for me to not get apprehensive when the "moment" would arrive and to let myself enjoy the sensation.

I use it about once or twice a month, usually when I'm bored. I'm taking Wellbutrin, which is supposed to make one horny, but maybe that particular side-effect is counteracted by the sedative effect of the other drugs I'm on. Don't get me wrong; I like that I can make myself have an orgasm. But I still don't see how that is enough to motivate people to seek out other people as much as they do. Maybe it's an emotional thing that I'm lacking.
monstro, I understand that we are not exactly friends and you are at liberty to tell me to butt out, but in my experience - which is more extensive than some of my detractors might credit - it's not about seeking out another person for the sake of having an orgasm. Being a normally functioning male, I've been well acquainted with how to have an orgasm from the age of about 13 onwards and sex with someone else involves... oh, I dunno? closeness, intimacy, the fun of sharing pleasure, the playful experience of exploring someone else's body and seeing how it reacts, the sheer fascination (for me, because I am hetero) of genitals which are different from mine (and I guess, if I were gay, it would be similar just because they weren't mine), and so on, and so on. Just getting my rocks off is very low on the list of reasons why I want it - if that were all it was about, then I for one really would be much more satisfied with an hour or so of private time, some paper towels and a laptop.

I'm led to believe it's not just me - an ex ladyfriend of mine said it quite irritated her to hear women's magazines and so on bang on about orgasms so much as if that was all it was about. But it's quite possible you are wired not to want any of the above... which in some ways may make your life a lot simpler.
#45
Old 11-03-2010, 03:58 PM
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Thanks a lot, Monstro. I've never met an asexual person irl (or at least not that they've mentioned--it is an unlikely casual conversation topic), but I do hear about many of them online. I appreciate your candor. It's interesting for me to know whether an asexual person is anorgasmic because they don't always (or even usually) go hand in hand.

I've done casual online research about avoidant PD and it does seem to apply to me better than any other personality disorder I've read up on, but I avoid EVERYTHING. Not just emotional interactions, but things like paying bills and getting out of bed in a timely fashion for work every day. I am wondering if there's a potential comorbid condition, since none of the (admittedly light) research I've done seems to include "avoiding adult responsibilities" in symptoms.

I greatly appreciate your insights. I've had difficulty dealing with my issues because my anxiety-ridden mother thinks that every condition must be labeled and medicated. She takes personal offense at my reluctance to spend time around her/return calls & emails (which is the same as any other family member, I've tried to explain). When I tell her that I'm just becoming more introverted as I age, her inevitable retort is, "Well you weren't born that way, I remember when you were in school and you had tons of friends!" Well, I wasn't born knowing how to wipe my ass either, mom, but you don't change my diapers anymore either.

How did you get your mother to accept your condition for what it is? Or does she? How did you find a doctor you liked?
#46
Old 11-03-2010, 07:38 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Thanks a lot, Monstro. I've never met an asexual person irl (or at least not that they've mentioned--it is an unlikely casual conversation topic), but I do hear about many of them online. I appreciate your candor. It's interesting for me to know whether an asexual person is anorgasmic because they don't always (or even usually) go hand in hand.

I've done casual online research about avoidant PD and it does seem to apply to me better than any other personality disorder I've read up on, but I avoid EVERYTHING. Not just emotional interactions, but things like paying bills and getting out of bed in a timely fashion for work every day. I am wondering if there's a potential comorbid condition, since none of the (admittedly light) research I've done seems to include "avoiding adult responsibilities" in symptoms.

I greatly appreciate your insights. I've had difficulty dealing with my issues because my anxiety-ridden mother thinks that every condition must be labeled and medicated. She takes personal offense at my reluctance to spend time around her/return calls & emails (which is the same as any other family member, I've tried to explain). When I tell her that I'm just becoming more introverted as I age, her inevitable retort is, "Well you weren't born that way, I remember when you were in school and you had tons of friends!" Well, I wasn't born knowing how to wipe my ass either, mom, but you don't change my diapers anymore either.

How did you get your mother to accept your condition for what it is? Or does she? How did you find a doctor you liked?

Thanks for sharing your own difficulties. I'm not a psychologist or a psychiatrist...everything I know about this mental stuff is based on what I've learned from internet reading (which should be taken with a grain of salt, you know.) But it seems to me that you could have both depression and anxiety. You really should go to the doctor just to eliminate these possibilities. They are both much more common than personality disorders, and much easier to treat.

Regarding my mother and acceptance. Well, I don't know if she's accepted it really in her mind. We don't talk about it so I don't know how she feels. When she asks about my mental health (She'll ask "So how are you doing, health-wise?"), I know she's talking about the depression and the movement disorder front. Not the PD. Don't ask me how I know this; I just do. I would bet that she still thinks a "normal life" is in my future, if I just continue with therapy (which I think she's glad I'm continuing). So I don't think it's really sunk in with her that I'm probably going to be a loner for the rest of my life. Her holding on to this false hope is okay with me, I guess. I don't plan on talking to her about it anymore, as long as she doesn't bring it up. Nor do I plan on talking to anyone else in my family about it. I don't like handling the kind of accusatory questions that come up.

I found my doctor through blind luck, going through my insurance network catalogue. My only criteria were that the doctor be female, that their office be within walking distance to where I live, and that they specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy. I tend to think that the narratives psychoanalysts come up with linking infant and childhood trauma to adult problems are BS, though that's just MHO. Her office fit those three criteria. It was by luck that she specializes in chronic depression 'cuz I didn't even look at her specialities!

She's not the best doctor evah, don't get me wrong. In fact, after the first few sessions, I was ready to quit because her quirks were annoying me. Like, she kept insisting that I was normal whenever I said I felt abnormal, like a dead evil robot. "But you're so pretty and you have a PhD!" she'd say. That sounds like what a mother would say, not a doctor! And if I'm so normal, why was she even seeing me as a patient? I confronted her during the fourth session and told her that if she did not stop saying I was normal, I would quit. She listened and then we were able to go deeper. Eventually she realized what I was talking about in regards to the weirdness of my life.

She's not the best, like I said, and I probably would do better going to a doctor who specializes in PDs. But I have bonded with this doctor and bonds aren't easy for me to form. She really goes the extra mile to help me with my resolving my physical issues (like getting me into the best neuropsychiatrist's office appointment book, even though he wasn't taking new patients). And while she goes overboard with the maternal stuff, I think it makes her a better teacher with some of the more uncomfortable things I need help with--like making eye contact (we literally have staring contests) and my questions about sex--which I realize are strange coming out of the mouth of a 33-year-old. She refers to me as her "friend", and I have been able to call her at any time when my thoughts take me to dangerous places. She's also shared in my outside-of-session successes. When I had my "grand-opening" at my sidewalk business, she showed up and beamed like a proud mother. Her showing up was more than cool, and I've never felt like that before.

All four of the psychiatrists I've been to, who have all been males for some reason, would barely look up at me from their clipboards. I swear, each one would speak over me as I stammered responses to their questions, corrected me when I would tell them about my own feelings, and practically pushed me out of the door as soon I'd get settled. I would not be able to handle an hour of that every week. So every doctor is different. It's probably best to get a referral from another patient (not a GP...I've learned that the hard way). Give them a shot for two or three sessions, and move on if you feel they aren't listening to you.

Not to ramble on too long, but one thing I've learned, at least from my doctor, is that if you show yourself to be earnest and eager for healing, that will make them work harder for you. For instance, my doctor has told me I do not have to worry about insurance covering my bills. If they decide to cut off my treatments, I can continue to see her at the price of my copayment. I asked her why she would do that (she charges almost $200 an hour!) and she told me it's because she enjoys seeing my progress. Even as I've dealt with relaspes and increasingly bizarre behavior, she still sees me trying my absolute hardest to get better. Knowing that she's not ready to give up makes me not want to give up either.

Last edited by monstro; 11-03-2010 at 07:39 PM.
#47
Old 11-03-2010, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Malacandra View Post
monstro, I understand that we are not exactly friends and you are at liberty to tell me to butt out, but in my experience - which is more extensive than some of my detractors might credit - it's not about seeking out another person for the sake of having an orgasm. Being a normally functioning male, I've been well acquainted with how to have an orgasm from the age of about 13 onwards and sex with someone else involves... oh, I dunno? closeness, intimacy, the fun of sharing pleasure, the playful experience of exploring someone else's body and seeing how it reacts, the sheer fascination (for me, because I am hetero) of genitals which are different from mine (and I guess, if I were gay, it would be similar just because they weren't mine), and so on, and so on. Just getting my rocks off is very low on the list of reasons why I want it - if that were all it was about, then I for one really would be much more satisfied with an hour or so of private time, some paper towels and a laptop.

I'm led to believe it's not just me - an ex ladyfriend of mine said it quite irritated her to hear women's magazines and so on bang on about orgasms so much as if that was all it was about. But it's quite possible you are wired not to want any of the above... which in some ways may make your life a lot simpler.
Thanks for the explanation. I figured there's other elements to sex besides the "end point". But you're right. I just can't relate to them.

And you're also right that this makes my life simpler, but in some ways, my life is too simple. Almost child-like. I have to censor myself when I'm around a group of women who only want to talk about guys and sex. If I can't escape from them and I'm forced to blend in, I just sit there, nodding and smiling like an idiot. Totally not empathizing to their "plight" of not finding Mr. Right. I'm always waiting for them to turn to me and ask for my opinion or a personal tale. I'd be totally screwed in such a situation. That's why I tend to back away from conversations that even skirt around the topic.

So in a way, the lack of understanding keeps me from learning.
#48
Old 11-03-2010, 09:32 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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What great and informative replies.

If I can pry a little more, what does your therapist think she can "make better" about you? What is the projected preferred end result? I mean, personality disorders don't go away, do they? Does she expect you to get married someday or.... just have a friend? Do you ever anticipate stopping therapy or is it something that's kind of a forever thing for you two?
#49
Old 11-04-2010, 03:14 AM
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Location: Suicide City
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Originally Posted by Invisible Chimp View Post
My family once thought I might have Asperger's. They took me to get diagnosed and the professional diagnosed me with Schizoid Personality Disorder. They were all wrong.
That's what I said then. This is what I say now.

I thought my major malfunction was "just" major depression, but the more I read this thread, the more I realize I was wrong. Maybe it's not schizoid. Maybe it's avoidant. Maybe it's something else along those lines. Whatever my issues, it's a lot more than I was willing to admit.

I've never had any friends. I've never had a girlfriend. I have acquaintances, some of whom I like a lot, but I don't know how to turn them into friends. Yup, I'm a 31, almost 32(next month), year old virgin. Although, I've always had a healthy solo sex life, maybe because I have a penis? I do want friends and a girlfriend, but I don't know how good a friend or boyfriend I could be.

I used to be more concerned about being poor and not having material goods. Now it's the loneliness that hurts the most.

I thought I had a breakthrough this summer. I was feeling really bad and I wrote down how I was feeling and felt better immediately. This felling lasted for months. I started to go out to shows to hear bands. I filled out my dating site profile and put a pic up. I joined a bunch of groups on meetup.com. But I ran into the same issues I always do, got frustrated and depressed again.

My family is well meaning. They understand that I have issues, but like monstro's doc at first, they talk about me being normal.

My problems led me to drop out of college, so I don't have a degree. My job barely pays above minimum wage. I don't get insurance. I can't afford a doctor.

Thank you for opening my eyes. I was in denial. I just wish I knew where to turn to help.
#50
Old 11-04-2010, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
What great and informative replies.

If I can pry a little more, what does your therapist think she can "make better" about you? What is the projected preferred end result? I mean, personality disorders don't go away, do they? Does she expect you to get married someday or.... just have a friend? Do you ever anticipate stopping therapy or is it something that's kind of a forever thing for you two?
That is a great question, and actually one I have never bothered to ask her. When she thought I was just depressed, we came up with a short list of goals that she felt were attainable for me. I thinking "make at least two friends" was her contribution, and the others were things like, "Be more assertive" and "Increase my self-esteem and stop hating myself". I think we have made significant progress on those two last fronts. But the other one is still out there, untouched.

Now we don't really talk about goals. Since she has said she's willing to work with me evenwhen I fail to meet the criteria for clinical depression, we don't really have an established endpoint. She'd like me to improve my social skills (which are not horrible, and I've impressed her with my non-shyness), but she's concerned that I cannot make eye contact with her. I can make good eye contact with family members, and fair and almost-good eye contact with coworkers. But I simply cannot look at my doc. It is the weirdest thing. Everytime I look at her for longer than ten seconds, I have to look away. Perhaps it's because I cannot look at someone when I'm exposing myself emotionally to them, and she's the first person I've ever really opened up to? I really don't know. I apologize every time she brings it up and promise (to myself) that I'll do better. But I still have not managed to succeed in this area. So I think she's lowered her expectations. She still wants me to find a friend, I think, but she's much more concerned that I "perform" socially and "stretch" myself into new activities rather than doing the same things all the time.

Marriage or having a sexual experience have never been expressed goals from either me or her.

When she first diagnosed me with a PD, she was kind of glib and cavelier about it. She said, "The best way to treat a PD is to act like you don't have a PD!" Uh...er...um...isn't that kind of facile? I mean, would she say that to someone who had another psychiatritic disorder? I thought it was a profoundly stupid thing to say, and still think she could have rephrased it a better way. But now I'm starting to see what she was getting at. Sometimes you have to fake being "normal". Maybe the behavior will latch on and become natural, and even if it doen't, you can still reap some benefits. So I initiated, on my own, some new activities. The first thing was going to Quaker meetings.

There's a meetinghouse less than a mile from me, I'm agnostic (which is okay by progressive Quakers), and you don't have to talk to anyone. For awhile it felt "natural" being there, but then the same problems that I always face started creeping up. The invasive questions (which probably were innocuous). The friendliness that feels fake and phony. The overly friendly guys who I couldn't really "read". And then the inner restlessness I battle was making it close to impossible to sit still for the full hour (at a typical Quaker service, you spend an hour in complete silence, waiting for the Light to send you a testimony). I haven't been to meeting in two months now mostly because of hyperactivity. And that, too, is a part of my pattern. I'll start something and then give up on it pretty easily. Members of the meetinghouse have emailed me or written letters pleading with me to come back, but I just can't. At least not right now.

Same thing with pottery lessons. I signed up for two of them--a wheel-throwing class and a hand-building class. I liked working with the clay and everyone at the studio was nice and cool and encouraging about what I created, but I always felt like I didn't belong and that I'd get more work done just being alone. So I took the skills I learned from the classes and work at home now. I haven't been back to the studio in over a year, even though the place is literally right around the corner.

I was in a community orchestra for a year. I liked the music and the people were nice, but I missed being alone on Monday evenings when we had rehearsal. So I gave up that.

So I do try to join things and try being a member of a "group". But I'm so used to be a loner than that the feeling never takes. Actually, belonging to this message board is the only place where I can say I've never felt weird. Every other place, both IRL or on the web, just feels makes me feel alienated eventually.

You know what I believe about personality? It can and does change. Our brains change as we grow older, so I don't see why this wouldn't happen. Haven't you ever noticed how merely cynical people become absolute grouches as they age? Or parents who were strict seem to mellow out when they have grandkids? I think the same changes can happen for people with personality difficulties. I don't think all my problems are intractable, though I do think there are things that will probably never change. I concede there's a possibility I may make one or two friends before I die. But I know I'm not going to be married, unless it's with another schizoid and we have an unorthodox arrangement of separate homes and scheduled visits that do not involve sex. Basically business partners, is what we would be. I can't even imagine having children because I don't think I'd love them with all of my heart. But I can improve myself emotionally and grow more tolerant of other people, I think. You have to believe you can change in SOME ways in order to make progress. Many schizoids become even schizoidier through time not because (IMHO) their brains deterioriate or anything like that, but because once you dig yourself into a hole of isolation deep enough, it becomes practically impossible to climb out all by yourself. I saw myself heading that way when the diagnosis was made, so I decided that I was going to try climbing out.
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