Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Tragic Dilemma of the Schizoid

This post describes the personality disorder that I have, Schizoid Personality Disorder.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

A Comprehensive Phenomenological Profile

In an article in the American Journal of Psychotherapy, Salman Akhtar, M.D., provides a comprehensive phenomenological profile of Schizoid Personality Disorder in which classic and contemporary descriptive views are synthesized with psychoanalytic observations. This profile is summarized in a table (reproduced below) listing clinical features, involving six areas of psychosocial functioning and designated by "overt" and "covert" manifestations. Dr. Akhtar states that "these designations do not imply conscious or unconscious but denote seemingly contradictory aspects that are phenomenologically more or less easily discernible," and that "this manner of organizing symptomology emphasizes the centrality of splitting and identity confusion in schizoid personality."

CLINICAL FEATURES OF SCHIZOID PERSONALITY DISORDER

I. Self-Concept

OVERT

Compliant; stoic; noncompetitive; self-sufficient; lacking assertiveness; feeling inferior and an outsider in life.

COVERT

Cynical; inauthentic; depersonalized; alternately feeling empty, robot-like and full of omnipotent, vengeful fantasies; hidden grandiosity.

II. Interpersonal Relations

OVERT

Withdrawn; aloof; have few close friends; impervious to others' emotions; afraid of intimacy.

COVERT

Exquisitely sensitive; deeply curious about others; hungry for love; envious of others' spontaneity; intensely needy of involvement with others; capable of excitement with carefully selected intimates.

III. Social Adaptation

OVERT

Prefer solitary occupational and recreational activities; marginal or eclectically sociable in groups; vulnerable to esoteric movements owing to a strong need to belong; tend to be lazy and indolent.

COVERT

Lack clarity of goals; weak ethnic affiliation; usually capable of steady work; sometimes quite creative and may make unique and original contributions; capable of passionate endurance in certain spheres of interest.

IV. Love and Sexuality

OVERT

Asexual, sometimes celibate; free of romantic interests; averse to sexual gossip and innuendo.

COVERT

Secret vouyeristic and pornographic interests; vulnerable to erotomania; tendency towards compulsive masturbation and perversions.

V. Ethics, Standards, and Ideals

OVERT

Idiosyncratic moral and political beliefs; tendency towards spiritual, mystical and para-psychological interests.

COVERT

Moral unevenness; occasionally strikingly amoral and vulnerable to odd crimes, at other times altruistically self sacrificing.

VI. Cognitive Style

OVERT

Absent-minded; engrossed in fantasy; vague and stilted speech; alternations between eloquence and inarticulateness.

COVERT

Autistic thinking; fluctuations between sharp contact with external reality and hyperreflectiveness about the self; autocentric use of language.

Akhtar, S. Schizoid Personality Disorder: A Synthesis of Developmental, Dynamic, and Descriptive Features. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 151:499-518, 1987.

12 comments:

daisyduke said...

GARY
Help yourself! YOU have the power to do it. You have an illness.OK. you must create space for wellness. See yourself well.
The schizoid dilemma is not exclusive...it's a human dilemma. And only a dilemma because we name it such.
You are not alone in this world. Don't keep yourself in a box of anything, allow the vastness to embrace you.
AND
enjoy something.
you deserve it.

Ogweno Daniel Owino said...

Gary, I'm not sure if what I am about to say will help you. The reason is that there are lots of things both internal and external that interplay in matters of 'fixing' a problem.

The only thing I can say with certainty is that I care.

In my childhood, I suffered abuse. After my mother ran away and my father died, a cousin used to beat me like a snake. I decided to take my life. Just before I put my neck into the noose, someone appeared from nowhere and took away the rope. So many years later I got saved and realised why the enemy had wanted me dead.

Cut the long story short: I have gone through things (before and even after getting saved), but I have had solace in God. I have fought struggles by adopting the following strategies:
i) Not worrying over things that I have no control over;
ii) I have been rejected and betrayed by the worst betrayal a man can ever know. I don't settle the score. I don't reject because I have been rejected and I don't betray because I have been betrayed;
iii) I always listen to Christian music. This has been a source of consolation and solace whenever I find myself overwhelmed. At the tune of a music that ministers to my soul, I dance away my frustrations;
iii) I don't allow myself to be idle. I read the Bible and other Christian books. I write;
iv) I avoid watching movies with violence, indecent language and high volume;
v) I have friends but I don't treat them as angels. I am always prepared that they can betray and that their betrayal cuts deeper;
vi) I don't allow myself to dwell my mind on things that cause me anxiety, at the same time I don't play escapism to things that have my heart as the battle ground. I face and manage them;
vii) I pray and ask God to help me.

It has worked for me that way. But I must say that my life took a whole turn when I surrendered my will to Christ. I grasped the scope of the hope of the glory in Him. This has enabled me to cope.

May God bless and keep you, Gary.

Ogweno Daniel Owino said...

You are welcome!

Anonymous said...

Have you checked out http://www.schizophrenia.com/? It has a bunch of good resources, including support groups. If your last therapist sucked, find one who works for you. I have major depressive disorder and panic disorder, but I had to "try out" several therapists before I found someone who really clicked with me. In the meantime, consider a support group so that you can talk about your experiences with others. Or, you could at least join their bulletin board so that you could share your story anonymously. Just DON'T GIVE UP! There are SO many resources and people out there who want to help you, but it just might take a while to find the right combination that works for you. And keep writing the blog - it's a good outlet!

Shiv said...

the best treatement is to go on the offensive, gary. if there is something your illness is not letting you do, DO IT.

really, JUST DO IT.

Evydense said...

Holy crap! I just read my autobiography! I had never seen it put into those words, but it's entirely consistent with what I've been writing in my little theory (the one that I've lost you on {smile!})

Basically, it all comes to down to this, doesn't it: There are two sides to all of us. We define ourselves (whether it's by free will or by determinism is open for debate, I suppose....I know where I stand on that debate, I stand for 'both'....one of your friends says 'go Christian' another says 'just do it (and be offensive about it...oh no, sorry... GO on the offensive {grin})', another says 'find the right kind of help').

It's the combination of all the balances and imbalances that makes each of us unique...it's like picking from a smorgasbord at a buffet, we all pick different quantities and different foods...some of them we like, some we leave on the plate, sometimes we're 'forced' to eat them (i.e. physical characteristics) sometimes we choose (i.e. religions, philosophies, etc.). Sometimes we choose not to even put them on the plate in the first place.

In the end, though, it's the balance of opposites that makes the differences in each of us. You will only change the ones you choose to change AND consider to be changeable. The process of 'changing' some call growth, some call it regression, some call it maturing, some call it 'just trying it on for size, fun and profit'.

Interesting that you drew so much comment on this one, when it's one of the few that you haven't included your own thoughts about! I'd love to hear what you have to say about it!

Evydense said...

Oh yeah:

I also meant to comment on your first commenter. It's not an illness in the sense that you're 'sick'...that's a judgement; it's an illness (if you're comfortable wearing that word) in the sense that you're different. But I agree with her/his (daisy/duke?) diagnosis....'see yourself well', but only insofar as it's an option. Look at the smorg, but if you like what you've got already, well....'well' is a judgement too.

Oh yeah. One other piece of advice. Don't take advice from anybody unless you want to.

Evydense said...

Hi:

Me again! Check out the dates on all the comments. Is that mind-bending, or what? Time travel is possible!

R.

Nova said...

This just described a lot of people that I know.

kevin said...

Gary,

I couldn't disagree with these people more. Eschew the vastness; Embrace the box. Don't just think inside the box. Eat, drink, live and shit inside it. There is peace and serenity in the box. There are no wire hangers in the box. In the words of our Lord and Savior, "Blessed are the box dwellers for they take solace in thine own sloth."

sevensoft said...

hmmm, i see myself and my friends with those tendencies, so not to shabby

Anonymous said...

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.
One wolf is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority,and ego. The other wolf is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."