By George, I think I’ve got it! I think I may know what’s wrong with me. Or rather, I think I may know one of the myriad of things wrong with me:
I actually stumbled upon a description of this disorder some time ago, but, for some reason, I thought about it again today.
I’ve written about my strangeness before. Schizoid Personality Disorder seems to fit precisely; I seem to have just about every symptom:
- They do not desire or enjoy close relationships, even with family members.
- They choose solitary jobs and activities.
- They take pleasure in few activities.
- They have no close friends, except first-degree relatives.
- They have difficulty relating to others.
- They are indifferent to praise or criticism.
- They are aloof and show little emotion.
- They might daydream and/or create vivid fantasies of complex inner lives.
I would say that I am actually very sensitive to criticism and very receptive to praise and, though I try not to show too much emotion outwardly, I am hardly apathetic and often weep, in private, over the pain others experience.
There are some who question whether schizoid personality disorder should even be considered a disorder to begin with:
“Some psychologists argue that the definition of SPD is flawed due to cultural bias: ‘One reason schizoid people are pathologized is because they are comparatively rare. People in majorities tend to assume that their own psychology is normative and to equate difference with inferiority.’ Therefore ‘[t]he so-called schizoid personality disorder is one of the more blatant examples of the APA’s pathologizing of normal human differences.'”
In other words, society has determined that the “normal” personality type is bubbly, sociable, and outgoing. So any deviation from this–people who are naturally more quiet, introverted, and maybe a bit melancholy–is an indication that something is obviously wrong with the individual! Of course, we have to question whether this is right or accurate. Truly there must be more than one “normal” personality type!
In any event, it’s just nice to be able to put a name to my weirdness.
I have always wondered why I never seemed to be able to connect with others. My experiences with other people seemed to follow a strange pattern: I would hang out with someone (sometimes with a guy on a date, or just hanging out with another female). We would seem to have a good time together, but I would never hear from these people again.
Am I that repulsive? I would wonder. Was my perception of the experience that off?! I thought we had fun together, but, apparently, they didn’t. And what exactly was I doing to freak people out and drive them away anyways?
These questions have been going through my head–without resolution–for years…
But now, it all makes sense: “[Schizoids’] communication with other people may be indifferent and concise at times. Because of their lack of meaningful communication with other people, those who are diagnosed with SPD are not able to develop accurate images of how well they get along with others.”
But I do not write about this self-diagnosis with a sense of despair. Although I have been troubled at times by my inability to develop long-lasting, meaningful relationships with other humans, overall, I have come to like my strange, quirky personality. I think I am one of the most interesting people in the world! 😉
And, in fact, being a schizoid has been beneficial over the years: I believe being introverted and a loner greatly aided me in school: I was perfectly happy locking myself away in my bedroom and hitting the books, when most teens and 20-somethings would probably have preferred hanging out.
And, not to brag, but I think schizoids have an advantage when it comes to cultivating a deep, intimate relationship with God: We do not require human interaction, so we can spend countless hours alone with God, praying and studying the scriptures. It is sort of like when Paul recommended that people remain single so that they could “attend upon the Lord without distraction” (1 Corinthians 7:35). Well, this is not a problem for schizoids as we prefer being alone and romantically unattached anyways!
If there is one drawback to being a schizoid, it’s probably that it might, in fact, not be God’s ideal scenario. The scriptures read,
God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains…
I revisited one of my favorites prophets recently: Elijah.
Elijah seemed to do pretty well on his own (though he sometimes got discouraged feeling like he was the only one following the True God), but God even gave gruff loner Elijah companionship from time to time (first, the widow woman at Zarephath and her son; then, Elisha (1 Kings 17, 19)).
Jesus would go off on His own to spend time alone with the Father, but then He would return to His disciples and the crowds (Mark 1:35-38).
In fact, did not God create humans because He desired companionship?
Our God is a social God.
Time alone with God is vital, but constant isolation from others does not seem to be His perfect will. In fact, how can we evangelize if we never interact with others?!
So the Christian schizoid, in particular, is in a bit of a pickle!
Socializing is difficult for us, but God expects us to socialize. And, apparently, we repel people, so even when we attempt to socialize, we often fall flat on our faces. When I went to churches, I never felt like my peers (teens or 20-somethings) made any particular effort to reach out to me (in all fairness, I did not necessarily go out of my way to reach out either).
So, what’s a schizoid to do? I have not found any Christian schizoid support groups (maybe I should start one). I do not believe that schizoid personality disorder is bigger than Jesus or His power. And I believe that God deals very gently with emotionally/psychologically-damaged people (I suppose one could argue that this applies to 99.9% of the human population):
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.
6 And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.
What can a schizoid do other than what God expects everyone else to do: Draw nigh to Him, immerse oneself in God’s Word, be ever filled with His Holy Spirit, be a blessing and share the Gospel whenever and wherever.
We are probably no more freakish than everyone else on the planet; they just hide it a little better than we do!
But let us not forget what the scriptures read:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Whether schizoid personality disorder is, in fact, a disorder or simply a more challenging and difficult-to-manage personality type is irrelevant. Either way, we were created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16).
Remember, the earth was formless, dark, and void when God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:2-3). He then filled the earth with light, color, and life.
God seems to like challenges, making beautiful things out of messes. Maybe that is why He makes schizoids!
And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?
But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.