Symptoms: Odd Thinking

I figured, rather than just copying the many pages describing schizotypal disorder, I’d take my time going through each symptom and just give my own perspective on them.

So let me start with the one that might be the most obvious when reading this blog: Odd thinking and speech (or in this case, writing).

The Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders I found here writes this: “People with schizotypal personality disorder may have speech patterns that appear strange in their structure and phrasing. Their ideas are often loosely associated, prone to tangents, or vague in description. Some may verbalize responses by being overly concrete or abstract and insert words that serve to confuse rather than clarify a particular situation, yet make sense to them.”

It’s a bit iffy and looking from the outside, it might be a bit hard to put your finger on exactly what it is that makes the speech or writing sound weird exactly.

Seen from the inside, I’m not actually sure myself that my thinking or speech really is that odd compared to anyone else’s. I make perfect sense to my own ears. The only clue I have is the way other people react to the things I say and do, which don’t always make any sense to me. As if they heard something completely different from what I said. Although it’s pretty rare.

In conversation and writing, I think I tend to turn to metaphors and allegories a lot when trying to explain things and depending on how complex the topic is, I might never actually manage to get to the true core of the matter. But it’s not something I’ve ever registered as a problem myself. I can imagine how it might become a little tedious for some.

Sometimes in conversation, I’ll taste test words, trying to gauge whether it fits the thought or feeling I’m trying to describe. If I’m writing, Thesaurus can be a big help finding just the right word. In speech, I’m stuck with my own memory and gut feeling.

Whether in speech or writing, it takes me a lot of time to organize my thoughts. The harder the topic, the longer it takes. On top of that, when I get nervous or insecure, my speech becomes very slow and halting. I’m sure you can imagine how that might make conversation a bit tedious and uncomfortable for everyone.

Most times, this symptom is really more of an annoyance than an actual problem for me, but it can get in the way of communication and thus personal relationships. It does tend to build up over time and the negative experiences stick out more in my memory than the positive experiences.

The little misunderstandings sometimes makes me hesitant to talk. Especially when I’m already in a mood or tired. Then it’s easier not to say anything at all rather than risk talking myself into a mess and waste time and resources I don’t have.

The misunderstandings unfortunately aren’t only one way. Sometimes, people have this annoying habit of not saying what they actually mean. Like for instance, someone might say: “It’s really hot in here.” And apparently that’s supposed to translate to: “Can we open a window?” Except sometimes, it’s really just an observation, not a request, and how on earth is anyone supposed to tell the difference?!

It takes me a while to realize when someone wants me to do something when they don’t tell me outright what they want and more often than not, it’ll be much too late when I finally realize what they actually meant.

Flirting and banter is perhaps the most difficult for me to deal with, because I get confused easily and end up doubting my understanding of the other person. Then, what’s supposed to be fun and lighthearted becomes a scary minefield at the flip of a coin.

The better I know a person and the longer I’ve known them, the easier it is to understand them and make myself understood. I have pretty good, close relationships with my immediate family and I have two very close friends whom I’ve known for ages. But I haven’t really managed to form a decent friendship with anyone since 7th grade, maybe barring a single internet friend. Even though the relationships I do have are generally good, misunderstandings can still make problems sometimes. The good thing about the old, close relationships is they don’t break so easily.

The problems with misunderstandings has made me very concerned with word choice and whether or not they mean the same to others as they mean to me. I’ll often agonize over word-choice and end up not saying what I wanted to say, because I’m afraid of hurting others’ feelings. In my most hopeless moments, I’m convinced that words really don’t mean the same to others as they do to me and that I’ve no hope at all for properly communicating my thoughts and feelings to anyone, ever.

My point is, communication becomes a whole lot more complicated and anxiety-inducing than it needs to be. It’s exhausting and so it’s so much simpler and easier to just – not.

The problem with this symptom isn’t that my brain’s a little funky in the way it works. When it comes right down to it, it’s not as if it’s all that alien. Everyone differs in their thinking one way or another. The problem is the isolating effect it has on my life.

It’s easy to imagine that my thinking and writing style might turn out to be a problem for what I’m trying to do with this blog. I try to keep on point and my posts are pretty heavily edited before I publish them. But things do slip. Sometimes, a digression doesn’t register to me as such. So I’d appreciate any loose threads pointed out to me, or if something comes out unclear. I do want my writing to be both legible and if not at all entertaining, at least useful in some way.

 

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