Growing up, I had two passions: Drawing and reading. Once I grew out of wanting to be Superman when I grew up, I wanted to be either an artist or a writer. To this day, I still want to be an artist or a writer. Depression put a serious wrench in my artistic aspirations however and after about 7 years slugging through university with little more than a useless bachelor’s degree to show for it, I had to finally acknowledge my reading problems.
Again and again I would force myself to sit down and read a text and while I understood each individual word, by the end of the page, I had no idea of what I’d just read. I could still read novels okay and follow the story as long as it was simple enough. No Dosteyevskij or even George R.R. Martin for me, unfortunately. My psychology textbooks and academic articles? They may as well have been written in German for all the good they’ve done me. I’m amazed I managed to make it as far as I did.
Some information would make it through my brain soup and stick around for a while, but then some new information would come along and knock the old right back out again. I had the bizarre experience of re-taking an exam and pulling the exact same topic from the first exam. An article on language learning and Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas. A couple questions I answered correctly the first time around, I couldn’t remember the second time, but I answered other questions correctly the second time around. Luckily for me, I passed the second time. I was just happy I wouldn’t have to re-visit the article from hell a third time.
Even something as supposedly simple as job applications can be hard for me to work through sometimes. Going through dozens of them in a day to find just one or two that sound promising? That is seriously taxing work. More than once, I received a call from a workplace I couldn’t even remember from all the applications I’d sent. Makes for a pretty lousy job interview when you can’t even remember what job you’re applying for.
Other times, I’d apply for a job only to later realize they were located about half-way across the island if not at the exact opposite end. Some people can commute two hours back and forth to work. I can’t. Two hours of public transit in the middle of rush hour? Yeah, no.
It was something of a revelation to find out others with schizotypal disorder had similar problems with reading. I’m still not entirely sure if it’s a schizotypal thing in particular or more of a general effect of long-term stress. I might try to look that up sometime.
A part of me still refuses to acknowledge that I can’t actually read anything more complex than the equivalent of a Harlequin novel. I was the born academic. I’ve always loved reading and learning. What good is an intellectual who can’t even read? About as much good as a boat made of Swiss cheese, that’s what. So I still routinely expend and exhaust myself trying to slug through all the reading and writing I can manage. It’s still almost entirely simple romance novels and roleplay posts, but I like to think I’m slowly working my way up to something more substantial. Maybe I’ll even eventually find a good use for all the light novels and roleplays I’ve devoured.
Anyway, this whole post came from trying for months to stable together something more academically grounded for this blog. I’ve been ruminating over one topic in particular: The relationship between Asperger’s and Schizotypal disorder, or the differences and similarities between the two. But I wanted to study up on what kind of research has been actually been published on the topic. As you might have guessed from this whole post, it’s not going so great for me.