In one of my earlier blog posts, I gave you an insider’s look into what goes through the mind of a person who has paranoid schizophrenia. More appropriately, I gave you my experience. It was scary. If you haven’t read that post, or you don’t recall it well, I would recommend rereading at least the first part of it. This will help you understand the fourth component that Bleuler talked about when describing schizophrenia: Autism.
Here’s the link to that post: An Insider’s View of Schizophrenia
In posting Bleuler’s A’s, I have not done much research on them. In fact, all I have done is to take each A and put my spin on them. Spin may not be the most appropriate term. Perhaps, these are my theories of what they each mean as it pertains to my experiences. So, I do not have a clue as to what Bleuler saw in each of the A’s.This last A is no different.I have struggled a bit to figure out and describe what I think of when I hear the word “autism” used to describe schizophrenia.
This last A is no different. I have struggled a bit to figure out and describe what I think of when I hear the word “autism” used to describe schizophrenia. Through the lens of my experiences, I view autism as it pertains to my disorder as having the following equation:
Too many stimuli = withdrawal into own little world/existence (solipsism)
In fact, I would go so far as to say that an overload of stimuli causes the person who has schizophrenia to withdraw. The more stimuli that are present, the more withdrawn we become.
Imagine being in that land where you stick out and where everyone is your enemy (especially those trying the most to help you). [See “HALFTIME” for a more in-depth explanation of what I am talking about.] At first, you are paranoid of others, frightened that some psychological or physical harm will come about. Then, the people in this land begin to recognize you as being an outsider, and they begin coming toward you. Perhaps, only a few approach in the beginning, but even these few are alarming, and you begin to withdraw.
Next, these people, natives of the land in which you are trapped, begin to multiply. They come from every direction, and they bombard you with one of two things: (1) real psychological or physical harm, or (2) real caring, concern, and love, which are equally threatening to you because they are your enemies and are not to be trusted. Their concern is a veil, and underneath that veil lays danger and harm. They multiply more…and more, and more, and more, and more, until not only are you a stranger in their land but now you are a stranger in their land who has been recognized as a foreigner and who must be exterminated. There is no avoiding the inevitable. Every avenue of escape is beyond your grasps, and you are unable to fight back, because you lack that ability, because fighting back would be one of the most overwhelming social interactions you could possibly endure. How would you react?
Most people who are unfortunate enough to have this experience withdraw into their own little world, the world of hypnotic nothingness. There is no feeling in this world. There is very little, if any, thinking in this world. It is as if your faculties have shut down. The engine ran out of oil and fuel and simply stopped working. You become frigid and still. Someone could poke you with a sharp knife, and it is likely that you wouldn’t react. You would be frozen with fear. That is what this last A meant to me.
Thank you for reading this series. I hope it helped you understand schizophrenia a bit better.