The last time I spoke to you about the more odd aspects of my personality, I mentioned my slighttrouble separating fantasy from reality might be the definition of schizophrenia, which I just spelled correctly on the first try. Jealous?!
Anywho, I actually looked up some of the symptoms of schizophrenia after that, and now I’m sure I have it. I’m not a hypochondriac, which I also just spelled correctly on the first try, and I’m not trying to make light of a very serious disease, but when I read that Wikipedia entry I started with a smile on my face and ended up with a scared look and furrowed brow. I immediately e-mailed my mom and my wife, the two people in this world that have dealt with my crazy the most, for confirmation. They claim I absolutely don’t have schizophrenia, but most definitely ADD. I’ll let you guys be the judge.
There was one particular aspect of schizophrenia I thought applied to me a lot under the category of “disorganized thinking and speech,” and it actually starting worrying me. It’s funny to think about now, and hopefully it will be funny to relate to you, but at the time I was reading this symptom I was dead serious and starting to get freaked out. Depending on the severity, a person exhibiting this symptom “. . . may range from loss of train of thought, to sentences only loosely connected in meaning, to incoherence known as ‘word salad’ in severe cases.” Anyone who has ever held a conversation with me for more than a few minutes has noticed my train of thought is off the rails. Most of the time, and I really do mean most of the time, when I start a conversation with someone I will totally forget what I was talking about 2 or 3 minutes in. It doesn’t help that the person I’m talking to usually isn’t listening that closely, so when I ask, “What was I just talking about?” they have even less of an idea that I do.
It’s the worst in the car. I’ll be driving around and talking with whomever is along for the ride, I’m usually in some long, drawn-out story no one cares much about (exhibit A: this post), and something will catch my eye outside the car. We’re moving briskly down the road, so if I want to point out something about whatever I just saw, I have to do it RIGHT NOW before we pass it and the context isn’t there anymore, because I think if I let that opportunity go by that thought will get stuck in my head and keep growing and growing until my brain explodes. Since nobody wants that to happen, I’ll interrupt myself to make my stupid comment, then try to get back to whatever I was talking about before. But it’s gone. Forever. I’ll never get that thought back again. I won’t even remember how that conversation started in the first place. I’ll just sit in my seat languishing over my decaying memory and wishing my brain worked like it’s supposed to.
Other times I’ll be talking to someone, again usually telling a long story no one cares about (at least I’m not insecure, right?), and in the middle of that story something will trigger a thought in my brain that I have to get out because, again, my brain will explode if I don’t. So that thought will launch me into some other topic, during which I’ll be reminded of something else, which I’ll then interrupt myself again to share, and so on and so on until the Rapture. I’ll have more layers of half-finished, half-remembered stories going at the same time than Inception.
My favorite example of this, though, is when I’m listening to someone else’s story, and I like to think this happens to more people than just me. It’s basically the same thing I just explained, but it’s all internal and seems even more random and crazy. Someone is in the middle of a story, and I’m intently listening to every word and inflection (because I’m a good person), and as shown above something they say will remind of something else. Happens all the time, right? Well, I can’t interruptthem will my random thought; I have to wait until they’re done. So I’m dwelling on that thought and waiting for my turn to speak (because I’m actually a horrible person), and that thought will remind me of something else. That second thought is loosely associated with some other thing, which my mind promptly decides to latch onto. This goes on for a while until the person speaking is finally done. Then it’s my turn to finally let out the thought I’ve been holding in this whole time, but now I’m so far down the rabbit hole what I have to say has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with whatever the other person was talking about. This happens most often with my wife, of course, and the reason why this is my favorite example is because I like to see if she can follow my crazy train of word associations until she finally tracks down how my mind ended up where it did.
The funny thing is she can usually figure it out. And they say I’m crazy!
P.S. I know this is most likely a symptom of ADD and not schizophrenia. But it was just familiar enough at the time for me to get really worried and have to call in the cavalry.