Opening up to the rest of the world

This is a post aimed at people diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, who may be trapped in self absorption.

Due to very unpleasant symptoms of social anxiety, I retreated from social events, and eventually the rest of the world, with the external world eventually becoming meaningless to me.

Following are some simple steps that helped me open my mind more. They may help other people trying to shed excessive self-absorption.

  1. Force your mind to uncurl outward.
  2. Notice the rest of the world you’ve been ignoring.
  3. Hopefully the rest of the world will become illuminated in your mind, like a light switch has turned on.
  4. Notice the contrast between your current mindset (connected to outer reality), and your previous reality (connected only to inner reality).
  5. Notice what tremendous self-absorption you’ve been in.
  6. Understand that you can shift your mind’s muscles at will (even if it might sometimes not be easy(, to open up out into the rest of the world.
  7. Next day, move your mind’s eye to a location hovering over a busy intersection you pass through frequently.
  8. Hold the vision you see with your mind’s eye as another layer of awareness to what you see with your own eyes.
  9. This is “mind over matter”.
  10. Pay more attention to your mind’s eye as it open up and outward over the rest of the outer world, and your living space will expand.

How to deal with the profoundly negative voices you hear

  1. Pay attention to any patterns in what the voices say.
  2. Do you notice the voices repeat certain things?
  3. How often is what a voice tells you a repeat of what they’ve said before?
  4. How often do the voices pause, and say something thoughtful?
  5. If the things the voices say to you are always a repeat of something they’ve said before, and they never ever say anything thoughtful to you, can we conclude the voices you hear are not very thoughtful/mindful/conscious?
  6. Perhaps you can conclude they are behaving quite mechanically?
  7. Perhaps you can consider the voices to be some kind of recorded messages on repeat?
  8. Does this reduce your fear of them, and their power over you? (I hope it does)
  9. Bonus question: how often do the things that the voices repeat to you closely aligned to your deeper fears? Could you conclude the voices are simply regurgitating your own deeper fears, and including some negative beliefs about yourself?

Scientists still do not know what generates the voices we hear, however a scientific study did find that the part of our brains that generates speech is active when we hear voices.

What is Schizoaffective disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder (SZA, SZD or SAD) is a mental or psychological disorder characterized by abnormal thought processes and deregulated emotions. The diagnosis is made when the patient has features of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder—either bipolar disorder or depression—but does not strictly meet diagnostic criteria for either alone.

The bipolar type is distinguished by symptoms of mania, hypomania, or mixed episode; the depressive type by symptoms of depression only.

Common symptoms of the disorder include hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and disorganized speech and thinking.

The onset of symptoms usually begins in young adulthood, currently with an uncertain lifetime prevalence because the disorder was redefined, but DSM-IV prevalence estimates were less than 1 percent of the population, in the range of 0.5 to 0.8 percent.

Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient’s reported experiences.