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Ask Dr. Dombeck
Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Early Experiences As Described By A Self-Diagnosed Schizoid

Hi Dr. Dombeck. I recently realized that I have some of the symptoms of schizoid personality disorder. However, while I was investigating this and other disorders online, I remembered about a problem I used to have often as a child and that reoccurs even now, although quite rarely. What used to happen is basically this. All of a sudden I would begin to feel differently, as if there was someone else present either "in me" or "around me", but who I always knew was not actually there. This presence felt very "oppressive" and I felt as though there was a voice talking. For some reason, when I was a child, this voice reminded me of my mother's voice. I didn't so much hear it speaking, as I "felt" it speaking. I cannot even quote what it said, but my reaction to it was like a reaction to someone "issuing commands" or "instigating" me, the kind of reaction one would feel to someone yelling "Come on!! Well??!! Do it!! Come on!!". The strangest thing about it was the feeling I had during these episodes, almost as if a part of my mind was racing a million miles a minute. In other words, I consciously could think just as clearly, calmly, and rationally as before, but there was also like another presence, or "another me" thinking and reacting very quickly to the voice issuing commands, almost like a "panicked babble." I haven't had this kind of episode for months, so I cannot quite recall the exact relationship between my racing mind and the voice issuing commands. You have to forgive me, but I find it all very hard to explain. I'm pretty sure it used to happen often to me as a child, and I clearly remember associating my mother's voice with the voice that I "felt" was talking to me. I am 22 years old now and have a great relationship with both my mother and father. My parents weren't really abusive to me when I was a child, except for the occasional yell or slap or what not. I don't harbor any ill feelings towards my parents today. I would say that these episodes started becoming rarer (maybe once every few months) when I reached the age of 10 or 11, but in all honesty, I cannot be 100% sure on how often they occurred before that since my memory is vague now. For all I know they never occurred more often than every few months even when I was little, but for some reason I feel that they did indeed occur more often. It's important to note that these episodes never lasted for more than a minute or so, at least those that I can remember, so I never really made much of them. But now remembering about them, I just want to be sure that they are not a prelude to something more intensely delusional. Are these symptoms familiar to you? Do you feel that maybe they can indeed be evidential of a problem that may develop later? For all I know most people may have these kinds of experiences every now and then, so I want to be sure. In case you are wondering, I don't see any connection at all between these episodes and my schizoid personality, for these rare attacks were never the reason for my preferred withdrawal from society. Plus, my preference to being alone does not interfere with my necessary social interaction, as I attend college, I'm a good student, and I interact normally with my friends at school. I just prefer to be alone and not place myself into social situations. I'm just informing you of these factors in case they are relevant to my delusional episodes, which is what I really need advice on. Thank you very much.



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