World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992
F21 Schizotypal Disorder
A disorder characterized by eccentric behaviour and anomalies of thinking and affect which resemble those seen in schizophrenia, though no definite and characteristic schizophrenic anomalies have occurred at any stage. There is no dominant or typical disturbance, but any of the following may be present:
(a) inappropriate or constricted affect (the individual appears cold and aloof);
Hmm, I don't think so, but would I know?
(b) behaviour or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar;
(c) poor rapport with others and a tendency to social withdrawal;
A tendency to social withdrawal, certainly. I don't think I have a poor rapport with others, though.
(d) odd beliefs or magical thinking, influencing behaviour and inconsistent with subcultural norms;
Oh yes, always I have had odd beliefs; and being inconsistent with subcultural norms has always been a bit of a specialty of mine. Magical thinking? Dunno. To me, a lot of what the culturally normal do looks like magical thinking. (See? Those odd beliefs, again.)
(e) suspiciousness or paranoid ideas;
(f) obsessive ruminations without inner resistance, often with dysmorphophobic, sexual or aggressive contents;
Do I do anything without inner resistance? I doubt it. I do write a lot of dysmorphic prose and poetry, in which I imagine myself to be huge, or misshapen, or tiny, or insubstantial. I think about sex a lot; about aggression, very little. Obsessive rumination might be my middle name, but I'm not sure that's what this is driving at.
(g) unusual perceptual experiences including somatosensory (bodily) or other illusions, depersonalization or derealization;
Pretty much all the time.
(h) vague, circumstantial, metaphorical, overelaborate, or stereotyped thinking, manifested by odd speech or in other ways, without gross incoherence;
This makes me giggle. “Vague, circumstantial, metaphorical, overelaborate.” Why didn't I make that the name of my blog?
(i) occasional transient quasi-psychotic episodes with intense illusions, auditory or other hallucinations, and delusion-like ideas, usually occurring without external provocation.
Quasi-psychotic? Aren't we chasing the chickens with chickens here? You tell me if they're quasi-psychotic. They're intense, certainly.
The disorder runs a chronic course with fluctuations of intensity. Occasionally it evolves into overt schizophrenia. There is no definite onset and its evolution and course are usually those of a personality disorder. It is more common in individuals related to schizophrenics and is believed to be part of the genetic "spectrum" of schizophrenia.
And here I thought I was supposed to be the vague and circumstantial one! (Why, I wonder, is “spectrum” in quotation marks?)
Well, that doesn't get us terribly far. But I am rather taken by the idea that this particular genetic spectrum survives because it supplies tribes with their prophets and shamans. Though why having prophets and shamans should be an evolutionary advantage is not altogether clear. "We talk to the dead, so you don't have to!" Reminds me of the Woody Allen joke:
"My poor uncle thinks he's a chicken." -- "Why don't you take him to a psychiatrist?" -- "Well, we would, but we need the eggs."