Point of view

No single classification for any of us


I looked it up. In a down moment, I picked up my Kindle and looked up the diagnosis of “schizoid affective disorder, bi-polar type.”

This thing is no joke. Frankly it was more than a little intimidating, daunting, sobering — all of the words apply. 

I had to concede that I had the list of symptoms supplied. I went on to read that it is an illness shared by only three to five people in a thousand. That is 0.3 percent.

I was hoping for some tips on how to deal with it, but all they had was a list of medications and the idea that the symptoms can be controlled in psychotherapy.

Nothing revolutionary there.

It was a little tough to see myself classified in such a manner. To know that I am a member of such a select group, a group about which, by the way, relatively little seems to be known. 

But I stepped back and looked for a way out of the hole. Yes, I am a schizoid affective bi-polar type. I trust the man who made the diagnosis. But I am also a member of some other clubs, some other classifications. I am a master of arts, two times over.

How does that define me? The same Jewish psychiatrist who made the diagnosis, a man with close to 60 years of practice, stated, “You’re a mensch, and you got there the hard way!” 

Again, offering a definition.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting the medical diagnosis. 

If it can help me to better understand myself and provide insight on better ways of living, I’m all for embracing it. I would hate to think, however, that it might become limiting.

It is not the whole story. It is one part of it. Not to be run from, but neither to become all encompassing.

Josh Greenfield,