I hope that the following satirical text will not offend some of my followers who will find themselves being diagnosed with a psychiatric syndrome. I am counting on your sense of humor. Unfortunately, nerdish humor might be different from yours, so should you feel insulted by the following, blame my nerdishnes and please accept my apology 🙂
I am a nerd. Nerds belong to a minority personality type. We are somewhere in the middle between those who think they are normal and those who are being diagnosed with “Asperger’s Syndrome”.
There is currently a tendency to turn more and more minority personality types into “Syndromes”. Money can be made with this. Medications and therapies and books can be sold. Psychiatry handbook authors have been found to be on the payrolls or the pharmaceutical industry and as a result, more and more normal people are diagnosed with some kind of condition. Normal feelings are declared pathologic, personality types are morphed into personality disorders.
Nerdism, as far as I know, has not yet been declared a “disorder” but I am only waiting for that.
I want to point out that the people who write the psychiatry handbooks have made another important omission. What they failed to include is HCS, the Hyper-Communicativity Syndrome. I have discovered this condition by studying people around me. I leave it to my readers to decide whether they would call it a “disorder”.
These people are very strange indeed. I am used to being viewed as a strange guy by others, but it is important to understand that the distance from A to B equals the distance from B to A. From my point of view, I am surrounded by loads of people who are strange. Almost everyone. So let me try to describe them:
HCS-affected people have an extremely strong need to communicate. Being alone makes them feel unhappy even if nothing bad at all is happening to them. They feel happiest when communicating with others. Finding these other people is normally very easy for them since they are forming the majority of the population. Since there is normally not so much reason to communicate for any specific purpose (like transmitting relevant information to somebody, asking for something or coordinating actions), HCS-affected people show the strange behavior of engaging in communications that have the only purpose of communicating. The topic of the communication does not matter. HCS-affected people will talk with each other about anything just in order to talk (they use the term “chatting” for this strange behavior). One could argue that this is a kind of pathological behavior since communication is decoupled from any purpose other than communication itself, making the communication behavior somehow parasitic to its host. However, I prefer to call it a personality trait. It is certainly quirky but should not necessarily be seen as pathologic (at least in my opinion).
HCS-affected people are normally very bad at communicating with non-HCS-people. They will try to impose “chatting” on everybody, including people of other personality types who are, of course, not interested in the “chatting” behavior. Since HCS-affected people are the majority, they will tend to be surprised if their attempts to “chat” with non-HCS-affected people fail. They will normally not be able to adjust or adapt their communicative behavior to the goal-oriented communicative style of non-HCS-people. In their view, their unsuccessful attempts to “chat” with non-HCS-people will be seen by them as a result of strangeness or missing communicative abilities of the non-HCS-affected people, turning reality on its head.
As a result they perceive themselves as normal and paradoxically tend to perceive others as not normal exactly when they are employing their syndrome-specific (I want to avoid to say: abnormal) communicative behavior.
HCS-affected people have a tendency to develop overcomplicated models of others. They are extremely sensitive to small signals by which others signal their moods. One could view this as an instance of savant syndrome. The result of this is their tendency to communicate indirectly, probably out of fear to cause the other to be upset about something. This can take some rather bizarre forms. Example: Where a non-HCS-person might simply say “Please drive me to the station”, an HCS-sufferer might put on a coat and say: “It is very cold today” (expecting an offer to be driven to the station in order to be spared the cold). As a result, HCS-affected people develop a complicated style of communication almost unintelligible for others and integrating elements of non-verbal communication although they could easily reach their goals by a simple verbal sentence. This results in them forming a “hermetic” community into which non-affected people can hardly penetrate.
HCS-affected people can very easily become addicted to devices that allow them to communicate with others. These include computers, especially when equipped with “chat-clients” or programs that allow talking with others, with or without pictures. Telephones have a highly addictive effect on them, especially if they can also be used to send text messages. So-called “smartphones” are actually a means for the electronics industry to make profit on HCS-affected people since they combine several features addictive for HCS-affected people in one device. (The addictive nature of these devices and the resulting need for regulations and restrictions has, so far, not yet been appreciated by the majority of politicians due to the fact that many of them are HCS-affected themselves.) For non-HCS-affected people, “smartphones” tend to be less attractive. For HCS-affected people, on the other hand, the availability of mobile communication has led to a situation in which some of them spend most of their time talking or exchanging text messages.
An interesting phenomenon is the development of “chat-bots”, that is of software that is simulating the chatting behavior of people in text-based chatting environments (“chat rooms”). This kind of software is used by communication-deprived HCS-sufferers to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
The pharmaceutical industry, on the other hand, has so far failed to make much profit from this condition although it can be argued that some HCS-affected people, if they lose the opportunity to get into “chatting”-contact with others, will develop a depression-like condition and might become dependent on anti-depressants. Other industries, like gastronomy and the pet-industry (especially the dog-industry) are also profiting from exploiting the HCS condition.
There is, to my knowledge, no research yet into the causes of HCS. It is unknown which factors in brain structure, distribution and concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain and so on contribute to the development of HCS, but it seems to have a strong genetic basis. This lack of research is astonishing because based on such research, it should be possible to develop drugs to dampen the condition. It should be noted here that HCS is one of the main causes of lack of attention in schools, causing a lot of missed learning opportunities as a result. The reduction of symptoms through the administration of drugs should therefore be in the interest of schools and parents alike and would certainly generate huge profits for the pharmaceutical industry, dwarfing those made from administering Ritalin against “ADS”. As a result, it could be expected that school success of children could be improved, making this a real win-win-situation.
It seems astonishing to me that the pharmaceutical and medical industry has so far not taken the chance to make huge profits by simply declaring the entire population (and not just small subgroups) as suffering from a psychiatric disorder when clearly that is the case (as, I hope, I was able here to demonstrate).
(The picture is from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wilhelm_Schreuer_Kaffeekr%C3%A4nzchen.jpg.)