Rebekah is lending me the book "Set This House in Order", about people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka Multiple-Personality). I got to googling about the reality of it, since it is making such a compelling work of fiction. This Natasha Tracy article talking about it also made the claim that "All Mental Illness is an Amplification of Normal Behavior" and now I'm thinking about that claim.
It's not a new thought for me: almost ten years ago - http://kirk.is/2006/06/14/ - I got to musing about "shadow syndromes" in general, and this kind of spectrum thinking, and the conditions I felt some kind of possible affinity with...and the issue of the line between self-coddling, excuse-making half-assed self-diagnosis and legitimate chances for empathy that goes beyond mere sympathy.
Getting back to the "All Mental Illness is Amplification" claim... trying to definitively say when a quantitative distinction becomes a qualitative difference is a bit of a mug's game, I suppose. And I suppose there's a danger of having LESS sympathy if we start to say to someone who is suffering with mental illness "oh, buck up, everyone has that, you just have it a bit worse."
As I get older I feel like I'm a bit more aware of my way of interacting with the world. I still struggle with seeing myself as others see me, the whole "problem of other minds" shtick. And sometimes I'm worried maybe I'm not that much more aware, I'm just remember the more recent bits of awareness better than the stuff in the past.
It'll be fun to watch my parade of friends kids, some of them virtual nieces nephews, as they run into this stuff for themselves. Maybe too I'll learn a little more about myself, and how I looked to my elders as the unbearably precocious punk kid I was, and maybe there will even be a chance to help these kids mold themselves in ways that will foster their own self growth.