I actually hate the title of this post, yet it suited the content perfectly because it was the reply I was given when I told somebody a few years back that I could be mildly sociopathic. ‘Yeah, me too,’ she admitted. ‘I’m a little bit socio.’
Sociopath is a really unfortunate word in many ways as it’s often confused with the word ‘psychopath’ and STILL tends to conjure the traditional but entirely misguided image of an unhinged lunatic dismantling people in some remote hotel, the heady Hollywood depiction of your archetypal serial killer (if there’s any such thing).
The official distinction between the two – ‘learned behaviour’ (socio) VS innate behaviour (psycho) – doesn’t really help much, either….so I thought I’d shed some light on the subject from the viewpoint of someone who – if you count the autism and bpd traits aside – is definitely a reluctant sociopath.
That someone is ME. Now, before you run away screaming, I’d like to explain that sociopathy – similar to autism, really – is a rainbow and not a cubicle classification. I once read a confessional book by a sociopath who reported rather matter-of-factly that she’d drowned a bird in a swimming pool and I couldn’t register with that on any level…but as far as drama is concerned, I’m pure chaos.
It’s all about the WAY you connect with people. Do you unwillingly or unwittingly treat other people like characters you meet in a video game? Moreover, do you view LIFE like a sort of arcade game in that you’re either winning, losing or simply stuck on the same level, unable to get past that end boss? Well, if so, a lot of this Is going to ring true.
In my entire life, I’ve connected – from my side – with very few people. When I say ‘connected’ I say it because to me it’s the most powerful word in my psyche. I am somebody who feels entirely disconnected from the human race and from society in particular. So when I actually feel a connection with someone (whether or not it’s reciprocated) to me that’s a big deal. What’s particularly interesting or revealing is that two of the people I’ve connected with completely despise me…and with good reason.
My name’s Davey: we might have met. If we have, there’s a very good chance I already owe you an apology. If we haven’t, as a method of introduction, let’s start with the positives.
I’ve always been a popular guy….from a distance. I’ve sold in excess of a million books through the likes of Disney and Penguin in the USA and Hodder in the UK. My (now defunct) lifestyle blog, Bloke Called Dave, had over 1.6 million unique visitors between 2012 and 2015. I’ve been a literature ambassador for the UK in Bulgaria, I’ve been a Guest of Honour for Disney at the Chicago Book Expo and a Master Freemason. I’ve performed at the Hay and Edinburgh Festivals (twice) and appeared in international anthologies alongside my hero, the late Sir Terry Pratchett. On a personal level, I’m a husband to an incredible woman and a father to two beautiful children.
It’s as I said above: I’ve always been a popular guy….from a distance.
This is because, regardless of how hard I try, I simply cannot connect with people: most are virtually invisible to me and the ones I do reach out to invariably reject me or quickly become frustrated with my intensity.
I burn very brightly, yet not always in a positive sense.
There are a tiny group of people I have chosen to connect with and to be clear I’m talking about the people you choose.
In many ways, I guess I’m like a wild horse: the folks who stick with me are the ones who have committed to weathering the storm and the ones who know that I am – at heart – a really turbulent bastard.
The first and most important of these is my wife, Chiara. We met before my life was changed by the success of my writing and she has been by my side since then, supporting me in every I do through some good times and some very, very bad ones. The second is my pseudo-sister and oldest friend, Gem: we grew up together and have a bond that never seems to break regardless of time, distance and how little we tend to see each other. I could be wrong about this; you’d have to ask her.
Three of the others are men: two from my school days and one I met as an adult. All of these are aware of my mental conditioning and all of the things I do in order to keep myself vaguely sane: one is a man so much like me that I often think we’re two halves of the same person. He’s the one I see least for exactly that reason. All of them suffer from either depression, anxiety or both and all of them go through phases of either drinking heavily, exercising frantically or taking medication.
The other two are women…
Now, before I recount the full disaster of these two encounters, I need to go back a year or so in order to outline a background for them both.
I lost my Nan in March 2015 and Terry Pratchett died later the same month. They left the world only twelve days apart….but in twelve days I lost two of the biggest influences on my life. My Nan was definitely the patriarch of my family: she raised me with my mum (my dad left when I was a baby, as it turned out that he had another family elsewhere) and was a defining, controlling influence on pretty much everything I did. She was a smoker, a drinker and – on balance – a very unhappy woman who took out all her frustrations in life on other people. I realized at a very young age that I would virtually anything to escape her lifestyle – and I found that escape in Terry Pratchett.
It started with just one book and I became both obsessed and addicted to this wonderful, incredibly smart and funny man who could write in a way that made me feel like he was talking to me directly. I determined to be just like him – and spent the next two decades making that happened.
So I lost two major life influences in 2015…and I evidently didn’t seek enough counselling for this. My crash wouldn’t happen for another two years – but when it did it was completely spectacular in all the wrong ways.
To be continued in two further posts ‘The Reluctant Sociopath’ and ‘Tabula Rasa’ – both coming soon on Bloke Called Dave. A Little Bit Socio was originally written by Davey Stone in 2018. If you enjoyed ‘A Little Bit Socio’ or found it informative or interesting, please share the post and follow the blog. Thank you for reading ‘A Little Bit Socio’.