A respected psychopathic acquaintance of mine over on tumblr gave me the following prompt to write about this evening:
Physical illness and psychopathy. Do we handle illness better than normal people and if not, would typical behavior bite one in the ass? (You have the flu and insist on going out poorly dressed for the cold, or maybe continuously get sunburn because sunblock isn’t worth the…
Essentially, I think this gets at a core feature of ASPD (though accentuated by psychopathy), namely the disregard for the safety of self. Psychopaths in particular take this one step further with their self-grandiosity and borderline delusions of “nothing bad can happen to me.” If you don’t give a shit about yourself and you believe you are invincible anyway, then I think it becomes common for the antisocial to be afflicted with pains and illnesses that could easily be avoided with a bit of common sense.
I recently had a sinus infection. It lasted nearly a month because I refused to see a doctor and because I kept smoking like a chimney the entire time. Common sense would have dictated that an illness that lasted more than a week should have been looked at. Common sense would have also demanded that my weakened lungs (due to coughing up sinus drainage) should not be as exposed to cigarette smoke. However, I didn’t pay attention to any of this. I told myself that I could just wait it out and that there was no real consequence for not getting medical attention. As a more extreme example, when I damaged my heart through the use of amphetamines, I waited months to get it checked out. I thought that I would essentially live forever, that I was pseudo-immortal and that the irregular rhythms I was experiencing were nothing to truly worry about. They got worse and eventually I did realize that maybe I wasn’t as invulnerable as I thought (which was a sobering realization), but I simply did not have the sense to realize that I should take care of myself. The list goes on with other escapades involving playing sports on broken bones, ignoring concussion symptoms, so on and so forth.
For all the gifts that we possess as antisocials, we are sometimes mere idiots. Taking care of ourselves when there is overwhelming evidence that change is needed is often laughed off. As my acquaintance alluded to in their question, sometimes we are torched by the sun because we believe that we will not burn. We all know how that worked for Icarus, however.