"What's your diagnosis?"
"I'm very sorry to have to tell you this. You have what we call chronic normalcy syndrome, or CNS. It's a development disorder that impedes your ability to form an identity. Most people form patterns of behavior and thought based on their genetics and their surroundings, but that has only happened with you to a very limited extent. To put it simply, you've never experienced any part of life as strongly as a healthy person would. Anything that happens, anything you come into contact with, you're only experiencing on a very basic level. And that's not a reflection on your intelligence at all, it's just what this disorder has done to you. You're just not equipped to form emotional reactions like the rest of us.
"Now, I don't want you to get too scared. Chronic normalcy syndrome is a very common disease, and most people who suffer from it manage just fine in life. It's uncommon for a person with CNS to ever get depressed or to have serious social difficulties. But it's just as uncommon for a person with CNS to ever be strongly happy or to achieve anything beyond the mundane; that means that unless you really work at it, there's an upper limit to what you can get out of life.
"The good news is, there's treatment. A few years ago, this problem wasn't widely recognized and there were no reliable options for getting better. But awareness of chronic normalcy syndrome has jumped forward recently, and there are many support groups available. I also would advise that you continue to come to me once a week, so that we can work on this together. But ultimately, it's up to you to decide what you want to do about the situation. I'm just letting you know what the situation is. But I strongly recommend that you start dealing with this as soon as possible."
"How did I get this?"
"The causes of CNS aren't really understood yet. There's research going on to figure that out. There are theories that it comes from a certain kind of upbringing, but there are new studies that suggest it's mainly genetic. But this is all still pretty unproven, it's only recently that people started paying attention to the problem. It used to be that people with chronic normalcy syndrome were just called 'boring', and there was nothing they could do to help themselves. But now the situation is very different."
"I understand. How is it that you know I have CNS?"
"Well, you're actually a very standard case of the disease. There's a list of symptoms we look for, like a lack of personal interests, a tendency to agree with other people without thinking, a very simple and straightforward manner of speech, and other similar indicators of a lack of personality development. Trust me, you have CNS."
"Thank you. So what should I do?"
"You should understand that treatment is not going to be quick, and it's not going to be easy. But it is important. I had another patient who came in without any signs of individuality at all, a real textbook case of CNS. We've been working on it for around two years, and he's almost unrecognizable now from what he was. He's got interests and personality traits, he looks distinctive, he acts distinctive. He quit his old job, and now he's got a high-paying management position. And understand, when he came in to this office he had no signs of ambition at all. You would have thought he'd still be in his low-paying job until the day he died, and never realizing he could move up. He recently said to me, when he left for the day, that he feels like he used to be asleep, and now he's waking up. So understand that this is my personal experience: you can get over this problem. You're not going to be an artist or a visionary, but we can find lots of little ways for you to add to society and have a more healthy, aware state of mind. But the road there may be unpleasant. If you're ready to start, we can do this once a week."
"Sure, sounds good."