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JaneE

Any other Avoidant Personality Disorder folks here?

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Hello!

In my early 20's, I was diagonsed by an MD with "Mixed Personality Disorder", which I hear is not a valid designation now, but I thought it worth mentioning. About 10 or 15 years ago I was diagnosed with "Avoidant Personality Disorder" by a clinical psychologist.

Anyone else here diagnosed with this PD or living with someone who has it? How does it affect you?

For me it means I'm terrified of people and dislike being around them. So I live a very dependent and shut-in life. I have no friends at all, aside from a few very superficial acquaintances. I have a lot of problems with dissociation when people are around, I simply 'space out' and am unable to pay attention. I had a lot of problems in school when I was little because of this (I'm in my 40's now).

I make my living as an artist, and I primarily work online. It's wonderful for me to be able to communicate by typing. I can see my thoughts... I don't lose track of them, even if I were to dissociate for some reason I can maintain my train of thought just by reading what I'd typed up to that point. In person I'm sure I seem very spacey because I can't complete thoughts and often respond in the wrong place or tangentially.

Of course I have so many more problems than that, but it all comes back to that fatal flaw. Thank goodness for this place! I live in the US, have no insurance, and so can't get therapy. Obviously I don't make much money or I could just pay upfront. The worst thing about a PD is how hopeless you feel. "Wherever you go there you are". I've had problems with suicide attempts and ideations, though I've not made any attempts since my son was born 8 years ago. I want to be as whole and healthy as possible for his sake, but it's very hard! I keep reading "Prognosis is Poor" everywhere, which can be discouraging.

It's nice that the BPD sufferers are getting help and recognition, I often read up on their plight (my sister has it). I hope that other PDs will get some understanding and treatment innovations, too!

Jane

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I do not have this diagnosis but do consider myself "avoidant" due to anxiety. I tend to avoid people, places, things or situations which may provoke anxiety. As you can imagine it makes for a verly lonely existence. However, for me, I can force myself into certain situations if someone "safe" is with me. For instance, I can go out to dinner if it is at a restaurant I feel comfortable with, can sit near a door and facing it, and am accompanied by a friend or family member I consider "safe." Unfortunately, there are few people I consider safe for this purpose. I have learned to function around many of my fears but there are others I simply avoid at all costs. Sometimes the avoidance creates bigger problems, either financially, emotionally or physically.

Is there a mental health clinic nearby where you could seek help? I know where I live there are clinics that operate on a "sliding" scale meaning you pay only what you can afford and they will even help with getting meds. Just a thought.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi JaneE,

Many people in our community have talked about having such things as AVD, social anxiety disorder and various other personality disorders as well as depression and anxiety. It is great that you have found us and can participate here and in this way and I look forward to hearing a lot more from you.

Whether it is avoidant personality or social anxiety disorder, the best and only thing to do about it, along with psychotherapy, is to slowly and gradually put yourself into social situations, even if only briefly. It is kind of like learning to walk all over again after an accident. I usually recommend that people say "hi" to neighbors when they see them along with "gee, nice day" or "rainy day" or something like that. Be sure to smile when doing this and, the hardest of all, look them in the eye. Eye contact is hardest and most important. Do this gradually and it takes no more than a few seconds. If you do not see neighbors, then do it at the grocery store when you come to the cashier. This is a kind of "desensitization" by which you slowly become accustomed to doing this. It really helps.

Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your background and issues?

Allan :D

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I've never seen a therapist, and thus never been diagnosed, but I do show traits with AvPD.

I don't like new people or social situations. As part of my work, I HAD to do a public event without requesting it. Then one of the supervisors almost yelled at me when I told him I didn't like being voluntold to do stuff. Then I asked him if I could bring a friend, and he said it was okay, and then I stopped freaking out.

I tend to keep to myself most of the time.

Additionally, and I'm not sure if it goes with AvPD, but I was also NOT happy when I went into work today and was told I had to have my picture taken. That is something that gets thrown in the hate pile.

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I do not like going out one bit, or talking with others at all. I do not find it pleasurable to have those connections one on one, therefore keep the distance as much as i can. Online communication is a saving grace to me. It is about no one knows me, therefore "safe" so I can write what i feel.

I like my dog more then others. I have 0 trust in others and find people mostly obnoxious and annoying. They are loud and selfish. Perhaps this is more then advoidant. The older I become , the more convinced I am , about how different I feel about others. I do not even get lonely, or want to be around all the crap people offer. I am cynical to it , and do sometimes believe I am very , very different from sociey standards. I use to care, I use to try, and have friends, and relationships were important to me. they are not anymore. Now it has totally changed . Too me, I am safer this way. Nobody can hurt me now, as long as I stay to myself .

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Interesting thread this :)

Despite the anxiety all you guys feel about being with people, don't you feel the need for social contact ?

I do. Even though i'm alone most of the time i seem to be slowly going a little nutty as i watch myself getting older and yet not having relationships with the people that i wish i could be part of thier lives. my feelings of self-loathing are so strong and deep that my avoidant behaviour wins out most of the time. i am trying to change it though by spending time with the staff in the supported hostel i'm living at right now.

don't you guys feel an instinct to be with people and to have intimacy in it's various forms ?

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Slientmist, I liked your comment about "getting older" because I too see myself as getting older . However, for me, I see myself becomming further and further distant. Not even having the desire or interest anymore to socialize. I talk about this very issue with my therapist yesterday, because I do not understand it. He told me it is because my relationships have been always about what others wanted out of me. nothing that I have ever gotten out of it. there'e a pattern he has seen , and it has never ended well. People get what they want from me. this is what he has observed. I did not say it.

I do not find it fun to be around others right now, or to socialize on any level. To party, or any of that stuff . Nothing. It is all I can do to even get out of the house on most days. I have a Yorkie, and perfectly content with her:) Also a teenaged son who happens to be disabled . He is my focus , however gone for long days at school out of town.

As for now, truthfully, I feel no need for social contact with people.

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Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your background and issues?

Allan :rolleyes:

Hi!

Sorry for dropping out like that!

I got a little discouraged at there being no response for so long; I thought perhaps I was being a bit presumptuous about creating this thread!

But I see things move a bit slowly around here compared to some other fora I belong to!

I also saw there is a little bit about AvPD here, but it's not obvious from the titles.

But anyway!

My background and issues?

Well there's not much to tell. I think I had a fairly 'normal' upbringing, though there was some verbal abuse. I was very shy from an early age and lazy (passive) too, I guess... my father would get frustrated with that and tell me I was worthless and would never amount to anything.

That probably didn't help me much!

Also my parents smoked, and where I lived it caused me a lot of social rejection. Back then I didn't know WHY I was rejected, I guess I just thought I was unlikeable for some reason, but I believe now it was because I stank. I do remember my schoolfriends' parents wrinkling their noses and sneering "what smells like smoke?" However I don't think this part (per se) affected me at the time because I would just wonder what they were talking about. I of course couldn't smell anything out of the ordinary! I do remember a general sense of rejection, though. Of course I blamed myself... thought I was ugly or something.

My family seemed pretty normal if memory serves; we had holidays and family reunions and so forth. They all used to play board games, and gamble and all that, everyone had a great time! But I do remember I never participated. I don't remember being invited to, though, ever. I think because I was quiet I was easily ignored (unlike most children who require and insist upon having attention).

At school I was a complete disaster. I never could pay attention. Part of it was I was sick a lot with Otitis Media (inner ear inflammation) from the cigarette smoke. I know I had a hard time hearing. Or maybe it was dissociation. I was disorganized and inattentive. I never did any homework, I had no idea what I was there for. Back then they would pass you on anyway. I just read a lot, under my desk, for escape. Since I was "well behaved" otherwise, I guess I slipped through the cracks.

My parents divorced when I was 18, and I couldn't live at home. I had wanted to go to college, but I knew I needed help and guidance. I had none, though. I was pretty much just put out in the cold. So I left. My family doesn't contact me (they know where I am) and I don't contact them (often). I wish they would call me, show a little caring or interest, but they never do. They never write or anything at all. As I mentioned above I'm in my early 40's now.

Issues... Well to put not too fine a point on it, I hate this world. I hate the rush and consumption, greed and stupidity. Peoples' concern with what's shallow and shiny and temporary. The constant stench of scented products burning my nose and eyes, the ugly 'fashions', awful overwrought noisy 'music'. I want nothing to do with any of it.

I first tried to kill myself at the age of 10. There were more attempts after, but now I have a son and can't indulge this particular escapist fantasy. I try to be positive and not as hateful as I truly feel for his sake. Luckily his father is a lovely dynamic nurturing person and he takes after him a lot.

Living under the shelter of my husband's care and income has been really good for me, I'm as happy as can be expected, but I worry a lot about what would happen to me and our son if he died or became incapacitated. I have never really been able to accomplish much in this world, never finished school, never could hold a job for long without having a nervous breakdown. I'm really really lucky, but always scared.

Sorry to maunder on for so long! I've tried to keep it short, haha.

I can relate to what others were saying above, about getting older and not wanting to be around people at all any more. I sometimes think I'm becoming more Anti-Social as I get older, not just Asocial. Lol. When I was younger I fretted and got depressed, now I just reject the world back. Yikes.

Jane

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On August 27, 2009 at 7:24 PM, JaneE said:

My family seemed pretty normal if memory serves...They all used to play board games, and gamble and all that, everyone had a great time! But I do remember I never participated. I don't remember being invited to, though, ever. I think because I was quiet I was easily ignored (unlike most children who require and insist upon having attention).

At school I was a complete disaster...I just read a lot, under my desk, for escape. Since I was "well behaved" otherwise, I guess I slipped through the cracks.

I hate this world. I hate the rush and consumption, greed and stupidity. Peoples' concern with what's shallow and shiny and temporary. The constant stench of scented products burning my nose and eyes, the ugly 'fashions', awful overwrought noisy 'music'. I want nothing to do with any of it.

I've thought a lot about this, and, although I've never been formally diagnosed, I'm certain I have APD. Everything that I've talked about on the forum really converges to this one diagnosis, even the SPS stuff really reduces to this. I share a lot in common with JaneE, especially the highlighted portions. 

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Do you know what it is you fear in failing, not having control, and feeling vulnerable? Do you think your competitiveness could be a means to try to prevent those things from happening or even to prevent facing your deeper fears in this? Is it possible that fleeing a situation could be a means of fleeing difficult feelings?

You don't have to answer any of my questions.

I think many of us may have similar fears. I hope you won't need to delete. It's okay to be you.

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