Reply To: Forum Case Study – Avoidant Personality Disorder APD
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First, a general thanks for all your contributions on the forums: your responses resonate with me across various topics, and I have found a huge amount of valuable help in your insights, along with numerous other contributors of course.
I have chosen to participate in this case study, although I have not actually been diagnosed with AvPD by anyone, I certainly exhibit the key conflicts you describe, and I feel strongly compelled to seek help here. I hope perhaps that I can be included, I sense it would be extremely beneficial to me (and my family!), and, hopefully, to you also in your case study as proof of concept.
I have read about AvPD, and I feel strongly that it describes with great accuracy myself and one of my, if not my primary, mode of operating and “managing” my way in the world. One with frankly disastrous consequences. I am also aware that I also have signs of other personality disorders, I´m sure you'll see those evidently. I just want to get free from
Some briefs points about me:
– I yearn for social interaction, but I´m incredibly uncomfortable in social situations. I sweat profusely as a stress response any time I´m in public
– I´m very socially perceptive, perhaps from so much time observing rather than participating, but I will never approach anyone, even when it is painfully clear that they want to interact with me
– I´m actually a great conversationalist, and I love talking to people, but I only really speak to people if I´m sure they like me, and if they talk to me first
– When I do start talking to people, if we build some good rapport initially, I never let them closer
– When pushed, I can step up and lead a group conversation, and manage it well… for a bit, and then I get back in my shell asap and end up with the feeling that people just think I´m super weird, or rude, or I don't know what
– People generally like me very much on first impressions… I´m great at that first impression, providing I have the energy and desire to make the effort and put on the show, but I have consistently got very quickly to a point of making excuses (often “real” – e.g. “I can't afford it”, “I have kids I can't”, etc) and killing any potential relationship
– I have successfully alienated every friend I ever had to be honest
– I feel lonely almost all of the time, even when I´m with my wife and children, or at large events or gatherings… I just want to get away
– I have a number of excuses I give myself eg at work, even at sanctified social times and events, my attitude is always “work is work”, and I get angry or upset or bitter about people not working and having fun and talking
– While I know I have the skills and ability to be social, I also know that those were the result of using various hypnosis tapes more than a decade ago in an attempt to treat the symptoms of much deeper problems. The result is that I avoid social contact wherever possible… and I desperately want more social interaction, desperately want to be part of a community, desperately want to share myself, and yet I generally end up acting in such a way that, sooner or later, people always become hostile towards me, or at best think I´m weird
– Really, to be honest, I really am pretty weird. I´m 80% extreme extrovert, ridiculously anxious about even going out in public, but I guess I´m “high-functioning”
Ok, not so brief, and yet… there's so much more, I really don't know what to say! I think an important thing to mention is that I, almost daily for as long as I remember, go out in public because I love being around people but I always do so in a way that I won't have to deal with others, but I get some validation or attention or interaction, eg:
-go to a cafe with my notebook, drink way too much coffee and write feverishly (I´m a writer), totally aloof, while desperate for someone to talk to me, and terrified that they will.
-ride my bike along the boardwalk so I´m around people but I don't have to talk with them
-go to the gym for hours but avoid eye contact and if anyone tries to talk to me tell them I “have to get back to my workout”, despite wishing I could just go and talk to people
I look forward to hearing back from you, and to working through any suggestions you have for me.
Thank you so much for your time, and I understand if I am not a good candidate – I think I clearly have more than just AvPD going on, and perhaps that's not helpful for the case study.