Avoidant Personality Disorder or Social Anxiety?

I have often come across avoidant personality(APD) before on my travels through the madness of the internet but not really taken much notice as I just thought it pretty much the same as social anxiety by just another name so is there really a difference?

People with APD have many of the same characteristics as those with social anxiety disorder (SAD); however, the severity of the symptoms is greater.

If you have been diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder;

  1. You tend to have low self-esteem, strong feelings of inadequacy and a sensitivity to rejection.
  2. In new social settings, you will become extremely self-conscious, shy or inhibited and will be preoccupied with being criticized or rejected
  3. .You tend to view yourself as socially inept, personally unappealing or inferior to others.
  4. In interpersonal relationships, you will show restraint.
  5. You tend not to trust others and avoid relationships unless you are certain of being liked. Often, people with APD become socially isolated as a result of this avoidance.

In general, personality disorders are diagnosed when there is impairment in personality functioning (self and interpersonal), and the impairment is stable across time and situations.

This is certainly accurate with me but is this really that different from more serious social anxiety? I am definitely awful at handling criticism. so are my family. I cant even post my pictures on some photo sites as I could not handle the negative opinions of others although there are always people trying to put you down or show off on all online forums.  I cant debate on any forums either as it feels like a personal attack to have another opinion even if mine are totally valid. But isn’t an over reaction to criticism common with most people with SA?  Again the advice in SA books and sites which is to make an unpopular opinion even if valid does not work at all as making comments on SAUK against the crowd or mainstream opinion gets me attacked, disliked and ignored which actually increases my paranoia, depression and avoidance. So yet more useless advice given by so called experts.

APD has more to do with a person’s personality and may appear more stable over time and from one situation to another, while SAD tends to separate itself from the personality, may come and go depending on the situation, and may be easier to change or treat.

I also read that APD people are more likely to have paranoia and anger issues, fear of intimacy  and of course depression but I thought this was simply due to age and being mental for so long. In fact I have only become seriously depressed, paranoid and more irritable in the last few years. I watched a woman with APD on youtube and it does seem much harder to treat than average SA as its so ingrained with no motivation or enthusiasm. For instance going out and doing exposures would certainly create some rejections and negative reactions but rather than move on I would get enraged and still be thinking about it at 4AM and then convince myself that this just confirms that people dislike me even when i do try to talk first.  I would almost certainly lose it in therapy unless I had a very sympathetic therapist and I could not trust myself in group therapy to be polite if people criticised me which is what some role plays advocate.

Its obvious to me now that most therapists dont get all this when giving advice and claiming that social anxiety is easily treatable. For instance as I would probably choose death over intense humiliation and would stay awake all night going over my mistakes and I already have severe guilt and shame then expecting me to put myself though more intense shaming events like exposures and pretending they are the hard work needed and that they will cure me is obviously not going to work. In many situations I would get more anxious and awkward making people feel very uncomfortable  and so confirming all negative beliefs when they react badly. This is even more so as I still believe that humans as a species evolved to be judgemental, most people do notice you if you act or look strange and often reject you for being different or faulty because there is vast quantities of proof through history to validate it.







The Strength Within

This is a quote I especially like from a book I was reading last year and moved me greatly. It feels like my last battle has began, it is a courage without hope, unnoticed and unrecognised but as real as any thing that has ever been.

“There is a peculiar strength that comes to a man when he knows he is facing his final battle. That battle is not limited to war, nor the strength to warriors. I’ve seen this strength in old women with the coughing sickness and heard of it in families that are starving together. It drives one to go on, past hope or despair, past blood loss and gut wounds, past death itself in a final surge to save something that is cherished. It is courage without hope.

It is a terrible bravery – and at its strongest and worst, it goes on for months when one battles a final illness. Or, I believe, when one moves toward a duty that will definitely result in death but is completely unavoidable. It lights everything in one’s life with a terrible radiance. All relationships are illuminated for what they are, and for what they truly were in the past. All illusions melt away. The false is revealed as starkly as the true.”

It is Finished!

On Friday I went to Lincoln cathedral as I did last year. It was really to pray and try to get some peace and think for a while. The Christmas market was over the previous weekend so it was quite peaceful once you climb the hill and  get out of the main shopping area.

I was still very agitated and anxious when I got there. This is because I had been this way for the last few weeks as my anxiety had been getting steadily worse. When I got in and it was almost empty apart from some staff looking at me I became so anxious I almost left. I did not speak very well to the cashier(yes its £8 to get in!). This again proves that when you are  depressed and anxious then doing stuff like meeting people doesn’t cure you like the long list of things they advise for depression. My f**ked up depressed mind made me act anxious, feel terrible and I did not enjoy much at all. To top it all there was a 2 hour journey there and back on a crowded train and there were also some art students drawing all over the place so it was not as peaceful as I hoped and I once again become paranoid and thought some laughed at me.

In a private chapel I stood before the sculpture(above) that represented the face of Christ and as I touched it all I could think of was “IT IS FINISHED! which are supposedly the last words he said on the cross before he died and went to heaven. I then prayed to him to take me soon and let me die quickly. Last year I prayed for help or death. he gave me neither. Perhaps he never existed or is a bit deaf. This was the only time I felt spiritual all day. This life is a complete waste of time and is finished. Nothing has worked, nothing I think and do has ever helped for long. I am now far too old for any miracles and almost every single day I feel deep misery and exhaustion but also burning ANGER and RAGE. There is virtually no help available and those that claim there is demand you just change your mind and go around talking and being happy to strangers which shows once again that they have never truly felt intense misery and have not the the slightest clue what years of this can do to you. I have no intention of getting to the stage of begging on the street as a homeless man.

On Saturday morning while making breakfast I had a sudden pain going across my left side and especially my heart. I become dizzy and had to sit down. It ached for several hours and again when I became anxious later on. I thought he had heard me and it was about to be over but not yet, there are still some things to do but hopefully soon he will take me. There is nothing left.

O Come All Ye Faithful

I saw this quote earlier today and realised I have been thinking pretty much the same for quite some time now. Years in fact, especially when my elderly mother was dying slowly. Its not always going back to bed I crave as I wake early almost every day and can’t sleep again but I often wait all day for night to come when I can drink as I have been drinking almost every evening for some time now.  I often wake up in the night after more bad dreams and wish I would die. And no I dont want to come back again to confront my problems like some hideous nightmare as some people believe. This is how depression makes you feel and yet the self help sites are full of absolutely unbelievably shit motivational tips and quotes.  Get up early and do stuff! Yes more housework is going to make a lot of difference! See your friends! See my other 500 posts on social anxiety an lack of any friends.  My depression is not caused by chemical imbalance so cant be cured by pills. There never was a normal life to go back to.

I again look at the only meetup group in my city which I could attend which is for photography and imagine how to make small talk,having to explain being unemployed for YEARS and YEARS, not being in a relationship and never having had one even though I am over 40, having absolutely no family or friends and apart from photography having nothing to speak about at all. This is even without my awkwardness, social anxiety and depression for them to deal with so the idea of just meeting a bunch of strangers to make you feel better is complete bollocks and shows how bad the advice is.  If the advice is to avoid negative people then they would avoid me so what do you do if you are the negative one? Drink?  Such meets demand enthusiasm, friendliness and social skills to even start with and I have none. Why is there never any advice whatsoever to even get to the level of meeting people? Is it because there is none? When you are so far down mentally and physically and have no support then death is the only result, the inevitable conclusion? I have certainly seen no help for my problems by looking at CBT and therapy. Some even think exercise cures you of depression!

I think Christmas is making things worse again. Today has been awful with wave after wave of depression and misery and feelings of wanting to die. Taking a shower, going for a walk and dong some gardening or housework(the usual shit advice for depression) are about as effective as putting a small bandage on an freshly amputated leg. Little helps if you are this lonely, depressed and your life is a complete mess and has been for decades. Your personality has changed beyond recognition and as nobody wants you then you stay alone and never get better. I did not have a wife, partner, kids or family to begin with so can’t get help from them.I see the end of another year when nothing has changed in the slightest and I still see absolutely no way out or escape whatsoever other than death.  The prospect of applying for a job I could get, do and which I would not hate is as achievable as being told to chat up and marry a supermodel after being a lifelong dateless virgin.  I came close to self harming again earlier but must get past Christmas first.  All this negative shit and I have not even drunk anything yet. Better start now.


Not quite normal


I was looking at an old post the other day as it came up on on my stats page which means someone else has looked at it. It was in relevance to the re-internment of King Richard III’s bones which were discovered under a car park in my city two years ago. I wrote this;

“A nice volunteer lady was chatting to people on the day of the re interment and asked me about my camera. I tried to answer her but that oh so familiar awkwardness awakened and I almost sighed and walked off. It’s the reaction on others faces that hurts so much when they realise that you are not quite normal but they still try and be polite although at the same time try to move away. Having no control of my voice, facial expressions and body language is so frustrating. Once my anxiety comes alive it’s unstoppable and the paranoia starts to eat away at my confidence in a relentless attack of self doubt. It might as well be one of those dreams where you imagine everyone pointing and laughing at you and you just want to run away.”

This is what no self help book seems to have any comprehension of. They assume under all conditions that if you have social anxiety all you do it keep finding people to talk to and you get better. Its once again convinced me that almost all therapists and doctors have no comprehension how to cure more severe social anxiety at all, just modest shyness which they assume vanishes as soon as you do anything and that all strangers are lovely.  I also remember when the Queen came to visit and some woman actually spoke to me first and her reaction to what I said was as if I had offended her, just by acting shy or nervous. This is the reaction anxiety creates in normal people. It confuses and repels them and of course makes us more paranoid and avoidant. So just doing anything does not help.

On the rare occasions I tried to speak to someone I actually liked or wanted to get to know when at work I also got this reaction, like I was not good enough or that I was strange and they then avoided me.  I only got better when I moved to an office job by working with friendlier chatty people and copying them and by of course changing my attitude to try to not care about what others think of me so much. Mind you I still wanted to kill some of them, I still do now. I find it hard to forget and impossible to forgive. Then of course I lost my job. Now I am alone all day ad every day after my redundancy and everything has gotten much worse again but then most people’s confidence would dip after years of near total isolation and having never had a relationship. Then they(self help sites. books, people on forums) wonder why they cant bully optimism into you and say its all your own fault.

Do shy people make normal people feel uncomfortable?

“I’m not sure shy people realise sometimes how inadvertently uncomfortable they can make non-shy people,”
This is an interesting quote from the social anxiety forum especially as I was VERY aware of how uncomfortable I made others feel especially females which is why I never ever tried to chat one up!  Its true though! In fact its f**king obvious! Very shy people make normals very uncomfortable so they dislike and avoid us making it much harder to fit in and ever be accepted into society. They guilt trip us for not doing enough and then ignore that people hate us for acting shy when we do try!
My reply was;
 Really, I thought this was the problem with shy people as we are too worried what others think of us all the time and how we make others feel. I felt very disliked at work for being shy and making other people uncomfortable which is why I could never even try and chat a girl up and partly why I have not been to any meets especially anxiety meets plus I am now a similar age to you and so too old. There was a new SA meetup group in my city a few weeks ago but despite 50 members it closed down already due to lack of interest!

By contrast all the self help books and sites I have looked at in the last year seem to imply that this is maladaptive thinking, most people dont even notice our behaviour and its not really important and that we should just keep trying. This is obviously lies as people are very judgmental in my experience did notice everything especially as when I was in my twenties I used to blush and stammer and sweat uncontrollably which made people very uncomfortable and so has taken away all confidence in CBT or that therapists have any idea what they are talking about.

I am not expecting a sensible reply or debate though. All my past experience of SAUK tells me that people love to argue, call you names, belittle you and generally think they are superior. Good God that’s the reason why so many people are shy in the first place as they had parents and other people treat them this way in their upbringing.  Then they just copy the behaviour and treat others this way!


Effective Treatment for depression and anxiety?

Is there really any effective treatment for depression and social anxiety or is it all mostly a load of old crap and just a scam to keep therapists in work? If you exclude medication I can find no advice or help whatsoever that has had any effect or given me any motivation or hope at all. Perhaps its pretty much incurable past a certain age with some people and in certain circumstances. After all most help for depression assumes you  have good family or friends and most help for social anxiety assumes you are brimming with enthusiasm and positivity.

It assumes so much and offers so little. All books and self help sites only make me more depressed as their advice is absolutely shit and bares no relation with my reality and life experiences at all. As mentioned in my previous post people are highly judgemental and many ridicule us so its not all maladaptive thinking.  For social anxiety they advise you start with easy situations but I cant find any, at all. None.  Certainly not that I a prepared to do for prolonged periods of time and every day for months even if it makes me extremely humiliated and ashamed and gets me ridiculed. You see that will almost certainly make me worse and suicidal as I wont get better as I wont make witty banter under stressful situations and people will mock me and dislike me.

Thats because if you act very shy people think you are weird,strange mental and never want to see you again. Fact.  I still cant get over the advice of a man my age(OVER 40!) going up to strangers on the street, in elevators and supermarkets and awkwardly speaking some shit about the weather and claiming that people especially woman will love me approaching them and making awkward small talk awkwardly like a shy awkward person with no confidence.  Did I mention I am awkward? Only a complete twat would advice this as a simple thing to cure for social anxiety. Its absolutely destined to fail and then reaffirms all negative beliefs making me EVEN MORE AVOIDANT!

Its not easy to hear but I think for many people with depression and anxiety there is no effective help whatsoever and you will never fully recover. You will either have to learn to live with it and get any shit job you can manage like I did for 20 years at minimum wage eve though I was in the top 10% of my school or even worse.  The NHS as far as I can tell is in complete collapse with mental health ignored and has many therapists who are useless. The advice simply doesn’t work and completely ignores the persons personal circumstances. For instance many social anxiety self help sites just assume you must have one good friend to go and do things with or a valued family member who you can rely on. Many dont. Just like I cant get any sleep or even try to meditate or relax because of NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! all day, every day. Sometimes at 2 AM and sometimes again at 7 AM and all day. So I would have to move house and first get £150,000 from nowhere.

Lifestyle changes to treat depression

1.Exercise. Regular exercise can be as effective at treating depression as medication.

Not really. It helps to sometime go for a walk but most walks in my city have little of no effect whatsoever, often making me feel worse. I cant afford a gym and being a 45+ year old male loner would not feel comfortable on my own in the gym anyway.

2.Social support. Strong social networks reduce isolation, a key risk factor for depression.

Well there’s your problem, having social anxiety and being a loner I only have one friend who I see only several times a year and never speak to anyone else for 47 weeks of the year.

3. Nutrition. Eating well is important for both your physical and mental health.

I have eaten more fruit and veg. Effect;none whatsoever, I regularly feel hopeless, insomnia has returned and I am desperate and often feel like committing suicide. F**K spinach. All it does is make me go for a crap at 1AM.

4. Sleep. Sleep has a strong effect on mood. When you don’t get enough sleep, your depression symptoms will be worse. Sleep deprivation exacerbates irritability, moodiness, sadness, and fatigue.

Yes, this is very true. I woke early again today and feel terrible again. Unfortunately what they never tell you is if you live in a bad environment or have noisy neighbours there is absolutely no choice whatsoever. Ear plugs are useless for thudding noises. If we could all live in a quiet country mansion we would.

5.Stress reduction. Make changes in your life to help manage and reduce stress. Too much stress exacerbates depression and puts you at risk for future depression.

How? Being avoidant reduces stress and yet you are told to not be avoidant.I feel stressed all day even without a job. Imagine if I was being bullied by the job centre and threatened with homelessness as well for not looking for work hard enough. Social anxiety is the cause of everything but I cant get rid of that without getting rid of depression. How do I get rid of social anxiety when I have no motivation, suicidal tendencies, anger issues, fear of intimacy and paranoia?

Help for social anxiety is even worse because as mentioned previously most CBT for social anxiety assumes you are already highly  motivated, enthusiastic, have no depression, have no paranoia and that you always burst into  witty banter in a great voice with no blushing, stammering or sweating and no awkwardness at all and people love anything you say, never ridicule you or avoid you. Oh and that you are under 30 as nobody still has social anxiety past 30 and of course they assume you are attractive too or looks dont matter. Funny so many shy and nerdy people look like Mr Bean then.