Posts tagged AvPD
Posts tagged AvPD
The key bit is the words “personality disorder.”
Per Wikipedia, the DSM says this (basically) means:
- An enduring pattern of psychological experience and behavior that differs prominently from cultural expectations, as shown in two or more of: cognition (i.e. perceiving and interpreting the self, other people or events); affect (i.e. the range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response); interpersonal functioning; or impulse control.
- The pattern must appear inflexible and pervasive across a wide range of situations, and lead to clinically significant distress or impairment in important areas of functioning.
- The pattern must be stable and long-lasting, have started as early as at least adolescence or early adulthood.
- The pattern must not be better accounted for as a manifestation of another mental disorder, or to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g. drug or medication) or a general medical condition (e.g. head trauma).
And again per Wikipedia, the ICD says this means:
From what I can tell from consulting the Google machine, AvPD and SAD are extremely similar, but AvPD is like SAD on steroids.
Feel free to add to that, you all.
- Markedly disharmonious attitudes and behavior, generally involving several areas of functioning; e.g. affectivity, arousal, impulse control, ways of perceiving and thinking, and style of relating to others;
- The abnormal behavior pattern is enduring, of long standing, and not limited to episodes of mental illness;
- The abnormal behavior pattern is pervasive and clearly maladaptive to a broad range of personal and social situations;
- The above manifestations always appear during childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood;
- The disorder leads to considerable personal distress but this may only become apparent late in its course;
- The disorder is usually, but not invariably, associated with significant problems in occupational and social performance.
Notice these words:
Because the areas I’m really good at, really interested in, etc., are all high-conflict things. Teaching, counseling, human resources, politics, history - this is not exactly the Zen of interest lists.
Also, I really really want to help people. I want to solve problems and make things more efficient and explain things and teach and find solutions and so forth.
But there’s always, always, a huge amount of fear involved. One of the reasons I can now bother Heather to make an appointment with her bishop is that I’ve spent about a year carefully increasing the extent to which I say things to her, and she’s been remarkably resilient. At the slightest hint of interpersonal rejection, it’s always back to step one with me. I shared a small notice on one of my mental-health message boards a few weeks ago, and got a note from a moderator saying it had broken one of their rules. I haven’t been able to even reply to the note, let alone actually go back and post things there. One tiny mistake and I went from posting on a daily basis to not even logging in to lurk.
I try to fight this, obviously, and I’m super aware of what’s happening (and of the likely reasons behind it,) which is a big step beyond where I used to be with the issue.
But it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve spent most of the last hour talking myself down from a panic attack from a third of a minute of President Obama being mildly confrontational on a set hundreds of miles away from my home. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m going to take another Ativan dose so that I can sleep tonight. And it doesn’t change the fact that I’m looking forward to switching back to my nice, safe, low-conflict TV episodes I’ve already seen thirty times that I am dying here typing out this last sentence instead of hitting the button already.
Okay. Now I’ve changed the TV. I’m still jittery, but less scared.
It was rough, I’ll be honest. I really wasn’t clear on what I should be doing, which is always when things get bad for me - lack of structure is one of my worst enemies, especially in social situations. This wasn’t quite “party” level bad, but it was close. Especially because (as shouldn’t surprise me in a room full of people with mental illnesses,) people were behaving strangely at times. Like, no clear direction was given that we would start with a certain person and go around, in order, to introduce ourselves. So people just started introducing themselves at random.
Ugh. Anyway, I survived it. I stayed the whole time, though that’s in part because it only lasted an hour instead of the usual two. They promised they’d make some changes for next time, especially moving the tables on my side of the room closer to the middle of the room - people had to touch me to get past me. It was a bit traumatizing.
The content of this first day is kind of difficult to judge - we had no handouts, a huge portion of the day was devoted to introductions, the only video in the entire course was played (so glad it’s the only one,) and they described how the rest of the course would go. So I have no idea how the rest of the course will be. We’ll see.
The key thing is: I went. I stayed the whole time. I got home safely. No full-blown panic attacks or meltdowns were experienced.
So, it went okay.
I’ve been hearing about it (and suggesting it to people) for months and months, and finally the new session is starting in my area, and of course now I’m terrified. New building, strangers, have to stay there for two hours, more people will know I’m sick, area of town I’m not familiar with, ack ack ack.
I’m trying to talk myself into making it less scary, but I’ve known for a while that this was going to require a hefty measure of courage and stuff, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to make myself go even if I really am scared to death when the time comes. It helps that the person who’s in charge also leads the NAMI Connection support group that I go to on Thursdays, and I promised her I’d be there. She knows how I feel about mindfulness exercises and being touched and stuff, which really nice.
If you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about, the program is described in detail here. Basically, it’s a ten-week class for people with serious mental illness, focused on recovery and living well and stuff. It’s taught by people who actually live with mental illness, which is one of the big reasons I’m interested in it; the cluelessness factor of therapists and counselors about the actual lived experience of mental illness can sometimes be very high.
The class is going to talk about a lot of things I already know something, or a lot, about, but I’m not thinking I actually already know it all. It’s fairly interactive, from what I understand, and in any case I wouldn’t mind working on things like my Wellness Recovery Action Plan with people there making sure I’m doing it; I’ve had a “working draft” for ten months and I think I’ve filled out about three sections.
One of the real benefits, I’m thinking, is that it’s longer-term in focus. The stuff we did at the hospital programs was always really short-term; how to get up in the morning and how to get yourself to do one or two things a day when all you want to do is sleep. I wouldn’t mind having a little bit more of strategic thinking for the long term.
I don’t honestly know if this will help me much or not. I don’t normally recommend the course for people who know as much as I do. ;) But if nothing else, it gets me out of my house for another day this week.
This is one of the GREAT times for a thought record. For me, thought records work better on this exact thing than almost any other time. If I’ve figured out that I don’t want to do something because it’s scary, but I know I have to do it, this is like, a sign from the UNIVERSE that it is time for a thought record.
Oh, hey, links to thought record stuff:
My thoughts first, because… lists turn people off, and other reasons:
Dissociation is extremely unpleasant once you realize what’s happening and how much it’s messing with getting things done and getting on with life. But up until that instant, which pretty much has to happen every single time you have an episode (and is generally, for me, the marker of “this dissociative episode has ended,”) it feels great.
I made a list of things I’m avoiding today. It filled up a 4x6 index card - technically there’s one line left (two if I use up the line which is giving me an aesthetically pleasing amount of space between the title and the list.) I’m sure I’ll think of something to put there.
I’m hoping that I can get myself to make a little bit of progress on them (see, going to therapy is helpful) but it’s going to be tricky. I think I will start with maybe removing some screws on my wall. Or at least getting up close enough to them to figure out how to do that. This is not an especially challenging task, either physically or emotionally.
And in case that description doesn’t make it clear: it REALLY stinks to have it.
Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD) is a recognised disorder which is characterized by a hypersensitivity to criticism, intense self loathing and a strong desire to isolate themselves. Sufferers believe that they lack social skills, and feel they don’t know or…
Today I went to my first group therapy session not in the hospital. And it was… downright survivable. I even spoke a little!