I have AvPD. I'm now 28 and I've had it since I was around 14, although I didn't feel the effects of it very strongly back then.
AvPD affects about 1.6% of the population as a whole, so it's not a very common disorder. AvPD is hard to describe, but it basically makes people
socially awkward/inept. It is not a fear of social situations, but it does cause stress. People who have AvPD generally have much more activity in
response to stimuli going on in the frontal lobe of the brain - so much, that it is overwhelming. Any social situations, especially those which
require unplanned interactions cause stress and tension for people with AvPD. (for more info, see here:
I have a strong dislike of small-talk/chit chat for example. In fact, so much so - that when I hear small talk going on, I get an almost instant
headache which lasts for a week or more. I've had my current headache now for a few weeks, with no stop and it is causing sleep problems. The
headaches aren't small ones - they affect my concentration to the point where I can't think at all. My mind is blank and numb.
Even moments which should be happy ones cause this for me. My parents took me and my brother out to a restaurant the other day, and as soon as we
arrived I felt uneasy because of the number of people and I could feel myself spacing out - becoming distant from everything and lost in the
Everyday I dread the thought of going to work - not because of the work, but because of the forced social interactions. In fact, the work itself is
great (I'm a graphics programmer) - it allows me to turn off from the outside world for a bit and focus on something I can do.
In my office, I hear people laughing and joking non-stop in the background - and I feel completely at odds with it. The jokes seem small and childish
to me, the conversations hollow and devoid of any real meaning. I wish I could enjoy it the same way everyone else seems to - but I can't. It
actually infuriates me to hear the conversations people have - I feel so distant from it, I could never take part in the gossipy rubbish most people
seem to enjoy. It saddens me.
I try to be social - I actually forced myself to try something new a few years ago, so I moved abroad and started teaching English as a foreign
language. It forced me to be social and talk more with people. After 4 years though, I find myself unable to face it - it feels completely alien and
wrong suddenly, so I've returned to what I previously did - programming.
Unfortunately - medication doesn't seem to help. I was given several types of tablets before, which seem to be related to stress. They made me feel
drowsy and tired more than have any other effects though. The problem is, this is a personality disorder. Personality disorders are not really
The advice I've found is to try and develop coping strategies, but so far I haven't thought of any. I put in headphones in the office, but I feel
like it's rude and I know people have already started thinking of me as the odd-one out because of the lack of social interaction on my part. I
really wish I could talk with them, even just so I didn't appear so cold and distant - but whenever I am in a moment of social interaction, my mind
becomes completely blank and I freeze - I try to search for anything to say, but literally nothing arrives - so after several seconds, I usually just
say "yeah" or "uh-huh", because I can't find anything to say.
As I said, I don't feel shy - I have no fear of people. I just find myself completely unable to relate to most people. Occasionally I meet someone
who may have something interesting to say and not just gossip about celebrities and empty chit-chat about the weather or how drunk everyone got on the
It's really hard to keep jobs. In fact - my last boss fired me because he said I wasn't social enough with the rest of the team - even though I'd
fulfilled all my duties and always offered assistance when needed. I just didn't 'fit in'.
I don't think I'll ever really 'fit in'.
I have my own registered company, as I've also tried working as a freelancer from home, as I thought this would solve the social interaction problems
I face, but in order to succeed in business or in any avenue of life, social interaction is essential.
I'm really not looking for empathy - but I'd be interested to hear the experiences of any others out there with AvPD and their coping strategies.
Also, opinions and suggestions are also welcome
Thanks for taking the time to read this.