Since when do you have SAD?
Mine started around puberty. It developed slowly, in response to bullying in high school. It was full-blown by my early 20s.
I'm a late bloomer compared to most people here. I was in drama class in high school, and I used to be the first person on the dance floor at high school dances. I won an award for public speaking.
Do you have any secondary disorders?
I haven't been officially diagnosed with anything, but these are the ones I'm sure about
: anxiety, OCD, gender dysphoria, phobias, nightmare disorder, insomnia, migraines and suicidal ideation without depression. Nobody takes self-diagnoses seriously, though. I got an unofficial diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder from a GP because they're getting tired of me showing up at the clinic with symptoms they can't diagnose. I have auditory and olfactory hallucinations but those could be migraine-related.
Have you ever been to therapy before? If not, why? If yes, what kind of therapy?
I've never been to a therapist because I can't afford to see one. Even if I went, I can't afford medication. I taught myself CBT and ACT, meditate, and have been studying psychology for over 20 years. Mostly self/ego psychology and different kinds of therapeutic techniques.
In what situations is your anxiety really bad?
I'm always anxious. I don't remember what it's like not to be anxious. I have trouble getting to sleep, and when I do sleep I have nightmares. But my SA gets worse the more people there are around and the less well I know them. A music concert or an amusement park is nightmare for me.
The better I know a person, and the more intimate the conversation is, the less anxiety I feel. The less I know someone, and the more superficial a conversation is, the more anxiety I feel. I basically consider human beings dangerous animals. My fear recedes to the extent that I discover I can reason with a person.
Do the people around you know of your disorder? If not, why?
I don't know many people anymore, but most of the people I do know know that I'm anxious. I come from a large family and almost every one of us has an official diagnosis with one or more psychological disorders. Schizophrenia, GAD, SAD, PTSD, APD, depression or something else.
I haven't felt much pressure to get an official diagnosis because I grew up surrounded by people with disorders. Their symptoms are familiar to me and easy to spot in myself. Everyone in my family understands that I have the same sort of issues they have. An official diagnosis might have been required to get people in my family to take my issues seriously if that weren't the case. Fortunately (or unfortunately), it hasn't been.
Have you ever felt like your disorder isn‘t recognized by others?
I don't think most people who don't have SAD take it very seriously. I've never gotten special treatment, even in my own family where people do understand it. My dad kicked me out when I was 18 because he didn't want me turning into a recluse like my older brothers. (He believes in exposure therapy.) I've been independent ever since out of necessity.
I'm not sure what "recognizing" the disorder would accomplish since I don't see how it would affect me. I'll still have the same obligations I've always had.
What prejudices do others have?
I think most people construe my avoidance as haughtiness, laziness, or touchiness. People generally avoid me and have always considered me weird.
How do you cope with those prejudices?
I'm generally indifferent to the opinions of others unless I think they pose a threat to my well-being. I'm much more concerned about my appearance than what people think about my behavior.
What do you wish from others?
Nothing. I've never had a wish come true.