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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a new member and I am very glad to have found this place. A short version of why: I am 47 and have dealt with severe sa and have been diagnosed with Avoidant personality disorder. I have NO friends and can count on one hand the number of friends that I have had over the years. Currently there is no-one that I socialize with. I have been divorced for 3 years from a very socially adept man who I loved who left me for a woman who is more in tune with his personality. I was devastated and it was the final blow to my self esteem. I long for social contact with others and at the same time avoid it like the plague. I am getting so tired of the battle. I work with 3 very social and strong women in a small office and they hang out together after work but I am never invited. Ayway I wont go on and on. I am glad I found this place. I hope to at least aleave a littel of the isolation I feel here. Dreams and shadows
 

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Many of us can relate..........I'm over 40........I know NOW many of my issues are caused my SA...........But......We learn.........Stick around, read the post........When I first came here, I was shocked at how many people I could relate to, most everyone is supportive and understanding!
 

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Hi dreamshadow: yes these peeps here are just great. I have been coming here for about a year i guess and find they are all very open about the issues we face. I hope you will enjoy this site.


:wel
 

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Dear Dreamshadows,
I am 63 probably the oldest member on this forum. I know how crippling SA is as there were times when I was not working and my social life was until the past 3 years was virtually shot. I think people who don't have SA don't understand what it's like. I wish your co-workers had more compassion as well as your previous husband.
Hope you will find support here and please learn as much as you can about SA. There's a wealth of information, books, and now there is real help and live support groups for SA people available especially if you live in a big city. I,m sure you will identify with much in this forum.
 

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Welcome to SAS. My story is similar to yours except I've never been married. I have been diagnosed with SA and major depression. I have not been diagnosed with AVpD but I'm sure I have it. Although there was no name for the condition I had when I was a child I'm sure that I had Selective Mutism. Which in my opinion is a childhood form of SA. I've been at the end of my rope for a long time. I'm just hanging here wondering how much longer I will be able to hold on. I have a supportive family (even though they don't understand) and I also have some online friends I've made over the years, some of them from this site.
 

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Hi D&S,

Welcome to SAS. I am 67 and in pretty much the same situation as you except that I'm retired now. I've been divorced since January 2003.

I think you will like it here. We are an understanding bunch and we all try to help each other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you to all here. I literally wept when I found this group and started reading the posts. When I tried to explain to my now ex-husband what I was feeling--he started backing away even more. No one understands this affliction unless they have it. I have had people look at me as if I have two heads when I try to explain what I feel. people who dont have SA are uncomfortable with people who have it. Being here I don't feel so alone. I belong to a divorce support group online but it is very hard to be "loud" enough to get any responses. I wish there were support groups around here but I live in a very rural and sparsley populated area in New England--which adds to my isolation. New Englanders are by nature hard to get to know anyway-- I am not from here origionally. I am glad that there is a sub-group here for us not as young folks-there are some issues I think that can be a bit different for us. does anyone else get extreamly nervous and uncomfortable when they are asked to do anything social with a person? this adds to my problems in that if I DO get asked to do anything I freeze. Any coping stratigies??
 

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Yeah, I get uncomfortable if someone asks me to do something sociable. I think it's the fear of forming an actual friendship and then being rejected. It's like when you're having a casual conversation with someone and then they ask you to come over for a barbeque or something. You're screwed either way. If you accept, you run the risk of being rejected later on and if you say no, the other person might feel some resentment.

I've had that happen at work a few times. I used to talk to one of the guys at work about sports. It was something I looked forward to at work (one of the few things). We were both hockey fans and we'd talk about the Avs games. He bought an HD TV and one day he asked me if I wanted to come over and watch a game. I felt really uncomfortable with that. I liked the casual office relationship we had and I didn't really want it to turn into anything more than that. So I said, "Yeah, maybe...", but I never did. I got the feeling he felt insulted.

I used to be able to handle being social by getting a little drunk, but alcohol doesn't make me feel good any more, so now I just avoid being around people. I don't even try any more.
 

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Welcome dreamshadows,
I'm glad you found this board. For me, it really helps just to realize there are so many other people with the same issues. Best of luck.
 

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Hi Dreamshadows. I like your username. :)

I'm fairly new to these boards too, this forum seems nice that we are a bit older, some of the other users seem so young! LOL. ;)

SA is really hard to describe to anyone who hasn't experienced it directly. I don't think they can really understand. The emotions that come up and incapacitate us and feel so intense, in situations that other people just are able to deal with every day.

I'm attempting to be more social in my life and it's really really scary. Just the last two years. I'm trying to make friends and it's weird, but I think it's going okay. But each day I think they will find out something about me they can't stand, and they'll go away. I guess we'll see. :) The healthy attitude is that I shouldn't care, that they'll like me for who I am no matter what. But.. that's not an attitude that has been prevelent in my life.
 

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Thanks Cynthia--I wish I had the nerve to be more social--I have never initiated a friendship--any friends that I have had have always come to me I suppose it is never too late to learn. I think you are brave to be able to change. By the way--is anyone here from the New England area?
 

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Hey dreamsnshadows. I know how you feel. I'm 47 too, and I've had very few friends. I have no friends now and haven't for many years. I don't consider the people I work with to be friends. We get along well but I never socialize with or talk to any of them away from work. There are a few people I'd like to get to know better, but I'm afraid to ask them.
 

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My "avoidant" got so bad I finally couldn't manage to hold a job anymore. You did manage to get married. I'm 55 years old and haven't been very close to ever getting married. The closest I came was my highschool girlfriend and I got the "Dear John" my first year of college. You should have tons of people to socialize with here.
 

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I can really relate to the friends thing. I haven't had a close friend for almost ten years now. I have my husband but I would like to have at least one female friend. So I reached out to this woman at this support group I attend. Was that ever painful! But she responded and we are now working on becoming friends. I spent some time with her this past week and boy was it stressful for me to know how to act. I was really trying too hard to please. It was really awkward. And after our time together was over I was exhausted. I mean I was reaaaaaaaaaaalllllyyy exhausted. I actually missed work on Monday because it took so much out of me. This is really hard but I am hopeful that the hard work will pay off as I attack this disorder. Welcome.
 

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Hi Dreamsnshadows. I'm 56 and have been divorced 3 years now as well. I always had friends until about 5 or 6 years ago. Then I got really bad with this disorder, couldn't use the phone, so couldn't answer when they'd call, couldn't return their calls, couldn't accept invitations any longer (but even before it got that bad, I would quickly come up with 'reasons' I couldn't do this or that with them - or I'd force myself to accept and try to come up with reasons to cancel). After my H and I separated in '99 is when it became the worse. I stopped going anywhere I didn't have to.

But, noone ever understood what it was like for me either. Certainly not family. For a long while, I stopped telling people about the SAD. Now, on occasion, if I feel the person is understanding and I feel fairly safe, I will tell them... but I don't risk my emotions any more than I have to. I get so tired of them thinking it's that I'm just being stubborn, rude, selfish, lazy or intentionally anti-social.

Do you have a counselor, Dreamsnshadows? Someone that specializes in this disorder, or general anxiety disorders, might be very helpful for you.
 

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Hello dreamsnshadows...and everyone else here. My experiences are so much like yours. Like you I have no friends right now and I find my self obsessing over that fact. I look around me and it seems like friendships come so easily to some people. I started a new job 9 months ago and though everyone there is very nice I haven't made any friends (the office is 95% women). There have been others that started working in the office after I did and within a few weeks they were pal-ing around with someone. It's so painful to be around it. Most of the time I just wish I were able to find a job that I didn't have to face others every day. I even got up my nerve one day and asked a co-worker if she wanted to go to the fair that was in town (she had mentioned that she wanted to see the crafts that were on exhibit). She said yes at first...then she said she wasn't sure, she had to check her schedule...and I never heard back from her. I was too humiliated to bring it up again. I know it sounds like a little thing, but it wasn't easy for me to ask. I've already begun to stress out about the work Christmas party that's coming up in December. I've already got a dozen excuses lined up to give for why I wasn't able to attend. Is that pathetic or what?

I'm very sorry to hear about your marriage dreamsnshadows. I can only imagine how painful that was. The one thing that has kept me from going off the deep end is my husband. I've been married for 29 years. He understands the way that I am, and the fact that he's not a very social person himself probably helps. We live virtually like hermits. He does have several good friends that he pals around with on his own but for the most part it's just him and I. But I would love to have a girlfriend. I keep hoping.

Sorry this turned into such a long post...I didn't mean for it to. But I did want to let you know that your not alone...there are others out there like you who understand and care about what your going through.
 

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Hi everyone, I know I'm a few months late to join this conversation, but, thought I would post anyway. I also have experienced many of the problems you all have. I have had SA since I was a child. Back then they called me shy, then I became a wallflower, then anti-social.

I am here to tell you I truly believe I have been saved. I started therapy six months ago and started taking Zoloft at the same time. I still have my "off" days, but, for the most-part I feel 100 times better than I have for as long as I can remember. I still turn down a few invitations out of fear and I still have a little trouble letting people get to know me and I am working on all of that. I feel that within the next few years I will be able to completely rid myself of unnecessary anxiety. I work in a data processing center and I sit in a waist high cubicle in a large room that holds about 80 cubes. At any given time there are 40 to 60 people there. That's a lot of anxiety! It was very hard for me to even walk around the room. Now, I don't even think about who might be looking at me or talking about me. I don't care. I know I am a good person and a good friend and that's all that matters. I have a group of friends that has slowly grown over the five years I have worked there. For the year prior to Zoloft, I have felt increasingly isolated from this group and I'm sure they didn't know what to do with me. Last Christmas, I bought gifts for all of them and when I gave them out it became clear to me that they never expected this to happen. They had to really scramble to find last minute gifts for me. This year I announced that I had set a budget for Christmas and that I would not be giving gifts to my co-workers. One friend then suggested that we do a gift exchange. I never expected her to want to help me out like that. It made me feel very good to know that she cared about me enough to keep me included in the group and I have felt better and better about my friends at work ever since.

I think that Zoloft has made all the difference. It amazes how once that tiny little pill started taking effect, things that kept me up at night no longer bothered me at all. I urge everyone to seek medical attention for your problems. It saved my life and I think it can save yours. The secret is to keep at it. Go to therapy, take your meds.
 

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It's great that you have improved so much. I know that Zoloft has been an important part of your therapy, but what kind of non-drug therapy have you been doing? How long do you expect to have to take Zoloft? I am hesitant to take anti-anxiety drugs. I guess I am afraid I'll rely on the drug too much and won't actually change my thinking or behavior. Has this been a concern for you? Just trying to figure out if I should end up using anti-anxiety drugs or not.
 
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