This Could Be Interesting

A group for people who don't interact with others properly- how's that going to work?  Oh well, one step in life's great adventure, you might say.

I was diagnosed with APD last year, but always knew there was something wrong.  After all, you don't reach 39 having had no relationships at all without suspecting that things are not entirely as they should be (OK, I'm no Brad Pitt, but even so...).  I certainly tick all the boxes- hyper self critical, terrified of opening up in case I'm judged by others ad rejecting others before they get the chance to reject me.  I do have a few close friends, and a wider social circle, but I avoid getting too close to the latter in case they see me as the weirdo I see myself as.  I have enough brains to have done OK at work, but lack the "soft" skills to progress any further- as my boss implies although she doesn't know of my condition.  A bit of a mess really.

One thing that really freaks me out is "ice breakers" at work events- i.e. when participants are got into groups and the facilitator asks everyone to reveal something silly about themselves, such as their favourite chocolate bar or who they would like to be played by if a Hollywood film were made about their life.  Whenever that happens, I panic, my mind goes blank and I'm convinced that people will laugh at anything I say.  I generally get out of it by ducking the question- e.g. by pretending not to know anything about films- but it's so frustrating to have to do that.

That said, at least I know why I am how I am- I was thrown out of the family home at the age of 6 and raised in a boarding school which has since been (quite rightly) shut for abusing the children in it.  Indeed, it is as part of the legal action against the school that I saw the psychiatrist who diagnosed me.  But I haven't had the strength to seek treatment yet, even though it may be available on our National Health Service, because I'm scared that the doctor will simply laugh at me and tell me to stop wasting his time when there are genuinely sick people he could be treating. 

I suppose that it's a bit easier to live with APD in England because our national culture is quite reserved and so I don't stand out quite as much as I would if I lived, for example, in parts of the USA or in Ireland.  People from other countries often see me as a stereotypical Englishman, but in the long run that doesn't really help as it makes it so much harder to to anything about the condition that is wrecking my life.
DryLettuce DryLettuce
36-40, M
2 Responses Jul 17, 2010

I've have had daydreams where I reveal to someone that I have this disorder. After I tell them they realize that I am not actually a snob and I don't keep them at an arm's length because I don't like them. Whenever the thought has occurred to me around one of these people in real life, it's been as terrifying as if I were contemplating leaping out of an airplane with no parachute.

Thanks for that. It was very useful- particularly the bit about the NHS. The other question, which I suppose applies to everyone with a non-visible disability, is whether to "come out" as an APD sufferer at work. The advantage is that, when something comes up that I can't do, people will realise that it's not because of simple stubborness, still less because of the other person's lack of motivational skills. The disadvantage is that I will be stereotyped and relegated to the sort of technical, non-interactive work that is deemed "suitable" for me. What do readers think?