Portrait of Anxiety, Avoidant Personality Disorder

Dec 5
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Avoidant personality disorder and anxiety limit lives and damage self-image. Change how you think about yourself to reduce anxiety and APD.

Avoidant personality disorder (APD) is like social anxiety on steroids. Someone with avoidant personality disorder lives a severely limited life because he or she is compelled by anxiety to avoid any and all social situations and even simple interactions with others. APD imprisons people in their own mind, holding them captive with fear and anxiety. It traps people in isolated places, such as inside their own home or in a job that involves no contact with other people.

This life-limiting disorder, though, cannot and does not change a person at his or her core. APD can make life difficult, but it doesn’t diminish someone’s humanity and intrinsic value. People with APD have passions, desires, a need for intellectual stimulation, a requirement for companionship, and more.

In My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel, Brian Cunningham lives with extreme anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, and anxiety attacks because of both. His life is limited, and he hates it. He also hates himself for it. When he looks at himself in the mirror, he sees someone who is ridiculous, strange, unworthy of friends, and all sorts of other horrible things. (The book opens with Brian cursing himself, “I’m an idiot.”)

This, sadly, is how many people with APD view themselves. But it really isn’t the case. Brian has many things going for him. If you live with APD, you, too, have many things going for you. I challenge you to explore them. Create a collage, photo story, poem, or written list of all of your passions, values, beliefs, and strengths. The first step to opening your door to the world (just a crack) is to change your thinking about yourself. (Or if you don’t live with APD but know someone who does, help him/her begin to emphasize different things about him/herself.)

This is Brain’s portrait collage. It’s just a small fraction of all that his is.

Avoidant personality disorder and anxiety limit lives and damage self-image. Change how you think about yourself to reduce APD, anxiety.


Peek into Brain’s anxious life:

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