How to talk to people about having AvPD?

Hi - I'm new to the site and forums in general, having never used any until now, thinking that somehow, someone will recognise who I am. After years of trying to deal with this on my own, I finally forced myself to see my doctor a couple of years back. They signed me up for CBT and I've been seeing a therapist for some time now and tried a few meds, but none of it has helped. So, I've been looking online for help and advice, but haven't found much that's of any use to me.

I feel that even compared to others in similar situations, I'm starting from a worse position, since all the things I've read from other people with AvPD either seem to have a girlfriend/ boyfriend or a friend or two, who they can turn to and do thing with. I haven't had anyone I'd consider to be close enough to be a friend since first school. The only people I have any contact with are my immediate family and work colleagues.

I'm know that my family thinks I'm strange, but I haven't told them what's wrong, I've spent the last 20 or so years trying to hide my problems from them to avoid burdening them and so that I don't risk having them think I'm even more different/ weird than what they already do.

Living alone with no friends or hobbies etc. is making me depressed, so I've been considering finally telling my family and hoping that they might be able to help. But, after so long, I don't know where to begin. I've tried drafting a few notes to go from, but it either just makes it sound like I'm just shy and complaining about nothing, or that it makes me sound insane with the true amount that it has limited me and affects me on a daily basis. I'm also worried that telling them will mean that every time I see them, the first thing they'll think of is that I have this problem and that they'll start treating me differently.

If anyone has had a similar issue and can offer advice, can you tell me:
1) How you'd recommend telling someone?
2) Whether telling someone is likely to make things better or worse?



Well-known member
Hi there, Rob0202.

Here's a suggestion: try showing a documentary on your issue to the person(s) that you want to share your feelings with. use that as a testing ground to see if they think the issue on the documentary is "out there" or if it brings up feelings of compassion. then ask if they know anyone with that issue. ask what would they do if they discovered someone they knew had it. the answers might give you an idea which direction you want to follow.

if they give a positive response, go ahead and talk. if not, dont tell them. you need to protect yourself from ignorant people even if it is your loving family.

the one thing i have bumped up against repeatedly is how much my family sees me one way, and how i am around others doesnt seem to match at all. so they have no concept of how much i struggle. it is so far outside what they know of me, that it is inconceivable. so they were not very sympathetic when i told them. they were mostly confused.

better to find others who get you first to build yourself up, perhaps before attempting something on that scale. just to protect yourself, emotionally.