Out Of The Closet: Into What? The Subversive Archaeologist Comes Clean

For almost a year my presence here at The Subversive Archaeologist has been increasingly infrequent, to the point where in the past four weeks I’ve wandered in only four times, and said anything about archaeology, per se, just once.

A month and a half ago I presented you with a partial explanation for my prolonged absences since this time last year, by which time I’d been blogging almost constantly for 2 years and 6 months. Such a shift; such a personal let-down.

I don’t know if it’s possible to express how disappointed I am in myself for being such an occasional visitor to my own intellectual home. But you probably don’t need me to tell you; I’ve said something similar so many times, you must be numb by now.

So, instead of more mumbo-jumbo and circumlocution, and for what it’s worth, today I’m going to tell you the underlying cause. It’s a personal risk for a number of reasons. First, I could be derided and scorned. Second, I could be ignored and further marginalized. Third, I could convince myself that, given the circumstances and my recent history, there’s little-to-no point of continuing, and just go ‘off the air’ permanently. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I might be doing some good for somebody else, since I’m more-or-less beyond recovery.

I have suffered my entire life with Avoidant Personality Disorder. It’s a peculiar and evidently very rare distortion of the Self that hurts no one but the individual. For most of my life the string of negatives in my day-to-day experience seemed incoherent. Especially, depression seemed ready to put the brakes on anytime, anywhere. When, about 10 years ago, I discovered that there was a clinical diagnosis that mirrored my longstanding emotional experience, it was both a revelation and a relief. Here’s how the World Health Organization recognizes the diagnosis as Personality Disorder F60.6 – ICD10—Anxious [Avoidant].

characterized by feelings of tension and apprehension, insecurity and inferiority. There is a continuous yearning to be liked and accepted, a hypersensitivity to rejection and criticism with restricted personal attachments, and a tendency to avoid certain activities by habitual exaggeration of the potential dangers or risks in everyday situations.

Most people experience shyness, almost all yearn to be liked and accepted, nobody likes rejection or criticism [unless asked for], and many suffer from various phobias that cause them to avoid certain circumstances or experiences. By contrast, the life of one with Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) is profoundly, negatively, affected. Healthy personal relationships are rare-to-nonexistent: friendships, intimate relationships, parent–child relations, those with superiors and authority figures, and many, many others are made difficult-to-impossible. Jobs are either avoided or endured: rarely enjoyed. Gatherings can be an emotional free-fall: some, at least, of the so-called wallflowers are sufferers. For me, scholarly meetings were spent mostly in the bar, hoping that anyone would come and talk to me, so hard was it to initiate conversations with strangers. Speaking extempore in a group of peers is nearly impossible. Asking questions? Same. Standing before a class to lecture or facilitate learning was least comfortable of all. Like speaking, writing was always difficult, as was asking for support—financial or otherwise.

Where my performance on The Subversive Archaeologist is concerned, the convergence—over the past year or so—of the fallout from my maladaptive life choices has made for a mostly downward-trending emotional ‘roller-coaster.’ The depression manifests itself in a deep loss of interest in so much that it makes even washing the dishes or changing one’s clothes unimportant.

There are times when the self-disappointment and depression are felt less keenly. That’s where [mostly] white wine comes in. Alcohol [and many other substances that are abused] is a powerful dis-inhibitor. It’s my belief that my greatest psychological inhibition precludes a positive self-image. Thus, for me, despite its inherent down side, alcohol ameliorates my inhibition and allows me to feel less like a waste of space.

This condition is so rare that it’s unlikely you or anyone you know suffers from it. But for some of the readers, this self-revelation will ‘resonate,’ either because they’re afflicted, or because someone in their family or their circle of acquaintances suffers the effects.

So, Friend, I hope this explanation will somehow explain and EXCUSE my desultory presence here. I’ve actually been waving, not drowning, more and more these days. So, perhaps I’ll be back in the short-to-medium term, rather than the alternative.

Thanks for your attention.

4 thoughts on “Out Of The Closet: Into What? The Subversive Archaeologist Comes Clean

  1. Hang in there Rob! You are not alone by any stretch of the imagination. I suspect that these things truly exist as a continuum on which most of us fall on any given day. That said, many of us are lucky enough that we can usually initiate a biochemical remedy by means of sunlight, exercise, and my personal favorite “upper” caffeine! Some folks can't, or can but only sometimes. When this is the case, get thee to a doctor. Seriously, we have the technology and while it isn't foolproof, antidepressants can help stabilize the biochemical situation and give you a chance to get back on your feet. We don't (usually) shame folks who need antibiotics or insulin in this society. Antidepressants and other medicines designed to treat so called “mental” health issues shouldn't be any different.

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