[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:1, topic:287553"]
I suspect that I may have AvPD (Avoidant Personality Disorder); I want to connect with other people but I am afraid and usually end up hiding in social situations (bathroom breaks, pretending to study things that I'm not really interested in, going for a walk, etc.). I am miserable because I desire friendship that I cannot cultivate, but I can be anxious and defensive when I am around potential friends. I have not tried to get a diagnosis because I don't want to spend time and money (especially money).
I am wondering if I have any prospect of joining an Order (either active or contemplative); would my lack of ability to connect and form friendships be an automatic disqualification?
Is this something that I need to address with a psychiatrist or therapist on my own before entering the discernment process, or would a community allow me to try to live among them and just let them decide on whether I will fit in or not?
First, dont be discouraged one bit. The Lord does not inspire desires He will not fulfill, although fulfillment may not be quite in the way of life anticipated - or it may. I think it is an excellent idea to seek out a psychiatrist or therapist and as soon as you can. As well as this, you can make enquiries of religious orders. They may want you to have successful medical treatment prior to applying. The only way to find out, is to ask.
Motivation is an important point in discerning God's Invitation for our life. If I am trying to escape in some way into religious life, then it is unlikely that I have a vocation. Religious life is certainly no escape for sure. Religious life is also primarily community life in which relationships are important. If I desire to enter religious life in order to serve God with the gift of my whole life, then I might have a religious vocation. Keep it in mind that there are many ways of giving one's whole life to Godand we are all called to do this - religious life is not the only way. The important thing is to discern God's Invitation and you may need spiritual direction to do this. Spiritual direction and professional therapy. While Catholic discussion sites are a wonderful resource and even support, they can also be places of discouragement. Nothing replaces a good spiritual director and sound spiritual direction. And if one has psychiatric problems, then it is important and also might be a duty to seek theraputic assistance. Of course, if one has very real problems in seeking theraputic assistance such as severe just limitations on time and money, then the duty is mitigated by that much. The Lord does not ask the impossible.