My name is Xanthe Wyse. Diagnosed bipolar 1 disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder.
Lots of people have asked me if I’m autistic – one reason being that I avoid ‘eye contact’ with the camera. I have some overlap with traits but my assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder ASD came back as not clinically significant levels for ASD, better explained by my diagnoses listed above.
Avoidance of eye contact is mainly attributed to social anxiety disorder for me. I think it is also connected to PTSD as it can be very triggering. I was actually getting triggered trying to look at the camera as an experiment in this video. What happened, is I went into a ‘freeze’. Was hard to think and talk. Then at the end, when I tried it again, I was starting to feel triggered into distress so I ended the video. Then I listened to some music to regulate.
I have been aware that I avoid eye contact since I was 11-12 years old, before the bipolar emerged. Already had the PTSD and social anxiety disorder.
I make a little more eye contact at times if I feel emotionally safe with someone. If I’m attracted to someone (rare for me), I may avoid eye contact even more OR I might make a bit more eye contact (goes either way depending on whether I feel more relaxed and confident). I tend to make a bit more eye contact when in an elevated mood (hypomania to mania) with bipolar disorder. Talk a bit about eye contact with ‘flirting’.
Eye contact can feel more intimate than sex for me. I also feel like the camera is invading my personal space, being close enough to hear me.