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Kurgan
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18 May 2013, 12:32 pm

Nobody chose to be born with Asperger's syndrome, nobody chose to be born into a time where Justin Bieber and sparkling vampires are more attractive than a typical blacksmith or lumberjack, and nobody chose to be born into a culture where previous work experience and eye contact, tone of voice and confidence during a 15 minute interview were far more important than how well one could perform in the job.

Having Asperger's means that you have to work much harder than everyone else. I've embraced my outsider status; bulking up a lot of muscle and reading calculus have finally made it so that people are actually starting to like me for not being just like everyone else and those passive agressive bullies are finally intimidated by me. I'll never get one of those jobs where you can spend most of the workday on Facebook, reading newspapers online, and talking more to colleagues rather than actually doing something useful. I'm making the most out of my disorder and getting a degree in engineering, though.



James_At_48_Plus
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08 Jul 2013, 10:34 pm

1000Knives wrote:
I'm asking this in the adult discussion forum, as I feel this is more of a question of perspective. I kinda want some older folks perspectives on this question.

In my life, I wasn't "gifted" but people thought/think of me as smart, with much talk of college, a good career, etc, even in elementary school. However, a bunch of circumstances happened, and I'm about as far from the Ivy League kinda path as possible. I'm 21, don't have a job, have a GED, was formerly in a lot of legal trouble, and my life is significantly "off course" and now my life is more off course for a variety of reasons and I seem to continually fail at everything I attempt, either fail or run out of resources to continue, usually a combo.

This continual failure is what irks me most in life, failing thousands and thousands of times, and having a plan and a vision, goal for the future, and not being able to meet it. To be honest, I think the only thing I can claim success to in life is cooking better than the average person.

As adults, we all have broken dreams and stuff, things we never accomplished. But besides a "normal" level of that, what I'm more talking about is like, if you were promised/forecasted a mansion, and you're living in... Detroit. How do you live with that? What if you once owned a mansion, and currently live in Detroit?

I don't know what exactly I'm asking, but how do you deal with, basically... failing at life?


Try this on for size. I was raised to rule the world. I had all the trappings of affluence around me. I was fast tracked through gifted classes and AP courses. Got a degree, landed in an upwardly mobile career track in tech. Managed people and money. Jetting around the world. Etc, etc. Then, something happened when I hit my mid 30s. I had always been "smarter" than my cohort however in retrospect, a lot less "mature" and a lot less savvy to the ways of social graces, love, etc. I was great at counteracting my deficits ... for a while. But I reached a dead end in terms of development. My cohort sped ahead of me.

Marriage happened and was a dreadful error. I got in over my head in that regard.

My career leveled off. I ended up with a minuscule toehold on the type of affluent existence I grew up with. My marriage falters, my career is uncertain, my approaching elder years have a darker and darker look. I am failing at life versus what I had mapped out when I was young.

My consolation is, I have some exit strategies to gracefully bow out of my current track and radically down size. I have notions of escape to a poor rural area, where I could carve out some sort of subsistence for the rest of my days. And then ... the end.



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22 Jul 2013, 4:05 am

As the wise people say inhere: Get a diploma on whatever in the world you´re good at. Take up sides of your intelligence, you haven´t been working on (be it math, art, philosophy, shoe polishing or whatever) and see what shows up.
If you feel very distrustful about your possibilities: Take one step at a time. You are only 21 and have the time to be careful.

!Beware of your own social naivity, if you have one, and double check every concrete advice or information, you get, - otherwise you may be led astray and miss your opportunities.
I was.


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08 Aug 2013, 5:21 pm

Responding to OP.

Hi, I haven't read all the responses so maybe these thoughts have been covered...

I can relate to what you're saying but at 21 and diagnosed you are doing better than I did already!

There was no diagnosis back in my childhood - I was just a bad kid. I was hit more with the idiot stick than the savant stick and no-one took any notice of me except to point out my failings. By the time puberty hit I was already set to get the hell out of school and into the factory I was reliably informed was my destiny, however as someone with sensory overload issues you can guess what happened two years later... I have never expected much of my life, but I have wanted a regular steady job doing something more worthwhile than not and the freedom to do my own thing as long as no-one got hurt. It turns out the game is not that simple.

We humans are at heart and by nessecity a social species - a co-operative ape - all our major achievements in the last 150,000 years have resulted from this and yet we have turned our societies into giant competitions for grandeur and material over-abundance.

When 20 people line up at the starting line and there are only three 'places' 1st, 2nd and 3rd you end up with 17 losers and they won't all be aspies, or lazy or stupid or whatever, they are just the 17 that were not as fast on the day, this is not the only thing that matters, there are other competitions that they may be better at but this is not what matters either. I figure you may as well enjoy the event regardless of outcome and as long as you have food, clothes and shelter don't sweat it and don't feel guilty for resenting the bugger who elbowed you as he passed you to make it into 3rd he/she is an as*hole! - 'It is a good day to die'

peace j


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18 Oct 2013, 3:49 pm

okay first yes i do understand and have similar experiences.

i remember being five or six and facing ridicule and rejection at preschool and driving home with my mother, looking out the window of the car, and having this realization that THIS was what my life was going to be like. it's the first moment i clearly remember being depressed, which was to become my persistent mood state for another twenty years.

by the time i was ten or eleven i had learned about suicide and became obsessed with it. i think emotionally, feeling trapped in my life and my abusive family, it became a kind of pressure valve. i didn't really WANT to do it, but i had no other way to cope.

by the time i was 18 i had discovered drugs and alcohol and for 8 years they became my primary way of coping with the constant misery, loneliness, self-loathing and constant pain that was otherwise my waking existence. while my patterns were very self-destructive, i truly believe drugs and alcohol kept me sane long enough to keep me alive until i was finallly able to get some help - double edged help, for sure, since they did not recognize that i was AS, but enough to help me get my life together.

i was always smart, considered gifted, and given to believe i could accomplish anything if i only "tried hard enough." so the next then or fifteen years of my life i threw myself into trying harder - free of the depression, made it easier. i managed to finish my bachelors after thirteen years. i was accepted into grad school. not nearly the caliber of schools i had been solicited by after high school, but for me just being able to go and finish was electrifying. walking to get my diploma was one of the highest points of my life.

at that point i fully expected (still not cognizant of AS or PTSD) that if i just had a good attitude and worked hard enough, i could accomplish my dreams, or rather the "american dream" of my parents - a good job, plenty of money, a house, a car, a husband if not a family. i thought these things would make me happy. i thought i had addressed enough of my depression, self-pity, and other attitudinal problems (or so they were perceived by my therapists) to finally get my life on track.

yet going out into the world, i found myself still beset by problems holding onto jobs, keeping friends, etc. i couldn't understand why. i was using all the tools i'd been taught. i'd had a radical change in character. the problem, of course, i thought, was i'm not trying hard enough. so i just kept trying harder. and yet i kept getting the same results.

i tried a few geographic cures. at first they seemed successful, but eventually my poor social skills did me in at every opportunity. i was positive, i was happy, i was accepting, i was doing my best to multi-task. yet i consitently got bad reviews. basically either i "didn't care" or "didn't fit in." i was attracting bullies at work, although i didn't realize that was going on; i assumed, as i'd been taught, that if anything was going badly i had to change myself. so i kept trying harder. i kept trying to exercise acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. and i kept screwing up (or occasionally, being sabotaged by coworkers).

i got married. i got three step-children. the economy crashed, so i went back to another grad school program. i began to have trouble making my bills. it became harder and harder to find a job, something i'd always excelled at (youth, great skills, no expectation that i should show longevity at work - and the prior field i'd been in, longevity was not expected since job-hopping for better jobs (and business was booming) was customary) started to become problems when i moved to another industry. i kind of knew i was leaving good jobs for better ones, not just for money, but because i'd developed a sixth sense for when things were starting to go south. but i wanted to believe that wasn't always going to be true. and i was trying not to "live up" to the low expectations put on me in by earlier treatment, the very negative self-image they left me with. i wanted to embrace life and let life teach me who i really was after all the hard work i'd done.

finally at 40ish i realized i'd done everything "right." i was married. i had a family. i had a house. i had a career, although i didn't realize at the time it was already at an end due to the economy again. i was getting more and more burned out. i had learned how to effectively compensate for many (not all) of my aspie and PTSD traits, but it was starting to come at a mounting cost.

i did have enough insight, at least, to realize the problem wasn't "out there" (with my husband, kids, employers, etc.) but that my unhappiness was due to the choices i'd made in my life. i realized how many of them i'd made to try to "prove" to those early treaters, and my family, that i could be successful (by their standards) and as a result had denied and never even really gotten to know my true self, my true ambitions, what really made me happy. in fact, i'd give them all up to try to "do the right thing" by my married family and my old therapists.

coming to terms was this was very difficult, and it turned out i had to make an extraordinary number of changes. it also became clear that my PTSD (AS still not spotted) was drastically effecting my ability to work or hold a job. on to of that i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and possible CFS. i decided to apply for disability and luckily was approved almost right away.

at about the same time my marriage dissolved (because i stopped doing all the caretaking including taking on my husband's parental responsibility to his kids). i lost my last job after a couple of months and literally could not find a single other position, in any field i'd ever worked. i lost my home because i had to move out due to the divorce. i lost all my money, because i had to spent what little i had to live on until my disability payments started to come through. my career was over. my beloved cat of 12 years died two days after i decided to move away from boston (which i hated) and try to find sunnier climes.

in the next year i was assaulted four times, in every living environment i tried to settle into. landlords, roommates, etc. nothing provable (legally) but very scary and enough to push me into deep decompensation. i spent my last time and went into debt on my last move, which landed my in a tiny town with no psych resources, where the cost of living has been so prohibitively high i couldn't afford to move away (or stay).

and yes suicidal thoughts returned for several months - except this time it seemed more realistic.

when i think of people committing suicide, i don't think of "cry for help" or "things will get better" or "gee that's selfish." i think of the people who jumped from the top floors of the world trade centers because they were faced with burning to death or falling to death. that, to me, is what suicide is. can you imagine, for even a second, what a horrible, desperate, grief-filled reality would cause someone to have to make that choice? that is what suicide to me. it's living day to day with unbearable pain, literally unbearable pain. it doesn't matter, when you feel that way, what grief you might cause someone else. it doesn't matter if things might get better tomorrow if you just hang on, especially when life is showing you that things get WORSE. it has to be the most lonely, intolerable choice anyone can possibly make.

yet something in me just won't let me give up. one thing therapy did give me is to always try to focus on the solution. even though many of my solutions have turned out to make my problems worse, i have one quality that keeps me going; tenacity and imagination. okay, two qualities. it's taken me the last year to start to bounce back from the day i hospitalized myself because i was literally afraid i might actually act on my impulses for the first time in 47 years.

today i'm in a very untenable position. i can't afford to stay in my sh***y apartment, which i hate. it's in the noisiest part of town, my landlords are slumlords, there is no real healthcare and definitely nowhere i can get a psychiatrist or a therapist which i desperately need. the one clinic of physicians in town treat me with contempts, i guess because i'm on disability, and refuse to prescribe psych meds for my anxiety or severe chronic insomina. they lose appointments and refuse to take responsibility for any of their mistakes. my relationship with my boyfriend is falling apart as we speak. i am lonely, stressed, and having to try to figure out how i can escape from this prison with no car, no money, and no friends.

but learning i am AS has helped, not hurt. why? because i can stop trying to pretend to NT and feeling like a failure about it. i can see how every choice that's gotten me in trouble is based on a combination of being AS but expecting myself to function like an NT, and my PTSD. i can start to imagine how i need to live life to not let those issues cause me so many problems.

my boyfriend was supposed to help me fix up this RV we bought to replace the truck he wrecked, but it looks like he's leaving the picture. i don't know if i can come up with cash to fix it up enough to be street-safe (it needs, for one thing, about 900 dollars worth of tires, and i live just above poverty level). i'm trying to figure this out. i could abandon it and all my worldly belongings and just buy a bus ticket when i get my check next month and my lease ends. i'll be homeless, but at least i can get to a city with resources. i have a dream, maybe a pipe dream, but a dream to apprentice myself to a great chef and pursue my passion with food. or, work with animals. and to GET a pet. having an animal has always been my chief coping mechanism and not having my cat this last year has been devastating. but there is a light at the end of the tunnel if i can just get through this last month. in a year or two, if i can stop making these idiotic choices based on assuming i am NT, i can perhaps finally start leveraging my strengths, protecting my needs, and get my life on track.

i try really hard to hang onto gratitude and see how these life lessons can help me rather than continue to harm me. gratitude, though it can be hard to come by, is a survival mode for me. if nothing else, i remind myself, i can be grateful for toilet paper. i mean seriously... imagine a world with no toilet paper. THAT would be hell. and hot water. wow... a hot shower is like stripping off layers of emotional grime and stepping out into a new world, however temporary.

for those of us who are really struggling, my heart goes out to you. i don't blame you. i don't judge you. i can only say that in my worst times, finding ways to get out of my own head, finding any small thing i can look forward to in the future, any small thing i can do to live in the solution rather than the problem, is enough to keep me going. and the fact that i do keep going i try to hang onto as something i can respect about myself. i don't get down on myself for the days of self-pity. i think they are pretty understandable. i really got a s**t deal out of life, and i'm made at myself for all the ways i screwed up the many opportunities i've been given. i just know, from experience, that new opportunities always come along. it's just sometimes they are hard to recognize.

wish me luck getting out of Williams. I'm thinking maybe St Louis. I was thinking North Carolina but it's a much more expensive trip and i figure if i'm in St. Louis, i'm smack in the middle of the country and it will be easier to change my mind and go somewhere else. Also considering Pueblo Colorado, it's close, it's cheap, and i can get medical marijuana (not an indulgence; an effective treatment for many problems i am otherwise forced to seek pharmaceuticals to treat, and frankly the pot works better in small amounts).

you are 21. this works against you, because your life experience is too short to really develop faith in your ability to overcome adversity, and because you are probably still caught up in the expectations of your peers and caregivers.

your life will never turn out the way you expect; nobody, and i mean nobody's does. i encourage you to focus on your strengths, accept what you perceive as your weaknesses (many of which are probably flip sides of a strength, if you can identify it), and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Try to learn from your mistakes and know that everyone makes them, sometimes huge ones. Life is not what you see presented to you on TV, movies, magazines, and by and large other people who are often putting on a front. You CAN find your own way. Expect some of it to be painful; pain is the spice of life. Expect some of it to be beautiful, and keep your eyes open so you don't miss that part. And try to be grateful for what IS going right, however small. I truly believe holding onto gratitude makes it possible for more good stuff to come your way.

i don't know if all this really addresses the OPs concerns but it's what i had to share today, so i'm giving it a shot here.


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18 Oct 2013, 4:54 pm

Both aspie and childhood abuse survivor, same combination I have. It makes for a terribly difficult life.


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18 Oct 2013, 8:07 pm

Opi wrote:
okay first yes i do understand and have similar experiences.

i remember being five or six and facing ridicule and rejection at preschool and driving home with my mother, looking out the window of the car, and having this realization that THIS was what my life was going to be like. it's the first moment i clearly remember being depressed, which was to become my persistent mood state for another twenty years.

by the time i was ten or eleven i had learned about suicide and became obsessed with it. i think emotionally, feeling trapped in my life and my abusive family, it became a kind of pressure valve. i didn't really WANT to do it, but i had no other way to cope.

by the time i was 18 i had discovered drugs and alcohol and for 8 years they became my primary way of coping with the constant misery, loneliness, self-loathing and constant pain that was otherwise my waking existence. while my patterns were very self-destructive, i truly believe drugs and alcohol kept me sane long enough to keep me alive until i was finallly able to get some help - double edged help, for sure, since they did not recognize that i was AS, but enough to help me get my life together.

i was always smart, considered gifted, and given to believe i could accomplish anything if i only "tried hard enough." so the next then or fifteen years of my life i threw myself into trying harder - free of the depression, made it easier. i managed to finish my bachelors after thirteen years. i was accepted into grad school. not nearly the caliber of schools i had been solicited by after high school, but for me just being able to go and finish was electrifying. walking to get my diploma was one of the highest points of my life.

at that point i fully expected (still not cognizant of AS or PTSD) that if i just had a good attitude and worked hard enough, i could accomplish my dreams, or rather the "american dream" of my parents - a good job, plenty of money, a house, a car, a husband if not a family. i thought these things would make me happy. i thought i had addressed enough of my depression, self-pity, and other attitudinal problems (or so they were perceived by my therapists) to finally get my life on track.

yet going out into the world, i found myself still beset by problems holding onto jobs, keeping friends, etc. i couldn't understand why. i was using all the tools i'd been taught. i'd had a radical change in character. the problem, of course, i thought, was i'm not trying hard enough. so i just kept trying harder. and yet i kept getting the same results.

i tried a few geographic cures. at first they seemed successful, but eventually my poor social skills did me in at every opportunity. i was positive, i was happy, i was accepting, i was doing my best to multi-task. yet i consitently got bad reviews. basically either i "didn't care" or "didn't fit in." i was attracting bullies at work, although i didn't realize that was going on; i assumed, as i'd been taught, that if anything was going badly i had to change myself. so i kept trying harder. i kept trying to exercise acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. and i kept screwing up (or occasionally, being sabotaged by coworkers).

i got married. i got three step-children. the economy crashed, so i went back to another grad school program. i began to have trouble making my bills. it became harder and harder to find a job, something i'd always excelled at (youth, great skills, no expectation that i should show longevity at work - and the prior field i'd been in, longevity was not expected since job-hopping for better jobs (and business was booming) was customary) started to become problems when i moved to another industry. i kind of knew i was leaving good jobs for better ones, not just for money, but because i'd developed a sixth sense for when things were starting to go south. but i wanted to believe that wasn't always going to be true. and i was trying not to "live up" to the low expectations put on me in by earlier treatment, the very negative self-image they left me with. i wanted to embrace life and let life teach me who i really was after all the hard work i'd done.

finally at 40ish i realized i'd done everything "right." i was married. i had a family. i had a house. i had a career, although i didn't realize at the time it was already at an end due to the economy again. i was getting more and more burned out. i had learned how to effectively compensate for many (not all) of my aspie and PTSD traits, but it was starting to come at a mounting cost.

i did have enough insight, at least, to realize the problem wasn't "out there" (with my husband, kids, employers, etc.) but that my unhappiness was due to the choices i'd made in my life. i realized how many of them i'd made to try to "prove" to those early treaters, and my family, that i could be successful (by their standards) and as a result had denied and never even really gotten to know my true self, my true ambitions, what really made me happy. in fact, i'd give them all up to try to "do the right thing" by my married family and my old therapists.

coming to terms was this was very difficult, and it turned out i had to make an extraordinary number of changes. it also became clear that my PTSD (AS still not spotted) was drastically effecting my ability to work or hold a job. on to of that i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and possible CFS. i decided to apply for disability and luckily was approved almost right away.

at about the same time my marriage dissolved (because i stopped doing all the caretaking including taking on my husband's parental responsibility to his kids). i lost my last job after a couple of months and literally could not find a single other position, in any field i'd ever worked. i lost my home because i had to move out due to the divorce. i lost all my money, because i had to spent what little i had to live on until my disability payments started to come through. my career was over. my beloved cat of 12 years died two days after i decided to move away from boston (which i hated) and try to find sunnier climes.

in the next year i was assaulted four times, in every living environment i tried to settle into. landlords, roommates, etc. nothing provable (legally) but very scary and enough to push me into deep decompensation. i spent my last time and went into debt on my last move, which landed my in a tiny town with no psych resources, where the cost of living has been so prohibitively high i couldn't afford to move away (or stay).

and yes suicidal thoughts returned for several months - except this time it seemed more realistic.

when i think of people committing suicide, i don't think of "cry for help" or "things will get better" or "gee that's selfish." i think of the people who jumped from the top floors of the world trade centers because they were faced with burning to death or falling to death. that, to me, is what suicide is. can you imagine, for even a second, what a horrible, desperate, grief-filled reality would cause someone to have to make that choice? that is what suicide to me. it's living day to day with unbearable pain, literally unbearable pain. it doesn't matter, when you feel that way, what grief you might cause someone else. it doesn't matter if things might get better tomorrow if you just hang on, especially when life is showing you that things get WORSE. it has to be the most lonely, intolerable choice anyone can possibly make.

yet something in me just won't let me give up. one thing therapy did give me is to always try to focus on the solution. even though many of my solutions have turned out to make my problems worse, i have one quality that keeps me going; tenacity and imagination. okay, two qualities. it's taken me the last year to start to bounce back from the day i hospitalized myself because i was literally afraid i might actually act on my impulses for the first time in 47 years.

today i'm in a very untenable position. i can't afford to stay in my sh***y apartment, which i hate. it's in the noisiest part of town, my landlords are slumlords, there is no real healthcare and definitely nowhere i can get a psychiatrist or a therapist which i desperately need. the one clinic of physicians in town treat me with contempts, i guess because i'm on disability, and refuse to prescribe psych meds for my anxiety or severe chronic insomina. they lose appointments and refuse to take responsibility for any of their mistakes. my relationship with my boyfriend is falling apart as we speak. i am lonely, stressed, and having to try to figure out how i can escape from this prison with no car, no money, and no friends.

but learning i am AS has helped, not hurt. why? because i can stop trying to pretend to NT and feeling like a failure about it. i can see how every choice that's gotten me in trouble is based on a combination of being AS but expecting myself to function like an NT, and my PTSD. i can start to imagine how i need to live life to not let those issues cause me so many problems.

my boyfriend was supposed to help me fix up this RV we bought to replace the truck he wrecked, but it looks like he's leaving the picture. i don't know if i can come up with cash to fix it up enough to be street-safe (it needs, for one thing, about 900 dollars worth of tires, and i live just above poverty level). i'm trying to figure this out. i could abandon it and all my worldly belongings and just buy a bus ticket when i get my check next month and my lease ends. i'll be homeless, but at least i can get to a city with resources. i have a dream, maybe a pipe dream, but a dream to apprentice myself to a great chef and pursue my passion with food. or, work with animals. and to GET a pet. having an animal has always been my chief coping mechanism and not having my cat this last year has been devastating. but there is a light at the end of the tunnel if i can just get through this last month. in a year or two, if i can stop making these idiotic choices based on assuming i am NT, i can perhaps finally start leveraging my strengths, protecting my needs, and get my life on track.

i try really hard to hang onto gratitude and see how these life lessons can help me rather than continue to harm me. gratitude, though it can be hard to come by, is a survival mode for me. if nothing else, i remind myself, i can be grateful for toilet paper. i mean seriously... imagine a world with no toilet paper. THAT would be hell. and hot water. wow... a hot shower is like stripping off layers of emotional grime and stepping out into a new world, however temporary.

for those of us who are really struggling, my heart goes out to you. i don't blame you. i don't judge you. i can only say that in my worst times, finding ways to get out of my own head, finding any small thing i can look forward to in the future, any small thing i can do to live in the solution rather than the problem, is enough to keep me going. and the fact that i do keep going i try to hang onto as something i can respect about myself. i don't get down on myself for the days of self-pity. i think they are pretty understandable. i really got a sh** deal out of life, and i'm made at myself for all the ways i screwed up the many opportunities i've been given. i just know, from experience, that new opportunities always come along. it's just sometimes they are hard to recognize.

wish me luck getting out of Williams. I'm thinking maybe St Louis. I was thinking North Carolina but it's a much more expensive trip and i figure if i'm in St. Louis, i'm smack in the middle of the country and it will be easier to change my mind and go somewhere else. Also considering Pueblo Colorado, it's close, it's cheap, and i can get medical marijuana (not an indulgence; an effective treatment for many problems i am otherwise forced to seek pharmaceuticals to treat, and frankly the pot works better in small amounts).

you are 21. this works against you, because your life experience is too short to really develop faith in your ability to overcome adversity, and because you are probably still caught up in the expectations of your peers and caregivers.

your life will never turn out the way you expect; nobody, and i mean nobody's does. i encourage you to focus on your strengths, accept what you perceive as your weaknesses (many of which are probably flip sides of a strength, if you can identify it), and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Try to learn from your mistakes and know that everyone makes them, sometimes huge ones. Life is not what you see presented to you on TV, movies, magazines, and by and large other people who are often putting on a front. You CAN find your own way. Expect some of it to be painful; pain is the spice of life. Expect some of it to be beautiful, and keep your eyes open so you don't miss that part. And try to be grateful for what IS going right, however small. I truly believe holding onto gratitude makes it possible for more good stuff to come your way.

i don't know if all this really addresses the OPs concerns but it's what i had to share today, so i'm giving it a shot here.


In the last post here I wrote I almost shed a few tears. Scratch the almost. Very well written and powerful Opi. I hope writing out those thoughts have helped you in some way during this bad period for you. Good luck in St.Louis or wherever you land. I guess you won't have to much internet access for a while so I look forward to your posts preceding or following mine once again(LOL). By then hopefully you are on your way to a good place that you soooo deserve.


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DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


altered_artist
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31 Oct 2013, 12:23 am

You asked for advice from older adults and at 64 I guess I qualify.
When I was a child in the 1950s, very few people were aware of autism and less knew anything about Asperger's. I myself was unaware that I was an Aspie until I was 60 years old! I spent all those years not knowing why I was so socially inept or why I could not keep a job or finish anything I started or make lasting friendships.
In my younger days I was better able to fake it (look like a NT) but with each passing year it got harder and harder. I was so exhausted by doing things that were supposed to be fun, but for me were impossible to enjoy (specifically, social interaction). I wasted decades trying to be someone I could never be so you are way ahead of me in that respect.
Accepting that I would never have loving interactions with lots of people was very hard (even though in retrospect I neither wanted nor needed such interactions). I have suffered so much rejection and thought that somehow, someday I would get the hang of it if only I did X or Y or Z. Finding out that that day would never come was depressing and also liberating.
Still I am not sure if I would have preferred knowing about Asperger's when I was your age and I wonder if all the young people today being diagnosed will be better or worse off. Many things that I did I would not have attempted had I known how they would probably turn out. I have been happily married for 43 years, how did that happen? Hard work, faith and a loving husband who takes me with all my issues. So many people were certain that I would never be anything more than a pain in the ass, that I could never make a marriage work. I love to think about how wrong they were. It can happen.
Life with HFA will never be easy as society is today. But think of all the positive changes that have occurred in recent years and you can be hopeful that in your lifetime, there will be more opportunities for a fulfilling life for those with autism.
My advice is find out what you are happy doing and try to find some way to get that into your life. You have a purpose, find it, however long that takes. For me it was and is, making art. All those years spent chasing after 'success' were so wasted. Spending time alone has always been something that I longed for (artists have to spend a lot of time working alone) but caused so much guilt. Finally I have let myself enjoy what I love.
Don't quit!



CharityFunDay
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31 Oct 2013, 7:41 am

Stone_Man wrote:
But which is more important ... having someone who understands your problem, or having someone who might actually be able to help you solve it?

If I'm failing Algebra 101, do I seek help from other people who are also failing, or do I seek help from people who are algebra whizzes?


This analogy doesn't work, on a number of levels.

If I were failing algebra 101, it might be because I had undiagnosed dyscalculia -- which is what actually happened to me IRL.

Talking to people who understood algebra wouldn't have helped me in the slightest.

All that I could conclude from discussions with them would be that I couldn't do algebra and would therefore be best advised to switch to some other subject (which is what I did),.

But even if there were not some inherent perceptual difference that made algebra incomprehensible to me, I might find that others in the same 'failing' class as me had *different* problems with the area than I did, and that through pooling our resources, we might be able to access enough of each other's abilities to piece together some general understanding -- this would be particularly true if some individuals had figured out personal methods for performing algebraical operations, that -- due to their personal appreciation -- they were able to explain in terms that were more readily comprehensible than those put forward by the class teacher.

Not to mention the fact that our equality (in not doing very well at algebra) would be a form of social bond between us, making for greater understanding, co-operation and sympathy.

Granted, it would be nice if the class high-fliers would deign to explain things to us, but that's simply not the way that NTs behave, with their fascination with social hierarchies. It's usually a case of "Devil take the hindmost", which leaves us Aspies trailing by a furlong or two.

And the teachers, whose duty you might imagine it to be to ensure that all pupils understood the knowledge they were attempting to disseminate, are highly-distractible human individuals who apply a keen eye to the 'star performers' in their class and nurture them at the necessary expense of those pupils that the teacher perceives are not worth the effort.

Sad but true.

So I don't think it's inherently unwise for Aspies to ask relationship advice from other Aspies -- at least it can be assumed that each party has some social similarities in common, and hence some grounds for mutual understanding.

If there is some NT 'pool' of relationship advice that is practical, appropriate and accessible for Aspies, I'd love to see it.

(I'm disregarding "How-to" guides like 'The Game' (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Game-Underc ... 184767237X), which teach a particular set of heteronormative formulae which may or may not work depending on the predisposition of either party involved in the transaction, and can hardly be regarded as a guide to a mature and fulfilling relationship; and I'm also disregarding spurious guidebooks such as "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", which are just psychobabble).



JacobV
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28 Nov 2013, 8:51 pm

1000Knives wrote:
I'm asking this in the adult discussion forum, as I feel this is more of a question of perspective. I kinda want some older folks perspectives on this question.

In my life, I wasn't "gifted" but people thought/think of me as smart, with much talk of college, a good career, etc, even in elementary school. However, a bunch of circumstances happened, and I'm about as far from the Ivy League kinda path as possible. I'm 21, don't have a job, have a GED, was formerly in a lot of legal trouble, and my life is significantly "off course" and now my life is more off course for a variety of reasons and I seem to continually fail at everything I attempt, either fail or run out of resources to continue, usually a combo.

This continual failure is what irks me most in life, failing thousands and thousands of times, and having a plan and a vision, goal for the future, and not being able to meet it. To be honest, I think the only thing I can claim success to in life is cooking better than the average person.

As adults, we all have broken dreams and stuff, things we never accomplished. But besides a "normal" level of that, what I'm more talking about is like, if you were promised/forecasted a mansion, and you're living in... Detroit. How do you live with that? What if you once owned a mansion, and currently live in Detroit?

I don't know what exactly I'm asking, but how do you deal with, basically... failing at life?


This sounds all to familiar. I have no answers or advice, just an extreme example of downward socio-economic mobility. I grew up in a pretty well to do upper-middle class family. Never wanted for anything, spending all my time playing legos alone. My father was very distant and likely somewhat-aspie as well but had a lot of support from his family. My mother passed when I was 24 and things went downhill from there. I quit college, too lonely to continued and so I put all my savings aside and moved to a inner-city type area where living is affordable. my life has been one of loneliness, I've been living alone for the past 6 years with hardly any social contact with anyone. my dreams of a career have proven to be just that... dreams. I'm working for slightly above minimal wage living in a basement apartment in a neighborhood with such a high crime rate you can't go for a walk alone around the block. I eat crappy food.. mostly canned and ramen and my life is going nowhere but south. I've been experiencing occupational hearing loss from years of construction work with no promotions and no raises. I never in my wildest dreams thought that my life could possibly hit this low. Now I get up every day fighting off thoughts of suicides just hoping that this whole bad dream ends sooner than later.

Life truly becomes a nightmare when your support network fades away



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29 Nov 2013, 4:10 am

Looking back, feeling left out pretty much encapsulates my life experience.

Just a few weeks back, I attended an autism conference - three days, thousands of attendees and not a word about anyone autistic over thirty. Left out again. It stung.



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29 Nov 2013, 4:26 am

So, back on topic: handling failing at life. For us, life has been a trick question. If there was a god, one would be asking it why. Handling it? Well, what's the alternative - check out?



JacobV
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29 Nov 2013, 6:50 am

peterd wrote:
Looking back, feeling left out pretty much encapsulates my life experience.

Just a few weeks back, I attended an autism conference - three days, thousands of attendees and not a word about anyone autistic over thirty. Left out again. It stung.


Nobody cares about aspies over 30. Especially those aspie forums for "children with aspergers" I guess children are worth working on while adults are considered lost cases.

When we are young, we are smart, "gifted", "exceptional", etc etc... then we hit our 30's and we're alone in the world with no support and nobody caring about our fate. Most of us get treated like crap at work too, if we even have a job to begin with. Trailer parks are filled with aspies, sadly.



Opi
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29 Nov 2013, 3:09 pm

how about redefining "failure"?


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vickygleitz
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30 Nov 2013, 12:51 am

i think failure is when a person falls down and never even tries to get backup.



knowbody15
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01 Dec 2013, 12:44 am

vickygleitz wrote:
i think failure is when a person falls down and never even tries to get backup.


I was just thinking about this today, the cyclical nature of life. You just keep trying to get back up......


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