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cactusman
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Joined: 5 Nov 2019
Age: 53
Gender: Male
Posts: 8
Location: El Paso

05 Nov 2019, 10:30 pm

Hi everyone,

I am an undiagnosed 53 year old man, divorced, father of two daughters, here looking for a community or friends.

Where do I begin? Why am I here? reminds me of the Talking heads song - "Well, how did I get here?" After having the fourth person as me of the show "Atypical" was about me I took a look. I think it's a great show. I was afraid it was going to be some bullshit love story but it is great and really seems to get a lot of things right, well, I'm only four episodes in.

I obsess over, not penguins and Antarctica, but ants, cacti, math (group and ring theory), physics (nonlinear dynamics), radios, astronomy, German, Swedish, Icelandic, orchids and beetles. I have been like this as a kid and was always carrying books and notebooks, I do it to this day. I consider myself serial obsessive, one year it will be a particular orchid genus, the next, a group of ants (usually Ponerines), then six months back on Pselaphid beetles. I have managed to find a job and get degrees in physics and biology but bailed on the phd for social reasons. It really is a lot of networking which I can't do. I wear he same clothes, eat the same foods (usually peanut butter sandwiches and raising bran cereal with soy milk), although I do make sure I get a balanced diet. I play the same song over and over, for hours.

Socially, I am terrible. I mean, I think I am good at reading people's emotions but I always think people just want to be left alone or really just want to talk about group theory. I am great and funny around people I know well, and in front of a classroom, but in large groups or medium sized groups I kind of shut down and worry about where to stand and usually just leave. I am terrible at small talk. I can't stand bars, or carnivals. I tried to go to a bar that seemed cool, I like punk music, I got all dressed up but got to the door and looked inside and decided I couldn't do it.

I am minimalist and vegetarian. I need white noise to sleep. I sleep in a sleeping bag, I have no furniture in my bedroom. I do not like dogs or cats although my one daughter, whom I live with has a 15 year old dog I have put up with as she loves it. I think I am rather empathetic. I am extremely liberal.

I've lived in Miami a long time and I have two friends I talk with through text. I tried to move back home to the Buffalo area but my mother and brother are hard to live with. So I moved to El Paso as here there are cacti and ants and wonderful night skies and I can ride my bike into Mexico. But I have no friends outside my family and now as I work from home I do not have work friends.

I have been informally diagnosed with Asperger's or autism spectrum disorder, but I am afraid to go to a psychologist as I'm afraid I'd have to go to a regular doctor first and they'd take blood, which completely freaks me out, so I haven't been to the doctor since last millennium. My ex-wife is an autism specialist and said I was textbook Asperger's. We divorced amicably but largely I think we had different interests. Admittedly I can be rather self absorbed. And really, what would be the advantage of a diagnosis, I like how I live and perhaps the only advantage would be to feel like a legitimate member of a community like this.

I feel kind of bad posting here because I know for many being on the autism spectrum can be debilitating and I think I fare pretty well. I can lose myself in my research and carefully plan out my socialist arguments arguing with myself, but I get terribly jealous seeing couples and people having coffee chatting about things. That would be so nice. Eventually I blame the area for having no interesting people I could be friends with and start to plan to move elsewhere. I guess I have come to the realization is it's me who can't make friends. I feel like I am always one chance event away from making that great friend, so I keep my eyes open in the super market and the hiking club but nothing happens. I did not have a date all through grade school and undergraduate, and the only person I have been with is my wife, and not even a close call these past, oh, 20 years. I've tried to meet people through the internet, I had great friends from Sweden and Latvia in the early days of the internet, but lately I just seem to talk people to death until they end up ghosting me.

So I have probably rewritten this five times as I don't want it to sound too whiny and I feel like it's the same problems other people deal with, but judging from the people I talk to this is not the case. Anyway, I'll stop now and post although I am afraid this is disconnected and rambly. I can send you a link to my website, I am not on the dreaded facebook, and I can send a link to my lecture youtube channel where you can see and hear me or at least brush up on your precalculus. :)

And finally, hello! --rob


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AnonymousAnonymous
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06 Nov 2019, 2:15 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :)


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SharonB
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06 Nov 2019, 3:31 pm

Welcome! I relate to your post on various points. Your pleasant rambling reminds me of how I wrote in my college years and we'll see what my book looks like. My AS-daughter is into insects, and I just finished my peanut butter toast for lunch. Subject to DX later this month, I am the "overexpressive" and "overfeeling" AS type --- lots of words and feelings from me. My AS-like BFF is the opposite. I feel joy and angst all the time and she feels meh all the time.

Oooo, a YouTube channel. So cool.

RE: diagnosis. I am late 40s and currently diagnosing b/c I want the "proof" (it isn't, but it is) to help me shed years of "wrongness". One could do this without a diagnosis, but I want a third-party perspective to better understand my level of functioning (strengths and weaknesses). I'm finding that I have not been able to articulate either and hence have had difficulty asserting myself. That said, I also have done very well ---underemployed. I would like to thrive more, survive less. Everything was ducky for me until my current management changed and now all my AS traits are flaring under the stress. Time for a change (which is hard to make, but necessary, so I need to get on with it already)!

Welcome. See you around "town".



cactusman
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Joined: 5 Nov 2019
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Posts: 8
Location: El Paso

06 Nov 2019, 5:24 pm

Thanks Anon^2 and Sharon!

And Sharon, yes, the over expressive thing is interesting. I don't think I'm overexpressive in real life, just in the weird world of the internet. I'm trying to think of my conversations with my old work friends, we just talk about fixing the world and make fun of movies and I have probably said more here than I've said to them.

I do have a good friend who moved away who we b***h about everything through email and she knows everything about me. I am glad I didn't drive her away as a friend, I had a crush on her but nothing materialized and I mistook wanting to hang out for something more.

I switched jobs two years ago after 17 years in a sheltered, also underemployed, academic job. I went to a department with 60 people to an office with 6 then 3 people. I didn't realize how important my work friends were and I have really been struggling. I've tried joining clubs and volunteering but nothing is coming of it. I really need a job like my old one. I didn't think I could get a different job at 50 but I did. I really wanted to get out of the area for my and my kids' sake, and it worked out.

A diagnosis would be good. Just watching that atypical show kind of let me know I wasn't alone. Anyway, see you around. Cheers, --rob


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In the cicada's voices

--Basho (translated)


blazingstar
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06 Nov 2019, 5:36 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet. I enjoyed reading your posts. Too bad you moved from Miami cause I live vaguely in the same area. Also too bad I am not as smart as you are. I was once married to a mathematician so I have some understanding of group theory and ring theory. Way above my level. I have a grandson in Sweden. I love orchids. I was originally a botanist, but couldn't find a job, so have ended up working as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities.

Glad to have you aboard. :D


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usually shine brighter,
Arms held out to dark they say,
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Threnody, Dorothy Parker
as modified by David Tamulovich


cactusman
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Joined: 5 Nov 2019
Age: 53
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Location: El Paso

06 Nov 2019, 9:24 pm

Hi blazingstar,

thank you! South Florida is a neat place and not just for ants and plants. I sort of got obsessed with going home and spent, well, years looking for jobs back where I grew up. But i think it's true, you can't go home again.

And I am not smarter than you or anyone. I only enjoy math as I beat my head against the wall trying to understand it and live for the thrill of when things fall into place. You are a botanist, you should still be a botanist. With the funding and academic structure of our world it is really difficult to be a professional scientist, and being an amateur or citizen scientist (amateur now has taken on the connotation of not knowing what you are doing, so "citizen scientist") is the best way to go. So much of just the natural history of organisms remains to be discovered. What plant families interest you? Orchids? I was obsessed with epidendrums for a while, then paphiopedilums. I'm often disappointed in myself I change interests so often. Each time I think I have found my "thing". lately I have been starting cacti from seeds and I am amazed at the varieties of Astrophytums japanese growers have made. I feel like I would fit in in Japanese culture best.

I am jealous that your son got to Sweden, how wonderful. I have tried and tried to find a way to get there.

And being an advocate for people with disabilities is such a great thing to do. My work really helps no one. I think that's the key to happiness, helping others.

Anyway, thank you for the welcome!


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No sign
Of death's approach
In the cicada's voices

--Basho (translated)


AugustD
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08 Nov 2019, 4:21 pm

Well that's quite an introduction.

Hi cactusman. It seems we're fellow newbies. Welcome to my world. By the looks of it we share a lot.

Cheers,
August


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aquafelix
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08 Nov 2019, 8:15 pm

Welcome to wrong planet. I enjoyed reading your post



Juliette
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10 Nov 2019, 6:12 pm

Hi and a very warm welcome, Rob :) ! You were a total pleasure to read, truly :lol: ! You would fit right in, in Vienna, as that's where folks meet for chats on such topics as you are interested in, with all manner of diverse and very interesting strangers. The coffee houses are extensions of what we'd consider a lounge room, and some of the greatest minds have gathered there to debate, and chat away about anything and everything. Good to have you with us.



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10 Nov 2019, 6:20 pm

Hello.


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Awaiting asessment. Neurodiverse 173/200. Neurotypical 21/200.
Empathy 11/80. AQ 39. May make sense to some. :)


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10 Nov 2019, 9:08 pm

Hello



blazingstar
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10 Nov 2019, 9:25 pm

Hello again, cactusman. I wish I had the patience or perseverance to keep at gnarly problems, but my brain doesn't work well under pressure. I am fortunate that I have found some things to enjoy and some things to work at.

Mostly I just grow things now. Orchids, tropical fruits and vegetables. Native plants and pollinators. I learn now by observing and somehow after enough observing things pop through and I get that little frisson of pleasure to realize I have put something together that makes sense and increases my understanding of this world.


_________________
Eyes that watch the morning star
usually shine brighter,
Arms held out to dark they say,
usually hold tighter.


Threnody, Dorothy Parker
as modified by David Tamulovich