Establishing first contact... hello WP!

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JohnFreeman
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16 Jan 2021, 6:32 pm

Hello world - I'm never good with introductions but you can call me John or JF (don't worry, it's not my real name).

I'm a 24 year old guy who was diagnosed with Asperger's in late 2019. It's been really hard for me to process, even though I had been suspecting I had it for a while before that. I could blend in with the rest of society just fine until it came time to take my GCSE exams (for non-Brits, GCSEs are the final qualifications you get in secondary/high school), at which point everything - the pressure from teachers, drama in my relationship, the typical self-image issues every teenager gets - caused me to completely break down. I was traumatised by my failure not because of the stress itself, but because I didn't know why I wasn't able to cope with all of these things like the rest of my peers could. Well, 7 years later, I finally know why. I was born on the wrong planet. :wink:

I still struggle daily with anxiety, self-image issues, and the lack of purpose that comes with being an unemployed autistic adult. Lately, I've been obsessed over the asymmetry of my face and it's been driving me insane. Have any of you had this same obsession before?

Anyway, enough of my life story. I just knew I had to join this forum in particular when I saw its design and that it still seemed to be active, unlike most autism-centric forums that showed up in my search. I was hit with a wave of nostalgia when I saw the layout, the avatars, the signatures, the emoticons - it's like it hasn't been updated since the early 2000s, and I LOVE it! I spent a large part of my childhood on forums like these and I'll always be sad that the advent of social media sites seems to have killed most of them.

As for my hobbies, I've loved almost anything related to science fiction since I was a child. To me, sci-fi offers a glimpse into other worlds where anything is possible - and it's always comforting when those worlds have different rules where things tend to make more sense. My favourite ways to explore this genre are by watching films/TV shows and playing video games (PC gamer here), though I would like to get back into reading at some point, I just don't know where to start.

I'm going to take a closer look around the forum now, just wanted to throw this post out there to test the waters a bit. Hi!



Udinaas
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16 Jan 2021, 6:40 pm

Welcome to wp!



Mountain Goat
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16 Jan 2021, 6:47 pm

Hello and welcome. I am from Wales. I have been to England a few times.


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JohnFreeman
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16 Jan 2021, 7:02 pm

Mountain Goat wrote:
Hello and welcome. I am from Wales. I have been to England a few times.

Cool! I went to a convention in Cardiff with my family once. We're all fans of Torchwood so we also went to see where part of the series was filmed in Cardiff Bay. It was nice, I'd like to see more of Wales someday.



Juliette
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16 Jan 2021, 7:14 pm

Hi and welcome, JF :).



Mountain Goat
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16 Jan 2021, 7:22 pm

JohnFreeman wrote:
Mountain Goat wrote:
Hello and welcome. I am from Wales. I have been to England a few times.

Cool! I went to a convention in Cardiff with my family once. We're all fans of Torchwood so we also went to see where part of the series was filmed in Cardiff Bay. It was nice, I'd like to see more of Wales someday.


I have seen lots of Wales. Not been down to the bay but I have been around Cardiff a few times.


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Last edited by Mountain Goat on 16 Jan 2021, 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CarlM
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16 Jan 2021, 7:24 pm

Hi and welcome to Wrong Planet :D.


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AnonymousAnonymous
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16 Jan 2021, 7:33 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :D


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jimmy m
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16 Jan 2021, 10:57 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet!

Quote:
I've been obsessed over the asymmetry of my face and it's been driving me insane.


My face is a little asymmetric also. My nose is a little crooked. I figured that my face collided with someones fist during my school years and my nose broke a little as a result. But I don't obsess with it. More like a curiosity.


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auntblabby
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16 Jan 2021, 11:18 pm

yay another one :flower:



uncertaingoblin
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17 Jan 2021, 12:07 am

Hey, I like to be straightforward so before you go on to read my post keep in mind I'm not officially diagnosed and therefore may not actually be on the spectrum.

Being obsessed with my facial features, and to some degree, symmetry, in a very negative way, was a phase I also went through, I believe when I was 25, and in university. It started with a preoccupation as to the position of my eyes (being "too far apart, and not symmetrical) and instead of completing my university readings and assignments I went into a spiral trying to learn about the "meaning" of this odd positioning, and then trying to research as to whether or not it would be possible to re-arrange my skull. I felt deeply unhappy about my appearance and this led to obsessively looking in the mirror, often the rear-view mirror when driving instead of on the road as well. I just couldn't stop thinking about it. What happened was, when I finally concluded that there was nothing I could do, what followed were further obsessive insecurities about other aspects of my appearance: the length of my neck, the shape of my lips, and the shape of my skull as a whole. Through each of these, the same process was followed: I obsessively researched the possibilities of altering or compensating for each feature. Somehow, through obsessive research, some degree of peace was made. Ultimately, there isn't anything I can do about these things, but knowing that didn't help, I had to exhaust every piece of bizarre information I could find on the topic online. I went into a serious obsession with commercial DNA testing which lasted years (and still continues, but is much less prominent) and this gave me something about myself which I could obsess over to replace my fixation on physical appearance.. I think this was part of getting over it as well. I will tell you that this still lingers in me today, and every now and then I have a day where my lips, eyes, neck, or head shapes really bother me, but, I am mostly over it, and am fortunate to now have very prominent and pressing issues in my life that take my attention away whether I like it or not (raising a child.) The most tangible of the solutions, cosmetic surgery for the lips, still finds its way into my Google searches now and then, but I'm pretty practiced at shutting this down as it's around seven years after these thoughts began troubling me.
So, I do not know if this is similar to what you are experiencing, but in case it is, I decided to share this with you.

Regarding unemployment: A huge struggle in my life has been finding decent employment. From age 16 to age 30, I worked horrible minimum-wage customer service jobs where I suffered what could be considered abuse by the general public. The only time I ever got jobs was when I had some kind of connection within that job (although, I think this is pretty typical.) I knew all kinds of people who just seemed to find themselves in decent paying, respectable jobs as if by accident. In a relatively recent period of unemployment, I took a software course, and due to the fact that my favorite hobby for most of my life was PC gaming, I stood out in the class, and someone from a local business gave me a chance and hired me. Upon being hired for what was at first a simple job, my abilities to type quickly, use computers, and to write using formal English got me a promotion and my first "real grown-up" job. It turned out I had a lot of employable skills the whole time, but my absolutely atrocious verbal communication abilities held me back from getting anyone to give me a chance until I was in a situation where I really, really stood out.
The point of this story is that I believe it's better to be unemployed and perusing your interests and skills than it is to be thrown into a series of sh***y jobs. Self-esteem is really difficult to cultivate and I think entry level jobs where one is forced to deal with the general public is going to make you think you're less capable than you are. This is the first time in my life where I can remember believing that I may not be a complete idiot. So, if you don't have to get employment to survive, don't do it unless you can get something where some of your talents/skills/interests/capabilities can come into play. Maybe this isn't relevant advice for you, but I'm writing it out on the off-chance that it is. Just ignore it if not!

Regardless as to if this was relevant or even remotely helpful, I want to wish you "good luck!"



IsabellaLinton
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17 Jan 2021, 12:29 am

Welcome to WP JF, from IL! :P



Tim_Tex
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17 Jan 2021, 12:40 am

Welcome to WP!


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NaturalEntity
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17 Jan 2021, 12:29 pm

Welcome friend. Fellow sci fi fan here! I mainly read books in the genre - try the Culture novels by Iain M Banks. They're really good.
I play video games too, though I prefer consoles, mostly Nintendo ones.


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JohnFreeman
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17 Jan 2021, 12:57 pm

uncertaingoblin wrote:
Hey, I like to be straightforward so before you go on to read my post keep in mind I'm not officially diagnosed and therefore may not actually be on the spectrum.

Being obsessed with my facial features, and to some degree, symmetry, in a very negative way, was a phase I also went through, I believe when I was 25, and in university. It started with a preoccupation as to the position of my eyes (being "too far apart, and not symmetrical) and instead of completing my university readings and assignments I went into a spiral trying to learn about the "meaning" of this odd positioning, and then trying to research as to whether or not it would be possible to re-arrange my skull. I felt deeply unhappy about my appearance and this led to obsessively looking in the mirror, often the rear-view mirror when driving instead of on the road as well. I just couldn't stop thinking about it. What happened was, when I finally concluded that there was nothing I could do, what followed were further obsessive insecurities about other aspects of my appearance: the length of my neck, the shape of my lips, and the shape of my skull as a whole. Through each of these, the same process was followed: I obsessively researched the possibilities of altering or compensating for each feature. Somehow, through obsessive research, some degree of peace was made. Ultimately, there isn't anything I can do about these things, but knowing that didn't help, I had to exhaust every piece of bizarre information I could find on the topic online. I went into a serious obsession with commercial DNA testing which lasted years (and still continues, but is much less prominent) and this gave me something about myself which I could obsess over to replace my fixation on physical appearance.. I think this was part of getting over it as well. I will tell you that this still lingers in me today, and every now and then I have a day where my lips, eyes, neck, or head shapes really bother me, but, I am mostly over it, and am fortunate to now have very prominent and pressing issues in my life that take my attention away whether I like it or not (raising a child.) The most tangible of the solutions, cosmetic surgery for the lips, still finds its way into my Google searches now and then, but I'm pretty practiced at shutting this down as it's around seven years after these thoughts began troubling me.
So, I do not know if this is similar to what you are experiencing, but in case it is, I decided to share this with you.

Regarding unemployment: A huge struggle in my life has been finding decent employment. From age 16 to age 30, I worked horrible minimum-wage customer service jobs where I suffered what could be considered abuse by the general public. The only time I ever got jobs was when I had some kind of connection within that job (although, I think this is pretty typical.) I knew all kinds of people who just seemed to find themselves in decent paying, respectable jobs as if by accident. In a relatively recent period of unemployment, I took a software course, and due to the fact that my favorite hobby for most of my life was PC gaming, I stood out in the class, and someone from a local business gave me a chance and hired me. Upon being hired for what was at first a simple job, my abilities to type quickly, use computers, and to write using formal English got me a promotion and my first "real grown-up" job. It turned out I had a lot of employable skills the whole time, but my absolutely atrocious verbal communication abilities held me back from getting anyone to give me a chance until I was in a situation where I really, really stood out.
The point of this story is that I believe it's better to be unemployed and perusing your interests and skills than it is to be thrown into a series of sh***y jobs. Self-esteem is really difficult to cultivate and I think entry level jobs where one is forced to deal with the general public is going to make you think you're less capable than you are. This is the first time in my life where I can remember believing that I may not be a complete idiot. So, if you don't have to get employment to survive, don't do it unless you can get something where some of your talents/skills/interests/capabilities can come into play. Maybe this isn't relevant advice for you, but I'm writing it out on the off-chance that it is. Just ignore it if not!

Regardless as to if this was relevant or even remotely helpful, I want to wish you "good luck!"

Thanks for sharing your story - your periodic fixation on random parts of your face sounds a lot like what I've been experiencing for some time. In my teenage years I was fixated on my skin due to acne, and when it went away the fixation turned to my eyesight, then weight, hairline, hearing, jawline, etc... now it's the asymmetry of my face itself. I know that everyone's face is asymmetrical to an extent but I feel like mine is too much now and it makes me anxious to think about. I've come to accept that I'm a hypochondriac, but I'll investigate these fears anyway just in case any of them have basis in reality. Usually some of them go away whenever I get a professional telling me that whatever I'm obsessing about at the time isn't that bad, but some of my anxieties tend to disappear over time as well. It varies, really.

In regards to work/occupation, I've done a lot of random courses at college but I haven't actually ever had a job yet, partially because I'd lose my ESA benefit if I did, so you could say I've fallen into the so-called "welfare trap". I would like to do a job that I'm interested in - I'm pretty decent with computers too - but it seems to be slim pickings out there at the moment, especially due to a certain virus going around.

NaturalEntity wrote:
Welcome friend. Fellow sci fi fan here! I mainly read books in the genre - try the Culture novels by Iain M Banks. They're really good.
I play video games too, though I prefer consoles, mostly Nintendo ones.

Thanks for the rec! I think I've heard of that series before but never fully looked into it. The premise definitely sounds interesting so I'll give them a shot.



Double Retired
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17 Jan 2021, 3:27 pm

Welcome to WP! I think you will find some nice folk here.

I am in the U.S. and, at the age of 64, received a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 1 (Mild) (that's DSM-5 terminology--in much of the world my diagnosis would've been Asperger's Syndrome).

I retired when I was 56. So, it appears I stumbled my way to two retirements without even knowing I was on on the Spectrum. (However, Asperger's Syndrome wasn't an official diagnosis until 1994, the year I turned 40.)

From my vantage point, of having been there and not even knowing it, I can tell you there is unpleasantness but you can get past it. Don't give up. And, paraphrasing some quotes I think I've read: If you think you are in a bad place then don't stop!

I'm also a Science Fiction fan--since 1961. When I was in the second grade I did something (not absolutely sure what) that caused my parents to request a meeting with my teacher. They came home with Tom Swift and His Giant Robot and I've been a Sci-Fi fan since. I think reading and movies are escapism and Science Fiction is good escapism because I want to escape to someplace else, not to the same time and place where I already am. I used to read a lot of Sci-Fi but have difficulty finding time for that now so we (my bride and I) watch a lot of Sci-Fi. Oh, do you read or watch your Sci-Fi?

Take care. And don't give up!!


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