Depression and anxiety in Aspergers. Why?

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qawer
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03 Aug 2013, 4:02 am

Why is it so easy for me to feel depressed and anxious when having Aspergers?

I mean logically I can see I have a lot of options available in life if I just fight for them.

But it's like I somehow don't feel those options. Is it because of lacking social intelligence I cannot burn for those options?

I don't understand why I would be anxious and depressed, but when I think about I have been like that most of my life (at least from about 18 and up).

I know I've often times been exposed to social exclusion, but I wonder if that is enough to suck out the life energy to such an extent.


Anyone has a good explanation?

Can you relate to this?



monsterland
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03 Aug 2013, 4:44 am

For me it's definitely the "not having a life".

Sure, if I had the kind of social life that normal people have, I couldn't possibly sustain it for long. And that fact by itself reminds me of what I perceive as "missing pieces" from my human make-up.

And then there's the "it's my fault" program. I'm just not doing enough to "get out there", and all that jazz.

Get out... there. Somewhere. Where the current of life will suddenly take me and good things will flow toward me in an unstoppable flood.



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03 Aug 2013, 10:07 am

I see this issue through the social model of disability which states that disability is caused by the social and attitudinal barriers placed on top of disabled people in addition to their impairments and or conditions. What this means for Asperger syndrome and anxiety is that allistic people have unrealistic expectations or more correctly demands placed on us in addition to our kind of autism that they would not do to either people with learning disabilities (used to be called mental handicap) or allistic people. Often allistic people are often impatient with AS people and using the fact that AS is a camouflaged condition as an excuse and I believe that this is a major cause of anxiety disorders in Asperger syndrome people. If these demands are eliminated and any residual anxiety remains although minor coud be the result of neurochemical differences.

Depression has many social factors too such as lack of opportunity to make friends or support in doing so and allistic people accusing one of being a bad influence ie treating one like something that the cat dragged in penalising having allistic levels of intelligence and expecting kindness in retaliation in which there most people see one as a wuss for doing so and a tosspot if one does not. Often the depression can be as a result of having very little or no support networks or geniuine friends or allistic people not believing one's experience or emotionally abusing one can cause a very low self esteem. concerning the lack of friends and other social opportunities one may mention people often give useless advice such as why not go to pubs pr clubs or do a course at college. This may not be the best place for AS people to meet new friends. Also a failure to achieve ambitions or given the advice to lower one's ambitions can seriously damage one's self esteem. also a lack of sleep can play havoc with one's mental health as well as the use of some drugs inappropriately. :idea:



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03 Aug 2013, 1:05 pm

I think mine's due to social isolation. I feel like I'm caught in a trap between naturally wanting to have friends and fit in but struggling to do it at the same time. It can be very frustrating at times.


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Willard
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03 Aug 2013, 1:17 pm

Its actually very simple: Your subconscious knows that it is not capable of juggling and processing all the sensory signals incoming at any given moment and doing so adequately. Knowing that - even when you aren't actually thinking about it - results in a state of near constant stress and anxiety.

You spend your life feeling awkward and uncomfortable, not just when expected to function socially, but ANYTIME OTHER HUMANS ARE PRESENT. You may not be consciously aware of this, but any time other people are close enough that you become aware of their presence, even if they are not engaging you in any social way, your anxiety level automatically increases, just because of the possibility that they might be sending non-verbal signals that you may miss or misread.

Living in a world full of peers whose behaviors are often incomprehensible or illogical, but who hold YOU responsible for your difficulties in understanding their unspoken language, one cannot help but feel constantly on edge, waiting for that next moment when someone will berate you for not responding appropriately to something you didn't even know you were supposed to respond to.

Living under that kind of stress, with no solution in sight, is inevitably going to lead to bouts of depression and nervous exhaustion.



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03 Aug 2013, 1:17 pm

I covered the anxiety part in another thread, I think it just a natural part of what we have, as far as I know.


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03 Aug 2013, 1:27 pm

I think it's got a lot to do with being part of a stigmatized minority group, actually.

For example, we know that being gay isn't a mental illness. However, gay people are more likely to have depression and anxiety, and they are more likely to commit suicide. Teenagers are at increased risk, especially. Why, if it's a psychologically neutral trait, does that happen? Pretty simple... Gay people are subjected to prejudice. The teen years are especially hard, because it's before they've figured out their own independent identity, while at the same time they're being bombarded by biased messages from all sides, while at the same time they are going to school with people they can't choose not to associate with. Fewer tools to combat prejudice, plus more prejudice, equals stress, equals increased vulnerability to depression and anxiety disorders. When gay teens matched with straight peers who experience similar amounts of stress, the increased risk of mental illness vanishes.

Autistic people are in a similar situation, especially autistic people who have a mostly invisible disability. We are easy targets for abuse, for bullying, even for murder. We often grow up in a war zone. Is it any wonder that we come away with mental illness?

Some anxiety, due to transitions, unexpected events, and sensory overload, can be related directly to autism. However, social anxiety is not; it's an acquired trait that, at most, some people are more vulnerable to than others. I say this because social anxiety tends to actually decrease with the severity of the autism. If it were connected to autism directly, it would increase.


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03 Aug 2013, 1:45 pm

Callista wrote:
Some anxiety, due to transitions, unexpected events, and sensory overload, can be related directly to autism. However, social anxiety is not; it's an acquired trait that, at most, some people are more vulnerable to than others. I say this because social anxiety tends to actually decrease with the severity of the autism. If it were connected to autism directly, it would increase.


I have a feeling that "high-functioning" asperger people are more likely to develop social anxiety because they are more aware of their differences. At least I've become completely aware of this now myself.

It's like I'm clever enough to know what's going on, how I'm being excluded, how people react etc., but at the same time I cannot do anything about it unless I put on an act. But deep down it's extremely frustating to not be "allowed" to be yourself if you don't want to be excluded.

I'm clever enough to see that the true me is basically unwanted almost everywhere unless I change to be someone I'm really not deep down. Almost feels like I live a double-life with two identities: the social "correct" one and then myself.

I cannot be the honest, open, curious me that I was as a child. The depression is not so weird when thinking of it that way.



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03 Aug 2013, 2:34 pm

I don't have much social cognition, so I don't have much social anxiety either.

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monsterland
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03 Aug 2013, 2:48 pm

Willard wrote:
Its actually very simple: Your subconscious knows that it is not capable of juggling and processing all the sensory signals incoming at any given moment and doing so adequately. Knowing that - even when you aren't actually thinking about it - results in a state of near constant stress and anxiety.

You spend your life feeling awkward and uncomfortable, not just when expected to function socially, but ANYTIME OTHER HUMANS ARE PRESENT. You may not be consciously aware of this, but any time other people are close enough that you become aware of their presence, even if they are not engaging you in any social way, your anxiety level automatically increases, just because of the possibility that they might be sending non-verbal signals that you may miss or misread.

Living in a world full of peers whose behaviors are often incomprehensible or illogical, but who hold YOU responsible for your difficulties in understanding their unspoken language, one cannot help but feel constantly on edge, waiting for that next moment when someone will berate you for not responding appropriately to something you didn't even know you were supposed to respond to.

Living under that kind of stress, with no solution in sight, is inevitably going to lead to bouts of depression and nervous exhaustion.


This is quite accurate. Even as I got better at imitating NT social fluidity, real NTs have been doing it since kindergarden, and I am forever surrounded by "social blackbelts", many of whom would run circles around me.



qawer
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03 Aug 2013, 3:17 pm

Willard wrote:
Its actually very simple: Your subconscious knows that it is not capable of juggling and processing all the sensory signals incoming at any given moment and doing so adequately. Knowing that - even when you aren't actually thinking about it - results in a state of near constant stress and anxiety.

You spend your life feeling awkward and uncomfortable, not just when expected to function socially, but ANYTIME OTHER HUMANS ARE PRESENT. You may not be consciously aware of this, but any time other people are close enough that you become aware of their presence, even if they are not engaging you in any social way, your anxiety level automatically increases, just because of the possibility that they might be sending non-verbal signals that you may miss or misread.

Living in a world full of peers whose behaviors are often incomprehensible or illogical, but who hold YOU responsible for your difficulties in understanding their unspoken language, one cannot help but feel constantly on edge, waiting for that next moment when someone will berate you for not responding appropriately to something you didn't even know you were supposed to respond to.

Living under that kind of stress, with no solution in sight, is inevitably going to lead to bouts of depression and nervous exhaustion.



Thanks, I think you are right. It's a tough card to get!



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03 Aug 2013, 3:36 pm

I used to have pretty bad anxiety about everything from answering the phone to going shopping. I still do sometimes but I'm mostly over it. I don't really know what to say in a lot of situations but I've at least learned what not to say. I've also accomplished enough in my life that I don't need to be self-conscious in front of anyone whose life revolves around fantasy football and beer. Seriously there is nothing supernatural about verbal communication, it's not something I'm likely to master but I can learn enough to get by.

With depression I can't really tell whether depression causes me to see things as pointless and bleak or if they actually are pointless and bleak and that's why I feel depressed.



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03 Aug 2013, 3:50 pm

qawer wrote:
Callista wrote:
Some anxiety, due to transitions, unexpected events, and sensory overload, can be related directly to autism. However, social anxiety is not; it's an acquired trait that, at most, some people are more vulnerable to than others. I say this because social anxiety tends to actually decrease with the severity of the autism. If it were connected to autism directly, it would increase.


I have a feeling that "high-functioning" asperger people are more likely to develop social anxiety because they are more aware of their differences. At least I've become completely aware of this now myself.

It's like I'm clever enough to know what's going on, how I'm being excluded, how people react etc., but at the same time I cannot do anything about it unless I put on an act. But deep down it's extremely frustating to not be "allowed" to be yourself if you don't want to be excluded.

I'm clever enough to see that the true me is basically unwanted almost everywhere unless I change to be someone I'm really not deep down. Almost feels like I live a double-life with two identities: the social "correct" one and then myself.

I cannot be the honest, open, curious me that I was as a child. The depression is not so weird when thinking of it that way.


It's like a double-edged sward. The better you are at acting and being more NT like. The more depressing it gets because your denying who you are as a person. On the flip side. If you just be yourself then you find yourself being osterized from society.



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03 Aug 2013, 4:19 pm

I don't have depression, and I don't know what depression feels like.

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03 Aug 2013, 5:14 pm

btbnnyr wrote:
I don't have much social cognition, so I don't have much social anxiety either.

:albino: :albino: :albino:


btbnnyr wrote:
I don't have depression, and I don't know what depression feels like.

:albino: :albino: :albino:


I can relate to both.
I don't have social anxiety, but I avoid most social interactions because of boredom.

I don't feel depressed, at best I can feel sad.
One time I was really sad was when my parakeet died (I was 8 ). I had a shutdown that lasted almost 2 days.

Once a counselor told me that she thought I actually was a little depressed and traumatized (because of all the teasing I went through in school) but that I just had subconciously removed it from my mind even if I said that the teasing didn't hurt me.
That makes no sense to me.
How could I have been able to remove that?
The only time I felt bad for something that had been told me by a classmate was in 5th grade when a girl said that it would have been better off if I were dead.
But I got over it after a while because I thought "f*** what she thinks, I like being alive and my opinion is more important than hers".



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03 Aug 2013, 7:33 pm

I don't know what hurt feelings feel like.

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