My past, and what it means today (Kind of long)

Page 1 of 1 [ 7 posts ] 

Grey_Kameleon
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 193

27 Feb 2008, 11:44 am

After years of trying to figure myself out, I have recently come to understand autism in the context of something other than 'Rain Man'. Some symptoms fit, some don't fit so well, but I think I am understanding the fundamentals of the syndrome (Asperger's, most likely) and the implications are kind of frightening.

A brief background: I was homeschooled until age seventeen, by religious fundamentalists who were very specific about the influences they wanted in my life. I lived out in the country, had occasional contact with neighbor kids, and more contact later (at about age 7) with other homeschoolers. I had fun with them but rarely 'hit it off' with anyone. I was usually so entrenched in my personal life that I couldn't find anything else to connect on, and I probably turned a lot of people off. Luckily, it didn't matter as much at that age, but as I got older I learned to shut up and didn't try to befriend anyone who didn't try to befriend me first.

I was involved in a church youth group at age 12, when I started developing a lot of what I called 'social anxiety'. I never talked when I was in groups, but when someone else (usually one of the interns or older adults) struck up a conversation, I would light up a little more and actually talk to them. I had a very hard time explaining why I couldn't talk to the other students, why I could carry a conversation on AIM, but not in real life, etc...so I just blamed external circumstances and waited for other people to talk to me. I would usually stand in the corner alone, pace the hallways, or if the event were outdoors, I would entertain myself with nature.

I confused myself as much as I confused other people. It was too frustrating to try to make friends, but I continued feeling the obligation, and kept going to those weekly church functions. I eventually transferred to a public school, which was quite an interesting experience, but didn't really help me make friends. By this point, I knew a little more about social skills and wasn't as inhibited, so other people seemed happier to be around me, but I still didn't 'connect' with anyone.

Fast forward to college: Social anxiety, I determined, was a thing of the past. I was going be normal when I started college. Worse yet, I was going to be more than normal. So I ended up talking to everyone I came across, made about 200 Facebook acquaintances in the short time I was there, but only actually befriended 2 people. These people were also something like social outcasts. After my pseudo-charisma wore off and I ran out of the fake social skills I had learned, I ended up just spending most of my time alone or with these people.

I started college again last fall, but I'm still the same I was when I was fourteen. I have a few friends, but it's too stressful to try to engage myself when my mind is continually on my own things. Course work that requires any thought is equally frustrating.

I know this is long, but any pointers would be appreciated. I'm not just looking for a label, I'm looking for a way of understanding myself.



SilverProteus
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 7,915
Location: Somewhere Over The Rainbow

27 Feb 2008, 12:01 pm

How many friends do you want? Reading your post, I get the impression that what you're saying is if you don't have many, you'll be depressed, socially anxious, etc. etc.

As for the "fake charisma", NTs do that all the time. If you're able to pull that off (and get something like 200 acquaintances as a result 8O ), you're better off than many of us here.


_________________
"Lightning is but a flicker of light, punctuated on all sides by darkness." - Loki


Grey_Kameleon
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 193

27 Feb 2008, 12:29 pm

I don't really care about how many I have now, I've kind of burned out trying.

I went to Lee University (a smallish Church of God school in a suburban neighborhood), and the people were very outwardly friendly. By charisma, I mean I would go up to people and talk to them (usually one-on-one, so I could get them to talk about themselves). By 'Facebook acquaintance', I mean I would talk to someone once and add them to my Facebook. I only had regular contact with a very small fraction of that.

Thanks for your response. Having been homeschooled, there are a lot of confounding variables. I try to compare myself to my sister, who is very introverted (like my parents) but very sociable when she wants to be.



AndersTheAspie
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Feb 2008
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,862
Location: On the edge of civilization. Denmark.

27 Feb 2008, 1:05 pm

Quote:
I try to compare myself to my sister


I advice against comparing yourself with anybody. Not untill you have an idea of who you are yourself, and who you wanna be. Before you have a at least a general idea, comparing yourself to others will only serve to further confuse you.

Quote:
I had fun with them but rarely 'hit it off' with anyone.


Sometimes you will meet people who you just don't 'hit it off' with, you gotta accept that some people just aren't ever going to be someone who you have more than fun with. And it is the same way with these 200 Facebook acquaintances. As you have noticed only a few acquaintances ever develop into friends, you just have to accept this.
It is not a shame to talk to/hang out with someone who is just an acquaintance, you don't have to be friends with everyone.

Quote:
but it's too stressful to try to engage myself when my mind is continually on my own things. Course work that requires any thought is equally frustrating.


What courses are you taking? If this is the way you feel about them, you might wanna consider taking some new ones. Someone related to these things your mind is constantly on anyway... just a thought.


_________________
Once I knew everything, then I got smarter, now the only thing I know is that I know nothing.
Strange how that worked out isn't it?


Grey_Kameleon
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 193

27 Feb 2008, 2:07 pm

You may be right, but I compare myself to my sister because we both grew up in the same set of circumstances, and yet turned out entirely different. I'm trying to find the points where we split off.



scumsuckingdouchebag
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 521

27 Feb 2008, 3:10 pm

200 facebook acquaintances?

That's impressive.



Grey_Kameleon
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 193

27 Feb 2008, 4:39 pm

I probably could have had everyone at the school (about 4000 students), if I had the time to send out requests to all of them. lol