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JCJC777
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04 Feb 2014, 10:20 am

Ok flame away... But I do seem to be high-functioning by external measures; I succeeded in my career (tough industry, retired early, rich, after business sale), marriage still together after 25+ years, children growing up well, even have a few 'friends', now doing some voluntary work that people say thanks for.

I high function in social situations to a point; I can do a few hours of complex social.
However I normally crash in any longer period. e.g. a weekend away with wider family or friends; it becomes too complex, different agendas, can't keep everybody happy, can't achieve my aims, I stop functioning well, go into a shell, am told I am being unpleasant because I'm not being 'nice'.
Those crashes hurt.

I also face other multiple problems;
my marriage is mostly very difficult; I guess I just do not give her the fun an NT male would. My interests take a lot of time.
I get very little/zero social connection with anybody, which hurts.
I don't enjoy life much.

I just wondered if anyone else out there in a similar life situation?
Thanks for any thoughts



TerryD
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04 Feb 2014, 11:36 am

My situation is quite similar, except that I have never been married, and never even had a girlfriend. I cannot remember ever really enjoying life much, except for brief moments of happiness. Even my special interest seems to be more of a chore rather than a comforting pastime.



JCJC777
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04 Feb 2014, 12:22 pm

thanks Terry, appreciate your reply.

I am finding meditation maybe raises my happiness set point, possibly with a 3 day delay. This is my current big hope for happiness.



Rocket123
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04 Feb 2014, 12:51 pm

JCJC777 – I would consider myself high functioning (at least compared to others on WP). As this is the only measuring stick I have for comparison.

I have been married 20+ years, have two teenage daughters, own a small house and have been able to hold down a corporate job for ~ 25 years (albeit with lots and lots of struggles and angst).

I too have few friends and spend the bulk of my non-work time in solitude (on the computer, reading, walking my dog, etc.). I have occasionally questioned my diagnosis, because I seem much higher functioning than others on WP.

I do suffer from dysphoria (according to the psychologist who diagnosed me, I have an ongoing, underlying, mild depression that gets worse with stress and dealing with change) and anxiety.

I too don’t enjoy life much. This has been a pattern since elementary school. I have found the key is to keep myself (and my mind) busy. When I do that (on things that I find useful), then I can cope fairly well. At least in that moment.

I have thought about taking psycho meds, but am quite wary of the side-effects.



JCJC777
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04 Feb 2014, 12:57 pm

thanks Rocket123. I'm right with you. I'm wary of meds; I have on-off relationships with caffeine and alcohol.

You remind me of Descartes; "most men live lives of quiet desperation."

The harsh rational question is why stay alive at all; clearly exiting might damage those we love (children, wives), but the logical rejoinder comes that they might be happier without me.

I do have the thought about going off to live alone somewhere; the rationale would be that much stress and unhappiness comes from interacting with other people, so logically before exiting it might be worth trying to live alone. Do you get that one?



MjrMajorMajor
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04 Feb 2014, 1:43 pm

I don't know how to qualify or compare with that question, really. From what I've gathered, even high functioning autistic can have struggles or deficits in different areas, so I don't view function on a sliding spectrum scale.
I've always lived independently, but there are times from when I was younger where I wonder if that was wise. I can hold down a job, but it was a struggle for me until I found a good fit. I'm married with two children, but my husband is very accommodating to me and I was a stay at home mom when the kids were babies.
I enjoy my life, but I find my own quiet spaces to do so. On good days, I can participate in a little chit chat/small talk but it's very tiring. On bad days, it's hard to get the right words out.
I guess my point is that it's hard for me to make an objective assessment, even being high functioning. :shrug:



Rocket123
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04 Feb 2014, 1:57 pm

JCJC777 wrote:
thanks Rocket123. I'm right with you. I'm wary of meds; I have on-off relationships with caffeine and alcohol.


Me as well (though more on, than off). And more cannabis, than alcohol. Not often. But often enough to address the anxiety.

JCJC777 wrote:
You remind me of Descartes; "most men live lives of quiet desperation."


I just read a blog posting with a similar quote: http://www.miketuritzin.com/writing/are-you-leading-a-life-of-quiet-desperation/. What it doesn't address is when you have these thoughts when you are a child as well.

JCJC777 wrote:
The harsh rational question is why stay alive at all; clearly exiting might damage those we love (children, wives), but the logical rejoinder comes that they might be happier without me.


I have contemplated this very question numerous times in my life, particularly when I was younger (in middle school, in high school, after dropping out of college). Interestingly, this became a special interest of mine, when I was 17 and studying psychology (I remember reading multiple books on the topic).

While at times I have been very depressed and thought about the question, I was too timid to actually do anything. These days, I don’t think about this much. As the depression (at least presently) is mild and not deep.

JCJC777 wrote:
I do have the thought about going off to live alone somewhere; the rationale would be that much stress and unhappiness comes from interacting with other people, so logically before exiting it might be worth trying to live alone. Do you get that one?


I had toyed with the idea, but not seriously. For me, I don’t think that this (going off to live alone somewhere) would suddenly fix things.

Someone once asked me, “What demons are you running away from?” I have learned over the course of my life that I cannot run away from myself.

Which goes back to my point above. I have found the key to my personal sanity is to keep myself (and my mind) busy. When I do that (on things that I find useful), then I can cope fairly well. At least in that moment.



JCJC777
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04 Feb 2014, 2:22 pm

thanks, very useful and interesting.

Your point on keeping busy makes a lot of sense actually; I am much happier, certainly at the surface level, when 'there is something happening', e.g. I have made some punch on one of my Boards. I will think more on that as a goal.

I also see a reverse correlation with social activity; I am happiest when there is very, very little. I accept some part of me needs some social, but at the time it is very difficult.

Thanks again.



Rocket123
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04 Feb 2014, 2:52 pm

Tony Attwood wrote in "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome":

Quote:
The reader will be interested to know that I have discovered a means of removing almost all of the characteristics that define Asperger’s syndrome in any child or adult. This simple procedure does not require expensive and prolonged therapy, surgery or medica­tion, and has already been secretly discovered by those who have Asperger’s syndrome. The procedure is actually rather simple. If you are a parent, take your child with Asperger’s syndrome to his or her bedroom. Leave the child alone in the bedroom and close the door behind you as you walk out of the room. The signs of Asperger’s syndrome in your son or daughter have now disappeared.”


I have found that this works for me as well. Particularly when I am able to keep myself (and my mind) busy.



cathylynn
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04 Feb 2014, 3:02 pm

married happily to another quiet person. low-key, part-time job helping people, so rewarding and not too draining. volunteer writer for ASAN, a hobby I enjoy. e-friends, some of whom used to be IRL friends before I or they moved. I would call myself content.



JCJC777
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04 Feb 2014, 3:32 pm

cathylynn thank you. this is quiet but very powerful. expectations are key



Fortran77
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04 Feb 2014, 3:33 pm

Hi JCJC77. Your description pretty much sums it up for me (except the rich part, but I do okay), especially regarding weekends with extended family, etc.

However, I find myself to be generally happy most of the time. I do tend to brood intensely at certain conflicts as they arise, but it usually passes. Maybe it is because I have found a good niche, but I also don't see the point at being un-happy.

It does help to have a small group of friends that you can count on for a few beers on Friday!


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JCJC777
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04 Feb 2014, 3:37 pm

hey Fortran this is getting interesting indeed; your approach sounds like cathylynn; a good niche, and not expecting the world => happiness. Maybe I'm still expecting way too much of myself, of the world.

Thank you



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04 Feb 2014, 5:40 pm

I sometimes wonder if it's all worth it, too. And sometimes I get very lonely.* And I seem to (sometimes) draw more energy than a person can give. And often I need just a shitload of alone time. Maybe that's some of the issue with your spouse.

Or putting it more positively, like Stephen King likes to take long walks and kind of wander (or he used to before he was hurt). He's most probably not spectrum, just from baseline odds, but he is an artistic person who really likes to get into his activities.

Then I'm wondering,

And why the [email protected]#k are you retired at the age of 53?? That's just a little bit older than my age.

In many ways, I'm artistically successful but not financially. I'm a story / narrative type of aspie into such things as philosophy, anthropology, contemporary history. Even if I was entirely neurotypical, career-wise, I'd probably have a rough go of it.

My Dad retired about ten years ago in his late 60s, and some stuff he tried like volunteering with the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels were way disappointing. (and seemingly, both had real problems, just like for-profit organizations)

The Star Trek episode where they leave paradise, Kirk has to start an argument and get Spock angry " . . you mutinous . . half-breed!" At the end, Kirk concludes humans were not meant for paradise, but to scrap and to fight.

*yes, I've thought about suicide and it's scary, hard, difficult shiit.

Okay, one thing you can do pretty much any time you choose is to dive in and help with health topics on wikipedia. And you'll find yourself arguing with teenagers! Much of the time. And people whose main concern seems to be the formality of the language and sounding like an encyclopedia. Yes, really, and this instead of the accuracy of the information.

Or, what about a job that's deliciously anti-corporate. Say getting a job as a cashier at Walmart and trying to build people up and ignoring the idiocy of management as much as possible?

I mean, what I'm trying to say, you may need messy, nonperfectionist activities, rather than a smaller plate where everything is done perfectly.



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05 Feb 2014, 1:08 am

I am not in a similar life situation. However, I can relate to your feelings. Because I have a high IQ, people have always placed me on a pedestal. I am very articulate. I also know how to act in formal situations. Therefore, people assume I am normal. However, pretending to be normal, trying to live a normal life, does not make me happy at all. It is exhausting. It is oftentimes joyless. I, too, sometimes question why I should go on. The only answer I can give is that other people love me, and I don't want to cause those people pain.

I believe the term high functioning refers to ones ability to measure up according to societal standards of success. However, we are not normal members of society. The things that would satisfy a normal person do not make us happy. That has been my problem my whole life. Nothing is ever good enough. I just don't see what the big deal is when it comes to things that normal people are obsessed about. I don't get any pleasure out of accomplishing normal goals. Never have. I just do stuff because that is what is expected.

Lately, I have decided to take a different path (not try to be successful by society's standards, just do what I believe to be moral, fulfilling, and in my self-interest). I have decided that it is not worth it to pursue "success" (which basically means society's approval). This takes a lot of the stress off.