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Asperbear
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30 Jan 2014, 6:49 am

Hello. I feel the strong need to share something.

My autism is severely affecting every aspect of my life, for as long as I can think. The way I coped with it was easy: Trying as hard as I possibly can.

And it is ruining me. I can pass as being relatively normal, if a little hyperactive, when I try hard enough. Problem is: I cannot do it anymore.

I am highly intelligent (my doctor was basically speechless about my iq test) and yet I nearly failed school. I can appear highly social but it is all show, not authentic. I CAN do the dishes, but have to be very, very exhausted afterwards.

And I do not know how to stop. It is either me working my butt off or feeling absolutely, completely, immensely inadequate. When I do not give everything, I do not give anything.

So I became a chain-smoker, as smoking helped a bit. I developed an alcohol problem (under control now, stopped drinking) as it helped in social situations. I am either exhausted by trying so hard, or I am what NTs percieve to be a hardcore slacker.

But I want to achieve things in my life. I want to be successful. I want to connect to people.
I can give the impression of strong connection, socially speaking, the price I have to pay: I feel like a very, very good actor.

I sometimes have the impression that my boyfriend of six years still does not know me, because of that. He knows two sides of me: The exhausted, or the trying to hard. I am lost in-between. If I try hard I can appear very normal, very cool and relaxed (people say so), and if I do not I am not that far away from rainman.

A lifetime of rebukes made me unlearn healthy stimming. (Another reason for alcohol and cigarettes. Disguised stimming.)

I have strong demands for everybody in my life, including me. I fear I have to let go of that. It is a fear, because I kind of define myself through those demands. Do I have to let go of the dream of success? And if so, how could it be done in a healthy way?

It is taking everything I have to just appear, for a day or two, to "function." Professional help still is about a year away, things move slowly in Germany. Pacing myself is not a concept I do understand. I want to write a book, but as I cannot focus on what I write I feel strongly that it is not good enough. I have already deleted more words in my life then most people have written. :lol: I am very aware of inadequacies.

This post took four cigarettes to write, as cigarettes are the only thing that truly help me focus and not get lost in my dream world. I want to live in the real world, the world in my head is not enough for me; I tasted the real thing and I want more of it. I want to go out there and do things. But it is too much work, to much strain on my systems. And so I feel lost.

I do not have many friends anymore because either they are disappointed in me "Man, you are intelligent. Stop behaving like a child!" or I am bored by them.

When I do not try hard I do not live. The typical "rich inner life" of autism feels like a prison to me, a lie. I tasted the real thing. I want it back. But I cannot have it.



Waterfalls
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30 Jan 2014, 7:16 am

Yes sometimes trying so much too much becomes impossible and you just have to stop. Since professional help is so far off, is there any be any kind of peers support network?

I am sorry that you're feeling so bad



AnnabelleLee
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30 Jan 2014, 8:22 am

I can strongly relate to everything in OP here. I just can't do it anymore, but can't stop either. I am trying to quit smoking, and pick up healthy stimming that was conditioned out of me. I don't have any really good advice, but I sympathize with you completely, except I am perpetually single. :lol: My best idea is trying harder, only this time for myself.



Opi
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30 Jan 2014, 1:31 pm

man i really feel for you and i totally understand what you are saying at least i think i do. it's taken me decades and many misdiagoses to finally accept that trying harder was never going to solve my "problems" but also that part of those problems was perceiving myself through the looking glass of other people. giving up the battle is in my opinion the first step to victory. not saying give up on who you are or how you are (or me myself) - saying my quest is now to find a way to work WITH my strengths, and develop my talents and interests in a way that increases my quality of life. this is difficult because i am SO programmed to try to please others, i have so many negative ideas about myself in my head that i got from others, i have such a struggle standing up for myself, and i am only just beginning to get to know myself. i can't be successful in the conventional sense, no, it IS exhausting and i AM burned out on trying. but that doesn't mean i can't be successful on my own terms. it doesn't mean i can't learn to take care of myself, figure out new goals and a new lifestyle that will make me happy. i hope for the same for you.


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lotuspuppy
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30 Jan 2014, 9:56 pm

Let me just say it took me a VERY long time to stop "trying to hard." I put that phrase in quotes because you realize one day that there is nothing to try to be. It is just there. As Yoda would say, "do or do not; there is no try."

Life is something like that. Everything you do is what you do. There is no need to work towards an ideal, because what you do is the ideal. If you are passionate about something and work very hard at it, all the better. But even if you are not passionate and do not "try hard", it is still a good effort. I think this requires thinking in the moment.

I used to have the worldview you describe, and would beat myself up over it. It changed somehow. I meditate regularly, and I think that really helped to calm my mind. I did have a life change a few months ago that turned out to be really, really good for me, but I am not sure it is making me happy, per se. After all, I am working harder and under more stress than I have been in a very long time. But I am also happier than I have been in a very long time, possibly my entire life.



ASPartOfMe
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31 Jan 2014, 3:59 am

Trying 100% or 0% for me also.

My suggestion would be to relearn whatever is healthy stimming for you. There are ways you can to do it in private. Your home is your home so stim as much as you need to there. It is winter so you can put your coat on your lap and a least do a modified stim underneath that


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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


OliveOilMom
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31 Jan 2014, 6:12 am

I totally feel you. Here's the thing though. I know what you need to do but I don't know how to put it into words. Yeah, me, I don't know how to say it. The chick that types 10,000 words to say "ITA" or "suck it up", I just don't know how to describe it. There is a shift you have to make in your mind to be able to process s**t like that. It's also not one you make, it's one that happens from your actions. I'ts like achieving escape velocity. Once you've done it, you know. Until then you just blow up in the upper atmosphere when you try it. Basically you are trying at the wrong parts is all I can say about it.

ETA; It's a shift in how you think about things and how important they seem. You'll know when it happens. Those of us who have had it happen know when it happened to us, but maybe can't put a finger on it but we can all say "Yeah, that's it". You keep trying to fit in everywhere you are and finally you realize that you can't. You can only fit in certain places, roles, etc. So you say f**k it and you defend the person you actually are.


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IsWas
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05 Feb 2014, 1:17 am

Thank you all for this - your topic and the responses are most helpful
to me at this time. I identify strongly as a recently diagnosed adult who is just
Absolutely Exhausted. I think it also hurts that we *work so hard* at this, at life,
At everything! I am now standing on that peak and surveying. Seeing, learning.
I am breathing it all in and unlearning and relearning. Difficult at best.



Rabbie
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12 Feb 2014, 3:20 pm

Maybe that's why I'm feeling erased/invisible, I'm trying too hard in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways? I'm in my 60's and don't really find many people with my point of view in the autistic community, I especially don't like the online debates on Facebook that seem to nearly always become toxic and vicious. I don't know, I'm just having a really, really bad day today. Totally confused about who I am.



Buttercup
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12 Feb 2014, 7:58 pm

I am exhausted.
I did not realize this until it was too late. If you were born mute & learn to talk, you may wire your brain for speech in a way it was not developed. Like hotwiring a car, sort of. If the wired/hotwired area is overused it can "blow" neurological wiring, and for me this came with headaches...really nasty headaches.
I lost my ability to be spontaneously creative (paint & draw) this way. I "fried" something. I was a good artist, so this is sad. I spoke not because I wanted to but because this society insists upon it. Even though they hardly listen even when they ask a direct question, & then impatient because I did not answer quickly enough.
Most people have no clue how hard I try. And some misinterpret my pauses and slow speech for lies. They do not appreciate my effort to speak, or what it cost me. If I keep it up I may lose something valuable again. They cannot give me back what I lost to trying too hard. So be careful!



ablomov
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12 Feb 2014, 9:17 pm

i wonder if what i am adding to my supplements/ dietary regime will help you ?

i started both the same time (unfortunately) so i don't know which is the one that has fired me up to be more active, more enduring stamina .... vital for mywork.

a) 2/3 glass of warm water with half a level tsp of sea salt first thing every morning.

b) co-enzyme Q10 supplement.

i think its the sea salt that has boosted me as my wife has had me on a low salt diet for years.



Rabbie
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13 Feb 2014, 12:07 pm

I came here yesterday frustrated and depressed and didn't think to reply to Asperbear and want to apologize for that. I appreciate you sharing the way you did and if it makes you feel any better I completely identify with your situation. I do think that as trite as it may sound, recognizing we have a problem with exhaustion is the first step to finding ways to cope with it and I'm trying to take comfort in that. I'm also telling myself these things can be cyclical in nature and I've also decided on getting out and exercising more as a way to distract myself from my thoughts. I took a long walk yesterday and slept well, even though I woke up feeling somewhat depressed. I plan on walking today as well. I think both of those approaches - neither of which requires anyone else's approval or participation - will help tip my mental state back into a more peaceful state. From time to time I would like to stop by and see what ideas or solutions people have found, until then I hope today is a better day.

PS From what I've been reading the salt solution is being widely touted. We actually aren't getting enough salt at the right times they say. Bedtime is supposed to be key?



Tomas73
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13 Feb 2014, 7:02 pm

I believe we have to put ourselves first, and maintain ourselves, if we are to be of any use to anyone else. Therefore, even if they don't understand it, sometimes when we draw a line and say "no", then it isn't entirely selfish, it's just necessary for the greater good. Effectively by forcing ourselves beyond our healthy capacity, we don't help anyone. Yes, this is rhetorical, and a little "bending over backwards" is often necessary, but it needs to be sustainable.

A difficult balance for some of us to find. I myself have been put down a fair bit by people who just don't understand Aspergers. The common assumption is that to not do, is to be lazy. But I am more productive when I do things my way, so... "if I need time out, I need time out. End of...".



kizzyDeSilva
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16 Mar 2014, 5:58 pm

HI Asperbear, I too understand that deep longing for a success that was momentarily there and then ripped away again by things going wrong in the way I unintentionally clash with the world and the way that most peeps do things. I dont have the stimming and so cant advise on that - but just before I was diagnosed 13 years ago I went to a kinesiologist who tested me for wheat and dairy sensitivity and taught me a breathing excercise. Both of these things were very helpful in making me more 'normal'. I also take various vitamins to assist with mood, relaxation and sleeping pattern and other things. I also took co Q 10 enzyme for a while and felt a lift - I was exhausted and traumatized at the time. I also found an antidepressant very helpful for me. the trouble and the beauty of the holisitc journey is that it is different for everyone much in the same way that AS is experienced differently by everyone. I would definitely try to reclaim the stimming within the privacy of your own home and perhaps you could go to the toilets in a public place to do it to relieve the pressure on you. The holistic route can be very valuable as you learn about yourself learn what is right for YOU and that is always real change. replacing old habits with new healthier ones takes time and courage. If you are a driven creature you may find yourself able to take on the commitment to change from within and from where you are. It sounds like you were forced to build an external structure vastly different from what was going on inside. take it all down like a brick wall look at every brick and decide is this part useful if not toss put aside store for later etc. I hope this helps.I know something of what you are going through. If the peeps who said stop acting like a child knew you had AS then shame on them. Perhaps they werent good friends? All the best in your journey. x


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kizzyDeSilva
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16 Mar 2014, 6:15 pm

Also I forgot to say cross crawl which i learnt years before for an eyesight problem i was trying to cure is very good for calming the mind, thought connectedness, stress, constipation, feeling sick, interview nerves, clarity of thought. I discovered as I was doing a low level maths exam at the time that I did Maths much better after doing cross crawl and it wasnt a struggle and i could do it!! !! I will find a link to the excercise that i mean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seic4ZRxtmw

I didnt do the eye movement part of that or listen to beat music and it still worked for me. Also I used to palm which was very good for calming my mind. I htink it shuts out overload of light etc I used to go to the toilet in my part time job at hobbycraft and do it in the cubicle. i came out feeling so much better but the trouble is they were suspicous of me becos that is how I spent my breaks in there!! !! sooo that was a drag.
off to look for a sample of palming for you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-OgRoCKGPA
this vid seems ok. it is an eye excercise but you imagine black and that is good for getting your mind focussed and then you are shutting out a lot of stimuli too. I didnt do all those excercises when I was doing all this in the 90s there wasnt all this help of youtube. all the best hope this helps. x


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JCJC777
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18 Mar 2014, 3:45 am

yep I know what you mean. see the 'high-functioning' thread. my advice is get clean of all drugs, sugar, even cheese, try being clean. go through the howling pain. in that new-found fragility you may find that, although it will feel chaotic, when you look back on each day you have actually been functioning well