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NeoPlatonist
Deinonychus
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05 Aug 2010, 9:38 pm

I'm not new to WP but I haven't signed on in over three years for various reasons but I've begun to really miss talking to like minded Aspies. I doubt any of you remember me, I wasn't incredibly active or anything and I have changed a lot in the mean time.

I stopped signing in about the time I skirted around the edge of a total breakdown. I just didn't think to do it, and I got out of the habit. It's weird to think about it after all these years. I had been studying theater at a difficult private university 503 miles away from home. I did well in the theater department and in my theater classes because I was completely obsessed with it but my other classes were causing me no end of stress (mostly my foreign language classes) to the point where I couldn't sleep more than a few hours a night and was sick with anxiety all day every day. In my last semester in my old school, I ended up dropping all but one class (a theater design class) and barely squeaked through my final project. I was and am still proud of that project - it is still some of my best work - but I was really late in turning it in. I'm sure I would have been hospitalized if it weren't for the help and kindness of several people: my parents (on the phone to them for hours every day), a school counselor, one of the deans (he was very supportive, helped me smooth things over with my professors, and saved my GPA from being decimated), and my room mates (they were well out of their depths but kept me distracted when I needed it and left me alone when I needed that too). I had only been diagnosed with AS for a year but it did help me get the help I needed. I was very lucky.

I was able to stay in school taking that one class until the end of the semester but I knew that I needed to make a change in my life. For one thing, I knew that I couldn't graduate in 4 years and that my grants and scholarships only covered the first 4 years. A 5th year would have cost me $42,000. Seeing as how I am about to start my 7th year of undergrad, that would have been a big price tag.

I moved home. I spent most of that summer, just sleeping and playing video games; just decompressing. It was the first time I had really had time to myself in a decade of private middle, and high schools followed by three years at a private university. My parents pushed me hard to succeed but were also very supportive. This hiatus was the best thing that ever happened to me. Instead of going back to school at the end of the summer, I started applying for entry level jobs around time and I was hired by FedEx Ground. I could fog a mirror and at 6'4" looked big enough to handle the job which is just about the only qualifications you need to work there. My fellow employees were half ex-cons and half college students - a bizarre mix to say the least. I was a little chubby when I started and the first three weeks or so were total hell physically but eventually I built up some muscle and really started enjoying the work. It was so different from all the academic work I had done in my life to that point. I mostly loaded trucks and found the tetris-like box stacking suited me well. I even made some friends amongst my college aged coworkers. I worked there for a year and the day I gave my notice, my boss offered to move me up to management track. Well, if my life doesn't work out like I plan, at least I have a future in the package handling industry I can fall back on... ;-)

I wanted to finish my degree so I applied for IU South Bend to knock out a few gen-ed.s before I transfered to IU Bloomington. I went to class during the day and worked at FedEx at night for the first semester. The theater program at IUB was sleek and sexy: they did huge beautiful productions and had all the latest technology (drooool!). If I had gone to Bloomington, I would have gotten the polish the shoes of some very talented grad students but not much else. In that one semester of knocking out gen-eds at IUSB, I fell in love with the school. It was also nice to be able to live at home. I really liked the faculty (apart from some bad apples) and they liked me. They gave me many opportunities to design and work on productions. Right now my resume reads like someone who has his graduate degree and been working in the field for a while. Don't underestimate smaller schools; you can often get a better education there than an elite private school for a hell of a lot less. If you want it and work hard enough at it, you can get all the opportunities and responsibility you could dream of. One time I was talking to one of the dance professors and mentioned that I had transfered in. She was shocked: she had always assumed that I was on staff at the university.

I've been a wallflower my whole life and bullied badly when I was younger but now I have a small group of good friends and a larger group of people who seem to respect me at least. It really comes down to self confidence (clichéd, I know). When I hit bottom, I just gave up on people and focused on work. I just wasn't able to care what people thought about me any more (I used to obsess about it much to my detriment). Ask any of my friend and they won't hesitate to tell you that I am about as weird as you get and that's perfectly ok with me. I'd say the exact same thing about them too. ;-) If people can't handle you being different from them, they don't deserve your time or attention so give them neither. It also gets better as you get older and deal with more mature people. High schools have more psychopaths per capita than most mental wards but these same people who made your life hell won't be there for ever.

I didn't really intend for this post to be a large chunk of my life story so sorry if I rambled. I have been so lonely it hurts, depressed, and suicidal - especially in high school. I wish I could go back to my younger self and tell myself that it worked out more or less. I am still feel lonely from time to time, but I have hope and I am able to cope with life so much better than I could. I'm still as much an aspie as I ever was - get me started talking about theater or photography and you will have gray hairs before you can get me to shut up - but many of the negative aspects of my life have diminished. I guess my point is this: if you are an aspie and loving it, hi-five! If you feel like you are doomed to a life of loneliness and isolation like I did, believe me when I say that there is hope. Don't give up!


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Tim_Tex
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05 Aug 2010, 9:56 pm

Welcome back to WP!

I remember you.


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NeoPlatonist
Deinonychus
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05 Aug 2010, 9:57 pm

Ah yes! I remember you too. How have you been?


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Sionis
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05 Aug 2010, 10:22 pm

I'm curious; I have dealt with depression and the inability to complete assigned tasks at school and this past school year I didn't do very well. I thankfully passed all my courses, but with varying degrees of success - some good, some bad. How do you deal with the stress and poor feelings that probably affect many Aspies at school. I am looking forward to starting my new year in university, but I don't want to feel the same way I did last year.



conundrum
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05 Aug 2010, 10:30 pm

Hi Michael, welcome back to WP!

A lot of what you said made sense, and some sounds very familiar--I was bullied when I was younger too but that's pretty much behind me now. I have a few friends and a bf, made it all the way through grad school and am reasonably happy most of the time. Now if I could just find a job that's actually in my field...of course, most of the country is having problems like that.

NeoPlatonist wrote:
I mostly loaded trucks and found the tetris-like box stacking suited me well.


Someone told me the other day that effective packing is just like "a giant game of Tetris." :)

NeoPlatonist wrote:
Ask any of my friend and they won't hesitate to tell you that I am about as weird as you get and that's perfectly ok with me. I'd say the exact same thing about them too. Wink If people can't handle you being different from them, they don't deserve your time or attention so give them neither. It also gets better as you get older and deal with more mature people. High schools have more psychopaths per capita than most mental wards but these same people who made your life hell won't be there for ever.


VERY good advice! I've thought that way for a while and it continues to serve me well.

NeoPlatonist wrote:
...many of the negative aspects of my life have diminished. I guess my point is this: if you are an aspie and loving it, hi-five! If you feel like you are doomed to a life of loneliness and isolation like I did, believe me when I say that there is hope. Don't give up!


Glad you came back. Again, welcome. :D


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The existence of the leader who is wise
is barely known to those he leads.
He acts without unnecessary speech,
so that the people say,
'It happened of its own accord.' -Tao Te Ching, Verse 17


NeoPlatonist
Deinonychus
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05 Aug 2010, 11:08 pm

Sionis wrote:
I'm curious; I have dealt with depression and the inability to complete assigned tasks at school and this past school year I didn't do very well. I thankfully passed all my courses, but with varying degrees of success - some good, some bad. How do you deal with the stress and poor feelings that probably affect many Aspies at school. I am looking forward to starting my new year in university, but I don't want to feel the same way I did last year.


Ask me again in a few months. Next semester, I am tackling my old nemesis: French... At my old college, I flunked out of French II twice and I am a little worried about it. I try to keep the mentality that you win some and you loose some. There are some subjects that we will just never excel in and that it is ok so long as we squeak through. Don't beat yourself up over it, just work hard and don't let it consume you. The last time I took French, the mere thought of it would send me into a panic attack that would take hours to recover from. I had formed a strong negative association with it. The only thing I could do was give it time. I have, and I think that I'm ready to tackle it again now. I don't know where you go to college, but I hope it is the kind of place that lets you take your time with graduation. I'm going to graduate when I'm 25, but the extra years are worth it because I will graduate with some degree of sanity. The beautiful thing about state schools is that they don't penalize you for not graduating on time. Take your time if you can. If there is no way you can pass, ask the professor if you can withdraw instead of failing. If you withdraw, your GPA won't get hurt and you can always try again. If you don't think about failing as the end of the world, it really helps the anxiety. If I am really anxious or depressed, I go back over some of my past successes in my head and give myself a little pep talk. Nothing worth achieving is easy so work hard but also realize that failing is not the end of the world. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to think that in five years, no one on earth will give a crap if you got a C- on this assignment and then just try to get something together to turn in. Chances are, if you aren't worried about it and you put an honest effort in, you will get a decent grade. And remember, a C is always better than an F from not turning anything in.

conundrum wrote:
Now if I could just find a job that's actually in my field...of course, most of the country is having problems like that.


That worries me too. The recession has not been friendly to the entertainment industry... Oh well, if I can't get a job out of school, I'll go for my MFA, and try again in three years. A lot can happen in three years and at least my loans will be deferred in the mean time. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well and thanks for the welcome!


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conundrum
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05 Aug 2010, 11:49 pm

NeoPlatonist wrote:
Nothing worth achieving is easy so work hard but also realize that failing is not the end of the world. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to think that in five years, no one on earth will give a crap if you got a C- on this assignment and then just try to get something together to turn in. Chances are, if you aren't worried about it and you put an honest effort in, you will get a decent grade. And remember, a C is always better than an F from not turning anything in.


It took me a long, LONG time to realize this fully.

NeoPlatonist wrote:
I'm glad to hear that you are doing well and thanks for the welcome!


You're welcome, and thank you for the kind words. :)


_________________
The existence of the leader who is wise
is barely known to those he leads.
He acts without unnecessary speech,
so that the people say,
'It happened of its own accord.' -Tao Te Ching, Verse 17


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Deinonychus
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05 Aug 2010, 11:54 pm

conundrum wrote:
NeoPlatonist wrote:
Nothing worth achieving is easy so work hard but also realize that failing is not the end of the world. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to think that in five years, no one on earth will give a crap if you got a C- on this assignment and then just try to get something together to turn in. Chances are, if you aren't worried about it and you put an honest effort in, you will get a decent grade. And remember, a C is always better than an F from not turning anything in.


It took me a long, LONG time to realize this fully.


Me too! When I finally did, it was like this huge weight lifting off my chest. I'm sure many people told me this when I was younger and I really wish I had believed them. My early years would have gone a lot smoother.


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06 Aug 2010, 9:21 am

Nice to meet you, Michael, and welcome back greetings to the Wrong Planet.


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CockneyRebel
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06 Aug 2010, 2:27 pm

Welcome back, to WrongPlanet. :)

I've shed the punkish attitude, and I'm back to my original self. :)


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