Hello - Nerd/geek non-normie from Oswego, NY

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gc1ceo
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
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16 Aug 2011, 11:09 pm

Hello!

I'm a 31 year old college graduate living in Oswego, NY (that is north of Syracuse along the shore of Lake Ontario). I have been diagnosed with a number of things in my lifetime and basically spent my childhood being diagnosed, studied, etc with people trying to figure "what the hell is wrong with that kid".

Grewing up was a living nightmare for me, sure I wasn't beaten over the head with a metal rod or something and I lived in middle class suburbia comfort. However nobody understood me, I wasn't considered normal and people's first thought was always "What the hell is wrong with him". As a young kid I had absolutely no self-control, was uber hyperactive and could do things like talk to a wall for an hour. I was very emotional and could go from seemingly ok to extremely sad to extremely anger and punch out a kid for having a different colored ball from me. I was immediately the outcast and never understood why, I was the easiest target for being bullied, etc. I found out what insults like "retard", "queer", etc were from a very early age.

In the meantime they had me checked over and while they could find some physical things (I needed glasses and ear tubes) they couldn't explain me away. They wanted to say I had some form of mental retardation initially but my intelligence was quite above average to a point where at the age of 5 I could discuss the 1984 Presidental Election with my teacher and I understood some of the details of both candidates (Reagan vs Cuomo), some of the issues, etc. I actually had a school counselor and the district shrink almost come to fisticuffs over me. The counselor insisted I was "retarded" and needed to go to the "special school", within 5 minutes the district shrink basically told the counselor he was full of it because I demostrated intelligence in several areas 3-4 grades higher.

My parents weren't the most supportive, my father never has liked not having a "normal son" even though with the more progress I have made as an adult the more tolerant and accepting he has been of me. My mother really didn't know what to do with me. My pedotrian (ms) had some advice. Got labeled with ADD/ADHD (hyperactivity started to die in my late childhood). My life from nursery to 5th grade was hell, teachers were as worse as the students with bullying. The older ones figured I just needed to be smacked around behind the scenes to get me "working right", the newer ones just kept asking for more tests. I also had alot of bathroom accidents which didn't help things (doctors much much later figured out the whys to that one, about 10+ years too late).

Everything developed quickly into severe depression, kinda hard to be happy when the world hates you and spits on you on a daily basis. I had few friends, I was generally an embarrassment to what friends I could manage because of outbursts, social problems, bedwetting, you name it. I was rebellious, became atheist from age 12 onward in a fairly religious extended family (they took it as a deviant act versus an intelligent choice in the beginning). I felt very suicidal, the attitude to that was zero tolerance with threats of being locked up for the rest of my life if I even talked about it. I had my own doctor literally threaten me with my parents right there that I was an idiot for feeling that way.

In summary (I type very fast so I can type alot very easily) it got worse before it got better. After basically refusing to go to school anymore in my junior year of high school I volunteered to go into special education, the doctor also finally found the long-sought diagnosis of Aspergers which covered most of me but covered what wasn't there (as opposed to a diagnosis of lower functioning autism for example).

Things generally improved in the last decade, I went to college which is something nobody believed I was capable of because I did so poorly in school. My attitude is you enjoy it alot more when people can't beat you up because as adults its now a criminal act. I got to study subjects and go to classes for things I enjoyed and wanted to know more about. I had several professors who literally went out of their way more then any teacher in high school or my parents to make me feel very welcome and to try and work with me. With my parents now divorced and my emotionally abusive father at arm's length, plus no more bullying, I could relax and alot of my severe depression and anger disappeared. My time in special education exposed to people with a wide variety of disabilities and it made me much less selffish/self-centered and a desire to be a friend and guardian to those who had gone through what I did or worse. I became very proud of others accomplishments, it warms your heart to see a kid with low functioning autism who people never thought could even live outside his house suddenly have a part time job and live in his own apartment with some roommates. All made people because he needed people to believe in him. People became human for me for the first time in my life, instead of inhuman monsters who hated me.

I was in community college for a few years, not really many friends but not really anybody who was mean to me. I tutored for a number of classes, did other varies kinds of work around our very tiny campus (a college branch inside a mini-mall). When I hit an explosion, a good one, going to the four year college across the street where I found a gamer's club full of people like me both in interests and conditions. Many years later I still hang out there, most also have something or another and there aren't too many people who weren't depressed, bullied or something in the crowd. I have discovered a whole culture of nerds, geeks and gamers of millions of people world-wide through this that until then I thought I was more or less alone. This gave me a great sense of self-worth, etc.

In terms of relationships I have had a number of girlfriends and such, I love intimacy and such. Something that almost seems to put me in the minority in the autism spectrum crowd. However in my earlier relationships I had trouble with alot of things like communication, rationally dealing with certain things, etc.

Today I have a 4 year degree (nobody believed I could get it), I had alot of other medical problems finally diagnosed and dealt with. Most recently, sleep apnea with surgery and a CPAP machine. My depression is more or less at bay, I can socialize -ok- with most people. I can work through most normal social conventions, but can be really slow on the uptake for certain things. Other peoples conditions can really affect me to an extreme, I can't deal with really angry, irrational, etc people. I can't keep a smile when a customer comes up to me and calls me a con man and a liar because I tried to sell him something.

Job-wise, just odds and ends with one "real" job at Staples for 8 months which I sucked at. I was very on-time, generally polite with most customers, etc but was a terrible salesman, couldn't handle heights (ladders) and heavy loads (past 20 lbs) especially at height, couldn't project cool and confident, etc. My boss felt geninuely bad about my situation saying I was a great employee on one side of the coin and honestly felt alot of my problems were related to my disability, although she didn't what I had (because I didn't feel like the details getting used and being harrassed by them).

Been hunting a job since then, no luck. Everything available is Mcfood and like the Staples bit, stuff I know I can't handle. Very frustrating.

Interest wise I'm a gamer with capital G and heaven for me is doing something gamer or geek-related every night of the week (which for many years I often have). I'm an alumni of a club that during fall and spring semesters has at least one, sometimes two, things going on every night after 8 pm till midnight. I just walk down the street a mile or so and I'm there (also my hub for the local bus system). I also love computers, history, politics, religion, philosophy and basically soak up knowledge. On the other side I have no desire to go clubbing or bar hopping, I rather have a girl when she's sober (more fun that way) and sports are kinda boring to do and really boring to watch. Some exceptions if its my alma mater's team and I'm there in person especially if I know a player or two.

I consider most of the world to be very weird, strange and generally unaware. I feel like an ambassador from another planet half the time with my tricorder and anthropological analysis of normie culture. Nowadays I belong to a local colony of my people on this planet of course, often explaining my observations to my kind in an attempt to educate (have friends at various levels in terms of aspergers/autism, I fit towards the topish sorta). I have a greater understandng of myself, my emotions and can communicate much more easily/better with people. I have had long conversations with my mother trying to get her to understand the living hell it was for me and how I felt inside, was thinking, etc during my outbursts, fits, etc. She seems to understand somewhat and regrets not understanding back then. My father really still doesn't or understand or want to know, but I talk to him every so often and he helps me out with money on a regular basis (since I have no income).

If I live by a motto it is that I will not allow what has done to me to be done to others, sadly I can't walk through the local schools with a bat wacking those who bully and take advantage of those with development or emotional difficulties. However when they get to college, I'll gladly take them under my wing and show them they are not alone.

Pardon for the very long post, I type faster and clearer then I speak and can easily type dozens of pages in a complete stream of consciousness without realizing it.



Davuardo
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17 Aug 2011, 2:23 am

Wow you sound really cool :)

No worries about the long post, I found it a lot easier to read than many shorter ones, you're a natural writer :)

It's really great to see how you overcame the adversity to gain your degree and a happy life :) it's inspiring for people like me to know its possible/probable :)

Anyway, sorry for not posting a large one, I'm not too good at them :P

Adios


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Your Aspie score: 186 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 22 of 200
You are very likely an Aspie

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TenPencePiece
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17 Aug 2011, 3:28 am

Welcome to WrongPlanet!

I don't usually read posts that are that long but I did this time and thank you very much for sharing.
Hope you enjoy your stay here :)


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gc1ceo
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
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19 Aug 2011, 3:07 pm

Its been quite a long road, and it still stretches in front of me.

I am open to anybody who needs support, shoulder, whatever. Admittedly I might have some trouble relating if it is completely out of my experience like for example I don't too many obsession issues except for discussing topics I really enjoy and my physical compulsions are limited to just certain things. For example I don't feel the need to wash my hands a hundred times a day or something or always do things in a pattern of 3, etc. But I will try all the same to be supportive.



blitzkrieg
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20 Aug 2011, 4:13 am

Welcome to WrongPlanet.