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Crearan
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23 Jan 2014, 11:51 am

I keep posting. Meh. Give me a few weeks, I'll wear out. Anyway, I'm in the process of trying to get care for myself, because reading more and more about ASD, my whole life keeps clicking into place--and making me more deeply and deeply ashamed. I know I should be like, oh, there's an explanation for the fact that I've never had close friends and that I alternately withdraw from, cling to, and generally hurt and confuse everyone I do care about! But since that explanation is I have a brain that can only behave differently with massive effort, I'm not exactly shot in the arm with things right now. It still makes me feel like society, and everyone I love, would be better off with me in a hermetically-sealed cell somewhere.

How do you manage getting care without collapsing? I collapse rather regularly. I emotionally-collapsed out of high school, out of my first attempt at college, and out of my marriage. Every time, I wrap myself around the throat of the person closest to me (my mother, my wife--yes, during the divorce!) and cling for support, while apologizing profusely, as though looking sad and apologetic would make what I'm doing better. Right now, I'm on the edge of collapsing at work--just saying f**k it, I'm going home sick for two days so I can sit in bed, cry, read about ASD, not eat, and call ASD support groups in my area for advice. Of course, I would apologize to my boss as I asked to leave! I don't know how I'm going to maintain work and get care.

I don't want to do this any longer. I hate that my emotions get to the point where I turn into this self-centered as*hole and just want to retreat from and sabotage everything. I thought it would get better, but I keep cycling back to this point every few years. Now I see the same cycle described so many places, like clockwork, as something others experience. Did you get out? How did you get out without hurting people around you?

ETA: What I hate most is my sense of entitlement. Even when I was in grade school, I remember thinking, well, why do I have to write essays or take tests? I know these things. I don't need to do this. And at work, I think, well, I'm doing really well for me, people should just leave me alone. Or, like right now, I think my problems are more important than work, so I'm writing about them on a forum, at work! I am not the most important thing in the world. I need to do the same work other people do, with the same attention! Being distressed over having to do it isn't something I need to share with everyone!



bumble
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23 Jan 2014, 12:23 pm

Are you sure you are not suffering from depression?

I go the other way to you, even when depressed. It takes a lot for me to turn to someone for support and oftentimes, other than writing my feelings down to see if I can find people who are going through the same thing or whom understand, I generally avoid seeking support as such as I don't like the type of support I get. I keep getting all the emotional reassurance stuff from people and for some reason that just makes me feel angry. It doesn't half annoy me (I don't meant it to, I know they mean well) but giving me a hug does not solve my problem. Ergo I remain upset. They also lack understanding...ie they don't really get why I don't like my routines changed suddenly or how much my hobbies mean to me or why I don't feel like socialising or why I don't like noisy crowded environments and will go rattling on about things that do not apply to me such as hating oneself or having panic attacks because they think I am worrying about what a bunch of strangers think of me when I am just overwhelmed by everything that is going and would like to go somewhere quieter.

I know they are trying to be helpful, but all I can do is sit there and raise an eyebrow at them whilst they make one assumption after the other assumption about me all based on their belief system and not mine.

What I like is understanding or information that is useful to me, preferably given in a non judgemental manner.

Ie I have heard/read that EFAs are beneficial for depression and PMS, here is a link to a study...

As opposed to:

You need to try and help yourself, you could try EFAs

The latter implies that person in question is doing nothing to help themselves, is judgmental and is not necessary.

Anyway, I am the opposite of clingy. I am elusive and people complain about my not being easy to track down socially (keep buggering off for alone time, like to solve things for myself where possible, have a terrible stubborn streak and won't budge an inch if I want to have ago at finding my own solution and will tend to insist on doing things in my own way...which is usually the way I always do them but with minor tweaks if absolutely necessary).

On saying that if I find someone and fall in love with them, I do like spending time with them so am not so elusive in those circumstances. I hate it when they try and solve my problems for me though. I am a very independent person in many ways, even if I do have to rely on the state for financial support right now because my social issues presently prevent me from working. I don't mind them giving me information I can use to come up with my own solution, but I don't really want other people finding the solution for me.

I am a funny old stick in some ways...a very odd soul. But I like my oddities so...

I am not diagnosed with an ASD. My therapist thinks I have Asperger's, a support worker that I used to have thought I had Asperger's, I am not sure what I have yet. I think I might have it but I wouldn't like to say for definite without formal and thorough testing.

Hope you find what you are seeking and I am sorry you are having a rough time.

I find watching comedies can help. Norman is fantastic for lifting my spirits:


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JynoRznsKv0[/youtube]



Ashariel
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23 Jan 2014, 12:38 pm

Crearan wrote:
I hate that my emotions get to the point where I turn into this self-centered as*hole and just want to retreat from and sabotage everything.


I don't think that needing to retreat makes you a "self-centered as*hole". You've been trying to function beyond your coping abilities for too long, and that leads to inevitable burnout!

It's okay to cut back on your stress, and take care of yourself. And eventually you'll find a workable balance, and a level of functioning and social interaction that you can handle without it stressing you beyond your limit!



wetsail
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23 Jan 2014, 1:19 pm

Crearan wrote:
How do I find care without being dramatic?


You seem to have a deep-seated sense of how necessary it is to be unobtrusive, to be one of the pack, to let yourself mesh with others.

As a yet-undiagnosed individual on the spectrum, that's pretty common. You've lived your life feeling like you were an outsider because of impulses in your brain you can't control, driven by your basic neurology. You check yourself mentally, consciously, to make sure you don't do anything that could possibly endanger you emotionally or, as you put it, cause you to "be dramatic."

Coming to peace with your ASD, while being a major concern of yours, should not be your only concern. Come to peace with yourself as an individual, and know that sometimes (or often) you will do things that go against what neurotypicals like myself think is "acceptable." Embrace it. Love it. It's a part of your very nature, and it gives you a perspective, a voice, and a soul that is completely unique from that of the NT community, and gives greater breadth of insight to the human race as a whole. You're an outlier, and that's great. Because that means that, with you as a part of humanity, we as a species can do more.

I'd recommend reading some mindfulness literature as a supplement to the ASD-focused stuff you're currently reading. Things like The Book by Alan Watts should be on your reading list, or any of the other, more-recent resources on mindfulness that exist at your library or on the internet.

Don't worry about being dramatic. Occasionally, being dramatic is in your nature. Occasionally, being dramatic is in my nature. It's a part of the human experience, and more than anything it's important to know when drama is necessary, and when it isn't.

If I had to guess, I'd say that, yes, this is one of those times when a little drama is absolutely necessary. So go out there, make a bit of a fuss, be yourself, and meet other people like yourself. Form a support network, get some friends who understand, and learn to love yourself.

Because, yes, you literally owe yourself all of that.



Crearan
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23 Jan 2014, 1:26 pm

Thank you, both. My main concern right now (among other things!) is that I'm worried I'm actually borderline or a narcissist and hooking on to ASD because I think my father has it (I do think he does) and it would give me an 'excuse' to do things like leave work when I'm tying myself into internal knots--i.e., my internal issues are 'more important' than work. Work is important. My coworkers and my boss are all important. It's not 'heroic' of me to work so long and then break down, or to stick around at work fiddling about online trying to make myself feel better when I should just be working. There's nothing heroic about doing less than others, and I keep wanting someone to pat me on the head and say, oh, you're working so hard, it's okay. It's not, and I shouldn't want that. I should be okay just doing the work, because *everybody* does work and has to work. I'm not special.

I've been arrogant and hurtful to people since I was tiny, and now I don't know what to think. ASD? Just a narcissist? I don't want to be either. I guess if I'm just a narcissist, I force myself to stay at work and to engage more with people and to unlearn thought and behavior patterns. But if I have ASD, that won't help. It seems like some of the symptoms overlap, but the root causes are different.

I don't want to think about myself any longer. I want to think about other people :\ And I feel like getting care would just play into the narcissism thing (oh, I'm so special! I have to take meds and see psychiatrists to try to fix me! My problems are so big!). But if I have ASD, I want to get care. It entirely changes how I think about my symptoms, either way. But I don't know if someone can be a narcissist since very early childhood? And I know I used to break down in kindergarten for no reason. I suppose someone could have ASD and develop co-morbid narcissism.

Also! @bumble, I do have depression, have had for years! You're right about people being judgmental, implying people aren't trying to help themselves. I think, almost always, people are trying to help themselves in any situation. They may not always be doing it all that *well,* or know all the options that are out there, but that's not their fault.

ETA: Thank you, as well, @wetsail! Like I write above, I'm concerned I'm not different in a useful way (funny that I think ASD is more 'useful' than narcissism, but at least it would have a base other than fear of having my importance challenged), but in a way that's just based on fear. Some of my favorite fictional characters are narcissists (see Doctor Who's The Master and The Matrix's Agent Smith), which doesn't give me any confidence! And I do know I have absurd fantasies of success, sometimes, and think about doing things that I have no appropriateness for or skills for.



wetsail
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23 Jan 2014, 2:03 pm

Crearan wrote:
Like I write above, I'm concerned I'm not different in a useful way (funny that I think ASD is more 'useful' than narcissism, but at least it would have a base other than fear of having my importance challenged), but in a way that's just based on fear. Some of my favorite fictional characters are narcissists (see Doctor Who's The Master and The Matrix's Agent Smith), which doesn't give me any confidence! And I do know I have absurd fantasies of success, sometimes, and think about doing things that I have no appropriateness for or skills for.


Think about why The Master and Agent Smith are some of your favorite characters. They are different. They have power. It is exactly because they are different that they have power.

You are different. You don't have power. But you could have power exactly because of how different you are.

Temple Grandin is the ur-example of channeling the different perspective of ASD for personal financial gain, success, and a sense of well-being. Her perspective allows her greater insight into the minds of animals, which in turn allows her insight into how to design more humane tools and processes for their conditions, processing, and feeding.

Take a piece of paper, and write down all your strengths. Then, next to that, write your weaknesses. Consider each carefully, but especially the strengths - put a star next to any strengths that you consider to be rare in the world at large, or, most importantly, those you consider unique to you.

Think and, as always, do internet research on what jobs are available to someone with your strengths, what you can study to do, and how you can study to do it. Consider then which of these jobs will help you avoid your weaknesses, or at least keep their incidence to a minimum. Focus on being positive and optimistic while you do this, and don't be afraid to break out of the rut you've found yourself in - I get the feeling that the job you are in is a huge stressor for you, and you'd prefer to be somewhere else most of the time. Find that other place, and find yourself being there.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to be content and comfortable in your high-stress position. Work, fight, break free and find yourself. More than anything, that's your job.



RikkiK
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23 Jan 2014, 3:07 pm

I hate to reply here without actually having a response to your questions, but I'm all too familiar with the emotional cycling (for lack of a better way to describe it) within relationships that you mentioned, but I've never read anything on how this is experienced in those with ASD. I simply thought my "begin a relationship, then destroy relationship and/or cling" cycle was how I uniquely handled things. Do you have any sources I can read up about this on? I swear, more and more things in my life makes sense as I continue learning about Asperger's, and I'm interested in figuring things out while I'm still in college, before it can cause any huge problems in my life as it appears to have in yours. Best of luck, wish I could be of more help.



cavernio
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23 Jan 2014, 3:37 pm

...Your internal struggles ARE more important than your work. So are mine. No one else can find meaning in your existence but you. No amount of outside help will make someone else experience what you experience. You're the only person who can make yourself feel good, and so as selfish as it is, you have to put yourself first.
This doesn't mean you need to ignore others, rather you're already feeling too selfish which seems to be depressing you.

At least you know that if you're struggling you aren't doing as good a job working than if you weren't, so at least you can place your own self-struggles as a priority even if it's only for a roundabout way to make yourself more productive.

Also, since you don't believe that you are more important than your work, I highly, highly doubt you're a narcissist. You seem the opposite of one to me.

My perspective of you is that you are a high people pleaser, and you value it greatly and deem it incredibly important. But you're now at a point in your life or career or mentality or something where you're failing to meet the standards you set for yourself.
So now you think poorly of yourself. But how is that going to help your depression, how will that help your work, if you beat yourself up for struggling?

There are a few ways to get over seeing yourself as a terrible person.
You can lower your standards for yourself. This is probably the best thing to do but it's also one of the hardest, as it usually involves changing your entire value system and not just for yourself but how you perceive the world too.
You could do your best to ignore your problems. Shut out emotions, shut out everything that's negative, use deflection to stop thinking about yourself-train yourself to not think negative thoughts about yourself or your life etc. You'll never have that inner love/strength then though, and on occasion when you'll look for it you'll find a hole instead and you won't know why it's there or what caused it or what's wrong with you without going through deep, painful soul-searching which will then undo why you deflected in the first place.
Then there's what you've been trying and failing at doing...meeting the goals you set for yourself.

Personally, hedonistic and selfish as I have become compared to a young, happy, helping person I used to be before becoming mentally ill, I at least am no longer suicidal. That means I have been successful at the most important thing in my life, me. You are the most important thing in your life too. Even if it's your kids whom you value the most, it's still -you- who is making that choice to be that way, and you will find happiness when your actions match your goals.

You cannot be happy when you can never reach your goals, when you cannot match your own standards for something. Something has to give.


_________________
Not autistic, I think
Prone to depression
Have celiac disease
Poor motivation


redcatbluecat
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23 Jan 2014, 5:32 pm

This week like my internal pressure cooker was going to blow, so I took a day off, stayed home read about ASD, cried all over my cat. I just needed it, went back to work the next day was a lot better. I still feel like I'm on the verge of shattering into little pieces but it helped relieve the pressure a bit. I used my day off to call a support place. It's been eight months since I was told about the place but I haven't done anything about it until I was feeling desperate. I am going to see them next week and I hope that they can help me hold it together. So I'd recommend doing that if you need to - your wellbeing is more important than your work as Cavernio said. Just calling them made me feel better (I hate using the phone but I was desperate).

I always feel guilty at work when I do things that aren't work-related. But then some people are always talking and I do a lot more work than them. I think maybe I'm too hard on myself, I don't goof off, I just read blogs or the news occasionally when I lose interest in the work I am doing, but I don't take long lunch breaks or spend the day chatting. I wonder if you're too hard on yourself too?

I hope things get better for you soon.



Crearan
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23 Jan 2014, 5:49 pm

@wetsail The sad thing is, my work is easy work, or it should be easy work. It's just very isolating (which you'd think someone who might have ASD would like, but it's isolating without any reward. I don't ever get to see anyone feeling happy or helped by what I do, which is important for me. I feel like part of my problem is I should be able to turn my perspective around and feel good about my work. It's not bad work. A lot of people would be really happy to have it). And I feel insecure about job ads. I look at them and think I would fail doing the work, that it's safer to stay where I am. Which is silly. But they can be overwhelming when you don't have any confidence in your ability to do good work; I need to work on my confidence and on believing I do have strengths.

Quote:
Also, since you don't believe that you are more important than your work, I highly, highly doubt you're a narcissist. You seem the opposite of one to me.


The tricky thing is that I don't really feel the work is more important than me, or I wouldn't break down during it or fiddle around being slow or unproductive trying to make myself feel better! I just know, intellectually, that my work is and should be more important. If not more important than *me,* at least more important than my being momentarily frustrated, bored, and unhappy. I'm getting paid to do it! It's not like it's supposed to entertain me all day and make me feel like doing jumping jacks. I also don't feel like I act like an adult with my work. I set goals and don't reach them, or I avoid tasks that I don't care for, or I don't make the extra effort to get things done really well and efficiently. It's not my work's fault it's dull! I know I should have the diligence and professionalism to force myself to do the work. And also not to cry and flake out at work, and expect my boss to put up with it. I have days where I just wish she would fire me, because I feel like I deserve it, for being a weird, unreliable employee and not particularly engaged. I feel like people keep me around because I've done such a good job earning *pity,* and that's awful of me. It's part of why I worry about narcissism. I *act* like I'm more important than my work and my boss and coworkers, even though I know I should change my behavior.

I do think lowering my standards is something I'm going to have to do. I'm working on it. Another one of the reasons I worry about narcissism is that, as a kid, I always thought I was better than other kids, more intellectual and sophisticated, gifted, etc. I looked down on them. Now I see that, emotionally and functionally, I seem to be lower on the totem pole than I ever imagined I was, and I'm working on adjusting to that--adjusting to the idea that I might never make that much money, or earn that much respect professionally, or have that interesting a job, or make any big difference in the world. I mean, maybe I will and could, but it's like with my father. He considers himself a scientific genius. As far as I know, no one else considers him a genius (I think he's good at science, but he uses genius in the sense of someone who's inevitably going to change the world and be recognized by people) and he uses that image to justify behaving in ways that are arrogant, isolating, and hurtful (I can't imagine him admitting he might have ASD and *not* necessarily be a genius. For him, the thought he might be on the spectrum automatically *means* he's a genius). I don't think anyone can call *themselves* a genius, not like that. You have to do your work and then maybe the world will call you a genius--or maybe not. You have to be humble. And I worry that I am not being humble. That I still always think I am 'special.' Everyone else at work must have problems, too. My boss is a single mother, but she's a professor and runs the center I work at. She doesn't come into work sometimes, but that's because she's taking care of her kids, and she's always working even when she's at home. She doesn't cry at work or make a scene, taking off in the middle of the day because she's depressed. She's reliable and professional. I feel like I manufacture stress and emotional drama to get breaks and to get attention and pity, because that's the only way to ensure the attention is all on me. That's why I worry about narcissism. I only seem comfortable when I've made attention about me--i.e., when people don't know how I'll behave from one moment to the next, so they're hyper-aware of me. That shouldn't be the case. I should work with people, so they don't take me for granted *or* pay particular attention to me--just the same sort of attention they pay to everyone else.

@RikkiK Now I've forgotten where I was reading about it earlier! I'm reading a book called Solutions for Adults with Asperger's Syndrome that talks some about relationships between NTs and ASD-havers. It's odd, because I think it's trying to be reassuring--i.e., trying to say that people with ASD are 'just different' and that people with ASD and NTs can still have successful relationships. But all of the examples it gives of case studies sound like 'success' involves conditioning an NT to put up with emotional neglect and torture for the rest of their marriage/relationship. It's like, well, Bob with ASD won't ever be able to let NT Linda touch him and might stack broken microwaves in the living room, neglect her emotional needs, and break rules she thought they'd agreed on, but that doesn't mean he doesn't love her. He's kind to her when she registers on his emotional/intellectual radar. To which I say...well, he may love her, but love is about action as well as internal emotion. How can I expect anyone to stay with me if the most I can offer them is a sort of abstract, soft, childish, needy kindness and not the big actions of love, like being able to caretake if they need it, knowing when they're unhappy and responding to it instinctively, rising to challenges that need rising to without them fearing I may break down and rebound on them looking for support? How can I, really, expect someone to stay around if I stack my equivalent of broken microwaves on their life?

Ah, here, this is what I was reading earlier. The comments absolutely gutted me, because several people describe *exactly* what I did/continue to do to my friend-wife-now-ex. I go a while without contacting her, contact her when I'm in an emotional pit, make attempts to ask questions about her life and her thoughts and feelings because I want to convince myself I'm a good person and can be a good friend, then I flail and make it all about me, and cut contact again. And *still* keep thinking about her and how we might be friends again someday. We won't be friends. We can't be. I just hurt her and the only way to fix that is just not talk to her, because I have to be hurting and confusing her every time I dangle this possibility of connection in front of her again. She felt abused, unwanted, and controlled around me and she had every right to feel that way, and I have no right to pretend it would be different and that I've 'changed' or could offer her anything other than the chance to be a guinea pig for someone needing emotional support and practice at friendship:

http://life-with-aspergers.blogspot.com ... ss-me.html



Crearan
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23 Jan 2014, 5:58 pm

Quote:
This week like my internal pressure cooker was going to blow, so I took a day off, stayed home read about ASD, cried all over my cat.


Oh, I know that feeling. And I do just the same thing, including crying on my cat (today the cat managed to miss being on the bed while I was crying, but she's making up for it by snuggling now). And feel the same way about what I do at work. Sometimes I wonder though if I'm just justifying what I do, in my typical fashion, as acceptable because I'm looking at 'serious' things (usually, these days, Asperger's stuff). I mean, it takes the same amount of time, whether it's playing World of Warcraft or reading about Asperger's. And I wouldn't have much respect for someone who claimed they were a good worker and actually spent much of their day playing WoW. (Not to say you're spending too much time looking at the things you look at; just I know that I do.)