What if you'd gotten the support you needed as a child?

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Ashariel
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05 Feb 2014, 2:22 pm

A lot of us were diagnosed later in life, and/or didn't receive adequate support and guidance as children. So we probably got into situations that were wrong for us, from the start. I definitely feel this way about my own life, and wonder if others feel the same? My life pretty much feels like a train wreck, and in my own case, I think it can be of benefit to try to imagine what my life right now could have been like, if I'd understood what I was dealing with, and had made better decisions.

If I'd been diagnosed and received support and guidance as a child:

• I wouldn't have been labeled 'gifted' and pushed past my limit, to the point of feeling hopeless and suicidal from the age of 7 on.

• I would have at least understood why I wasn't fitting in socially with the other kids at school, and wouldn't have blamed myself for my struggles.

• I would have learned to accept that it's okay to be introverted and different, and would developed better self-esteem instead of feeling like something was wrong with me.

• My parents and teachers would have understood that certain things were difficult for me, and I wouldn't have felt so hopeless and frustrated about my specific learning disabilities.

• I would have been more careful in choosing a career that I would be able to handle, instead of one that was ridiculously impossible, and required social and coping skills that I simply do not have.

• I would have realized that I'm bipolar as well as autistic, and learned to manage my symptoms and make lifestyle choices that help me to be stable and functional.

• I would have realized that being an exchange student overseas was more than I could handle, and I wouldn't have gotten into a situation where I was being sexually abused, and developed severe PTSD.

• I would have had assistance with doctors, so that when I got bitten by a tick, I wasn't afraid to get help (for fear of being called a hypochondriac), and I would have been treated in time, so that it didn't progress to an advanced stage and cause permanent disability.

• I would have realized that I'm asexual, and wouldn't have gotten into a marriage that was doomed to fail.

• I would have accepted the fact that my ideal lifestyle would be to live with my parents, help them with their rent, and work at a simple sort of office job that I would have been able to handle, without the added complications of Lyme disease, PTSD, and a general feeling of hopelessness due to a lifetime of failure.

I find it interesting to realize that in a perfect scenario, I really would have been able to manage a simple kind of job, and would be physically healthier today, and more confident of my abilities. And it helps me to realize what's truly standing in my way, of getting my train-wrecked life back on track.

I now understand that I'm autistic and bipolar, and that I need to take a very careful, unique, strategic approach to life, in order to succeed. I think I could get over my feelings of helplessness and despair, and really the only added complication I can't get over is Lyme disease. Yes, I have limitations, and my physical health is not great, but even so, I might be able to handle a very simple kind of job.

I could be wrong, and if I tried working again, it could end up just as pointless and futile as my past fifty attempts. But I do have to admit that at this point, what stops me from even trying, is a lifetime of heartbreak and failure, to the point where I have truly given up hope that anything could ever work out for me.

I'm very, very slowly and cautiously beginning to open up to the possibility that if I tried just one more time to 'make something of my life', this time it might actually work. Because knowledge is power, and I am armed with a newfound understanding of exactly what my problems are, and how I might be able to work around them. Still, I'm utterly terrified by the prospect, and to be completely honest, deep down I really don't feel like I'm up to the challenge, nor am I ready to try just yet.

But in any case, I found this exercise to be eye-opening, and wondered if anyone else wanted to share their own 'what if' scenarios?



zer0netgain
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05 Feb 2014, 2:28 pm

Pretty much everything you said.

I'd not want to live with my parents, but had I known as much about myself then as I do now, I would have made smarter choices in jobs, education, etc. that probably would have had me in a more established and self-reliant position rather than a long string of expensive failures.



dc2610
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05 Feb 2014, 3:00 pm

zer0netgain wrote:
Pretty much everything you said.

I'd not want to live with my parents, but had I known as much about myself then as I do now, I would have made smarter choices in jobs, education, etc. that probably would have had me in a more established and self-reliant position rather than a long string of expensive failures.


Same here. Also my parents were alcoholics and drug addicts. My siblings and I weren't raised or protected. I think that if I had two level-headed parents who were supportive of me my life would've been different as well.

Instead I was just flung out into the world because my mother was smoking crack and we were expensive burdens. I had absolutely no education, support or life skills of any kind. I didn't know anything about anything. And to make things even worse I had a kid to raise. I've always suffered from depression, I was an alcoholic and I had no idea I have AS.

How could my life have turned out any other way.



Kalika
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05 Feb 2014, 3:27 pm

A few things which I came up with....mostly regarding family members:

- not as much pressure to learn how to ride a bike. (both of my siblings mastered this, I never could, and I was 15 before family members finally stopped pushing the idea on me)

- less lectures on how I needed to "straighten up and act right".

- maybe someone would have caught early on that I have a learning problem in math, and I would have gotten help for it.

- my mom might have encouraged me to date instead of wanting me to focus on schoolwork and having female friends.



Fnord
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05 Feb 2014, 3:33 pm

What if I'd received the support I needed as a child?

• I would feel no anxiety when dealing with authority figures.

• I would want to live nearer to my relatives.

• I would communicate more with my relatives.

• I might have learned to like sports.

• I'd have married the right woman the first time, instead of marrying the first woman who had sex with me.



droppy
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05 Feb 2014, 4:14 pm

I am 16 but wasn't diagnosed with Asperger's until I was 13.
I was only diagnosed with ADD before.

I didn't get much support out of my family during childhood and I think that if I had gotten it I:
-wouldn't have developed ODD
-would still identify with a gender and wouldn't feel agender by now
-wouldn't be paranoid now
-wouldn't have become more anxious



wozeree
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05 Feb 2014, 4:39 pm

How do you quantify enough support? You'd still be Autistic.
Hehe maybe we'd all be Temple Grandins.



LupaLuna
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05 Feb 2014, 4:40 pm

Given the lifestyle I lived back when I was in my kid/teen years. I think that knowing I had something would have been bad for me because it would have destroyed my faith in the future and made giving up on life much easier. The perfect time for me to know would have been when I turned 18 because at that time, I was mature enough to make decisions on my own. It sucks that I had to wait over 24 years to find out because that's 24 years of my life that I had lost.



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05 Feb 2014, 4:43 pm

It's quite a tough question for me to answer actually.

I didn't have a great upbringing and I had little or no support from any adults in my life, but I've always sort of battled through on my own really.

I can't imagine how I would have turned out any different, I can't answer. Sorry.

I'll keep thinking about it though.


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Norepinephrine
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05 Feb 2014, 5:13 pm

I was diagnosed at age 16. If was diagnosed at a much earlier age, such as ages 2-6 years old, I think things would have gotten better for me.

• With a diagnosis, I would have been much more self-aware, more socially aware growing up and would have gained more acceptance with my peers.
• I wouldn't be so awkward, depressed or anxious all the time. I'd also probably have a better self-esteem.
• I probably would have had much more experience with romantic relationships and sex.
• I would have done better in my GCSEs and with school in its entirety.
• During that time, I wouldn't have had to have periodically lived in a residential home for teenagers with social and emotional problems.
• I wouldn't be stuck currently repeating my GCSEs in college three years later.
• Overall I would have had a far happier and much fulfilling childhood.

Although I think some of these problems could also be attributed to my lack of a paternal authority figure in my life. My dad was never there for me.



btbnnyr
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05 Feb 2014, 5:20 pm

I don't know that it would have been good for me to have been diagnosed as a child and given the standard support for autistic children.

I don't think that it would have been good for me, and people who know me think that it wouldn't have been good for me.


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headhunter228
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05 Feb 2014, 5:33 pm

dc2610 wrote:
Same here. Also my parents were alcoholics and drug addicts. My siblings and I weren't raised or protected. I think that if I had two level-headed parents who were supportive of me my life would've been different as well.

Hell, just having one parent should be enough.

My mom was the primary caregiver in my household. While my dad had the final say in how we were raised, the only times he ever got directly involved in my upbringing is when I needed a paddlin'. That being said, my dad displays several ASD traits, and because my mom knew how to deal with Dad, it was easier for her to understand how I worked, even though I didn't get a diagnosis until I was 14. And even before then, Mom would point out and try to correct my social gaffes, and taught me basic living skills (how to cook, do laundry, other chores, finances, etc.).

I know my dad loves me, even if he has a hard time showing it. But if not for my mom, I would not be where I am today. I would be a wreck of a person without the skills she patiently taught me.

But as for the OP's question, it probably would've helped, but even after my diagnosis, very little had changed. I knew I had a disorder, but I didn't let it bother me. I never needed an explanation as to why I didn't want to be around people. I was just...different, and I accepted my lot in life.


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Willard
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05 Feb 2014, 5:43 pm

I think what ifs are pointless speculation.

If I had been diagnosed as a kid, I might have just used it as an excuse to give up and never try anything. I might have wallowed in self-loathing and self-pity and made no effort to accomplish anything, believing anything I attempted was doomed to failure. :cry:

I might have rejected any help offered out of denial, being insulted at the suggestion that there was anything wrong with me. :evil:

I might have become a hopeless teen suicide, which was a real enough possibility as things already were. :?

There's no way of knowing, and no way of quantifying what "help" might have made a difference. It's all hypothetical. :shrug:

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Brenny
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05 Feb 2014, 6:05 pm

I'm a NT and I always had a what if question of a different kind. But one day I realised that the what if was a waste of time. I am the person I am now.

It's pointless looking back - it's today and the future you need to concentrate on.



Eloa
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05 Feb 2014, 6:12 pm

I don't know what would have happened.


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