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MissFabien
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08 Mar 2014, 8:10 am

Hello my names Fabien, I'm 26 although I'm not very mature I still feel like a teenager. I live at home with my mum and dad. They're quite old now and have recently talked to me about them retiring and then selling the house. This has really upset and scared me as I've never really lived independently and I have no idea about the world outside. I feel as though I've been living in a bubble made by my parents and it's been popped. I feel very scared and uncertain about my future. I posted here because I hope someone can help explain things about living on your own and what it's like.

Thanks for reading :)



Nambo
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08 Mar 2014, 10:27 am

Living on your own means you have to do everything, but you can chose to do nothing.



MissFabien
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08 Mar 2014, 11:17 am

Nambo please elaborate? :)



Nambo
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08 Mar 2014, 11:42 am

Well, you are on your own, so unless you do it, it wont get done because there is nobody else to do it.
This includes cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, decorating, removing spiders, every single thing you can think of, you have to do it.

The only advantage is, there is nobody to tell you to get out of bed and do these things, so you can just lay in bed and eat crisps all day if you so wish.
Thats what Iam doing!



em_tsuj
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09 Mar 2014, 12:40 am

MissFabien, do you have a job or some other source of income?



MissFabien
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09 Mar 2014, 7:03 am

Yes I have a part time job as a support worker, it doesn't pay very well and is a 2 hour commute but I love my job :D



Adamantium
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09 Mar 2014, 2:49 pm

So the main thing about living on your own is, as nambo said, you have to do everything for yourself. That includes all the things you NEED to do and all the things you WANT to do.

There are two ways that ASDs can make this difficult: one is that you may have trouble getting information about how to do things because of social communication issues, the other is that you may have problems with executive functioning--which can complicate getting things done, such as paying bills, in an organized way and on the schedule that societal constructs require.

There is a lot of information that you need to know about how to get specific things done that is not really arranged anywhere so that you can easily find it. Most people exchange this information with friends and family, and if you have difficulty communicating with people and knowing who to trust, this can be tricky. The internet is potentially a very valuable resource to make up for problems in communication, but trust issues are still a problem.

An example might be how to get official documents. If you ask neighbors or friends, they may be able to give you practical information about how to get through a bureaucratic process in an efficient way and without this information you might face a long and difficult process.

There are other ways that really being on your own can be a problem. What if you become ill? Is there someone to help take care of you? Get you to a doctor? You may want to develop a support network of some kind for this kind of contingency.

The executive function thing is potentially very difficult. If you have trouble filling out forms, keeping schedules, keeping track of documents, balancing a budget, reconciling a checking account, etc. you may need to create extensive support systems to help you manage these aspects of living on your own.

There are resources to help with these, though uneven and often slightly focused on someone else (like children or teenagers going off to university.)

Have your parents discussed finances with you at all? Do you have a bank account and have you tried budgeting and reconciling the account? If they haven't done any of these, now is the time. You also probably want to practice independent living skills and test yourself to find out what you can handle on your own and what you might need support with and then try to develop means to provide support that you might need. Do you have any extended family who might be willing to help?



CapriciousAgent
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10 Mar 2014, 3:10 pm

When it comes to forms and papers and official stuff, always ask for help. Nothing you say will be the dumbest thing the person in charge of answering you will have heard probably even all day, and not being sure will hurt you. I know sometimes its tough to muster up the strength to ask, but it is a good rule of thumb to do so.

Domestically, make a schedule, and set aside a reward for a job well done. Do whatever is easiest for you to not put things off. If it means making a list on a white board, or setting cell phone reminders, keeping up is the only surefire way to not get overwhelmed. Dishes pile up fast and you don't want to find yourself without toilet paper.

Third? Hang out around here and find out how others cope. It isn't impossible, but it can certainly seem daunting in a world that sometimes doesn't understand.



Adamantium
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10 Mar 2014, 3:36 pm

CapriciousAgent wrote:
When it comes to forms and papers and official stuff, always ask for help. Nothing you say will be the dumbest thing the person in charge of answering you will have heard probably even all day, and not being sure will hurt you. I know sometimes its tough to muster up the strength to ask, but it is a good rule of thumb to do so.

This is really, really good advice. The fear of looking stupid or weird often kept me from getting information I needed. I learned the hard way over and again that its much better just to ask directly when the unknown thing first comes up. Sometimes the person you are talking to is a jerk and won't help. Then the thing is to ask someone else.

Quote:
Domestically, make a schedule, and set aside a reward for a job well done. Do whatever is easiest for you to not put things off. If it means making a list on a white board, or setting cell phone reminders, keeping up is the only surefire way to not get overwhelmed. Dishes pile up fast and you don't want to find yourself without toilet paper.

Again, really good advice. I wish I had been given this advice when I set out for college.



CapriciousAgent
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10 Mar 2014, 4:28 pm

And I guess I'd add setting a budget. Too many dishes is nothing compared to debt. Of course, that goes for anyone, not just Aspies.



palladium
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10 Mar 2014, 5:09 pm

CapriciousAgent wrote:
And I guess I'd add setting a budget. Too many dishes is nothing compared to debt. Of course, that goes for anyone, not just Aspies.


I'd say most of these issues probably go for NTs to some degree too. Not all NTs are brilliant at keeping on top of everything required to live by yourself.

One point I'd add is that it may be worth discussing your worries with your parents and seeing whether you can come up with some sort of gradual transitionary arrangement so you don't get hit by everything at once - perhaps you can start to take on some responsibilities around the home in advance so you can gradually become more independent. Maybe then start by moving out for a few days and see how it goes and then gradually increase it eg. so you just go home at weekends and then eventually have full independence (not sure what the timescale is). It also may be worth looking into sharing accommodation with someone else so that you don't have all the responsibility yourself. If you really feel that you can't cope by yourself then perhaps there is some sort of specialist accommodation where support is available?



stbest44
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29 Mar 2014, 2:09 pm

Living with your parents has been holding you back developmentally - they know this or they would not be selling the house; also they know you can do this with great success or they would not be selling the house.

You will make mistakes, maybe miss a payment, and forget a thing or two - but this is normal and you will learn from your mistakes. You will grow as long as you are courageous, brave, and willing to change (growth is change) only for the better.

Aspies have resilience and strength (we even seem to disregard it). Your self doubt and fear can only delay your success.

Imagine that you create a world as a result of the choices you make; and you know how to only make good choices. That is what life is like living on your own,

Godspeed -
Shannon



Opi
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30 Mar 2014, 9:37 am

i always get scared of the unknown, and i think even NTs find change stressful, so being anxious is completely understandable. i remember when i first stopped relying on my parents to support me i was terrified. i was 25 at the time too.

this post turned out to be long. if it is overwhelming, let me know and i will chunk it down.

first question is income - do you have to support yourself or do you have help?

since you live in the U.K. and i live in the U.S. there's probably differences, but this is how i have approached living on my own:

first - WHERE to live. This is determined, for me, first by how much money i have for rent & any deposits required. Here in the U.S. it's not uncommon to have to come up with at least a security deposit, plus sometimes deposits to turn on utilities if you haven't had them in your name before. Some flats can be rented with utilities included in the rent. Sometimes it's cheaper to rent a room in a house, but there can be problems with other people. I vastly prefer my own place when possible.

other things to consider in where to live:
NOISE, LIGHT, crime rate, access to laundry facilities, distance from groceries, availability of parking/public transportation, condition of any common areas used by other tenants, etc. And of course the condition of the place. Is it dirty? Is there light by the entrance so i don't have to stand in the dark fumbling with my keys? if it hasn't been maintained very well you may have problems with pests and getting the landlord to fix things when they break.

things to think about with utilities: how is the apartment heated/cooled? how is the hot water heated? oil fuel, for instance, is insanely expensive here. natural gas is cheap. electric is in the middle. if you are paying for it, these may be considerations. window air conditioners are more expensive to run than central air.

things to think about with the apartment:
ground floor is usually easier to get into, but can be noisy if you have people living overhead, and if it's near the street you get traffic sounds. also more vulnerable to burglary.

if not ground floor, how many flights of stairs need you climb? do you have to carry laundry up and down them? are they in good repair? are they lit at night (safety)? you will have to carry groceries up them too. on the other hand, top floor apartments tend to be quieter. corner apartments tend to be quieter too. try to have as few walls/floors/ceilings adjacent to another flat as possible - none is ideal. my best apartments have been in "duplexes" which are basically two small homes with one shared wall. not sure how it goes in U.K.

are you allowed to have pets? if so, are there any restrictions?

do you smoke? are you allowed to smoke in the apartment? here usually you can smoke if you have the apartment to yourself, but not always. if you rent a room in someone's house it's even more important.

you might want to look somewhere close to where you work to start. at least, i prefer a short commute. you may not care. within walking distance of stores is essential if you don't have a car or easy access to public transportation.

and - do you have to commit to rent for a certain length of time? shorter leases here in the states can run month-to-month or 3 or 6 months, but it's not uncommon to be asked to commit to a year, and breaking a lease can cause you legal problems or cost money. the advantage of shorter leases here is, you can see how you like the area before you commit to staying there longer. the disadvantage here is that your rent may go up when the lease is up.

and - do major appliances come with the flat? e.g. fridge, stove, etc.

is there a dishwasher? if not, is there a decent kitchen sink and somewhere to put your wet dishes to airdry if you don't dry them by hand?

does it have much storage? how big is are the closets? can you fit your clothes? will you have a bicycle and will you want to store it inside to avoid theft?

things you will need to do to start up in the U.S., your situation may be different:

1) find a place to live. you may need deposit money. you may have to sign a lease. i'm sure the U.K. has it's own peculiarities and practices so this is a question you can ask someone there.

2) turn on any needed utilities not included in rent or already turned on - e.g. electric, oil/gas, phone, tv, internet, water - you may not need to turn them all on, some may be included in rent or not. you may need deposit money. you can call the utility companies to find out. someone from the U.K. can advise you better what's needed there.

3) obtain any needed appliances. i try to find places that have all the major ones. some even come with microwaves and such. Usually have to bring your own TV, computer, furniture, but not always. You may have to buy. sometimes you can buy second-hand. or someone may let you borrow, or give you outright. Or your parents may help you with this. I'm hoping they can financially back you up with the whole process of moving.

4) cleaning supplies. e.g. have or be able to borrow vacuum, broom, possibly duster. Cleaning supplies - kitchen counter, floors, bathroom surfaces, tub & sink, toilet brush, toilet cleaner. Possibly window cleaner although i personally could care less about clean windows. Can be nice to have to clean mirror. All stuff you can buy after you move in, don't stress yourself beforehand. Also something to use to wash dishes - either dishwasher detergent, or hand-washing detergent and something to scrub the dishes. I use a sponge-thing with a rough surface on one side, and steel wool for the pots and pans, when i wash by hand.

5) furniture. at a minimum, a mattress set & a pillow. a bedframe, comfy chair and desk are nice to have too. small tables are very handy. if you have a tv, a tv stand is useful. a lot of things, if you can't afford, you can often turn crates and boxes, even cinderblocks and boards, into amazingly handy shelves and surfaces. drape with a cloth - wala! instant coffee table. just add vase & flowers :)

6) linens - sheets & pillowcases, bath towels. kitchen towels can be nice if you have the budget.

7) kitchen stuff - pots and pans, silverware, a good knife, a big spoon, a spatula, maybe a colander for pasta. and if you have the budget, any additional stuff you like. usually at a minimum a microwave and some storage containers. a toaster oven can be really nice for heating up stuff you don't want to microwave or in place of a microwave when you don't want to run the whole oven. if you don't have burners available, you may need to get a hotplate to boil water, etc. but most things can be worked around.

you may also need something to put your clean, wet dishes in if you air-dry them.

i lived for six months with just a fridge, sink, and microwave that had a small electric pizza oven in the bottom (like a narrow toaster oven). and i cooked like crazy.

8) personal care items - shampoo, soap, laundry soap, whatever else you use on a daily basis - stuff you can bring or get after you move in.

9) your clothes, shoes, etc. which i'm sure you will bring from home.

stuff you will have to move - whatever you use at home that you want/need to bring, plus whatever furniture & kitchen stuff you will add to the apartment. the most important thing is make sure you have a bed or at least a mattress you can sleep on the first night. everything else you can acquire as you go. i've done it many times.

KNOW THIS: moving is STRESSFUL. it is COMPLETELY NORMAL to be totally stressed about this, especially as this is your first time and you are going to be living independently for the first time. moving is one of the most stressful things anyone can experience. statistically it's up there with losing your job and getting married or divorced. Seriously. It is completely normal to be anxious, somewhat lonely, even depressed for a period of time. or, you may also feel excitement and a sense of adventure. i try to actively cultivate a sense of adventure as much as possible. it can be hard when i am very anxious, but it does help me.

for me, i love living alone. i love the freedom. i love having my safe little nest i can go to when i'm all burned out on people. i am used to the responsibilities. i'm lucky enough to have disability, so i don't have to worry about how i'm going to pay the bills, although it doesn't go far, it is usually enough.

once you do something for the first time, a lot of the fear goes away. i use a lot of tools to help me. i do my banking online. i use the calendar and alarm clock on my cell phone to remind me to pay bills, make appointments, etc. i use a spreadsheet to establish my budget and see where my money is going. i cannot for the life of me balance a checkbook, but i look at my bank balance every day and use my debit card instead of checks and i rarely have problems.

and remember: you WILL mistakes, and except for mistakes with your physical safety, there are ways to fix all of them.

the hardest thing i find is having no structure to my day. having that job will help you avoid the "why should i get out of bed" doldrums. i have to make sure i get up in the morning, get dressed, do the dishes, do the laundry, etc. and not let things pile up. that's when i tend to get blue and also overwhelmed. it's so much easier when i stay on top of everything.

and plants are really, really nice to have around the house, especially if you don't have a pet. if you've never had a pet, a plant is also a good way to find out if you can handle the responsibility for another living thing. plants and candles can go a long way to make your home cozy. just be careful not to set the curtains on fire! oh yeah - you may need to get curtains/blinds (or they may come with the place...)


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Adamantium
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30 Mar 2014, 2:11 pm

Opi gives excellent advice.

I can think of examples of how these factors made a difference to me--things that are so clear now that I was oblivious to at the time.

For example, I was a student at New York University and I lived in an apartment at the upper west side of Manhattan. I took the subway down to classes each morning and this was a brutal experience for a person with sensory issues. The breaks on the subway screech and squeal at up to 106 decibels. There are very few public toilets in the city despite a homeless population of over 60,000 and quite a few people use the more secluded ends of certain subway platforms as toilets, leading to a very challenging olfactory environment. Rush hour in the city is very, very crowded and the subway even more so--people are packed tightly together. All these things meant that I arrived at school unable to function and had to sit in a quiet place in the Bobst Library for about an hour before I was capable of usefully attending a class.

I didn't know this until it was too late, and I had a very hard time with my Political Science 101 class because of it. I spent a lot of time being angry with myself for being so weak. What a waste of time and energy all that was!

If there is any way you can test out the things you will go through living on your own now, so you can make good decisions about how to handle them later, that would probably be a really good approach.

If I could have avoided that commute or scheduled no morning classes, that would have really changed the trajectory of my first year at NYU.



Opi
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30 Mar 2014, 2:28 pm

things you can do now:

call the utility companies and find out what you need to set up an account and how much advance notice they need.

start packing at least 2 weeks before you think you need to. it may not apply to you, but it's always a much bigger job than i expect, and it makes it much less stressful to not try to do it all at once.

start accumulating boxes to put your stuff in, or at least identify sources of boxes. the very best boxes i've found are the big cardboard boxes that paper is delivered in for the copiers/printers at your office. They are typically just the right size, strong, have holes on the sides for your hands to grab, and have lids. If you can afford them, you may be able to buy them from a moving company or truck rental company. i've even found sources of purchasable boxes for moving on the internet. Supermarkets (grocery stores) are also sometimes good sources of boxes, although they may have bits of old produce in them. Liquor stores/bars get good, strong boxes too. Usually businesses are glad to let you take them away, at least here they are. Saves them the trouble of disposing them.

Pack heavy stuff like books as much as possible in very small boxes. when you have to lift them, you will be glad you did.

find out from your folks what, if anything, you might be able to take with you. e.g. your bedroom furniture? some sheets? some kitchenware? some appliances? some other furniture or odds and ends around the house? rugs? they may be planning to scale down so your taking certain things may actually be welcome. and, they may be able to help you figure out what you need since obviously they live there and i don't LOL.


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161 Aspie / 51 NT - Aspie Quiz (very likely an aspie)
36 - AS Quotient
115 aloof, 123 rigid, 89 prag - Aut/BAP
24 - HSP / ADD Quiz- 41, Inattention: 24, Hyperactive/Impulsive: 17
"Odd and different is beautiful" -- Tyra Banks


militarybrat
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11 Apr 2014, 8:28 pm

There as already been some pretty good advice. Another option is to look for a house/apartment with roommates/housemates to split the living expenses.