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Naiya9
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11 Jan 2015, 9:33 pm

I'm 25 and have been seeing psychologists and psychiatrists since I was in my teens for anxiety and depression. I was diagnosed with bipolar II, before attempting suicide and being diagnosed by a new doctor with unipolar depression and generalized anxiety. After years of crappy side effects from different medications and combinations of medications, I stopped seeing everyone and weaned myself off the four medications I was on.

I did decently well on my own for a year, before realizing in November that my symptoms were getting bad again and that I should probably find someone new to talk to. It took a couple of weeks to find someone who fit what I was looking for (female, had a doctorate, years of experience, good reviews) and in the first session she diagnosed me with depression, anxiety, and aspergers.

I had some vague suspicions that I might have something along those lines, but it's still been a bit of a shock and something that I've been processing through. Unlike some with aspergers, I do desperately seek relationships and deep connections with people, but never quite feel like I am on the same page as everyone else. My mom is my closest friend, which I'm starting to realize has caused a lot of damage in regards to who I am as a person with aspergers. She has always been very critical of my asperger traits, which has lead me to hide, suppress, hate, and feel shame about much of who I am. I am very careful not to speak too much to anyone about my special interests, because I was taught that obsession is unhealthy and a sin (religion had a huge impact on my adolescence, as well.) Any time I reacted to anything with too much emotion, showed resistance or an inability to adapt to change, had issues understanding others or expressing myself, became too attached to anything, or pretty much did anything that I now realize was a characteristic of my aspergers, she reacted (and continues to react) extremely negatively, using warped morality and religion as weapons that taught me those aspects of my personality were to be hated (both in myself and in others) and that I should hide and suppress them at all costs.

Now that I know the reason why I am the way I am, part of me is hugely relieved, while part of me is terrified. I want to start to acknowledge and work toward accepting my aspergers, but am so scared to do anything that will strain my relationship with my mom, because I don't have any other relationships to fall back on, and I will do anything not to be alone.

Basically, any advice you guys can offer on what I should do and where I should go from here would be much appreciated; I don't even know who I am underneath all of the suppression and acting, and I feel extremely isolated.



B19
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11 Jan 2015, 10:48 pm

I would say that the next step is becoming you, as yourself, not the false version that your mother prefers. I think what you might do first is break down your social isolation - maybe join special interest groups on Meet-up, or a social anxiety group there, and/or find a counsellor who can act as a mentor and encourager to you as you spread your wings. That has to be your priority, to establish independence from your mother's approval and companionship. Do you live in a small place or a big city?



kraftiekortie
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12 Jan 2015, 10:31 am

Yep....I echo Who am I (She always makes me ask "Who am I?")

You are a grown person. You have to establish autonomy from your parents, and from peoples' expectations. You don't have a disease--you have a condition which could become a disorder if you allow it to.

I wouldn't surprised if 3/4 of the population is diagnosable with SOMETHING. "Everybody has some kind of A problem" is somewhat of a truism, in my opinion.

I would emphasize my strengths, and not let my weaknesses show too much--except around people with whom you've established trust. With Asperger's, you have strengths which should be taken advantage of. If people want to be idiots about the fact you've got Asperger's, let them. Let the bask in their idiocy.



managertina
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12 Jan 2015, 10:49 am

Kraftiekorkie and B19 have given e good advice. To theirs I would add joining an Aspie meet up group or autism resource centre, either in your town or in the next closest one if you are like me and in a small town. You might also want to find something you enjoy to volunteer with. Your family will not always love your aspieness. I know mine dd not at first (I found out after I moved out). It is important for you to like yourself for who you are.



Naiya9
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12 Jan 2015, 6:18 pm

Thank you all so much for your suggestions! I live in a suburb of a big city, and have been finding a bunch of resources in my area for children and adolescents with Asperger's as well as some stuff for older people, but not much for people in my age group. I'm seeing my psychologist again on Wednesday and will ask her for suggestions; she diagnosed me and has talked about different issues that I've been having in the context of my Asperger's, but hasn't really brought up next steps for me now that I know it's an aspect of who I am (and I keep forgetting to ask.)

I know it's childish and something I need to overcome, but the thought of letting myself be who I am (or even starting to figure out what that looks like) in front of my mom is terrifying, because I am scared she will reject me and I will have no one to talk to. Do you guys have any recommendations for how to get beyond that? Even things like finding and then going to some sort of meet up for ASD people are things I want to talk to her about, because I want her support, but I'm pretty positive she'd react negatively. I've spent so much of my life imitating others and using their reactions to gauge who I am and how I'm supposed to act in order to fit in that I'm only just starting to wrap my head around the idea that I can do things and experience things and have those actions and experiences be legitimate in their own right outside of others validating them.



B19
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12 Jan 2015, 7:27 pm

"I'm only just starting to wrap my head around the idea that I can do things and experience things and have those actions and experiences be legitimate in their own right outside of others validating them."

Yes, it's a start - and that realisation is a terrific start! Continually challenge yourself to respond to others in different ways from your past pattern of pleasing them. Habits take time to form, a month at least for most people. Check how you feel and think - really feel and think - in response to what others do and say to you. Remember that you don't have to respond by agreeing - you can just say, "Hmm, I haven't thought of that" and change the subject to something you want to talk about, or end the conversation.

Keeping a record of these, in a diary or journal form, helps keep you focused..and let's you reveiw progress at the end of each week or so. Notice when you are around people in your life, who makes you feel heavier and who makes you feel lighter. Keep a record of those too - the patterns will be revealing over time.



kraftiekortie
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12 Jan 2015, 7:34 pm

I'm 54, and my mother still doesn't like me very much. She's too embarrassed to introduce me to her friends.

You have to please yourself, not your mother. If you mother senses confidence, she will respond to that confidence. People prey on weakness. My mother preys on mine, because I show weakness.

You have to show your mother that you are confident in yourself. Asperger's is, in many cases, only a variation upon "normal," rather than a pathological condition. You have an alternative way of looking at things.

Also: I would say, if you know something that your mother doesn't, show her that you know. If you make yourself useful to her, she'll respect you more. If she starts trying to "use" you, just tell her what you feel.



Naiya9
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13 Jan 2015, 1:59 am

Thank you both so much for your advice and suggestions! It would be hard to form the habit, but I really like the idea of keeping a journal of how I think and feel in conversations and trying to honor those thoughts and feelings. I'm going to work on doing that this week.