So evidently, I'm super-depressed

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AJisHere
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20 Jan 2016, 1:53 am

Well... that clears things up, doesn't it? :lol:

I've had a lot of problems with depression in my life. We're old acquaintances, to be sure. Now, because of that I had what I thought was a pretty good handle on what it feels like when I am suffering from it. But after an emotional roller coaster of a day I kind of had to wonder about it, so I looked into what symptoms can be associated with it, and...

Oh... s**t. Looking at these things I realized that as I've gotten older, the way depression expresses itself has changed. It's been just crushing me for the last year or so and I didn't even recognize it. Amusingly, realizing this cheered me up. Good to know where I stand.

I'm going to look into some treatment for it. I'm not sure what that would be since SSRIs seem to do f**k all. My body just looks at them and goes "Nah dude, that got boring a decade ago". Couldn't hurt to try them, but I think what I really need is some therapy. Incidentally, I've been considering some more intense therapy and other treatment for autistic symptoms, too. My current therapist is very talented and I have an excellent relationship with him, but I can't seem to get much out of our sessions because there's not really anything in place to support me actually doing any of the things which I totally agree I should do. It's really easy to just forget to do them, or something like that. A lot of times, they just don't end up working without something else backing them up. I'm going to talk to him about referring me to any colleagues who may be able to set something a little more intensive up. Something that asks more of me and helps me keep it at the forefront of my mind long enough to actually have an impact.

I am not sure what that would entail.

Not sure what to do with this. It seems like I need some kind of a support network in place. I don't know how to do that. I tend to be kind of distant and secretive with my friends so I don't want to dump too much on them. Not on good terms with a lot of my family around here... but maybe I should be... maybe I should try and make things right.

This evening it "clicked" just how closely linked my autism and depression are. They seem to feed off of each other in the worst possible way. Autism makes me obsessive, which makes me depressed, which makes me more obsessive... stuff like that. Being autistic makes it harder to establish the aforementioned support network, which in turn makes things worse.

I think being here kind of makes things worse on some level. I often feel bad after coming here. I feel like I don't belong here... recently, someone here kind of pointed out that a lot of the problems I've been blaming on autism are really what we're calling "'me' problems". ASD compounds them, rather than causes them. Maybe I've been here for the wrong reasons... I think I've been approaching autism the wrong way for a while now. Then again, being here helped me realize that so there's clearly something I'm getting out of this place. What, I don't know. I'd like to know. I'm certainly not finding people who feel the way I do (which is why I decided to give WP a shot), but that might not be what I actually need. That might itself be a "me" problem.

I've certainly been approaching my ASD wrong. Last thread on this forum I talked about making war on it. That's probably not the right attitude. It's too extreme and it's not achievable. Trying it hasn't really gotten me anywhere. I do refuse to embrace it as many have... even the suggestion that I do so makes me feel like I'm dying a little inside. I cannot and will not like being autistic. Doesn't mean I need to hate it, though. On some level I've known that for a long time.

No, what I feel I need to do (because even though it's a very autistic thing to do, thinking what I need to do in these situations is usually a bad idea) is pick specific, key problems caused or exacerbated by my autism and find careful workarounds and strategies or ways to control or bypass them... and just let the rest slide. I'm just starting to realize the toll that years and years of trying to conquer every aspect of my autism has taken on me. It's not pretty. I can't keep doing this. So, compromises need to be made. This idea is kind of scary to me, but it has to happen.

Everything here... it makes sense to me right now on both a logical and intuitive level. I just don't know what to do with it. This is a lot to work with. So I guess I'm making this post in hopes that someone can help me figure out how to proceed and what to make of all these things. Couldn't hurt to try, right?

So... yeah, there it is. Sorry if that's all a long, rambling read but I just wanted to get that out there.

Just feeling pretty lost, right now.


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20 Jan 2016, 2:22 am

I think that it's good that you are able to be so introspective. It can be very helpful to know how one's mind works and be able to work out problems with one's own emotions and thought processes.

I hated depression meds. They had horrible side effects. All of them. And there were a lot. That doesn't mean they won't work for you, but I would be extremely cautious about taking anything that affects the mind in that way.

It's a very good insight that you need more support. Knowing the strategies is one thing, but being able to implement them is something else entirely. Executive functioning problems can make it so hard to implement any changes. But once a good habit is established, I think it's much simpler to continue with it thereafter. If you can just get a little bit of help in the beginning you may be able to do the rest on your own, if that's what you want.

There are autism support groups. I don't know myself what to think about them, but I may decide to try. I have a feeling that I may find other people with ASD rather annoying in real life, lol. I know that I can be quite annoying myself, and I can only imagine a room full of people like me.

I can't say I really like being autistic, either. I was just diagnosed, and while I feel that I have answers, it kind of pisses me off at the same time. I'm mad that I should even have to deal with this. But, I do have to deal with it, and I will. I do like many of my autistic personality traits, so I am going to have to accept that in order to have the good qualities, I'll have to find ways to deal with the bad ones.

I would say your first step would be to talk to your therapist. Having so many ideas in your head is probably overwhelming to you. I get the same way. Together you can come up with a plan. I haven't even called the therapy place yet that was recommended to me. I have put it off, but I'm going to call this week. I might make a list of things to do and come up with a timeline.

Nobody is perfect, neither NTs nor autistic people. Everyone has problems. Most people just hide their problems, but they still have them. Many people seem perfect but on the inside are struggling. And some people seem nice on the outside but are terrible on the inside. So realizing that you are not perfect and can let some things slide is important, I think. Work on the really important issues. Those other so-called "normal" people often aren't really as normal as they seem.

And you may want to check out some of the apps that help people keep track of responsibilities, start new habits, or make plans for projects. I've found them helpful.



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20 Jan 2016, 3:06 am

Thanks! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment here. I know my post was long and it's hard to address everything in it so I'll try and take your response piece by piece.

Yigeren wrote:
I hated depression meds. They had horrible side effects. All of them. And there were a lot. That doesn't mean they won't work for you, but I would be extremely cautious about taking anything that affects the mind in that way.


Yeah, I've been on a lot of them. Some did weird things, but that also provides a lot of information on what to work with. I was on fluoxetine until last year when I decided to try going off it; it had stopped working anyway. I'll have to do some research.

Yigeren wrote:
It's a very good insight that you need more support. Knowing the strategies is one thing, but being able to implement them is something else entirely. Executive functioning problems can make it so hard to implement any changes. But once a good habit is established, I think it's much simpler to continue with it thereafter. If you can just get a little bit of help in the beginning you may be able to do the rest on your own, if that's what you want.


I know, right? The executive functioning thing is huge, and I'd need some way to really get a handle on that so actually implementing this stuff is viable. Having people who I can touch base with would help a lot... it'd pull me out of my own head. In my experience, my own head is a dangerous place for me to be! :lol:

Yigeren wrote:
There are autism support groups. I don't know myself what to think about them, but I may decide to try. I have a feeling that I may find other people with ASD rather annoying in real life, lol. I know that I can be quite annoying myself, and I can only imagine a room full of people like me.


I went to some when I was younger. In my teens I put my foot down and told my dad I'd never do it again... because I hated, hated, HATED them! I still don't tend to get along well with most other aspies. Definitely prefer being around and getting help from "NTs". But sometimes, they can't quite get certain things. It's been many years since I checked out any support groups. Maybe I'll try that.

Knowing me, it'd actually be better to find just one other person with autism who I actually like being around and who can help me out. That's harder to arrange.

Yigeren wrote:
I can't say I really like being autistic, either. I was just diagnosed, and while I feel that I have answers, it kind of pisses me off at the same time. I'm mad that I should even have to deal with this. But, I do have to deal with it, and I will. I do like many of my autistic personality traits, so I am going to have to accept that in order to have the good qualities, I'll have to find ways to deal with the bad ones.


I don't know that I'm mad. I'm more frustrated and discouraged because most of the things I'd like to do with my life are made considerably harder by it. I don't really care for any of what I consider my autistic personality traits. Most of them, I just don't think about at all... they're just kinda there. It's the few that trip me up that cause me to feel this way... and those are the big ones.

I mean for example... I love interacting with people, and I want to do it more. But I'm at an inherent disadvantage there compared to a non-autistic person, and it's very taxing.

It's kind of like I have an autistic mind but an "NT" soul. Somehow, I need to bridge that gap.

Yigeren wrote:
I would say your first step would be to talk to your therapist. Having so many ideas in your head is probably overwhelming to you. I get the same way. Together you can come up with a plan. I haven't even called the therapy place yet that was recommended to me. I have put it off, but I'm going to call this week. I might make a list of things to do and come up with a timeline.


You should go, it really helps. It's important to find the right therapist, though. Sometimes you move beyond what a therapist can do for you and have to find a new one. I may be at that point soon.

I definitely need a lot of time to work on this. I might see if I can book an extra session. That may be out of budget for me this month.

Yigeren wrote:
Nobody is perfect, neither NTs nor autistic people. Everyone has problems. Most people just hide their problems, but they still have them. Many people seem perfect but on the inside are struggling. And some people seem nice on the outside but are terrible on the inside. So realizing that you are not perfect and can let some things slide is important, I think. Work on the really important issues. Those other so-called "normal" people often aren't really as normal as they seem.

And you may want to check out some of the apps that help people keep track of responsibilities, start new habits, or make plans for projects. I've found them helpful.


Oh yeah. If my phone will behave! My long-term goal would be to internalize systems for doing that. Anyway... yeah. Realizing that everyone's got their own problems is something I think a lot of people have trouble with, especially us on the spectrum. It certainly helped me once I understood it. Where I'm at right now though, it's not much consolation. So you're right... letting some stuff go is a big deal and probably among the first thing I should do.

This has really helped. It's good to hear someone else's thoughts on this and I feel a lot better tonight... a little more together. So again, thank you! :)


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20 Jan 2016, 1:47 pm

Glad I could help :)

I'm frustrated, too. I've constantly been told how smart I am and how talented I am (or was) by relatives, teachers, and professors. They have seemed saddened and disappointed that I couldn't ever get through classes or achieve anything important. Professors in particular have seemed upset that I couldn't turn in anything on time, because they thought my work was excellent, and now had to be given a poor grade.

It's hard to hear things like that all the time, because I knew I had potential but couldn't make things work. And knowing people were disappointed in me made me feel pretty awful. I should be successful, but I'm not.

And I can sort of understand your feeling as if you are NT on the inside. I want to interact with people and have friends, but I do everything wrong. I'm not exactly an introvert like many here. I like my space and alone time, but I also enjoy the company of others. But I have no friends and often feel lonely.

I hope things start working out better for you.



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20 Jan 2016, 8:54 pm

I'm very sorry to hear you are feeling so depressed. I know how horrible that is. I'm honestly afraid that I'm slipping back into depression myself.

The way you address depression reminds me of how I talk to my own psychology sometimes. This song always defined the expeience of being depressed for me:



(Original version for people who don't like metal, but I don't think it has quite the same feel: )


I don't really have any answers about depression. I've spent the vast majority of my life seriously depressed. I've never taken drugs or had any treatment for it, because I've always been so scared of what the authorities would do to me if they found how out nuts I really am.

As far as being helped by WP, there is one fantastic thing I've found in WP that I've never experienced anywhere else: I understand what people here write. Even if I don't like it, I don't have to read everything five times and try to tease out some secret, unstated meaning. If there is one thing I am sick of, it's trying to figure out what people REALLY mean.

I've never met anyone who identified as autistic, at least not to me. I wonder what that would be like. The psychologist who diagnosed me checked and apparently there are no adult support groups in my area, but I still wonder what it would be like to be in a group where no one cares if I'm making eye contact and people just say what they mean. I can see how a whole group of people like me could be annoying, but how much worse can it be than a group of NTs yammering on about nothing?

As far as apps go-I've been using Todoist to try and help me stick to a daily routine. It helps a lot-it makes it easier to keep things in perspective. Like after one bad day where I accomplish nothing, it gives me a visual representation that lets me see, "OK, I had a bad day where I accomplished nothing, but this week I've had 5 good days and only two bad ones, so overall I'm still not doing bad."

I've also been messing around with my own app that less focused on daily routine and more designed as a way to help keep my life in general in perspective. Maybe I'll make that accessible on the internet and see if anyone else is interested in something like that.


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20 Jan 2016, 9:00 pm

This is something I wrote last summer, a few weeks before I discovered autism. There's obviously a lot more tied up in this than just depression, but I wrote this to try and describe to my friend what I meant when I said I was depressed.

Picture yourself on an ice floe. You don't really know how you got there and it's not really important.

You start to explore it, and there lots of interesting things to see. If you walk over near the edge, you can see sharks in the water, but they can't really reach you on top of the ice.

You can see that there are pieces chipping off the edges of the floe. It doesn't really seem like a big deal, so you just ignore it.

Sometimes you see other people floating by. Eventually it becomes obvious that other people are not really having the same problems around the edges of their floes. But there is also a lot of contempt for anyone who lets the quality of their floe degrade, and people who ask for help are frequently ridiculed for not holding their s**t together.

When no one else is around, you begin very carefully and critically analyzing potential problems in your floe. Wherever possible, you shore up defects as best you can, but you don't really know anything about creating seaworthy ice floes, so your efforts don't really seem to be helping. Pretty soon it will be obvious to everyone that your floe is falling apart, and then you will be publicly identified as one of the losers who can't keep their s**t together.

But it turns out to be very easy to create the impression that everything is fine. By shifting your focus from actually repairing your floe to hiding the missing pieces, no one even notices there's anything wrong. Still, it's obvious that everyone else really is having an easier time-you can see other people still walking around their full size floes, while yours shrinks.

When you are around others, you study every action. Every tone of voice, how they interact. There's two reasons for this:

One, you are looking for things that they are doing that might be keeping their floes intact. You're still hoping there's something you could learn that would let you grow the floe back. Then you could discard the contraption you've built to hide the reality, and all without the shame of having to admit just how bad it had gotten.

Second, you don't have the mental capacity to know how to act anymore. You've lost of track of what's fun, or what you like. It's easier to just take on the attitudes of the people around you. This allows you to study them up close, and makes it easy to fit in. It takes way less mental energy to just do whatever they do.

The whole time the floe is degrading. You are relentlessly focused on copying the behavior of the people around you. It becomes too complicated to remember how to act around people you haven't been around in a long time. And in the early days, you weren't even acting-at one point there was a genuine person in there. And then you look at this piece of s**t of floe you're standing on.

It's barely even big enough to fit your feet. Any hope of rebuilding this without anyone noticing is completely gone. Since that was the only avenue you ever saw to a nicer floe, any hope of a nicer floe is dashed. You suddenly realize that you have lost touch with everyone you used to talk to. Just staying on your feet is an accomplishment. The f*****g sharks are everywhere now. There is no way to walk away from them anymore. Sometimes they nip at your feet. By giving up the illusion of even having an ice floe anymore, you are able to ride your floe like a skateboard.

All you do is dodge sharks now. Your floe is so pathetic at this point that you have organized your entire life around avoiding anyone who might care about you.

The insane irony of all this is not lost on you: what started entirely as a project to avoid being rejected by those you love has now led you to reject them just because being exposed would be so humiliating.

Social isolation at this point is easy to achieve: most people eventually give up if you just ignore them. The ones that don't accept it can be easily discouraged with hatred. Of course you don't hate them: you just want them to hate you, so they will stop trying to help. But it's easy to fake: just project onto them how you feel about yourself. The hate is shocking for them to receive. And anyone who cares about you enough to make it this far is someone by definition you love, that you know well. You've been studying every action they take for years. You know every weakness, you know exactly what to say to hurt them.

But you never cry. Ever. Crying shows weakness, and that is a line you refuse to cross.

The only emotions you feel are self-hatred for the state of your floe, terror of the sharks or that someone might see what's going on, and exhaustion.

There is no sleep, or relaxation. Sometimes you are forced to feign relaxation, but the real thing is long gone. You are constantly scanning for sharks-you need to spot them from very far away to dodge them. Whenever people are nearby, you study every miniscule action. Any sign that they might take any action to help you means that person must be avoided.

When there's no people around and no sharks in the vicinity, you relentlessly examine your floe. But whereas before you were trying to rebuild it, or at the very least just trying to conceal the state, now your agenda is different. Any sign of a crack, you just break it off. If it looks like there might be new growth, like maybe something you did accidentally led to an improvement in the state of the floe, you just break it off. New growth at this point is just a new piece to break off later. The handwriting is already on the wall.

And that becomes life: terror of anything of nearby, whether it's trying to help you or eat you. You're not even sure there's a difference anymore. Hatred of your own floe, even though trying to make it better was all you really wanted in the first place. And when there's nothing worth hating or being terrified of, exhaustion.


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Dox47
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20 Jan 2016, 9:55 pm

Well, CBT is the gold standard for behavior modification, which is what it sounds like you're to accomplish, with things you know you need to do but can't seem to get around to that are feeding your depression both because you haven't done them and because you feel worse knowing you haven't done them. You also might consider switching med families, I too seem to be immune to SSRIs (except for the side effects of course), but I've had good luck with mood stabilizers and certain drugs designed to help with OCD or ADHD, plus what I call quality of life drugs for things like anxiety and insomnia. I'll be the first to admit that I'm very cavalier when it comes to ingesting chemicals to function, but after years of resisting for a variety of reasons that seemed sound at the time, I'm glad that I got over my aversion to pills and started treating some of my more bothersome symptoms this way.

Hopefully none of this is insultingly obvious, I'm just letting you know what's (sorta) worked for me.


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21 Jan 2016, 1:13 am

Yigeren wrote:
Glad I could help :)

I'm frustrated, too. I've constantly been told how smart I am and how talented I am (or was) by relatives, teachers, and professors. They have seemed saddened and disappointed that I couldn't ever get through classes or achieve anything important. Professors in particular have seemed upset that I couldn't turn in anything on time, because they thought my work was excellent, and now had to be given a poor grade.

It's hard to hear things like that all the time, because I knew I had potential but couldn't make things work. And knowing people were disappointed in me made me feel pretty awful. I should be successful, but I'm not.

And I can sort of understand your feeling as if you are NT on the inside. I want to interact with people and have friends, but I do everything wrong. I'm not exactly an introvert like many here. I like my space and alone time, but I also enjoy the company of others. But I have no friends and often feel lonely.

I hope things start working out better for you.


I can so relate to that sort of thing in an educational setting. Eventually it got a lot better, but failures in other parts of my life made it so now I tend to be harder on myself than anyone else has ever been. I've been working with my therapist for the last year or so on being less self-critical. There was some time where I would reject any kind of praise or compliment because I was not satisfied with my own performance. It's gotten a bit better lately.

Maybe you feel a little bit of that too?

I'm really interested in what you're saying about the social thing. For me... since I learned to enjoy social interaction I actually have a really hard time going without it for long. When I'm depressed this gets worse... having more than a day to myself is very hard. I don't consider myself extroverted exactly... I'm just very people-focused. I very much have a "what can I do for you?" approach to the world. The fact that it can be so difficult to connect with other people feels like something of a joke played on me by fate.

I can easily pass as NT (getting tired of putting that in quotes; it's meaningless since I don't explain why I do so). I have no problem dealing with people on a superficial level. Small talk, basic interactions, stuff like that. I do need and desire more than that, though. It's very distressing and I feel like managing to make that next step would do a lot to pull me out of this slump I'm in.

black0441 wrote:
I'm very sorry to hear you are feeling so depressed. I know how horrible that is. I'm honestly afraid that I'm slipping back into depression myself.

The way you address depression reminds me of how I talk to my own psychology sometimes. This song always defined the expeience of being depressed for me...


I've got one of those, but have no idea how to put video here.

Anyway, I haven't "felt depressed" for a while because to me it's not sadness... just this sort of jaded emptiness that's hard to distinguish from simply being tired, or heavily stressed. I mean, this time it took me about a year and a half to realize that's what was happening. I noticed the shadow it cast, but not what was casting it. I think maybe how we perceive these things changes with age. You noticed that at all? This doesn't feel like it did ten, fifteen, twenty years ago.

I've pretty much been oblivious to it for a while now. It's not denial or anything, I actually didn't know. Actually realizing it's there has actually made me feel a lot better... which doesn't make it go away, but does make it easier to cope with.

black0441 wrote:
As far as being helped by WP, there is one fantastic thing I've found in WP that I've never experienced anywhere else: I understand what people here write. Even if I don't like it, I don't have to read everything five times and try to tease out some secret, unstated meaning. If there is one thing I am sick of, it's trying to figure out what people REALLY mean.


Yeah, that's great for you! :D Even though I have a lot of trouble with this community and even if it doesn't turn out to be good for me, I'm really glad it exists because it clearly does help a lot of people. It must be a huge relief to feel that way.

My own personal advice on that situation with NTs is to find ways to ask them what they mean, but that takes a lot of practice since the way you do this varies from situation to situation and it often demands tact. Most of us aren't naturally good at tact.

black0441 wrote:
I've never met anyone who identified as autistic, at least not to me. I wonder what that would be like. The psychologist who diagnosed me checked and apparently there are no adult support groups in my area, but I still wonder what it would be like to be in a group where no one cares if I'm making eye contact and people just say what they mean. I can see how a whole group of people like me could be annoying, but how much worse can it be than a group of NTs yammering on about nothing?


I dunno. Like I said, I stopped trying those things in my teens because it was a bunch of aspies yammering on about nothing. :lol: The last time I was in an environment with a similar goal and a similar sort of people I got into a serious depressive episode which I think it triggered. I just find NTs much more agreeable and pleasant to be around. Finding other aspies who I can enjoy being around in person (online is easier) for very long has proven nearly impossible. It's sad, because while I like being able to handle things in a way that's a little more natural to my neurological quirks I usually find everything else about those interactions to be miserable.

It puts me in a rough spot. Something in your second post especially resonated with me. More on that later.

Now, I don't think any of that should discourage you. That's me. You're you, and I think if you can find a support group you should absolutely go! It seems like it could do you a lot of good. It seems like meeting other people on the spectrum would help you understand this thing you're just starting to learn about. It's one thing to read about it, another to interact with others who have it.

I'll check out that app, and at the very least, I'm interested to see how yours goes. :wink:

Now, this... well first off, that's some good writing. Be sure you save that! But this...

black0441 wrote:
The whole time the floe is degrading. You are relentlessly focused on copying the behavior of the people around you. It becomes too complicated to remember how to act around people you haven't been around in a long time. And in the early days, you weren't even acting-at one point there was a genuine person in there. And then you look at this piece of s**t of floe you're standing on.


I get it. For me... it's kind of this weird place I'm at right now where I approximate a lot of NT behavior and thought and do it so well that it feels perfectly natural. But I'm still limited by what my brain is actually capable of and the amount of effort it requires, even if most of that effort is unconscious. I consider what I'm doing a worthy goal and I feel like my life has improved doing it; but I've kind of lost myself in the process and need to pick some things to make concessions on like I said in my original post. Some things, I may need to go "ok, I'm just going to let this one go and see what happens."

I don't think people would likely pick up on a lot of my autistic behaviors as anything more than quirks, if I could remember how to let them happen. They're balanced by the things that I have a firm grasp on. It's not really other people's perceptions that are my concern though (I notice it is a major concern for you and understand why). It's whether I am able to achieve what I need while doing these things. People thinking I'm kind of weird is totally cool, unless it gets in the way of that.

Honestly, I'd love to do a full response to that post sometime. Too tired tonight though.

Dox47 wrote:
Well, CBT is the gold standard for behavior modification, which is what it sounds like you're to accomplish, with things you know you need to do but can't seem to get around to that are feeding your depression both because you haven't done them and because you feel worse knowing you haven't done them. You also might consider switching med families, I too seem to be immune to SSRIs (except for the side effects of course), but I've had good luck with mood stabilizers and certain drugs designed to help with OCD or ADHD, plus what I call quality of life drugs for things like anxiety and insomnia. I'll be the first to admit that I'm very cavalier when it comes to ingesting chemicals to function, but after years of resisting for a variety of reasons that seemed sound at the time, I'm glad that I got over my aversion to pills and started treating some of my more bothersome symptoms this way.

Hopefully none of this is insultingly obvious, I'm just letting you know what's (sorta) worked for me.


No, it's good stuff. CBT is something I'd like to explore more thoroughly. My current therapist uses those techniques but probably not in a way that is productive for me. Some of that may be on me. We'll have to talk about it.

I've been on a number of SSRIs through the years and a lot of them stopped working after a while. Duloxetine is one I'd consider doing again, it worked quite well last time and also helps with pain; and I do think the physical pain I've had in recent months is tied to depression. Ironically, it's part of the reason I'm kind of averse to these meds; when I discontinued it last time it was a real b***h and I didn't want to risk that again.

Mood stabilizers, huh? That's an interesting one. There's a family history of mood disorders for me; my mother and brother have both been on them with varying results. I've never tried them, myself. So that's an interesting option to explore.


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21 Jan 2016, 1:56 am

black0441 wrote:
As far as being helped by WP, there is one fantastic thing I've found in WP that I've never experienced anywhere else: I understand what people here write. Even if I don't like it, I don't have to read everything five times and try to tease out some secret, unstated meaning. If there is one thing I am sick of, it's trying to figure out what people REALLY mean.


I feel the same way. The style and manner of writing is generally easier to understand, because it's much more direct. Although there are some on here that can be hard to understand if they have disorganized writing that jumps around a lot.

AJisHere wrote:
I'm really interested in what you're saying about the social thing. For me... since I learned to enjoy social interaction I actually have a really hard time going without it for long. When I'm depressed this gets worse... having more than a day to myself is very hard. I don't consider myself extroverted exactly... I'm just very people-focused. I very much have a "what can I do for you?" approach to the world. The fact that it can be so difficult to connect with other people feels like something of a joke played on me by fate.


When I was a small child, apparently I was pretty introverted and self-absorbed. I didn't necessarily need people. I wasn't exactly a stereotypical ASD kid, but I wasn't social like an NT kid, either. I liked to play by myself, and generally didn't share very well or play cooperatively. I was also very shy in any kind of large group setting. I would basically shut down. I'm guessing it was too overwhelming for me.

But as I got older, the shyness went away, except when first meeting people or other kids. I still enjoyed my space and time alone, but I wanted to play with other kids. I had what I guess was the typical amount of friends for kids of my age, and really didn't have many problems socializing with them at this point.

It wasn't until I got to the age (4th grade?)where social skills became really important that I began to have trouble. I eventually realized that the other kids thought I was weird and I couldn't figure out why. I wasn't naturally learning all the social skills that they were, and had no clue. I became anxious over the years and developed social anxiety. But until that point I was pretty happy. I was always making jokes and trying to get other kids to laugh. I would say I was pretty outgoing, actually.

So this is my hypothesis: if I weren't autistic, I would be more of an extrovert than an introvert. I don't think I'd be one of those bubbly happy people that is constantly talking and socializing, but I would probably really enjoy spending time with people and having friends. I'm thinking that my underlying personality is really a friendly, outgoing, type of personality, and it's limited by the autism.

I'm still a nerd, and I would definitely still enjoy learning, reading, and intellectual things, but I wouldn't be so isolated like I am now. I am not friendless by choice. I do have difficulty making connections with people. I feel horribly lonely and empty much of the time.



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21 Jan 2016, 3:39 am

I totally relate to those childhood experiences, Yigeren. I was much the same way. In my case, I knew why... I knew more about why in time, as I was better able to understand what autism was. Doing something about that was harder.

Now, I do really enjoy spending time with people and having friends. The thing is... there's this gap in understanding, this barrier between me and others. The better I get with people, the more I become aware of it and the more painful it is. I can't put it into words, exactly. I just know that I need to find some way to work around that as best I can.

I mean... I'm not the most outgoing guy. But I care about people so deeply. Like, "would take a bullet for a stranger" deeply. I really like people. And there's this totally random accident of biology that makes it harder for me to relate to and understand them, and help them. How they think about how "normal" I am when I do this isn't really important to me, as long as it happens.

I have this intense, overpowering passion for humanity as a whole and for each individual and no way to express it. No way to utilize it. I need to find some way to do that, or this thing I've got going on never really goes away. Anything else is kind of just a stopgap measure.

I don't know where to begin, though. I guess that's my next step. Or one of them.


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21 Jan 2016, 4:08 am

I care about people too much, myself. It really tends to irritate them, though. Or come off as creepy or unusual. I would probably not take a bullet for a stranger, but I do tend to go out of my way to help people. I usually have to hold myself back because I realize that it's not considered to be appropriate to go to so much trouble.

If you really feel that you want to help humanity, I would suggest starting some sort of non-profit in order to help people. Find something that you think is really necessary to improve people's lives, and try to start something to make a difference. Maybe it's your calling, if there is such a thing.

I'm not sure what the barrier is that you are feeling, but I think I feel the same way. The difference in thought processes may be the reason behind this. I really don't know. But every once in awhile I find an NT that I feel that I really can relate to. They tend to be more eccentric, artistic, or intellectual types. It may be because they have some autistic traits without actually having autism.



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21 Jan 2016, 12:39 pm

Yigeren wrote:
I care about people too much, myself. It really tends to irritate them, though. Or come off as creepy or unusual. I would probably not take a bullet for a stranger, but I do tend to go out of my way to help people. I usually have to hold myself back because I realize that it's not considered to be appropriate to go to so much trouble.

If you really feel that you want to help humanity, I would suggest starting some sort of non-profit in order to help people. Find something that you think is really necessary to improve people's lives, and try to start something to make a difference. Maybe it's your calling, if there is such a thing.

I'm not sure what the barrier is that you are feeling, but I think I feel the same way. The difference in thought processes may be the reason behind this. I really don't know. But every once in awhile I find an NT that I feel that I really can relate to. They tend to be more eccentric, artistic, or intellectual types. It may be because they have some autistic traits without actually having autism.


Working for some kind of non-profit has occurred to me. I think finding the right career is really important and I'm working on getting counseling for that. It won't make me any better at the one-on-one stuff, but I don't need individual people to know what I'm doing for others, as long as I know it. It'd make things a lot easier on me.

This barrier I'm talking about is hard to define, but quite real. It's effectively a symptom of autism; that difficulty getting on the "same wavelength" as another person, so to speak. I'm not sure what the mechanism for that is, nobody is. I've heard interesting ideas regarding mirror neurons, and given the issues that most bother me it sounds about right.

Whatever the cause, it's very much an emotional, intuitive thing. It just kills me that my only option in a lot of social interactions seems purely rational, masked with a superficial appearance of more. It would be great if I could just tone down the thinking and feel my way through these things. I don't know if there's anything to be done about that. There may be some way to present that appearance even better, but it doesn't make me feel any better. I'm still only pretending, and I'd know it.

Unless some treatment is developed for this particular aspect of autism (which is something people are exploring), I probably need to just accept that it's not going away and find other things in life that make me feel alright without it.


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21 Jan 2016, 2:55 pm

Hmm, the mirror neurons I had some knowledge of before, but I did not realize there was a connection between autism and oxytocin.

I think women tend to produce more of the hormone, from what I remember. It's important in maternal instinct as well.



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21 Jan 2016, 4:34 pm

Yigeren wrote:
Hmm, the mirror neurons I had some knowledge of before, but I did not realize there was a connection between autism and oxytocin.

I think women tend to produce more of the hormone, from what I remember. It's important in maternal instinct as well.


Right. The oxytocin thing isn't a certainty. More research needs to be done on it, but I'm interested to see where it goes. I'm sure that's blasphemy to some people around here because Autism Speaks is also quite intrigued by it, but if it helps people I think it's good. If it could possibly help me at some point, all the better.

Funny thing, mentioning women... this will be kind of a tangent, but; I have a theory that I get along considerably better with autistic women than with other autistic men. It certainly seems to be the case on this forum. There's a lot of possible reasons for that, but maybe it's worth looking into.


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22 Jan 2016, 1:52 am

I'm guessing it's because you're more social and empathetic in general. You're also very introspective. I haven't noticed a lot of men here with those traits as much as women.



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22 Jan 2016, 2:14 am

Yigeren wrote:
I'm guessing it's because you're more social and empathetic in general. You're also very introspective. I haven't noticed a lot of men here with those traits as much as women.


That's what I figured. I think my personality was more similar to a lot of aspie guys when I was younger but it's changed during adulthood to something more like what you describe there. Maybe that stuff was always there. It seems common in my family, this mix of rationality with deep compassion. I'm just better equipped to handle the former than the latter.


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