Realized why I'm such a failure during a shutdown at a party

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TheUndiagnosed
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28 Aug 2022, 10:09 pm

Ok guys,
what just happened to me was a big dent to my self-esteem!
You have to experience this yourself to understand what I'm talking about...
And I believe this is the reason why I grew up with very few friends and ended up an unemployed outcast who never had a girlfriend at 42!

I went to a party, something that occurs to me quite rarely as I use to spend most of the time away from people...

In the begining everything seemed fine, I arrived early, there were few people there.
I talked a little to the people there, usually in a one-to-one conversation.. I usually feel at ease when I talk to a single person while I'm very bad with groups of people.

After a while other people entered the party, some of them I had never seen before!
They started to talk among themselves (they were close friends) making jokes and laughing.
I talked a little but not that much.

At some point, I would say after 1 hour from the beginning of the party... I literally stopped talking! 8O
It's not that I was completely mute, I just couldn't partake to people conversations and lost all motivation to talk.
They were having fun, laughing while I felt totally detached from the situation...
When someone asked me something, I just answered in a monosyllabic way with no interest in talking at all...

I entered this "zombie state" where I felt completely alienated.

I observed the following symptoms:

-I felt emotionally disconnected with the other people around me, like I really coudn't grasp what they were talking about, and felt very alienated.
-I couldn't really feel any enjoyable emotion, for example when they made a joke which was supposed to be funny, I didn't feel any sense of enjoyment.
-I felt very tired, wanted the party to end as soon as possible.
-I didn't want to talk to anybody and I didn't want anybody to talk to me. Basically not only I wanted to just be left alone but also didn't want to get any attention at all.
-I just wanted to f*cking go home!
-Felt like my IQ dropped to 50!
-My mind was flooded by a serie of negative thoughts that were like:
-why is this happening to me?
-see I'm not normal, that's the reason I'm such a failure... No wonder why I have never had a girlfriend at 42, no wonder why I'm unemployed, no wonder why I never had a good social life, everything is so clear now!

-my social anxiety prevented me to just f*cking leave the party and go home, because I feared that would made me stand out in the crowd even more and could be considered rude...

-I believed those strangers who saw me for the first time thought I was some sort of weirdo, like some seriously f*cked up mentally individual because I was quiet and almost mute the entire time.... (but this may be part of my paranoia and social anxiety)


I stayed there until the party was over. Big mistake! I should have left the party when these symptoms came in because being in that depressive state while other people were having fan made me involuntarily stand out, and made me feel worse and worse...

As a side note, I made the mistake of drinking some alcohol (not much actually: it was just a glass of wine) and if you read my previous posts you can see that I suspect alcohol has a bad effect on me (makes me more like a zombie).

Parties are supposed to be funny, like something a normal person should enjoy to relax, have fun, release stress from work and so on...
But for me it feels like a chore, like a very hard job for which I'm not good enough... on top of that alcohol doesn't seem to work for me...
Also parties make me extremely tired. And talking about fatigue, after I finally left the party I've had this huge sense of tiredness that lasted the entire day after... I just wanted to be alone on my bed for hours!

I have suffered from these "shutdowns" (althought I'm not sure if these could technically be defined shutdowns) all my life, but the strange thing is that, for some reason, I tend to "forget" about them after a while, and I just can't grasp what's wrong with me when I'm alone in the comfortableness of my room...

So has anybody experienced anything similar?
What do you think about what happened to me?

Thank you for your help!



klanka
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29 Aug 2022, 3:24 am

I think its because you didn't go there with someone who would stay with you.

You didn't seem to be close with anyone there, so shutting down is normal (for an aspie)

when going to the pub I would often just leave when I felt like it.....unless I was there with someone who I was having a good time with.

Its good to know when to leave and just develop the ability to do it as soon as you start to get like that.



temp1234
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29 Aug 2022, 3:44 am

Yes! That's exactly my experience. Whenever I attend a party (which seldom happens), I end up being left out of it. I feel very alone surrounded by cheerful people who don't even realize that I'm there with them. Nowadays I avoid attending any kind of party to avoid that sad feeling. I have learned that an autistic weirdo like me is not capable of attending a party. I only truly enjoy having a party-like gathering with my parents and siblings (thank god at least my family care about me).

I am employed and have had girlfriends before but my opinion regarding having had a girlfriend is different from yours. I really cannot understand why many men think that you are a failure if you haven't had a girlfriend. I think such a way of thinking itself is an indication of your being a failure. I actually regret and feel ashamed of having had girlfriends. I cannot change my past but my past doesn't sit well with me. A man who has never had a girlfriend and feels no problem with that fact is the man I respect. Needing to have/have had a girlfriend to have self-respect is embarrassing and shameful, in my opinion. In other words, nothing's wrong with your not having had a girlfriend at 42 in itself.



Mona Pereth
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29 Aug 2022, 10:15 am

temp1234 wrote:
Yes! That's exactly my experience. Whenever I attend a party (which seldom happens), I end up being left out of it. I feel very alone surrounded by cheerful people who don't even realize that I'm there with them. Nowadays I avoid attending any kind of party to avoid that sad feeling. I have learned that an autistic weirdo like me is not capable of attending a party. I only truly enjoy having a party-like gathering with my parents and siblings (thank god at least my family care about me).

I have the same issue with parties.

For this reason, I avoid attending generic "parties" and "social events" and instead prefer to attend more structured events with particular themes.


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beady
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29 Aug 2022, 10:49 am

The suggestions given are very good.

You were aware of your detachment as it happened. Next time. I would have an exit excuse ready - you could even prepare a somewhat flexible excuse ahead of time and tell the host that you can only stay a short time. If you find yourself having a good time then you can use the flexibility built into your excuse to say you can stay for a bit.

I agree with Mona - I can attend a bigger gathering if it is centered around a specific game or other activity that I enjoy.



Agent_Elflord
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31 Aug 2022, 12:18 am

I definitely know what you mean. I was with one of my closest friends at a party for one of her friends (I spoke to him a bunch on our discord server and we have a few things in common) and I was having a good time with my friend, him, and his little sister, but then more people came over. One of them was someone who my friend and the host didn't like (but brought her boyfriend who we do like) and another friend of theirs I didn't know or like, and then later were the cousins of the host who were cool, but they were also kinda rowdy and loud. They did show an effort to engage me in conversation and make me feel welcome, which I appreciated though.

The main part that bugged me was that my close friend and the host were gone for a while so I was just kinda sitting by myself and drinking for a bit and the host's sister decided to sit across from me and try to make small talk because she used to go to school in my area, but I didn't live there at the time so there wasn't much in common. She was cute, but I couldn't tell how old she was, just that she lived separately from her parents and brother, so I didn't get too chummy with her. I was getting tired and it was a little after midnight, so I left shortly after my friend and her bf did. I thanked the host for having me over, and I thought it was cool that one of the cousins said to let them know if I make it home okay, which I did and thanked the host again.

On the flipside, there are times where my friends and I got too clique-y around others at a party and didn't make others feel as included as we could have, so that's something I could work on too.



Trachea
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31 Aug 2022, 12:49 am

Thats why I don't go to parties anymore and I don't miss it at all :) Often neurotypical fun is not fun for me. I'd rather do fun things and enjoy life with the things that make me enjoy it. I don't care anymore what people think if I say no to things, its really their problem and if they really are truly to be any factor in my life then they won't care that I prioritize what is best for me.

What happened to you sounds like selective mutism which is really normal to many ASD people when they are stressed or overwhelmed. I'm actually surprised you have no knowledge of this because it is very common. There's nothing wrong with you; you just need to start listening to what actually makes you feel good instead of trying to force yourself to do things that are bad for you.



Last edited by Trachea on 31 Aug 2022, 12:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

traven
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31 Aug 2022, 12:52 am

that's totally me when a lot younger
i didn't dare leave any party-gathering ever, ot go to the toilet in some situations

people saying: have you lost your tongue, or other defining remarks as 'being arrogant'
whatever 8)

otoh when its at your house people rudely put you out of the circle, idk what that is
((the narcissistic showoff at ok corral?))

later i developped a busy- reputation, uhm, others did that new interpretation, having to do things at sceduled times equals to them as always being busy, ok that's fine with me :mrgreen: :mrgreen:



CockneyRebel
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07 Sep 2022, 12:36 am

I remember having a shutdown at a Halloween dance 10 years ago. I went into the pool room and closed my eyes for 15 minutes.


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r00tb33r
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07 Sep 2022, 12:51 am

That's so familiar!

Used to happen a lot at parties my family used to be invited to (I grew up and parents go without me now).

I often end up loitering in the kitchen, either pacing or leaning on furniture. I cannot do group conversations, only one on one.

One time I was at a birthday party of some friends of the family with whom I was doing freelance software development work. It was a large party as they are very social people, and invited even coworkers. I was seated outside of the main area at a table of some of their family members, there was another engineer there who did something similar back in college. I ranted about lead-free solder joints of BGA chips of modern electronics for an hour, and bored everybody. I was not invited again.


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DuckHairback
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10 Sep 2022, 4:05 pm

This is exactly what I do at parties, or any big gathering. I can usually fake it for a little while but then I shut down. It even happens when I have to take my kid to birthday parties and things. Her friends parents must think I'm a complete weirdo.


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TheUndiagnosed
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12 Oct 2022, 5:58 pm

klanka wrote:
I think its because you didn't go there with someone who would stay with you.
...

I went alone because I don't have friends



TheUndiagnosed
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12 Oct 2022, 6:11 pm

Thanks for your answers,
Some time has passed, the memory of that party have faded away... But i have the feeling that what happened to that
party was quite epiphanic: it clearly shows that I haven't change in the last decades that much, I was exactly like that in my youth and still I am like that now (at 42). It is this utter incapability of function properly in society that has f*cked me in life, it is the very reason why I'm unemployed (despite having a STEM degree) and I'm still looking for my first girlfriend ever.
Now, I'm researching the Avoidant Personality Disorder, because I feel like I have many of the symptoms, although I don't know how Asperger and APD could relate, a lot of symptoms seem overlapping...



himmellaufen
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16 Oct 2022, 8:30 pm

this isn't a shutdown, you were just not having fun. at times like these, it's fine to just leave.



TheUndiagnosed
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22 Oct 2022, 6:49 pm

himmellaufen wrote:
this isn't a shutdown, you were just not having fun. at times like these, it's fine to just leave.

You are probably right, it wasn't technically a shutdown.. but it doesn't change the fact that I'm not normal...
And I don't think it could be ascribed to me not having fun either...
But I agree that I should have left the party ASAP, I will be more careful next time