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valen
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31 Jan 2024, 12:02 pm

Hello. I was diagnosed with ASD fairly recently, which at this point was two or three years ago in late 2021. I made this account while waiting for an evaluation, but I overthought it too much to post anything. It's a strong risk that I could feel that way enough that I would never hit send on this post, even. I feel bad to be too negative, or oversharing. But I felt very desperate for community, so I thought it might be important to try in some way. I hope that it is a place where maybe, it's not as necessary to be paranoid about every little aspect of what you say and how it comes off. That maybe it would still turn out okay.

In the report they said I have "extreme social anxiety", which was surprising to me because I never thought of myself that way. People I told wouldn't believe it either, and said that maybe they were wrong or wanted to see the paper to read the justification. They said I seemed too comfortable talking to people, and sought it out too much. But even though it conflicted with what I thought and what others had always told me, when I read what they had written, I knew it was correct.

When I realized I might actually be autistic, the model I built in my mind of how social interaction was meant to work fell apart. I found I can come so close, but that only makes the little differences more disturbing to them, as if entering some uncanny valley of typical communication. I realized that it wasn't actually a matter of just doing your best, and not everyone is capable of the same things even if they work very hard and practice with great dedication. Some people will never be able to be understood by others.

Being understood was always my dream.

It sounds like such a trivial thing to say outright, but I felt like even though I wasn't trying to deceive anyone, no one really knew who I was and I was always putting in so much work to not do things that upset others.

I know so many people who clearly really want to be special. They talk about themselves as though they are very different from everyone else, even though usually what they are discussing is actually pretty normal. For me, I have never been able to avoid it: people think of me as special or exceptional and treat me differently from others, no matter what I do. Yet, if I talk about it, they assume I'm doing the same thing they are, and it's devastating. I don't want to be related to by someone who "totally gets it" only to realize later we were never talking about the same thing at all. That only drives home that still... no one gets it. I'm still alone.

Now, when I think about talking to people, it doesn't seem worth it. But what kind of depressing world is that? It makes it hard to do my work, if I avoid responding to messages for weeks on end. And I always wanted to make the world a better place. But it has never felt more as though for all this time, I have actually been looking at the wrong world.

It sounds nice, if there could be a right one somewhere. Where people can make mistakes or be wrong, but it still makes sense.



Missyrosey
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31 Jan 2024, 12:24 pm

Hi, I am 25 and recently found out I was autistic and I relate to you heavily. Like, everything you wrote basically. Just wanted to say that I feel the same way as you, I’ve always wanted to feel seen and like…I don’t know witnessed? But it seems that everything I know about interaction with people has isolated me even more. I just found this website and saw you posted so I made an account to post this :D



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31 Jan 2024, 12:33 pm

Welcome, both of you, to Wrong Planet.

You should find some people here who can relate to what you've experienced.


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Hokulea
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31 Jan 2024, 6:55 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet, valen and Missyrosey.



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31 Jan 2024, 6:56 pm

hello


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autisticelders
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01 Feb 2024, 8:25 am

getting diagnosis changed our perspective over almost everything , it take a lot of mental and emotional homework to adjust, it does take time to sort. Glad you are with us. I was so pleased to find a group of others who actually understood, after so long thinking I was the "Only One" what a relief!


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valen
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01 Feb 2024, 4:51 pm

Double Retired, Hokulea, and belijojo: Thank you for the welcome! hello!

Missyrosey, it's really nice to hear that what I said resonated with you so strongly that it was even worth making an account to say so. I often feel concerned that the combination of my circumstances really would mean that even among other autistic people I might feel better, but still not find anyone who fully understands. Which would still be great, important, and a significant improvement! But still a little lonely. So, thank you for making the account and posting. I hope we can talk more in the future, as I am interested to hear about your experiences.

I feel very strongly your point about learning more making you feel more isolated. Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off not knowing, but then I remember that it was not knowing that got me into those situations where I learned it anyway. If I can revise the knowledge to not be as all-consuming in my opinion of society, that seems like a better option, if possible.

So, thanks for making me feel witnessed. :)


autisticelders, thanks also for the welcome, and for the positive predictions and understanding. I don't like that it takes so much time to sort. I keep thinking it's been long enough already, or I once hoped that just knowing would be enough. and at each milestone it often feels better, but then there is still more. I think when I can be more comfortable talking about it openly it will help a lot. Until then, I suppose I am probably entering "burnout".

For me, I never thought I was the only one, but that made it very difficult to process: if the problems I was having were normal, then I was just doing something very wrong to be unable to work past it no matter what I tried. I saw that no one else was strategizing that hard, but I figured they just didn't get it, and didn't connect that to it being strange to actually consider all of these deep and persistent problems so malleable and solvable.

I watched all of my typical friends wallow in their issues and had no idea why they would consider an attempted solution a failure so soon after trying it, or why they would write off options so easily based on blockers that were definitely not unsolvable. They thought I was crazy to think such things, and that I just didn't understand how bad their problems were. They didn't realize that if I didn't think of it this way my whole life, I would never have reached anywhere close to their level of functioning. But to most people, functioning is the definition of severity: if you overcome any part of a problem, the problem never really was that bad.

Then, if I tell them a solution won't work for me, they can't fathom why and think I'm just stonewalling so I won't have to fix it. After all, my problems aren't that bad- and it's a normal solution that works for everyone.

Yet, none of this has been an issue with any autistic person I've talked to. Sometimes, things that seem easy for other people just aren't. But if you do manage to come up with an option that doesn't run into problems they already know about, they're always interested in trying it. Since you know, why would you complain about a problem if you didn't actually wish it could be solved? This is the kind of thing I find to be a difficult difference to identify and work with in the moment. I now spend so much energy trying to figure out when people are saying something only for reputation or identity management rather than because they actually mean it, so I can react appropriately.

So, I suppose, after spending so long wondering why I was having so much trouble if everyone is the same as me... maybe I can jump quickly through the "only one" stage, and finally really talk to people who actually *are* the same as me. It does sound like a huge relief.

Maybe it can also be a relief to acknowledge you are different? I suppose that's when it might be appropriate to buy that champagne.



jimmy m
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03 Feb 2024, 9:34 am

Welcome to Wrong Planet.

You wrote, "Some people will never be able to be understood by others."
You are correct, that is why this website is called Wrong Planet. It is like we are living in the wrong planet, a strange universe of opposites.

So what to do? Well in my opinion, "Be Yourself". This approach might mean that you only have a small group of friends but at least the real you will come out and you will be honest.

You wrote, "Being understood was always my dream."
I actually lived by a different dream, "Being honest. Being correct. Being friendly."

You wrote, "I'm still alone."
Yes and No. You are just looking in the wrong place for friends. There are many people like you. People who are different and possess very unique and different skills. You are just looking in the wrong place to find them.

Then you began to talk about, What to do? I cannot answer for you. In my case, I am two beings, two different people. One is my daytime brain and the other my night time brain. I use both sides of my brain. I see the world from both sides, my right side that lives in a world of TRUE and FALSE and my left side which sees the world into a thousand shades of gray. They look at the world very differently and understand the world very differently. Together they make a very vibrant team. I live by my right side but I also see the world from the left side.

You wrote, "It sounds nice, if there could be a right one somewhere. Where people can make mistakes or be wrong, but it still makes sense."
Well that is not how humans are created. We have multiple brains that exist within us.

Later you began talking about burnout. That is something that I do not experience. When pushed into a corner, I just move forward and try and figure it out. In general, I tend to succeed. As a result, I just stay true to myself, my inner self, and in general, I can alter the universe in the process by being honest and true. As a result, I do not experience burn out.

Then you wrote, "So, I suppose, after spending so long wondering why I was having so much trouble if everyone is the same as me... maybe I can jump quickly through the "only one" stage, and finally really talk to people who actually *are* the same as me. It does sound like a huge relief."

This sounds like a fair question. First off, I am an old Aspie. I am 75 years old but if you look deep down inside me you will find the mind of a child. I live an exceptional life. To the best of my abilities, I try to be true to myself and others. The best thing I can tell you is that there are multiple beings within the human brain. Our brain has two sides, one on the left and one on the right. They contain multiple beings. One of the books that comes closest to describing human structure is from a woman who died around age 35. She developed a brain bleed in the middle of her brain. She came back as a different person, a right sided brain. She wrote a very unique book titled "Whole Brain Living" by Jill Bolte Taylor.

Although that book does not describe me, it comes as close as any book to having you understand the beings inside you. It is the best I can offer you.


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valen
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05 Feb 2024, 1:28 pm

Thank you for your response and advices jimmy. I particularly appreciate how in-depth it is, especially so that I can see someone else writing posts that are the length of mine. I started to be concerned I was coming on too strong, even here!


I think to me, being "honest, correct, and friendly / kind / not unnecessarily harmful" was more of a rule than a dream. I felt as though I was doing fairly well at this, as I think anyone would if they did hold it as a dream or a rule, with any dedication.

This is what I viewed as "being myself". So, it's not very unique to me and uses no information about ways I might be any different from anyone else. I didn't know those things, and didn't really think I needed to know them if they existed, because they didn't seem relevant to understanding the world.

The main problem with this is, people view negative misunderstandings as harmful and unfriendly. I believed that when I unintentionally said something that upset someone else, this was "incorrect". Since, it was certainly not correct to my goals or what I thought would happen. Also, other people are able to avoid it more effectively, so it seemed to be an ordinary and reasonable expectation.

This worked out acceptably early on. However, over time I made friends who said stronger things, that seemed compatible and sensible enough at the time. "It's not what you did that matters, it matters if someone was hurt by it". Even if I knew that my opinion itself wasn't toxic, I knew that expressing it carelessly could be "wrong" because it was "hurtful".

I became much more quiet, and careful about what I said. There were communities where I read every single message that was posted every day for multiple years, but they didn't recognize me as a regular, because I didn't talk enough. Not because I was avoiding it or intentionally concealing anything, but because it just took so much time to properly figure out what to say while minimizing misunderstandings, that I didn't end up having that much left to actually say in a timely manner. I didn't realize, until they would make lists or memes- and I wasn't included.


For this part, I was still operating under "just move forward and try to figure it out". So I think you are right, that as long as you can keep doing that, it's not possible to burn out. I think that it is when I realized that wasn't working-- and might be making it worse-- that is when it started to happen.

I have let myself enter a difficult position in life where I am still surrounded by people who are very punishing of misunderstandings, and many core aspects of my life have slipped out of my control. Other people seemed to need that control more, and I believed them. If it was me, I would not be carelessly misleading about something like that. On this point, it took me much too long to realize other people are not the same.

Now, it is much more intimidating to find the direction to move forward, when all of them seem that they would have severe and unpredictable consequences.

However, I am still attempting to continue, and try new solutions, such as making friends who are not like this.


I am looking forward to talking more to people here. I have always had trouble feeling understood and understanding others' behavior fully, but I feel more at ease talking to other autistic people, no matter how different they may seem from me. There is something at our core that gives me enough to go off of that it does actually end up feeling like it all makes sense, enough to matter anyway.

Although, as I've been posting I've realized that I am missing most of the context that I was using when having those interactions in person. In text, miscommunications are much easier-- and harder to correct, particularly in long-form where you won't know until a lengthy response is written (or not). So, I could still come off very badly myself, even in situations where I feel understanding for everyone involved. A new concern to figure out and see how it goes.


It is also nice to talk to people of many different life stages. Age is not just a number, but it is just a number of years lived in this world. I think if you are not too confined by the social idea of aging, you can keep a lot of the joys associated with youth well past earning the joys gained with age.

You write much about the sides of the brain, it is interesting. I have one book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain", that I have always felt was one of the most informative books on how drawing actually works and what it really takes to get started or improve in a more comprehensible way; and it talks a lot of the different functions of the different sides. Have you heard of this?

I will have to check out the book you mention, when I regain a bit more financial stability.



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06 Feb 2024, 12:53 am

Welcome to WP :salut:


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valen
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07 Feb 2024, 11:18 am

Thank you! I'll do my best to contribute value to the community. :salut:



jimmy m
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07 Feb 2024, 2:59 pm

You wrote: "I became much more quiet, and careful about what I said. There were communities where I read every single message that was posted every day for multiple years, but they didn't recognize me as a regular, because I didn't talk enough. Not because I was avoiding it or intentionally concealing anything, but because it just took so much time to properly figure out what to say while minimizing misunderstandings, that I didn't end up having that much left to actually say in a timely manner. I didn't realize, until they would make lists or memes- and I wasn't included."

So let me try and explain this from my perspective.

When I have a conversation with someone, a topic may be brought up. I will think about it form many different angles. Eventually I reach the point where I have thought it through and I decide to speak. But the conversations has moved onto a different topic and then another topic and another. So my perspective is out of place.

I have communicating in writing to be better because generally it is not time limited like speaking.

I am a little bit like Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek. It is how my brain works.



I remember one time at work, my boss pulled me in and asked a very serious question. I thought about it for a minute and gave him my answer. He then told me that he had the same conversation with another employee just before me. He said the other employee gave the same answer but he talked about it from one aspect and then another and then another. He talked for about an hour before he finally came to a conclusion. It was the same conclusion that I came up with in less then a minute.

You mentioned a book by Betty Edwards called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I have not read this book. I did a quick scan. It said, "She was born in 1926 in San Francisco, and grew up in Long Beach, California, attending Long Beach Polytechnic High School. An artist from an early age, Betty received a Bachelor's degree in Art from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1947."

That was the college I went to and received my degree in Physics.

From her earliest days as a high school art teacher, Betty began to develop her groundbreaking theories about how to teach drawing successfully to every student, and her graduate studies at UCLA confirmed the results. Until her retirement, she lectured widely around the world on the subjects of drawing, creativity, and creative problem-solving, focusing not just on individuals but on the corporate community and at museums internationally. She continues to write and consult, occasionally participating in DRSB Workshops taught by her son, Brian Bomeisler. Her lifelong mission has been to return art to the public school curriculum nationwide, in her passionate belief that we should be educating the "whole brains" of our children, not just teaching the "Three Rs" or to standardized tests that concentrate on the "left brain" only.


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jimmy m
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07 Feb 2024, 4:48 pm

Since you want to come up to speed quickly, I will pass on one other bit of information. It is called Subject Matter Experts.

When I want to learn about something, I ask people questions.

If it is a complex question, many people will say "I don't know".
That is a fair response. They generally are telling you the truth. The world is complex.

But around 50 percent of the people will ask a question. You answer the question and they ask another question. It is question after question after question. But they never provide you with an answer. There is a reason why. It is because they do not know the answer.

But sometimes you ask a question and the person gives a very detailed answer and goes on and on and on for hours. If you find someone who does this, that person is a Subject Matter Expert. You can generally believe what they say. They possess all this knowledge but most times people will never ask them.

----------------------------

One of the quickest ways to learn is by asking questions. Many years ago I started a new job. I didn't know anything about the job. So I began to ask questions. I would ask the top technician and I listened to his answer. Then I asked an employee at the bottom and I listened to their answer. I would ask 10 different people. And I listened to all their answers. This made the top technician angry. He thought I was dishonoring him. But it wasn't true. I had no knowledge and I was learning. In the end, I was able to look at the problem from many different viewpoints and then take all aspects of the problem and splice them together to come up with the optimal decision.


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