I currently feel as though I am living in two worlds, and am not sure whether this is my ASD, something everyone does, or just something completely different and I would really like to know if other people also do this.
When I am alone, usually in my bedroom but also at other times, I have conversations with people who I know in my 'real world'. These conversations can be spoken out loud or in my head and can be practising for a meeting or interaction I will have with them in the future (like answering questions I think they might ask), thinking about what went wrong in a conversation/interaction I've had with them previously, or because I need to share feelings or something that has happened. This imaginary world includes only people who I like, see often and have some trust in and I know that they are not really there. It sort of feels like like a safer version of the real world, and I hate having to come out of it and back into reality. In this imaginary world, when I am talking about feelings, they are often things that I would not be able tell the real person, but still feel calmer having imagined speaking with them about it. I currently feel very out of place in the real world, and feel like it is collapsing and out of control. Whenever I have to do something for real, like go to work or an appointment, I feel extremely anxious and as though the real world is dragging me across the most painful floor ever made so I am wondering whether this might be a way for my brain to cope with pressure and stress. I am a very reluctant participator of the real world and I wonder whether my increasing withdrawal from what is happening in reality into a world that just includes people I trust and like might just be a coping mechanism or a way to have some control and feel a little bit safer.
I do not do this all the time and also engage with my interests, so maybe it's just another tool my brain uses, but do it at least once a day. I am currently working with someone to understand my emotions and brain a bit better and I kind of want to tell her, but I am not sure whether it would be a good idea. Especially as she is one of the people I imagine talking to and also because I think I quite like having somewhere safe to practice and talk safely.
I feel like it is very difficult to explain exactly, but it is something that is happening more and I would be very happy to hear whether other people with ASD have similar experiences to this. Thanks.
I ‘talk’ to my support worker all the time when she’s not there. It can be through writing or speaking in my head or out loud. She knows I do this, it’s extremely helpful. If I were to simply write out what I was thinking etc, it doesnt have as much power and clarity as when I’m writing to my support worker. I rarely send her what I write but I do sometimes. She has recently moved jobs so she’s no longer my support worker but she has given me her new work number and has told me that she would like to keep in touch with me but that I am also welcome to continue to message her ~ she knows how important this is to me and how much it helps, I’m sure she never understands any of what I’m talking about Lol! My writings to her don’t need replies, but it’s really helpful to me to have somebody who I can actually send my writings to when I need to as well but just keeping them to myself helps just as much.
I have the exact same experiences as you and I used to think I was living in two worlds but since yesterday, I no longer live in two worlds, my world has somehow mingled in with the so called ‘real’ world and made one! I’m going to see where I did my writing yesterday and post it on here as it might help others.
I do this all the time! This is the first time I've been active on this forum. Your post stood out to me because, as I said this is something I've always done and never told anyone. I really identify with this.
I often act out what I wish I'd said in a past conversation or what I would like to say in the future if I were ever able to think clearly in any social situation! I find it helps me get rid of anxieties and understand my thoughts about whatever the situation is or was that I am acting out in my second private world. So, yes I think for me it is a coping mechanism and gives me control that I didn't have when it happened for real. Of course this can get very frustrating because I know that it isn't real and I feel so sad that I just can't be how I want to be or act how I want to or say the things to people that I want to be able to say to them in real life. But for some reason I think I usually feel better after having done it. Maybe it's just getting things out of my jumbled up head and into words that helps me understand better.
I'm not really saying anything here that you haven't already said! Sorry not to offer advice or support. It's so nice to hear about someone doing a similar thing that I always kept private. Thank you for sharing.
I should point out, I'm not currently diagnosed. Is this a common symptom (if symptom is the right word for it)?
Thank you for your reply! It sounds as though your support worker has been very good for you, I hope mine would do the same if she changes jobs, but I feel like she wouldn't. Can I ask whether anything happened to make your worlds combine yesterday (you don't need to at all)? Is it likely that mine would? I would definitely like to see your writing. I have not met many other people with ASD (that I know of) so it is very helpful for me to know that I am not alone with my experiences!
Hi NAS37595, yes, I feel very lucky with the support I’ve had post diagnosis and yes, I’ll post that writing now. It’l be under the title ‘sliding doors’. I was a bit hesitant to post it because some people on here don’t like the way my mind works and someone even said they wanted to physically attack me and fight dirty by hitting me from behind then kicking the hell out of me. One person demand that NAS ban me from the site and others said things as well and said some things that I didn’t even understand, so I didn’t know if I should post it as I have no idea if something I say is going to provoke such a strong reaction and the last thing I ever want to do is upset anybody or create conflict ~ I run from conflict, I’ve lived with a lifetime of that in my head, I don’t want it from other people as well, and essentially, I’m a peace loving person please feel free to ask any questions, if my experiences can help somebody else, it makes them even more worthwhile.
Thank you for your reply. I completely understand what you mean, especially about it giving you control and that it's frustrating we can't do it for real! Sometimes it makes me feel a bit more lonely when I have genuinely tried to take part in a conversation but have said or done something that "regular" people don't do, then I spend ages replaying it on my own. Like you, I am quite new to this forum and I like discovering that there are actually a lot of people who are like me, so I am relieved not to be alone with it :)
I do not know whether this is a common symptom of ASD, but after BlueRay's reply I am considering asking my support worker when I see her on Wednesday- she's a specialist for ASD so hopefully she'll understand and not think it's unusual. I feel as though it might well be part of ASD because it relates a lot to wanting to get social situations correct. If you do not have a diagnosis but you think you have it I would say it's definitely worth getting tested!
I'm sorry people have been so nasty to you. I would absolutely never say anything like that to anybody, and you definitely don't have to post it if you are worried about anything bad happening, I won't mind at all and would completely understand.
Thank you for being so supportive :)
It’s all good. I worked through the incident and was able to see (from the way my mind works) how I had created all of it as a form of healing catharsis and they were simply playing their part. But yeah, I still feel a little nervous to post sometimes but my confidence is growing, and honestly, helping others is what I live for so always feel free to talk to me or message me :-)
I do this quite frequently, but with people who have wronged me and I just want to know why. It's usually "why do you think it's ok to treat me that way?", or something like that. I also play conversations through my head obsessively, trying to figure out where I went wrong. I don't particularly like anyone right now but I guess I sometimes did that when there were people I liked, and usually I never ended up having an actual real conversation with the real people because I knew I'd just blow it anyway.
I do this when I feel I have been wronged too. I have a strong dislike in situations where I genuinely believe that the other person was wrong or unfair, and processing the conversation privately in this way can help me to feel less embarrassed or humiliated by it. I also often don't end up ever saying the things I practised, I guess I just find it a relief that the words have been spoken, in what feels like a safe and controlled way.
Same! I’m exactly the same :)