Feeling Very Discouraged

So I volunteer in a charity shop and have done so since last Autumn. After a lot of asking about studying a qualification with them since they offer NVQs, I found out that I was due to start one later this month or early next month. Don’t get me wrong, I love studying but only if the environment is right and supportive about it.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself being constantly criticised for just about anything. From not printing out gift aid labels on the shop floor (I would normally send those to the next floor, since the office has the means to do it there) to being asked to sort through some boxed donations (which I did alone) and then being told I shouldn’t have been the one to sort them and don’t touch anything again!

I’m really disappointed it’s come to this, since the charity have paid for me to start the NVQ. However, I’m very discouraged and in a bleak place. I’m unemployed and not able to work, struggle with depression and anxiety attacks and can easily become disjointed with living in general. Apart from being at the shop, I only see my parents and my boyfriend since no one else wants to spend time with me. I mean, I’m autistic, so to them I’m a liability.

Is there a way forward for me? Can life be kind and nice for once at least? After this, I generally don’t think so! Should I walk away and give up?

  • I know exactly how you feel. It can really knock your confidence when something goes wrong and I often shut down and give up completely if someone is making me feel negative.

    Don't give up just yet - Try and stick it out and hopefully it will fix itself over time. I find when I am feeling particularly run down and overloaded everything gets to me a lot more and I am sure you have that as well. Things might get better if you give it some time. If not then you have to do what is best for you and your mental health.

  • Been there too (we do take criticism personally and hard, some people use that and get their kicks from it), either stick it out for the NVQ, use the NVQ to further your qualifications (if already paid for) and/or find something else (Job Centre and/or Remploy).

    Please consult your GP with your depression/anxiety/stress, maybe s/he can help you get a balanced medication regime (took me quite a while when in a really bad place) and/or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy/counselling.

    The way forward is that you have is with your boyfriend and family, who are supportive. Too many people do not understand or just see the condition whereas we have out strengths/specialisms too.

  • Hi ,

    I am really sorry to here about some of the problems you've faced at work. You may like to contact our Autism Helpline team who can provide you with information and advice . You can contact the team via telephone on 0808 800 4104 (Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 9am to 3pm). Please note that the Helpline is experiencing a high volume of calls and it may take a couple of attempts before you get through to speak to an advisor. Alternatively, should you prefer to send a message, you can do so via their webform:


    It may also be useful to to give your employers information about autism (including Asperger syndrome) and reasonable adjustments, you could send links to fact sheets on our website - What is an ASD - www.autism.org.uk/what-is-an-asd and Recruiting Someone with an ASD - www.autism.org.uk/recruiting

    I hope this helps,


  • Hello AutisticGirl69 and welcome to the forum! Feel free to ask any questions and read my profile.

    I too am currently unemployed. I have tried many avenues but have been unsuccessful in gaining employment and so I have often felt like you have.

    However, don't put yourself down like that. As long as you keep trying, and looking, you will find your calling. It could even be a line that you have never even thought of before.

    Have you had any past positions that you have had that you have liked/disliked? This is just so so that you will be able to find the sort of positions that you could possibly be interested in, or those that you want to avoid.

  • I'm sorry to hear you're going through such a tough time. I can see you've been given some great advice here already, so I'll try not to repeat too much of what's already been said. 

    It may be that work improves with a bit of time, but if it doesn't, you should always put your wellbeing first. In the meantime, it's definitely worth trying to get some support with your mental health. I've been through therapy for anxiety and OCD, and it's made a huge difference to me.

    I'd suggest sticking it out a little longer (e.g. a couple of weeks), but keep looking for other opportunities in the meantime. There will be other ways of studying and volunteering if this place isn't supportive enough.

  • Good afternoon,

    I am sorry to hear you are experiencing problems.

    Well done for volunteering in a charity shop.

    It may be worth seeking additional support such as the NAS website.

    Or looking into services that you can benefit from.

    Meeting or speaking with someone once a week?

    Perhaps arranging a GP appointment?

    Give it some thought and time until you make your decision.

    Sometimes, it does take and trial and error approach to see what works and what doesn't.

    Besides your preferred area of employment.

    Have you perhaps considered something like an apprenticeship or supported internship?

    Plus, if one career path isn't available or not for you.

    It might be worth looking at a 'Plan B' option.

    I do hope and believe there is a world where this some kindness.

    But, I guess that depends on a few factors.

    Have you considered writing your feelings out or listening to relaxation music?

    There is only so much you can do.

    Try to be kind to yourself (not easy).

    But, do what you feel is right and what makes you happy.

    The same applies to who or whom you are with.