I've had autism since I was three years old and I've always struggled to accept it. I can be sociable at times but its really hard to keep up, particularly when I have a bad night's sleep, which is common due to my insomnia. I'm so paranoid of saying or doing the wrong thing that would make me look like a fool. I have always been surrounded by people who have been unkind and inconsiderate and because of it, both my friends and family have made fun of me.  

My parents have forced me to speak to people about it and have talked about my autism without my consent. They've always forced me to do things that I don't feel comfortable doing like learning to drive or swim. No matter where I go, I feel like the idiot in the room. I'm really clumsy and every time I make a small error, my parents yell at me. I have really low self esteem and mental health problems due to this. I'm a university student now so I don't live with them anymore, but I feel forced to go back home or talk to them. I don't even know if I can handle going home for Christmas. I don't know if being alone during the holidays would be better?

Does anyone get like this? And does anyone have any advice on how to cope?

  • I also grew up in a negative environment and dreaded going home for Christmas, so much so I went home late Christmas eve and came back boxing day morning. Christmas became so much better when I didn't go home as instead of being thrust into an abusive environment I was able to use those days to be on my own and relax.

    It sounds like you have a lot of insight into the challenges you face, which means there’s lots you can do to live a more fulfilling life. For example, lots of universities have a wealth of resources to help improve your self-esteem and overall confidence. It may be beneficial to speak to a university counsellor about this. You could also seek mentoring support from the careers service to explore what your strengths are and how you can sell these when you're looking for graduate employment.

    To reduce the negative thought patterns my parents gave me I've followed the advice in the Chimp Paradox - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chimp-Paradox-Acclaimed-Management-Confidence/dp/B006WCJ9OS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512024267&sr=8-1&keywords=chimp+paradox

    I also use my PIP money to pay for someone high up in my field to explain the rules that I intrinsically do not know and to support me with developing strategies for handling situations. This has helped immensely.

    Good luck with Christmas, whatever you decide. Remeber its ok to occasionally put your own needs ahead of your family's needs.

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