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?

  • One thing that age and experience will teach is just how cruel people can be at times.  Sadly family can sometimes fall into this category.

    Being at university is an opportunity for you to identify with yourself more and understand and address your needs.  As mentioned already, the student counselor will be able to help and were invaluable to me when I was at university.  You also get to see how nice and welcoming people can be outside of the home bubble as well, which is all good for developing your own social circles and groups who share your interests.

    Family often don't change - they may calm down with age, but not always guaranteed.  The driving and swimming could be them trying to push you to develop your skills, it could be that they just don't see how this impacts on you.  I can sympathise on the clumsy aspect and being yelled at as a result.  I would often accidentally break things due to my clumsiness and would be screamed at by my parents.  All this does is heighten your anxiety and destroy your confidence.  I don't know what your relationship is like with your parents, but I am only now just starting to address my parents over some of their behaviours and past situations to try and get them to see things in a different light.  Albeit I won't be able to do this with everything, but they are still in denial of my diagnosis and struggles, so I felt it was time to try and get them to see it from my perspective rather than just burying their heads in the sand.

    You know your parents well enough to know what you can and can't approach them about.  You are an adult now and if you feel that you can't tolerate Christmas with them, you have the right to decline or, could you stop with someone else locally, so you can keep your time there as short as possible?  It also means if you need to get away, there is somewhere local you can return to.

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