A friend has just forwarded me this recent article. I found myself nodding my head a lot as I read it. The points on bullying and 'camouflaging' are particularly pertinent for me.
The Hidden Danger of Suicide in Autism
Thank you for this post Tom, I wrote a very long post yesterday about the pointlessness of being alive which disappeared, at the bottom of the article are links to others in the site that are also very accurate and informative.
That's strange, Song. Wonder why that is.
I'm feeling really odd right now. I have a colleague at work who, when I started and mentioned my autism, said she wasn't surprised because I didn't make eye contact. All along, over the last year, she's said she 'gets' me. We've always got on very well at work since then.
I upset her a bit, I think, when I led off the other week about young children being given smartphones too early - because her pre-schooler has got one. It didn't seem to matter too much, though, and she's been fine - up until a week ago, when she went on annual leave.
I checked her page on Facebook earlier and she had a jokey post saying something about 'Stop moaning, those in your 20s, about life being s**t - as it hasn't even started yet.' I posted a jokey response to say 'The same for those in their 40s' (as she is) with a smiley emoticon. She then responded 'And those in their 60s'. I thought it was all part of a joke, so I then said 'I'm not quite there yet!'
At which point she commented 'Get off your computer and go out and get a life.'
She then both 'unfriended' me and blocked me, too. I'm gob-smacked. Was what I said really worthy of such treatment? Have I missed something?
I'm really going to struggle with seeing her again at work now. I don't know what to do.
Things like this send me over the edge. I can't understand why people have behaved in the way they do, and I blame myself.
Work self and private self can be two separate bubbles... did she ask you to look at her Facebook page? You might just have spooked her..
Try not to over analyse I just think you may have jumped too many steps in quick succession.
i.e Oh I came across your Facebook page I didn’t know you liked .... so having that conversation first before jumping in.
Finding the page and commenting may have caught her unawares. Think about if someone found out your address and then turned up at your doorstep unannounced - this is not a great analogy but the best I can think of for now.
i know there is nothing wrong about what you’ve done.. you maybe should have tested the water first. It will be fine.
She was a FB friend. I've commented on her page, and she's commented on mine, throughout the year we've known one another. It's usually just jokey stuff, or 'likes'. Plus, we've always gotten along well at work. If you're on FB, and your page is open to all of your friends, then whatever you post is open for them to comment - or not. There was no reason for me to expect a negative response to an innocent comment. I mean, let's face it: 'Hey there, all you 20-year-olds out there moaning about life. Wait until it's had time to s**t on you a bit more.' To which I add 'And all you over-40s .' Followed by 'And you over-60s', which clearly showed to me that she was continuing the joke. But when I say 'I'm not there yet!', it prompts 'Get off your computer and go out', followed by 'unfriending', followed then by blocking. Most people only block if they're afraid of serious harassment. Plus, she knows I'm autistic and professes to know how that manifests. I mean, come on... Did anything I say sound like personal abuse or harassment?
Reading you as fragile at the moment. Quite an emotive statement about age groups and life though... some people “give out” but can’t take or always see the humour
there might be deeper issues there that you’re not privy to.
And yet she's always happy to make similar comments at work. She joins in with banter like the rest of them. If anything, her 'And the over-60s' comment was sharper, as she knows I'm not over 60 yet, whereas she's 41... hardly way 'over-40'. But the bottom line is, she - of all the people there - professes to understand autism, and to sympathise. She's been quite supportive in many ways. So it just seems really odd that she should take up in this way over something really silly. And if what I've said has upset her - then, as someone who 'understands' autism, surely she should know that that's something autistic people might do: say something that they don't realise can be offensive or upsetting. She should also realise that, instead of either ignoring the comment or explaining how it had upset her, her not only 'unfriending' me but blocking me too could have a potentially devastating effect. It's tantamount to a friend saying to you, outright and out of the blue, 'I don't like you any more. Goodbye.'
I'm not sure about deeper issues. She has a young daughter whom she idolises. She seems very happy with her life (although a lot of people do.) She knows I have no one left in my life, since mum's passing. She's been supportive there, too. She doesn't know that I was almost a father once. But I don't talk about that. It wouldn't bother me, though, if someone said to me 'Life's easy for you. You don't have kids to worry about.'
Trying to tell someone on the spectrum not to worry is futile because that is what we do... but try not to let it weigh you down for the whole weekend.
its come as a curve ball and a shock... get the full picture first.. she may well understand autism but she no doubt doesn’t know the minuate of your existence and you hers.
She's on annual leave until the end of August. The week she returns, I start annual leave for two weeks. So I won't see her or have chance to speak to her for almost 5 weeks. And I'll be stewing the whole time.
What you wrote didn't seem offensive to me, maybe slightly teasing. Could she have thought you were flirting? I've defriended genuine friends on FB just because I didn't want the interaction.
The article's fairly interesting, particularly 'Adults with autism who camouflage are eight times as likely to harm themselves as those who don’t' which might help explain why autistic women are proportionately more 'at risk'. Bullying and social communication also seem to be factors. Just a bit odd that they interview professionals speculating about the reasons for suicidal thoughts or behaviour, and fail to get more qualitative stories from autistic people.
I should get off the computer, go out and get a life. I wish I knew how.
Cassandro said:Just a bit odd that they interview professionals speculating about the reasons for suicidal thoughts or behaviour, and fail to get more qualitative stories from autistic people.
I get the impression that they are not too bothered about autistic people. @Evan on another thread for example citing the lack of support post diagnosis is a fair indication that many do struggle. The topic of suicide and real struggle comes up frequently on the forum and members do their best to try and support.
I wonder if the forum moderators or community managers keep a tally of key terms/issues that are repeatedly raised? I may get ticked off now and again for using swear words on an adult forum but in recent months I have cited domestic abuse, cohersive relationships and posted on threads about suicide, but nada! It seems such topics are quite normalised that they may well be dissensitised to them.
it has been highlighted the lack of services for Autistic Adults but whether there is a planned strategy afoot I have no idea....
Good morning btw?
That workshop I'm attending tomorrow may give some answers about services, or lack of. I'm sure the subject of IAPT will come up.
Belated Good morning, ElephantInTheRoom.
Lack of services is one thing. Lack of even an explanation after a diagnosis is another. Writing people off and then promoting 'learned helplessness' over social security assessments is yet another.
Who might have this 'strategy'? There is some good stuff in Think Autism, but very limited and patchy money from local authorities or NHS, and to be frank most people don't know how to help. We can keep pointing this out...
I think this thread and the article may also be relevant to DragonCat16 and the 'separate protected characteristic' petition.
Discussing abuse and suicidal thoughts can be an essential thing IMO. So long as we're not telling people which are the best tall buildings to jump off ('don't try this one, it didn't work') I presume the mods are fine with it.