Socially isolated

Hi,

I am a 16 year old girl with Asperger's. 16 is a really difficult age with drinking and partying and drugs. I feel very isolated because I do not like alcohol and it messes with my medication but people don't seem to understand that I don't want to. Is it okay to not want to drink? I also don't get invited out to a lot of house parties which is mainly my fault, I am sure if I asked I would be able to go but the idea of spending an evening getting roaringly drunk with people I mainly do no even like does not appeal to me. I feel so left out,  but is it okay to not want to join in and stay at home and not drink or is it sad and pathetic? I get very, very anxious about social things like this, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jess x

  • Hey there my name is River, yes it is perfectly acceptable not wanting to drink staying in and not drinking is totally okay and is no no way shape or form pathetic , I get very anxious about social stuff as well so i can relate, I was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder at 13 and to be  honest it has not got any easier to deal with but I am forever learning. I understand the effecting medication thing, I am on medication as well and whilst i do not know that drinking will effect that , I rarely ever drink anyways. I hope this has helped, Self care is really important and you got to do what you need to do to take care of yourself ::) it can be difficult but theres a lot more to it than seeing friends partying and drinking, you dont nessesarily need any of those to have a nice time in or a day in or something lke that, its okay not to drink and stuff :) 

  • I'm 29 and I still feel like that. I have very little interest in drinking and find lots of people difficult, let alone lots of drunk people. There's nothing sad or pathetic about it. I get very anxious about social things. It is difficult but I have learnt the social situations that I can deal with and the ones I can't. I push myself to go to the ones that I can cope with even when I feel anxious so that I don't become completely isolated.

    If I could give my 16 year old self (and probably my current self to be honest) any advice it's stop thinking so much about what other people think of you, stop trying to change you to fit in and just be yourself because you're happier that way.

    If you are happier staying at home then stay at home. I desperately wanted to be invited to parties at that age but I now realise I wouldn't have coped with them anyway. 

    Just be you is the best advice I can give you.

  • I have a slightly different thought.

    Through your life you will end up 'masking' to fit in with people. Pretending to be just like everyone else to make your life easier and social interaction smoother.

    You might want to go to a few parties and treat them like a social experiment. Most kids are practicing their social interactions at your age so it's acceptable to be clumsy and really bad at it - that's why alcohol is usually involved as it smooths over the cracks in their skills.

    You do not have to drink alcohol and never let anybody get a drink for you - I would even go as far as taking your own drinks with you - in sealed tins. There's always some *** who will try to get you to drink but just be strong. Any drink you open, keep with you in your hand so you know it's safe. Abandon any drink that you put down or lose sight of because you can't trust it won't be tampered with (dicks are REALLY stupid at that age) - just open another of the ones you brought with you.

    Have an escape plan if you feel uncomfortable - your parents will be more than happy to pick you up within seconds of your text. (As a dad, I would break all speed limits to rescue my daughter or even sit outside reading a book for the whole evening if it would make her more comfortable).

    There is a huge amount of data to be gained from these early party interactions - seeing how people behave and how their behaviour changes over the evening - learning the social rules & norms and also seeing who the assholes are and seeing who the nice people are - you can then decide who you prefer to hang out with armed with this data.

    There's also the training point of view - better to learn and practice these social situations while everyone is an amatuer and really bad at it rather than leave it until your mid 20s and be the amatuer when everyone else have moved up their game.

  • Hello, I tried going out and joining in when I was young. I didn’t really enjoy it, but the word autistic wasn’t part of my vocabulary in those days.

    If you can, spend some time with people your own age during other activities like cinema or gigs. You will find that some of the party crowd will soon be secretly envious of your ability to only do only want you specifically want to do. It certainly isn’t sad or pathetic, resisting peer pressure is a strength.

    I wish the internet had been available when I was 16, to be able to learn subjects that interested me at great depth, would have been my idea of heaven. Only do what you are comfortable with, maybe spend the time learning a musical instrument, you will soon find people that accept you for who you are. Pretending to be someone you’re not, will only give you problems. Authenticity is respected, not derided. All the best, Graham.

  • Hi Jess, I found an old diary in the loft from when I was 15, just s but younger than you. In one of the entries I was really unhappy because I had not been invited to a party at my brother's friend's house. Everyone else seemed to have got an invite. A few days later I was invited and I went wearing far too much make-up and one of my mum's friend's dresses. It was hardly like I was me at all. I remember being in a very crowded room and someone asking me to dance. I was really embarrassed as I had not danced in public much and did not know what to do with my arms and legs. There were some very strange drinks - people were mixing all kinds of things like beer and sparkling wine. The best bit of the whole evening was being out in the garden in the dark with the music not so loud looking up at the stars. Someone gave me some sorrel to eat - it had a bitter but not unpleasant taste - I can remember exactly what it was like now, 43 years later! At the end of the evening everyone except for me was fairly drunk. An older student asked me to dance and by now it was the bit where everyone was doing what we used to call 'smooching' - that is holding each other close and kissing. Although I liked this student a lot because he was part of Friends of the Earth and a vegetarian and had interesting ideas I pushed him away when he tried to kiss me because my brother was watching and it just seemed wrong. Also he had stubble which was too scratchy on my face. After that night he never spoke to me again which made me very sad.

    The reason I am saying all of this is that as a young person I often found myself getting into confusing and sometimes potentially dangerous situations when I was socialising with my peers. I yearned to fit in and do stuff with them but to be honest I felt much more comfortable when I did things like going to art galleries with friends of my parents or spending time on my art work alone in my bedroom. If you do decide to join in with socialising and parties then it is really important that you stay safe. I was only diagnosed as autistic three weeks ago at the age of 58. When I was talking to the psychologist about my life during the assessment it was really upsetting remembering all the times when I had been in dangerous or abusive relationships without realising what was going on. I feel like I have suddenly woken up now that I have more insight into how autism affects my perception and decision making. Be proud to be yourself and when you do go into social situations be mindful of the possible risks, but don't let that stop you from having fun. At one large party I danced outside the marquee alone, barefoot on the grass in the moonlight. I would still rather spend an evening peacefully on my own than at a party. I make the effort to be social sometimes, for the sake of other people, but I don't feel there's anything wrong with being myself and doing things my way.

  • I'm in my 40s and don't drink, never have. Certainly never even contemplated drugs. Through the years I have tended to find that those people who thought it was strange I didn't drink, or tried to make me, were people who it wasn't worth bothering with.

    And there is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in if that is what you prefer doing. I have never had much of a "going out" social life, but try and take/find opportunities that suit me. If you think you would like to go out more, maybe there are some clubs/groups you could look for around a hobby/sport you like.

    Are you y11 or at college? The teacher in me (I teach secondary) says "if you are y11 then just focus on your exams young lady" (spent most of last week saying it to parents at parents evening...)