Hi I'm 26 & I was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum a few years ago now.
I have isolated myself since adolescence & have suffered from deppression, anxiety, self harm & have attempted suicide.
Recently I have been trying to reach out & rejoin the world (with mixed results), I started attending group therapy, did some volunteering, joined a gym etc.
But I am dogged by loneliness & struggle to make meaningful connections.
Everyday all I do is distract myself from feelings of intense sorrow & I am so tired of the constant fight to just stay afloat.
I feel more like a ghost than an actual living person, people are so selfish & the world so shallow.
I don't know how to find like minded people but I know I can't go on like this.
Any advice you might have would be greatly appreciated.
I was only diagnosed autistic last year at the age of 58. I remember being your age and struggling to connect with people. The world can be a really disheartening place - no wonder giving up watching the news is a recommendation for lifting depression. I always used to feel like I was swimming against the tide when I was younger and exhausting myself in the process.
Since getting my diagnoss I have begun to connect with people who are like me. I found someone here on this forum who I got on well with and we now exchange emails. Having someone to talk to who really gets what it is like to be autistic is incredibly helpful in reducing feeliings of isolation.
I also went to a political meeting having decided that people attending would share my sense of frustration at the state of society. There were only 12 people present, but one of them was autistic and spoke up about this in the meeting. I did the same, highlighting the inequality that exists and the lack of post diagnostic support. We exchanged contact details afterwards and are about to meet up for the second time.
It's hard to give advice but what sometimes works is to follow your interests, let the things you feel truly passionate about lead you to the right kind of people. When you see the world the same way communication often happens more naturally and easily. It's great that you tried group therapy, volunteering and the gym. Is there anything in your life that gives you a sense of joy? For me it's artistic creativity. My next step is to try and find a way of rekindling that.
I also find playing sorrowful music sometimes lifts my spirits. Like Nick Cave's 'People Ain't No Good'.... not sure why this works but it seems to. Maybe because it reminds me I am not the only one feeling this way.
I like your forum name - Evolutionarysleeper - In many ways I feel like I have slept through most of my life and only just woken up. I think it's generally a good thing to be diagnosed much earlier than I was. Having said that way more needs to happen in terms of autism acceptance and rights. Being autistic in a world that does not accept us or accommodate our needs really messes up our moods. I watched a YouTube video the other day made by an autistic person who said: 'I'm not defective, I'm different' - so true.
im in the same boat however as much as i feel lonely i prefer my own company which is frustratingly contradictory i often wonder if a i found someone like me with ASD would we be friends ? ... i feel your pain and hope you can find companionship being on here is a good start
Giddy said:frustratingly contradictory
....sums up my point number one in my post here in two words :-)
yeah totally :-)
I can understand how you feel. I have felt very lonely sometimes and have suffered from depression. I really admire that you have made such a huge effort to rejoin the world - you are a brave person!
Personally, I have realised that I have had unrealistically high expectations when it comes to social connections in the past. I wondered often why I wasn't enjoying being with people. Now I realise that perhaps I don't have much in common with a lot of those people. Also, by lowering my expectations, I tend to enjoy social situations more.
I would say you are doing the right thing but don't be too hard on yourself. It is not your responsibility to manage every social situation - plus there are some nice and understanding people out there. If you keep trying, you will make some good connections over time. Good luck!
Thanks for your really thoughtful reply, what you said makes a lot of sense to me. I am still struggling with my diagnosis & haven't fully accepted it but the more I talk to people on the 'spectrum' the more I think it's valid.
I play & write music which has got me through a lot of bad times but recently I haven't been so much, creativity generally is something that gives me a lot of happiness. Unfortunately in the past I have used hobbies & such to block out the rest of the world but I need to learn to strike a balance. Like you said I probably need to try to connect with people more like myself, who are going to understand.
Thanks for the kind words Andrew. This is what I am coming to terms with at the moment,
Andrew said: I have realised that I have had unrealistically high expectations when it comes to social connections in the past. I wondered often why I wasn't enjoying being with people. Now I realise that perhaps I don't have much in common with a lot of those people. Also, by lowering my expectations, I tend to enjoy social situations more.
like you said if I keep trying then eventually I will come across people who I can connect with.
It took me a while to work out that people who shared the same political views, outlook on life and passionate enthusiasms would probably make good companions. Got there in the end and found a soulmate.
I can get very absorbed in being creative (and generally prefer to do artistic projects alone). However I have learned to enjoy art, music and film in the company of a few special people - it enhances the experience to have someone to talk about it with.
Something I really have to work on is keeping friendships going once started. If I don't hear from someone I tend to assume they don't want to meet up any more. I have let a lot of good friendships fizzle out by expecting the other person to contact me and not making an effort myself.
Autistic friends understand the need for space and the difficulty of communicating and making commitments. They sometimes share the same sensory sensitivities as me so we are equally committed to finding suitable places to meet up in.
Several people here have suggested Meet-ups as a pleasant low-key way to meet like-minded people. I have been to some myself. I enjoyed the eclectic mix of people who go along and the fact that there's usually a theme or activity which makes socialising easier.
Like finding a suitable job finding compatible friends seems to depend in part on perseverance, resilience and a determination to keep going even if things don't seem to be working out. The odds are much better when you spend time in places where people you may get on with are likely to be.
This forum is a great place to connect with people and share experiences. The peer support from the community has been so helpful to me before, during and after my diagnosis. Lots of really lovely people are here - maybe even some who could eventually become your friends.
Starting a thread based on one of your interests might be a good way of identifying people here who have things in common with you. Music can be a really effective form of communication and a great way of making connections with other people.
Very best wishes to you. I am sure things will work out for you. You have a lot of insight and motivation.
Thanks again, there is a lot here for me to try out & look into. Hopefully If I keep trying & direct my efforts towards people more like minded, then I will be more successful.