Hi, I’m new here.
I am a 32-year-old male and it’s recently come to light that I have Asperger’s. Whilst the discovery has helped explain my whole life and why I am like I am, I’m struggling to cope with normal life. The main reason for this is the drastic change in my lifestyle over the last 2 years. I’ll try to give a brief background without going into too much detail:
I had clear autistic traits from a young age from my peculiar playtime rituals to my OCD hand washing (I sucked my thumb and I needed it to be clean!). When I started primary school, I refused to talk. Something I now know is called selective mutism which I still suffer from today albeit in much different circumstances. I wouldn’t even answer my name for the register. The school phoned my mother and asked what was wrong with me.. After they got fed up with me their solution came in the form of a new boy joining school – it was known he could be a bit of a trouble maker. So, they sat him next me in every class to ‘bring me out of my shell’. It worked: my personality flipped on its head and my behaviour deteriorated rapidly.
I don’t specifically remember too much after that. I eventually developed a way to socialise and communicate with people by replicating their traits and language, I still do this today. I was very popular at high school and got on with every type of character, I felt fine. The only time this mechanism fails is when I come across somebody who is exactly like me, its horribly awkward. But I used to put that down to them, not me. I realise I’m dragging on so fast forward:
For 10 years I worked in the same company (from home) and was married to someone who worked shifts. This meant I was getting a lot of alone time without realising just how important it was to me. This allowed me to fit in perfectly with everyday life, I could adapt and cope. We have a child together but the marriage eventually broke down. This was the first big change. I then changed jobs – I managed a team of 10 and commuted to an office everyday, it was incredibly demanding. It was not to last though as the company went into liquidation and I was made redundant on the spot. I now how a different job but still have to commute to an office. During this time I have a new partner and we have 3 kids between us and we’ve moved house twice.
I’m forced to be social everyday and my senses are very often overwhelmed and I get very little alone time to recharge. I’m very bad at going and getting my alone time though – I don’t want to abandon my family; I feel awful doing that. I have days where I’m ridiculously high and I have more energy than the kids but I also have days where I’m so low I don’t want to be around anyone or anything in the world. The worst part is I can’t communicate how I truly feel because I lack the ability to. This is when words become physically stuck in my head again (my selective mutism, I can’t talk about my inner most emotions) – this causes conflict because I appear to be functioning very normally until I breakdown and need my space. The cycles of my ups and downs are becoming shorter and shorter and are causing arguments and problems. We both have read a lot about Asperger’s but we seem powerless to cope with the issues it causes…
If you’re still reading, I thank you! I think what I’m asking is does anybody have any coping mechanisms or suggestions I could try? (Or maybe just some supportive words) I’ve read a lot but not actually addressed the community – what are your experiences on coping with family life?
Thanks for your time, it took a lot to write this. I've spent the previous 5/6 hours lying in bed in the dark after a particularly bad episode..
Hello and welcome Today I also get to know that my sister's son is suffering from autism my heart broke down after hearing this bad news.
What exactly do you mean "suffering from autism"? Why did your heart break down after hearing this "bad" news?
If your nephew is autistic, and is having problems with school providing the correct provisions, or is struggling to communicate his needs effectively then yes this would be a struggle. And I could see it being heart breaking. I struggle when my daughter doesn't get the support she needs to be herself.
However your post comes across as you are heart broken that he has this autism and I would just like to say if that is the case it is a very negative way of looking at it (if I'm wrong accept my apologies)
He will need love support and acceptance this is the key for him
I understand exactly what he means - as a parent, you have dreams for your children - you imagine them being wealthy and successful with their own happy family. When you have a child with any difficulties, those dreams go out the window and you have to lower your estimates and it becomes a job of trying to maximise the hand they've been dealt.
This is incredibly stressful and all the extra work has no guarantee of success. There is also a period of coming to terms with the loss of the dreams. It's a period of mourning for what might have been.
It's the same as a lot of people when they get their autism diagnosis - the realisation that they may not achieve their dreams or career aspirations because their brain will probably let them down in crucial situations. It's a lot to come to terms with.
Hi plastic, I do understand what you mean about the dreams for your children thought process,
I guess I just look at things a bit different I always dream my kids will be happy and and achieve what they want and if they need support for that then that's what I'm here for, I have never really had the perfect picture of life in place, which is probably a failing on my part
I think every parent wants their children to be happy - but society creates a pressure for people wanting a better life for their kids. The 'keeping up with the Joneses' mindset is very powerful.
Children with extra needs may be perfectly happy but may needs lots of support in their daily life - and where will that come from if you are not able to provide it?
Never bought into that mindset myself but I know it is a pressure for most people.
As I said in my previous post trying to get the support required for a child can be heart breaking, in fact it is a constant battle that was my point. It is not the autism that is heartbreaking it is the battle for support
But isn't it an assumption that dreams are gone? Why are they gone? To every stereotypical limiting story about autism there are inspirational stories that prove them wrong. Non verbal people leading independent lives, people with intellectual disabilities achieving university degrees, not to mention paralympics. Huge number of autistic people live independently, have families, have friends as a recent study shown, about 40% married with children.. We struggle, but surely we don't abandon our own dreams. Many people at certain age, NT or otherwise might look back and review their outlook. It is not sole preserve of autistic people. How can we abandon dreams on behalf of our children? Those dreams are theirs to dream and achieve.
Yes - it's a big assumption - but people always think the worst initially (worst case scenario) and then need to gather evidence of the reality.