I have struggled to fit in anywhere since I left school and I'm now 27. I have spent 90% of my time on my own when I have not been working and even at work I spent at least 75% of my breaks alone as it was enjoyable that way if I didn't make any friends. I have made some friends but they have fizzled out pretty fast and my school friends naturally drifted apart and we moved on.
I dropped out of college three times by the age of 19 mainly due to developing anxiety and not making any friends. I tried the military after this which didn't work either. The first time at 21 it was suspected I had dyslexia due to misunderstanding things and taking too long to learn them so I was given 18 months to find a coping mechanism to whatever it was and then reapply. I had a dyslexia screening which showed I likely didn't have dyslexia.
Shortly after leaving the Army I went to a GP as I suspected I may have autism since dyslexia seemed unlikely and dyspraxia didn't seem to the issue. I did a few meaningless tests in the surgery and told I was too bright to have autism which I voiced my unhappiness with. This meant that I wasn't able to receive the funds required to do a complete screening for all the learning difficulties. Being over 16 the cost required is quite substantial which I couldn't afford myself. I tried the Army 2.5 years later and left mainly for an unrelated reason but I struggled fitting in even worse than the first time, partly because I was 3 years older and being on the older end of recruits I couldn't get away with being doing immature things. One of the other recruits labelled me as autistic which was more playful than malicious but looking back he or likely others picked up on something.
After just turning 25 I tried a landscaping apprenticeship. I enjoyed the work, but soon realised I wasn't fitting in and decided to get the qualifications I needed to pursue a degree while continuing with the apprenticeship until then. I didn't fit in this environment at all. I ended up being made redundant which was basically just being sacked without having a legit reason. I found somewhere to continue the apprenticeship but this was just as bad, or slightly worse. I saw it going down the same route and I felt miserable so I resigned. It was during this time and about a month after I started working for the company that my boss suggested I may have autism as he saw things in me that minded me of his son who was much younger than me. I listened to his advice and went to see a GP again, a different surgery in a completely different area of the UK. I went to the appointment and filled out a questionnaire that they printed off the internet. They said they won't recommend me for an autism screening because I answered to them that it isn't affecting my everyday life which I regret. I kind of didn't want to admit that it was and I didn't process the question fully when I answered it. After this I said to myself that autism is just a label and that I probably just have bad social skills and I am slightly more different than others so I gave up on it.
At this point I am 26 and ready for university. Over the last year I have worked many temporary jobs just to get by. I have struggled at just about every single one. The only one I did well at was because I worked on my own and the manager was just happy that I was reliable, friendly and worked hard. He even asked for me again almost eight months later which I wasn't expecting at all. I quit about five other jobs because I felt mistreated or I didn't like the environment. The rest of them were either no more than a week or they 'didn't need me anymore'. For the last 6 weeks I haven't worked due to being burned out, university around the corner and my 6 month old bicycle which is my main method of transport failing me twice. I have just survived on what savings I have and spent most of my time at home. I do have some family I keep in contact with but due to distance and money (it used to be time). I haven't even seen them.
Now I am not too long away from a new chapter in my life but I know I am going to have to deal with more rejection and not fitting in. Getting bad vibes from people and you aren't sure why, you know you haven't said anything rude to them or anyone else. I would have believed a few years ago that this will be different and stayed positive in a delusional sort of way. It's painful to know you that you aren't going to be accepted going ahead which doesn't help with my anxiety in social situations as much as I try and have tried. I woke up earlier than I usually do this morning and found myself reflecting on the last ten years.
Thanks if you read any part of that.
Your history sounds very familiar. The big question I have is about school. How did you fit in and have friends?
For most of us and certainly me, fitting in and making friends was a nightmare from infancy, throughout our school life and beyond.
Thanks for your response. I'm glad to see it hasn't gone unseen.
I would say I never truly fit in at school and I had a friend group by being mischievous, enjoying sports and making my friends laugh which sometimes was unintentional. I couldn't just walk up to other kids and introduce myself, it just happened. It didn't become a problem until I was 16 and it went downhill from there. Every once in a while I find someone who likes me for who I am or at least appear to but they haven't manifested into long friendships unfortunately.
Did you know you've always been on the autism spectrum and has making friendships got easier over time?