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.
Hi - welcome to the group. I'm 25 and awaiting diagnosis.
Are you going to study at the university (on-campus), or are you doing the degree online? If you're attending the university itself, there might be some social clubs you could get involved with. It might help to find people with similar interests.
Hi, I am going to being studying on-campus. I am planning on joining a sports team or two. Are there specfic social clubs? I haven't heard or saw anything about these.
It sounds as though you may have been to unversity before. If so, how was your experience?
Hi Helena, I'm aware that autism and other brain disorders don't affect intelligence, it is just the way our brain processes things and the way we learn. This is why I was disappointed with the the way the GP responsed. At the time I believed that a GP would have a very good understanding about autism, let alone a basic understanding.
Interesting about where the name Aspegers originates from. I will have to get with the times.
Thanks very much for your informative response and support :D
Hi NAS63880. I'm jumping in on this thread.
I'm 28, female, and suspect I'm on the spectrum, I was diagnosed with unstable personality disorder and depression recently and I'm discussing ASD with my therapist now (see my own post titled "Borderline and/or Asperger" for more on that).
I went to university to study economics and journalism. At the start I was excited to be there, and I took part in a lot of the activities. I don't know what the culture is like where you live, but the activities included tons of drinking. This was good for me because I always thought alcohol helped me be social. I mainly socialised with men, because I felt out of place and nervous with other women. At times I was promiscuous, at times I regretted that.
I joined a photography club where we would show our work to each other (which was huge for me) and have professional photographers come talk to us. I enjoyed that, but I had major problems with the "coffee time". When we were supposed to mingle (sober!). I would go to the bath room, freak out, and then freak out over if people thought I was pooping. If I tried to approach someone or sometimes even just slide into a little group and listen and maybe say something, I had a lump in my throat and was so nervous I got dizzy. I went there maybe 5 times.
Before finishing my economics studies I moved to another city to study media. It was a small programme, we were only 7. There I was ostracised. I was the only girl on the class, which I thought was good news. I don't know why, but the guy who took the lead the most, he had something against me. He would literally ignore that I said something.
We had to do these awful theatre kind of warm-up games and exercises when we first started. I was so pissed off. I hated it, I always hated any kind of pretend or improvisation theatre. On top of it all, FOR SOME REASON, I was asked to play out a scene with one of the guys - a scene of a man and wife fighting, and the guy screams at me "I DON'T WANNA DO THIS BUT YOU'RE MAKING ME" and acts as if he was gonna hit me. Well. I have been told this exact thing IRL. I felt like my whole body became the lump in my throat and said "I can't do this", went into a strange state. I honestly don't know if the guys understood what happened, because they had already noticed I hated acting, but I think the teacher did. She moved on quickly.
I was very unhappy and insecure while living there. I drank a lot and smoked weed by myself. Not counting the grief I felt when my grandmother passed away, this was the most depressed I had ever been. I found a new scale for depression: being so depressed you can't get up from your chair and walk to the bathroom without falling down crying on the way there.
I only really made one friend that I still have, and that was towards the end. We studied together and honestly I would not have passed the last course if he had not been there to meet me before class, and do homework together, and study for tests. I was a complete mess at the end of my studies, partially because I had no idea what I would do if I finished. I still don't.
My biggest problem now is that I'm not sure I studied the right thing, and in a way I'd wanna get several more degrees. I love learning and I like the straight-forwardness of getting assignments or chapters to learn, and then being scored, and also comparing myself to others or the class average.
What helped me a lot during this time was however that I had online friends. I play a competitive online game, and have made friends through that. I do not have a big social appetite, but I do have a deep need to share what I think is important, and to feel like I have someone to open up to.
I think joining a sports team is a great idea. Isolating yourself may appear alluring but is not healthy. And socialising while doing an activity makes it easier for a lot of people.
All in all I was quite successful at university and got pretty good grades. I would recommend that you don't start skipping class, you don't know how much you can miss and then it can quickly become overwhelming. Try to have a schedule and stick to it, for example going to the library for an hour after classes every day or every other day, if you think you might slack at home. And if you don't fit in with most people - so what really? But try through common interests or similar "vibe" to find someone. Or escape online. :) Online is also real life.
Hello and welcome! I have also recently come onto the forum, having been diagnosed with Level 2 ASD. Please do feel free to ask any questions and read my profile. I'm sure that everyone on here will give their best advice.
I am a bit of a loner myself. I have no friends or social life to speak of. When I was in high school, I shied away. Mainly because I found a lot of the people there overbearing, boorish and loudmouthed. Because I am very quiet and because I am big, this made me a target for bullying. However I found solace in being allowed in the library to read or do homework. Also, in my last workplace, something was going on behind the scenes, in order to make my time during my brief contract as miserable as possible.
Currently, pretty much the only contact that I have with people other than my family, is on this forum. More than two pints in my local pub is a walk on the wild side for me!
Hi Scott and thanks for welcoming me.
I can relate to your experience at high school. While I was at college I didn't have anyone I would call a friend, although they were people I would occasionally spend time with, I was certainly a loner which I have become accustomed to. A lot of the time I college I would find somewhere quiet off campus, going to the library or the computer room. If I had the choice at work I would find somewhere quiet and spend it alone most of the time. A break is a break to me. Yet, I have had oppostion for wanting to be alone on my breaks. If someone wants to talk to me on breaks. I would always welcome that, but if I feel it isn't going anywhere then I would find somewhere for some alone time.
Sorry about that, this workplace harrasment is off the charts these days. It's not fair and I've had a similiar experience to yourself. You know people are gossiping and making your life hard for no reason whatsoever. Well in their eyes being quiet or socially inept in some areas is murder.
Funny you say that. I cannot be bothered with social gatherings unless I am comfortable with everyone who is going, then I don't mind. I can go to a cinema or a restaurant with family or someone I am comfortable with and enjoy my time. I just won't enjoy getting on a train or walking there or any of the other little things involved.
Hi, you sound similiar to my friend/housemate after looking through the first 7-8 lines. She is 26 and I have wondered the past few days if she may in fact be autistic rather than have bi polar disorder. Women are commonly misdiagnosed with BPD when they have autism instead. Autistic women are usually much better at socialising than austic men which is a key reason. Anyway she has snapped at me at least 5 times this year for seemingly nothing and has a lot of trouble at work, she is basically saying to me nobody understands her. Another thing is she is promiscuous like you were.
I totally get your trouble with the 'coffee time' moments. For me it is too much to process. I can handle two other people, but anything more gets too much and I feel too overwhelmed to come up with a well thought out sentence. I feel there are times when people try to outdo each other in conversation, particularly in a work environment with all the hierachies. In these times I definitely just sit back and let them haha.
Being ignored is the worst. You're most likely not want to get involved with things in the future and add to the discussion. I've had my fair share off this in the past, being interrupted especially which makes it a surprise when someone doesn't interrupt.
Congratulations on your agree, even though it isn't what you choose to do in hindsight. I cannot be totally sure if university wil be right for me but if I have just about everything else so it's worth a shot. If it doesn't work out I will come up with another plan. I'm sure you will come up with a good one. Just takes a bit of tenacity and brushing off the setbacks.
At least you have one friend who you have met in real life and online friends. I wonder what you play, I delve into PS4 online sometimes, but tend to stick to single player games. I imagine I won't get too much time at university as I have for the last two months.
I am really excited about university, I know I'm going to be way outside of my comfort zone but I may as well give it my best shot. It's encourgaging to know that you graduated and believe you may also be on the spectrum.
I recently got some advice out of someone who graduated 30 or so years ago. He says treat it like a job, don't miss any lectures. The weekend is a weekend and that's it. Really appreciate your insight into it, I dread to think how overwhelming by skipping classes and having a lot of work to do last minute. I have honestly been there a few times and trust that I have learned from my mistakes. One person I vibe with would more than do me. I am certainly going to get myself out there as much as I feel is enough :)
You may be interested in this paper:
The Experiences of Late-diagnosed Women with Autism Spectrum Conditions: An Investigation of the Female Autism Phenotype.