Thank you all. I am humbled by your love and guidance. I will read these responses (and the PMs) and think on them and .. well I am really not sure what to say yet, but thank you.
I have nothing useful to add - I’m glad people with family who share your situation have posted. I just wanted to give some more affirmation. When you’re very depressed (and I have been - I think you’ll find that in any group who works online, more than half have been) it’s hard to see there being any hope or possibility of improvement. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that it’s your own brain chemistry making a hard situation worse, and that the universe is not as dreadful as you’re made to feel that it is. Hang on.
Partial disability is not an option? I know one person who moved across the country to get somewhere that was available.
For community - a lot of people seek out things like MMOs and Virtual Worlds if circumstance makes real-life socializing is too difficult. This probably contributes a lot to why something like World of Warcraft remains stable as a decade old game.
I don’t know enough about Asperger to know the needs / demands / limitations, or if something a support group makes sense or is off the table - but if so, looking for one on craig’s list or something might be an option.
Dude, you’d be surprised to learn just how many of us are Aspies or otherwise autists in one way or another. Believe me, jobs aren’t easy to find or keep when you’ve got ASD in any form, especially I suppose if you’re not sufficiently “disabled” to automatically qualify for the specialized considerations put in place for the “handicapped”. But there’s always reason to keep going, and to keep fighting. Do not give up! You are loved by your family (however awkwardly, and however much they miss and misunderstand about you). You are here for a Purpose beyond your own ease and salary: you are fearfully and wonderfully made as yourself!. You have something to offer. Pick your chin up: you’re not alone.
Although I don’t have autism or anything in that spectrum, I have been suicidally depressed, and I remember how horrible it was. I don’t think anybody who hasn’t been there can really understand what it’s like.It begins to seem that every day everything that makes you you is being eaten away, as if you’re being swallowed by some kind of giant man-eating python. You start thinking that killing yourself is the only way to save what’s left. But that’s a product of brain chemistry. It’s NOT REAL.
I fought it for six months, until I eventually ended up in the closet with my husband’s gun in my mouth. Luckily, my son was home, and because he was only 11 at the time, I knew he’d be the one to find the body. So instead of pulling the trigger, I got help. It meant being hospitalized for a week or so, and recovery was a long, hard battle. But it was worth it.
Today I’m a New York Times bestselling author who has written 18 books. I have since encountered other dark moments, though never did I come so close to dying. My point in telling this brutal story is that because I held on even when I so desperately wanted to die, I achieved my dreams. It took a long time, but I did it.
Life is worth living, even when you have to fight through to the bright times. Because the bright times WILL come again.
Remember that what you are feeling is BRAIN CHEMISTRY. It’s not moral weakness, it’s not some kind of self-pity or whatever crap stupid people say. And they are stupid people. Clinical depression is no different than diabetes or heart disease. Nobody considers those other things a sign of moral failure. Just realize what’s happening when you’re feeling this way has a biological cause, and it can be treated.
I will also share something I experienced as a reporter, soon after my hospitalization. I responded to a shooting call. When I arrived, the cop there told me the man was the victim of a suicide. As I started to leave, the victim’s wife came out, realized I was a reporter, and began to beg me pitifully not to write about her husband. We didn’t cover suicides, because it can trigger rashes of them, but when I tried to explain, she was too busy begging and crying to listen. I escaped, only to pull my car over and cry. I swore then that I would never, never, NEVER do that to my husband, son, parents, and sister. The look on her face, the utter devastation and despair, was one of the worst things I saw as a reporter, and I saw some pretty nasty stuff. You don’t want to do that to your folks, because they’ll never get over it.
In the meantime, here’s a practical suggestion that I swear to you will work wonders. Go outside or to the gym or whatever, and RUN. Push yourself. I found when my anxiety was at its worst that running or even just walking fast was a great, quick way to burn off anxiety and improve my mood. It works every time. I know it’s hard to make yourself do that when you’re depressed, but do it anyway. As you run, your body releases endorphins and other brain chemicals that can burn through the nasty stuff you’ve got floating around in your brain right now. And it’s also good for creativity. I’ve found that regular exercise is more effective than antidepressants. Though it all helps. Too, exercise is also good when you’re blocked creatively, possibly because you get the blood pumping into your brain.
Try it. I found when I was absolutely in bad shape, making myself get on the treadmill and even just WALK FAST would make me feel better immediately, where antidepressants often take weeks to kick in.
Not sure what to add but wanted to lend my voice of support. It’s not easy having a disability and yet it’s important to find one’s place in this world. To work at something you enjoy, to build character, to find ones voice, to find inner strength, to be all you know how to be and then push the limits. You call yourself Outer Limits, well, take that handle and run with it. I have a client that lives with Asperger’s too, he’s such a smart man but he’s got it pretty bad so he got a job at Whole Foods stocking and now they have him at the register. I think that’s a great advancement for him and I’m very happy to see him there when I shop there. His attitude is allot better and his energy field reads very calm to me compared to when he first got the job so I know he’s happy and enjoying the work. If he didn’t have this job he would be holed up in his house playing video games and sleeping. So it is important to find something that will help you in more ways than just monetary. It should help you with all the above. Good luck with your endeavors!
Are there any support groups in your area? If there are, join them. They can be a great help. How supportive is your family? If they are, great. If they aren’t, maybe you need to sit down with them and explain to them exactly what you feel. If they aren’t helping you, tell them. They can’t read your mind. They don’t always understand.
If you are depressed, get help. If meds are prescribe, take them. This is a medical condition. Treat it as such.
I know,, I know. It’s not that easy In fact it;s downright difficult. Talk to those you love and need. Silence is not always golden. I’m just g;ad for you that you aren’t living on borrowed time.
Damsel hit on a few points I was going to make- about exercise changing your chemicals being the main one. Another great tool is music- it also changes the chemicals in your brain. The third thing? Animals. Petting animals changes your brain functions (mostly known for lowering blood pressure, but other processes are also at work.)
My degrees are in counseling and there’s one particular group of people who really appreciate socializing and are not demanding- they truly appreciate the time anyone gives them- and that is the seniors. I’ve done volunteering with them for years- and the way their faces light up when they see you- I think you’d really enjoy how they look forward to seeing you- genuinely! I’ve done animal visits with several of the places too (and they didn’t even know I was there, lol- loved my dog so much!) So perhaps consider calling a seniors retirement home and emphasize you would like to do one on one (not group activities) visits and see if there is anyone who you could visit.
http://aspennj.org/ There is this site as well that holds workshops…not sure where you are to know if you could go to one but one of them is on helping with finding employment etc
http://grasp.org/ And there is this one that has links to online support groups, workshops, information etc as well
I do know from my son that getting through the interview process is a tough thing (one of the reasons they wanted him to wait to try to get his first job so he could prepare and not have a bad experience that could make him even more anxious etc) For him they recommended role play. Basically acting through the interview process with someone you trust. Kinda coming up with answers to questions usually asked, practicing being comfortable etc as it is a big help and takes some of the anxiety part out of the situation. You could try this link to help you kinda get started in that aspect (this site is for those who suffer from anxiety in general but as Aspergers and PDD-NOS cause an anxiety in social circumstances, the info should help though it will take some practice to apply it. http://socialanxietydisorder.about.com/od/copingwithsad/a/jobinterviewtips.htm and then this is a link to someone who has Aspergers who shared what worked for them. http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt139625.html
Now regardless of my link frenzy…some thing to keep in mind:
You are a wonderful person and your life is meaningful…probably to more people than you realize. We are often hardest on ourselves especially if we feel we are “different” but honestly everyone is “different”. And different is beautiful
Your family may have misconceptions or their own opinions but those things in no way define who or what you are and often are based on a lack of education on the topic (mental health sadly is one of the things society at large seems least educated about unless you’ve personally gone through it so it can be an uphill battle sometimes with family). Keep trying and hang in there, maybe send or print out some information for them or even some of the testimonials from others suffering from the disorder and see if that helps. There is never any guarantee whether family will or won’t come around (depends on the family) but either way be sure you love yourself and try not to worry about the opinions others may place on you (I know easier said than done)
Keep reaching out as you are able to do and keep talking. Try finding those going through the same thing that can be your support as they will understand what you are going through and be far more supportive than those who haven’t. You are not alone and there are plenty of others who do truly understand and can empathize out there who would gladly listen and help)
Hi Outré Limits!
Before I go any further I should probably introduce myself… I’m lordvicore… Well, actually I’m McGyver… not the the TV character played by Dean Richard Anderson… or was that Richard Andrew Deanson… Richard Dean Andersonowskidriguez ?... Whatever…
I’m bad with names…
Actually those are just my screen names, my real name is Victor, though people who know me usually either call me “Vic” or “Come out with your hands up or we’ll use the tear gas again”....
Though, usually that last one is less what they call me and more what they call out to me when I…
I feel I’ve gotten off to a bad start…
I should probably start over…
Hi Outré Limits!
Before I go any further I should probably introduce myself… naa, that didn’t go well the first time…
Well, by now you are probably wishing you didn’t start reading this, but you are conflicted as to whether or not to continue…
Let me reassure you that you are probably better off not reading anything I have to say.
Which typically just by saying, makes most people want to continue reading, challenged by the suggestion there is something I may write, that I don’t want them to read…
I assure if there was something that I wanted to write that I didn’t want you or anyone else to read, I would write it way off to the side past the margin where nobody would see it.
That, and I’m real lazy and if there was something I didn’t want anyone to read, I probably wouldn’t go through the trouble of writing it in the first place.
Unless I secretly wanted you to read it, but I was actually just hyping the whole thing…
There… I got it out of the way.
Feels better now that that is off my chest.
I feel we can proceed now on solid footing… by sharing that… though I’m not quite sure what exactly that is, I have established a thread of trust… or something like that…
Does it feel like trust?
Sometimes I feel I trust someone but later it just turns out to be gas…
Lets start all over…
Hi Outré Limits!
Forget everything you just read up there (I don’t know why anyone would remember it)...
I read your post… and I have no advice whatsoever… I don’t like to give advice because in real life no matter how much friggin’ sense it makes 99% of the time nobody ever takes it.
Not that I think you wouldn’t take it, its just that advice is never as easy as it seems because there are an infinite number of variables and subtle nuances that are often left uncommunicated, and the experiences and reasonings of one persons life is almost impossible to equate to another’s… what seems common sense to one person is often illogical to someone else…
and sometimes we even misinterpret what the other person means… like when I thought my cousin was calling to tell me about her crappy boyfriend again and I fell asleep while she was talking, but she was actually calling to tell me there was a bear in her garage, but when I woke up I just said “throw his dumb ass out… hit him with that big wooden folding chair and tell to get the hell out” which apparently worked… though I’d never tell anyone to hit a bear with a wooden folding chair unless the bear owed them money and was drunk…
and hitting people with wooden folding chairs is probably illegal in a lot of places, though hitting her boyfriend with anything short of hot lava probably is more less poetic justice…
See, you’ed probably just get terrible advice from me anyway, which may or may not get you eaten by a bear.
Oh and the other reason I don’t give advice is I’m pretty nuts.
I’m talking “squirrels-in-the-pants nuttier than a box of walnuts”...
That was a terrible metaphor…
It probably wasn’t even a metaphor… analogy?... simile?...
Whatever… the “squirrels-in-the-pants” part is good… good imagery, but the “box of walnuts” just fell short.
But, yeah… I’m nuts, so you probably shouldn’t take any advice from me… especially any involving folding chairs…
So yeah, no advice… but hopefully you got a snicker or two out of something I said…
If there was anything I could say… an observation… not advice (that gets people mauled sometimes)... I would have to say, never ever give up… you have people at home who love you, there are people here who understand and support you and really… nothing is ever hopeless… even hopeless times are never actually hopeless if you have a little hope… as stupid as that sounds, we all make our own hope… we can choose to let all the really bad things drag us down… or you can find something so ironic and stupidly absurd and just laugh at the situation… do your best… but never let it take away your hope… as long as you can find something in this world that can make you laugh, snicker or snort… you can have some glimmer of hope.
Don’t overdo it though… or you’ll have a net thrown over you like I have had… well, it was a fishing net and about 200 pounds of block and tackle, but I’m sure I deserved it.
But I digress…
For whatever it’s worth… you have people who care about you. And that is pretty priceless
Just like the credit card commercial:
Old fashioned wooden folding chair from a thrift store: $10
Call to your cousin: $1.25
Advice from a madman who means well and not getting mauled by a bear in the process: Priceless
But thats not advice… maybe something like “shared experience based perspective”... I like that… it sounds less smug.
I’ve been reading the wonderful things people have been posting here, sharing their stories and humor and encouragement, offering whatever we can offer from our virtual locations. And all of your fears and sadness; and all of our words of support and sympathy… they center on two things: minds and hearts. We now know that our hearts ARE our brains. Our emotions start there and our actions emerge from there. You’ve already shared that your brain is a little different than the typical person’s, and you’ve heard others talk about the brain’s dependence on internal chemistry to function properly. Let me share a little bit of insight on that front…
My undergraduate degree was in molecular biology and chemistry, and my first career was in the pharmaceutical industry. As the talented Damsel shared, our brains run on chemistry. And as someone who has tread a very similar path to the one she described—I was in that same closet (metaphorically)... more than once… more than twice… and somehow, miraculously, I ended up in a hospital (more than once… more than twice…) instead of a grave. In the course of scaling the walls of my brain to find my way back to sanity, I learned a few things about the gray matter between our ears.
The chemicals in our brains exist to form connections. Our whole body runs on electricity. In the brain, those electrical signals cross the gaps between cells using chemistry. The exact nature of those electro-chemical interactions are still, in large part, a mystery to medicine—we’re making pharmaceutical progress, slowly. But I digress. One AMAZING thing we have discovered in the last decade through advanced imaging is that the physical nerve connections in our brain change with our thoughts and behaviors. Our brains physically change when we think, feel, and act.
So here’s the great news—you can change your brain. Not in an abstract, “change your thinking!” kind of way, but in an actual, physical sense. If your brain is a field of wild grass, your thoughts and behaviors will form paths through that field. The more often you walk a path, the easier it gets to tread. Physically, our brain strengthens connections we use regularly and eliminates those we don’t. We call it learning, lol. As we get older, re-routing those paths is much harder… but not impossible.
Sometimes it’s easier to believe in science than emotions or common sense. And science shows that YOU—with your amazing, unique, gifted brain—have the power to make new connections in your head. Challenge your negative thoughts. And if you can’t do it yourself, because hopelessness makes that impossible sometimes (as I well know), find someone who will. Look how many of us you found in one little corner of the artistic universe! Try to stay in THIS moment. Re-hashing yesterday and worrying about the future is reinforcing pathways that are keeping you stuck. Staying in the moment takes practice, but again, practice physically changes your brain, and it gets easier. Make very small goals, not huge ones. If you get in the habit of regularly making very small accomplishments, your brain forges the pathway that lets you tackle bigger ones—in time, with great patience. And the hardest bit of advice, which is a lot like walking up a down escalator, is to try to accept what is. You don’t have to like it, or condone it. You just need to acknowledge it. Acknowledge YOU, as you are, without strings. When you accept it, you are equipped to deal with it, or change it, or live with it. And there are days you get there… and days you don’t.
You can learn more about feeling comfortable in social situations, even if it never comes naturally. I learned to bowl. My first bowling score (before there were “bumpers” in gutters) was a fantastic… 4. Yes. 4. I SUCKED at it. But then I hung out with a semi-pro bowler. And, through observation, a little instruction, and through LOTS of practice, I became decent. 125 average or so. I’ll never bowl a 300. I’ll never be GREAT. But I’m okay, and that’s enough. Remember, PHYSICAL changes.
You have it in your power to change your brain’s chemistry and structure. And you have undoubtedly already done more of this than the average person, because you’ve needed to work your brain harder at things many of us take for granted. Give yourself a pat on the back for that! You’re artistic, you understand your challenges, and you’re still here.
Oh, and, lol… If nobody has said this yet.. Art helps!!! (Funny we haven’t all been repeating that, seeing as where this thread is living!) Art is a great way of exercising those “good” pathways and triggering “good” chemicals. You’ve obviously got interests and abilities in art. Use them. Even if it isn’t for financial benefit, art is an amazing brain tool, confidence builder, emotional release, and way to feel accomplishment!!
I am at a point where I need some guidance. I have Asperger syndrome, but am functional enough to not quality for help, but too dysfunctional to pass job interviews. I had a job I could do, but it got outsourced (and frankly was killing me). I used to do remote tech support for 3 major retail office supply chains. Where I live, I have a stable house, but there are no jobs here. My main (and, stupidly on my part, only) backup plan failed (working with a friend on a Poser store). There are no creative people here, there are no gay or genderqueer people here. There are no real nerds here, only people who play video games. I have made many efforts to reach out as best I can, to no avail. The only social outlets are all online, and those do nothing for me (something I found out while working a job from home). My parents moved here when I was in college, so I do not know anyone that isn’t family. I turned 34 less than a month ago, but still basically feel like a teenager/somewhere in my 20s (mentally I’m not, though). My family loves me, but they do not understand or know how to deal with what I have going on. My mother thinks it’s simple for me to “just get a job”, but even without all that I have going on, it’s not an option here. I am at a loss for what to do, and would appreciate the advice of any adult working through severe social retardation (and that’s what it is.. I am far, far behind where I should be on social skills, and I don’t know that my brain is wired in a way that I can pick them up). What do I do? Everyone says to talk about it when you’re depressed and considering your final options, but nobody actually ever wants to hear it, or has any good advice. Please help. I know I do not participate on here as much as I could (but I don’t participate anywhere really, as I am stuck in my head most of the time, even when I don’t want to be). I don’t know what to do and nobody here knows what to do.
Where are you, anyway? (Well, no need to tell your location, if you do not want to do it)
Your situation is no different from most people here ... Aah and the depression is the disease of the century ... Ok, I know what your problem is another!
But friend, you feel rejection itself from being a bearer of this problem?
It you angry and frustrated with yourself? Feel pain in your bones, embittered by this problem? Hates his personality?
If yes, then no one can help you
I can be my worst enemy, if I did not accept me as I am,
people can try to help me, but if I own tailing me ... People will see and treat you, as you see yourself.
My advice is that you never want to be like someone else, never want to be born different than it is today. Love you as you are .Each human being has an individuality, and this differs from the other ones.
Most times we have to go in front of the mirror, and we confront ourselves (I often had to go to the mirror to face me, and I even said to me: I’m a mouse, or a man?) then I found the answer within myself: “I am a man, albeit with flaws, but I am a man, and I love me !!!
Each of us has something in our life that we have to deal with it !!!
Each of us has something in our life that we have to overcome !!
Here in Brazil, still third world country, there are two eyes of blind people, who are employed, working (obviously they use special keyboards)
My wedged not walk on their legs like us, she is paralyzed, and yet works at the bank ...
Here in Brazil The story of Judge Ricardo Tadeu da Fonseca is an example of overcoming. He was the first blind judge working in a Brazilian court. To graduate from law school, Richard enlisted the help of colleagues. And throughout his career, had to deal with several episodes of prejudice. Came to be disqualified from a tender and not going to interviews, but gave a comeback and managed to realize the dream of becoming a judge. http://g1.globo.com/globo-news/noticia/2014/01/conheca-historia-do-1-juiz-cego-trabalhar-em-um-tribunal-brasileiro.html
Not your problem that limits you, but it is how you are judged himself
Wanted to post here and now I have taken the time.
I see that lots of other people already had some very heartwarming advise and I can’t top that
What I can do is acknowledge your hardships as my daughter has classic autism and my hubby also Asperger’s.
I see them struggle in social environments such as school and at jobs and it makes me cry sometimes.
In the Netherlands I know of ways to help, but I have no idea what’s going on in the US, so I can’t give you any advise on that.
In the past years I have worked for a foundation that organised (anime & manga) conventions for ho-le-bi people.
I know that somehow that scene draws in a large percentage of people that are transgendered, creative and have autism.
No one knows why, but it makes for a colorful and lovely place for people to be and act themselves.
Not sure if you are a manga/anime enthousiast, but I would recommend visiting a convention, because people tend to be very open and welcoming and art is always the binding factor, may it be in acting, drawing or clothing.
That’s all the advise I have to offer for now, but I hope sincerely that you will find happiness and be able to shake that dark blanket off your shoulders <3