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Isolation - am I alone? Plus, depiction in tv/film

(12 Posts)
NothingElse Sat 28-Jul-18 23:56:54

I suspect I'm not alone in this. It just feels like it. I'm not diagnosed but strongly suspect am autistic, starting assessment next week.
I'm talking about the isolation and agonising pain of wanting to connect - but not being able to - to another human being. The feeling that no one cares or even notices you. Holding onto friendships and relationships from years ago that felt so deep and important to you, but probably barely registered for the other person. The realisation that no one gets you, you are unable to 'find your tribe' - it just doesn't exist. Knowing that you screw up friendships even if they do come about because letting someone into your world is so exhausting and chaos-inducing that you just retreat back to where it's safe, even though it makes you wish you didn't exist.
And searching for meaning and hope in fictional portrayals of 'people like you' is ok for a while, comforting, until you realise that they have friends who accept them and stand by them and wait for them. And you don't have that.
So maybe it's just you. And maybe there's something horrible about you. And maybe you were right all along...
does anyone out there understand?

toffee1000 Sun 29-Jul-18 18:13:40

It sucks, doesn’t it?
I do have one good friend (technically two, but i see this one friend more than the other one) but she does not fully get what it’s like to be me. She’s an extrovert, so she sought me out. I don’t know why, though; if she hadn’t turned up to my French grammar lectures in first year of university (she didn’t do French), I don’t know if we’d be friends now. I definitely don’t have a group of friends, it’s only ever been one/two at a time. I had one friend at secondary, but I barely talk to her now.
I’ve wanted to befriend people in the past, but haven’t been able to bring myself to talk to them. My mind always goes “you’re too weird”, “you’ll have nothing in common”, “why would they want to be friends with you?”, really negative phrases that just stop me in my tracks and so I can’t speak to them.

I’ve never had a boyfriend, and if I’m honest I don’t see it happening any time soon. The being-unable-to-talk-to-them thing comes in, with an added voice of “they’re a guy! You don’t want to come across as flirty, they’ll probably already have a girlfriend! You don’t want to appear ‘forward’ when you hardly know them”, if you get what I mean. As in, I cannot talk to them because I worry about coming across too strongly.

OK, maybe talking to them IS ok (use a little imagination here)... oh help oh help they’re interested in me this has never happened before oh god you've never been in a relationship you don’t know what you’re doing STOP.
I have confidence issues from perceiving myself as different. I don’t think of myself as ugly, it’s more the personality side of things. Guys will go for someone who appears confident and open and who takes care of themselves, rather than someone who barely makes an effort with their appearance and keeps her head down in social situations.

I’ve not seen many fictional portrayals of people with ASD. They’re usually men, or else someone’s (male) child.

Seniorschoolmum Fri 10-Aug-18 23:39:43

Yes, OP I completely understand and you most definitely aren’t alone.
I’m not diagnosed but I’m hopeless at any kind of relationships, find a lot of people very illogical and tend to retreat into myself to avoid offending people. My mum called me Wednesday’s child which I think was her way of saying I was a nightmare. It can’t have been easy for her, autism was barely recognised in boys 40 years ago, let alone girls.
So I’ve bumbled on being quite good at my techie job, outwardly quite financially successful but with all the thoughts you have. I am now a single mum. I have two close friends - my sis who is also on the spectrum I suspect, and another mum whose son is diagnosed.
I find you just have to keep going. To take pleasure in all your little successes and ignore the sneery cliquey women - and there are always some aren’t there.
Take pride in the things you do well, recognise the things you are really good at, and be absolutely sure that I and lots of others are out here too, all thinking the same thing. cake flowers. wine

NothingElse Sun 12-Aug-18 00:04:14

This is what I mean. You both have said you do have close friends.
I appreciate your responses and that you identify with how I feel, but maybe I was right and I am just a freak or a bad person.

What I mean is if I didn't go to work, I could go weeks or months without speaking to anyone. My family eventually bug me but that's it. If I died it would probably be a long time before someone noticed.

Seniorschoolmum Sun 12-Aug-18 10:05:15

I don’t speak to them every week. They are busy with their husbands & own lives. I haven’t been out in the evening with a friend since Easter.
It isn’t easy but we aren’t freakish or bad people. Social media is making everyone lonely not just us.
Have you tried doing parkrun or a class. I do. At least I’m with other adults even if I’m too breathless to speak. Volunteer at the dogs trust or the local food bank. Or to help with reading at the local primary school.
I’ll never be life & soul of the party but I can help people and I can get some exercise, while making myself visible so other people can talk to me.
It really isn’t you, honestly. x

SerPants Tue 11-Sep-18 12:46:30

I know what you mean- I don't have anyone I would consider a close friend, I find people in general baffling and have nothing in common with most women. I don't try to fit in any more- it was exhausting and I'd often end up offending someone without meaning to or making some other faux pas.

Yet a would really love a good friend or small group I could feel part of.

I also struggle with noise and crowds so that limits socialising opportunities.

Ladybird909 Sat 03-Nov-18 22:36:08

NothingElse I hope it's OK to jump on this thread but I feel the same way and am getting to the point now where I just feel resigned to the fact that I will always feel disconnected from people whatever I do.

I've tried to do all the things over the years that people always say that you should try if you want to meet people and make friends but nothing ever works out ultimately.

I just don't know how to connect to people, I don't know how to be a friend or what people want from friends and I think that I just always get things slightly wrong somehow but I don't know why.

I have always struggled with depression and anxiety and am definitely an introvert, but I always had a small amount of positivity underneath that if I just tried a bit harder or went along to a new activity then I could meet new people and make some friends. People always give the advice (especially on MN) that if you just try new things and put yourself out there then eventually you will find your tribe.

But I don't think that's true for me. I don't think I will ever have friends.

I have just started watching 'Community' for a second time and there's a character in it who is portrayed as having Aspergers and the group all love him and embrace his quirks and he is able to behave exactly how he needs to behave and is accepted as a valued member of the friendship group.

Unfortunately watching this has made me realise that this is what I am searching for but realistically it is just never going to happen to me and I might as well give up quite honestly.

NothingElse Sun 04-Nov-18 20:17:40

@Ladybird909
I totally understand you and feel you understand what I was saying. That's exactly it, on these shows the characters accept the ASC characters how they are... but it doesn't happen like that. And it just reinforces the hurt and shame we feel.

I have yet again been rejected by people I thought were friends, now feel I'm being pushed out of my family (or just realising how much they don't want me), problems everywhere and totally alone at the end of the day. Can't tell because what kind of person has no one - one who deserves it surely.. but some days I don't know if I can't stand it or if it's worth the torment any longer.

Bagadverts Sun 18-Nov-18 20:27:53

I so identify with this. Any social relationships I have are through my parents, and obviously as I grow older that will completely stop.

I just don't understand any social interaction where there isn't a sort of formula- I know the structure of a doctor appointment or buying things, also complex interactions at the place I volunteer. However as soon as it's just conversation I can't cope at all.

Just been on a thread where op was upset at being completely ignored by a friend when she op reached out due to a very difficult personal situation. Lots of messages there about how they aren't really friends at all and to drop them. I just know I'd be the person that didn't contact. I'm so worried about saying or doing the wrong thing I don't do anything. That makes me seem heartless, uncaring when really I'm terrified.

Ladybird909 Mon 19-Nov-18 20:54:00

@Bagadverts I understand where you're coming from regarding only having social relationships through your parents - the only ones I have are through my daughter where I have to force myself to interact with other parents and make social arrangements for the sake of my daughter. None of these people are actually real friends and are only on-the-surface acquaintances and I am already starting to think about when she is older and will start to arrange her own things.

I also work for myself from home which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It does suit me not to have the stress and anxiety of having to interact with other people and worrying all the time about saying or doing the wrong thing but it does mean that I am very isolated.

And I also struggle to respond to people as well, I can get through brief conversations with a few learned responses but I am sure that I get it wrong half the time. I think part of the reason why I can't form deeper friendships is that I do try for a bit but then when things get a bit more difficult or complicated I back off because like you I'm worried about saying or doing the wrong thing.

Ladybird909 Mon 19-Nov-18 21:04:14

@NothingElse I really wanted to respond to you when you responded to me before but I wasn't sure exactly what to say as you sounded like you needed some proper support and I was anxious about saying the wrong thing and making things worse.

I'm so sorry, I really appreciated your reply to my post as I don't post about personal things very often. I really hope that you are feeling reasonably OK at the moment and hope that things with your family haven't deteriorated any further.

As we've all been discussing, I'm not very good at being a friend or understanding what people need but I wanted to say that I think I understand some of where you're coming from and if you feel alone and want to chat any time please feel free to message me.

MissKittyBeaudelais Sun 10-Mar-19 21:08:31

I had a late diagnosis 18 months ago of Aspergers. I was fine with it, relieved really. So much that’d had a huge question mark over it, made absolute and perfect sense. And yet, I’m still isolated. I have acquaintances and dog walking “friends” I have two friends I’ve k own for 30+ years and they know me very well. Both live at some distance. I wish I knew someone like me who was close or in a similar postcode.

I don’t want to join social groups, as such. That’d be difficult and cause anxiety I don’t need but, I’d like to actually meet people like me. Am I hoping for too much? I don’t know anyone who’s LIKE me.

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