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Failure at life.

19 replies

Twinty2 · 17/01/2023 11:16

I am 40, I have struggled in life since I started school at 4, I was in and out of mainstream school because I couldn’t cope socially. I have been to a special needs school and had a statement because of my social problems however was diagnosed with anxiety. not much has changed now, I have never been able to enter the workplace as no one will give me a job, I have tried many different things and nothing works out. I always get told my personality is not right. I struggle with communication and don’t come across well. I have no friends and don’t really talk to people apart from my mum and partner. I saw a GP a couple of years ago who said it looked liked I was autistic based on my history. I recently did a degree that I did mostly at home because of Covid, however the times I had face to face teaching I would end up crying in a corner of a corridor crying over something. I am also a disorganised mess, I struggle with daily life stuff,(cleaning, hygiene, emails, phone calls, making and keeping appointments). my brain can seem to only focus one one thing so other stuff gets neglected. The waiting list for assessment is at least another 18 months, I can’t afford to pay for one. I just want to be able to do a job and I don’t know what to do. I am so ashamed of myself.

OP posts:

Blufelt · 17/01/2023 12:33

Sorry this has happened to you. A lot of us have similar stories. Denied jobs, denied access to social groups, no friends etc. It’s horrible.

Don’t get hung up on assessment. They will give you a yes/no answer about whether you have autism but there’s unlikely to be any help or support available. Perhaps work on the daily life stuff first? I manage my life with alarms - to remind me to make a phone call, take a shower, pick up the kids, post a parcel. I struggle to get hired for jobs so I work remotely and freelance, self employed etc, for people who never have to meet me in person. And I go to organised hobbies where it’s open to anyone so nobody has to “pick me as a friend” or “invite me”, I can just turn up and be part of a group. There are ways and means to construct a life even if people don’t like you.


adhdpi2 · 17/01/2023 17:56

The comment above is very thoughtful and encouraging.

Getting it was an initial struggle, but now I've got over that hump, online work has been a godsend to me too! I also work remotely and am self employed as I struggle with the timekeeping and coordination that comes from a physical workplace, plus there are many gaps in my uni and work history.

Separating "work relationships" from (potential) "social relationships" also helps with my people-pleasing, severe RSD (rejection sensitive dysphoria) and eventual burnout. At the least, it helps me stay minimally employed if nothing else.

@Blufelt Can you give an example of such organised hobbies please? I am interested :)


BlackeyedSusan · 17/01/2023 17:59

stop feeling ashamed of yourself. You are probably doing great with the difficulties you have. You are an important person and deserve to feeel good about yourself.


oohokay · 17/01/2023 18:03

This reply has been withdrawn

Withdrawn at poster's request

BlackeyedSusan · 17/01/2023 18:06

sorry for quick reply trying to do parents evening on video as well! Blush


Oddgirlout · 17/01/2023 19:19

I'm so glad you posted this. I feel like I have really similar struggles. I'm in work at the moment but it is likely to end soon because of being a temp contract. Also my husband wants to move to where he can get a better job and that will mean I won't be able to work because of the sort of career I'm in.
@adhdpi2 what online work do you do? I'm really interested in this. I'm about to finish my PhD but no idea what I could do next.
@Twinty2 I know what it is to feel ashamed like this. Many of us on this board feel the same. I wish I could say something to make you feel better. You shouldn't be ashamed but that is the way society makes us feel. Is there anything that you completely love to do? I'm not suggesting that this will be a shortcut to a dream career but it might be something you can do more extensively as a hobby and see what happens? There aren't any short cut answers because oppression works like that and autistic people are oppressed.


Blufelt · 17/01/2023 20:01

Blufelt Can you give an example of such organised hobbies please? I am interested :)
I did amateur dramatics for a while. You just turn up and pay your weekly sub, everyone is welcome. They tell you where to stand and what to do, you don’t have to speak if you don’t want to. And I did tabletop gaming - again very structured, you take turns and you have a list of rules for what you can do on your turn. I did salsa dancing too, they pair you with a random and you rotate round every few minutes, no requirement to speak. When I was younger I did karate as well, you just stand in a row and do the moves as instructed. So there are loads of hobbies like that where you just turn up and pay, and the interaction is very structured and not much chit chat. It gets you out of the house and you feel like you’ve been mixing with people.


Tiddlywinkly · 20/01/2023 06:03

@Blufelt I loved your post. I'm have a similar need for structured interaction. For me, it is running club. Turn up, run in a group. Talk to people during the slower runs, but little eye contact is needed because, 'got to keep an eye ahead'. Perfect


Craftycorvid · 22/01/2023 09:06

So sorry you are struggling, OP. It’s frankly traumatic to try and navigate a world that was not built with any understanding of your needs. As I’m sure you know, because women don’t present with stereotypical autistic behaviours, they are often misdiagnosed, not diagnosed at all or left to struggle. You have shown immense courage in getting this far, and I’m certain you also have a great deal to offer in a job that works for you, and the possibility of friendships that work for you. For the record, my own journey wasn’t dissimilar to yours in many ways, especially a lot of school-related difficulties and social communication problems. I did my degree at a very small independent college rather than a big university and, looking back, I think that was a very lucky/wise choice as a big campus would have overwhelmed me - also I’d have been perpetually lost as my directional sense is appalling! I’m not diagnosed, my awareness I might be ND has grown over time and through working with lots of other ND women. Like you, cost is an issue for an assessment at present. Self ID is an increasing way people validate their experiences.

My advice for what it’s worth: there is a job out there that will work for you but finding it could require detective work and experimentation. Start with an honest look at what things are deal-breakers for you in terms of sensory processing issues, dealing with people and organising your time. Then see if you could map that list of needs to any interests you have and find out if you could volunteer in a few places (they are normally recruiting and grateful for your time). I realise this could sound really glib of me - it took until my late 40s to find my sphere of work and a lot of soul searching, but it was worth it. In terms of relationships with others, look on-line. There are lots of great ND forums out there now, full of good advice and a sense of community. My experience so far of dipping a toe in the water of the ND world, is people are refreshingly open, direct and welcoming.


Oddgirlout · 22/01/2023 16:55

@Craftycorvid what is that sphere of work? I think it helps to have good examples otherwise we can lack the imagination!


Craftycorvid · 22/01/2023 17:03

I’m a therapist @Oddgirlout . It works for me for lots of reasons including: high autonomy in my work, the relationship with clients has rules and boundaries, there is minimal to no superficial conversation and I get to drill down into someone’s issues and difficulties and support them in moving forward. I am an attentive listener, observant and curious. My cognitive empathy sometimes lets me down as in I might not always be able to accurately predict how they will act or feel, but even that isn’t a huge problem if accommodated for. I found learning about human psychology really helped me make sense of myself in the world. I actually have a special interest in working with neurodivergent women.


Oddgirlout · 22/01/2023 17:10

Brilliant thank you @Craftycorvid , that’s really helpful


MumofOne1789 · 27/01/2023 20:30

Just know you’re not alone. Wish I met ND people as part of my daily life. I feel connected through this board though and some Facebook groups.


Twinty2 · 29/01/2023 00:16

Sorry to have not replied, I wanted to say thank you. I have read all your replies and have been giving them a think. I am struggling to think of a reply, have written so many and deleted before posting.

OP posts:

toffee1000 · 01/02/2023 19:28

I resonate with this a lot! I am younger than you though, 27 (turning 28 this year). I have no boyfriend, nor have I ever had one (never dated or kissed or anything) so you’re doing better than me in that regard!
I have struggled finding a job, by which I mean I’ve never had one. Being self-employed or WFH wouldn’t suit me at all. I have no idea what I’d be good at/suited to. I sometimes see a job that sounds interesting but then I read that they want me to be well-organised/good at time management/able to prioritise my workload, all of which I struggle with, so I just end up thinking “well they won’t want me then” and don’t apply. Particularly because you always have to prove how/why you’re good at being organised/time management etc etc etc.


ijphoo · 06/02/2023 10:34

I am in my early sixties, and left school prematurely due to mental ill health, then had a very fragmented work life. I also felt like I had 'failed' at life.

However, like you, I achieved well in education as a mature student, and, later, I found working from home was ideal. If you completed a degree online, then it could be that, in your own space and in your own time, you really can achieve very well indeed.

The online/WFH employment market is growing significantly, and if you could do something connected to an interest you have (perhaps related to the subject that you gained your degree in), you may find you have the ideal work/life balance.

Also, you are not a 'failure'. You are a success. It really takes a lot of determination and ability to gain a degree through distance learning.


Craftycorvid · 06/02/2023 14:52

My school days were horrible due to relentless bullying, intense difficulties with maths and my sensory/spatial difficulties that made PE a horror show. I left early and had private tuition - my poor parents found it, and me, hard, but no one really looked at what might have been going on. I just got told repeatedly to be ‘more like everyone else’. I did two degrees at a smaller scale campus (quieter and with less potential to get lost), and it was a long journey towards realising I’m very capable in the right job, and that I can thrive in places lots of people wilt such as solitary working. There is, to quote a song, a place for us.


OneFrenchEgg · 10/02/2023 22:23

Me too op. I wish I'd known that I was neurodivergent instead of waking up every day for 40 years hopeful I'd get it right and be included. I hate myself for trying so hard to fit in and being so dense as not to realise and all the life I've wasted trying to live somebody else's version of living well.
I dont have any advice - my life has been punctuated by trauma to be honest, and I've managed to never make a work friend or fit in. I think work from home has benefits but also leaves you open to a magnified loneliness and a lack of practice at face to face stuff.
My advice to young me:

Join the library and go study that stuff you want to know about. Stop trying to make friends with people you don't even like. Be you not the you that only exists in your head.


Craftycorvid · 13/02/2023 15:50

@OneFrenchEgg It’s incredibly difficult to understand how we are different when the world effectively gaslights us. You haven’t been dense, you’ve just been told it’s your fault that neurotypical-world doesn’t fit for you. As women we all too often get negative labels for our difficulties, told we are being ‘silly’, ‘fussy’ and ‘over-sensitive’. And if we are obviously intelligent people, it’s as if we are expected to think our way out of our sensory and emotional struggles.

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