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Featured Going to the places that scare you

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by grommet, May 10, 2019.

  1. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

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    I have go to the library to pick up a book I've ordered. I am very scared of going to library, they always want to talk to me. I am so frightened of the place I have avoided going there for years. Sometimes I buy a book instead, I feel I just can't face the person at the counter.

    This isn't a post asking for advice, I just hoped if I talked about this I could feel better, less scared.

    I avoided the bus for years because I was afraid of the drivers. Cashiers at the market, it can be the worst. When self-checkout came it helped so much. I think there are big things in my life I could not do because I was afraid of interaction with people. I wonder if there are other people like me.

    When the weather is the worst I will look out the window and feel relief because it means there aren't people walking around. I don't dislike people and I get lonely if I don't see them. I cannot help that contradiction. I just can't read people and sometimes it feels the worst when I think I have communicated perfectly clearly but people do not understand. If it was one person I could think it was them but this happens over and over which means even though I am doing my best, I cannot communicate well with the outside world.

    I have a lot of fear in my life and I think almost all of it in every situation traces back to having to interact with another person. Sometimes I imagine standing alone in the desert. No people for miles and miles. For once I could breathe out and not be scared.
     
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  2. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Just Enjoying Survival V.I.P Member

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    I can relate to everything you said.
     
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  3. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for telling me. It helps me a lot.
     
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  4. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I can relate as well. It is not usually too bad, but at times gets worse. For a while I was letting my wife do most all of the interactions, but it wasn't very fair or practical. I did find that the longer I avoided any one particular type of thing, the harder it seemed once I had to do it for some reason. It seemed better to practice them periodically to just stay somewhat familiar.
     
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  5. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean, one particular thing? I don't understand.
     
  6. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    One type of interaction. Like paying at the cashiers, talking on the phone, etc.
     
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  7. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

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    Oh, now I understand. Thank you for explaining.

    For a long time my girlfriend did things like that for me. She was so good at it.
     
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  8. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    I am kind of where you are right now. My issue isn't interacting with people one-on-one. I can get by with simple, fairly predictable interactions. I can just nod in agreement, or say, "Fine thanks" when asked "How are you doing today?" Maybe give a small grin and nod when someone says something to me in a gesture of friendliness (small talk). I may respond appropriately with something short and simple that spontaneously pops up in my head. It works out.

    But my issue is having to be where there are a lot of people. So I take Lyfts everywhere now (this is terribly expensive but I can't take public transportation anymore). I do all my grocery shopping online, or ask my husband to get things (thankfully, he doesn't mind). I also no longer go to campus for classes. I do all my learning here at home, and I just ask one or two reliable people in class via text or email what homework is assigned, when the exams are, what important updates are announced.

    It wasn't like this a year and a half ago. I mean, I always struggled with all of these things. But a year and a half ago (actually, it'd be more accurate to say that my change in functioning started happening more than 2 years ago), it's as if I lost the ability to do anything anymore, even the "simple" things. Everything takes an immense amount of energy now. Almost daily, around early afternoon I have no more energy left, just because I have to do basic things.

    So... yeah I'm in a really bizarre place. :confused:
     
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  9. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Yes, same here. Social anxiety. I feel this way about going into shops or if I have to talk to a neighbour about something, for example. Very hit and miss - sometimes I can do it, other times I'm gripped by anxiety and can't. I often don't get things done for this reason, or procrastinate. My partner doesn't understand why I sometimes can't or won't do things, or ask him to do them. It's easier when I have a script and a clear idea of what I want. But if I want to be independent, I have to push myself out of my comfort zone and make myself do it.
     
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  10. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

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    I think you just gave me an idea about using a script. I wonder if I could write one for the library. Their questions should be predictable. I could even print it on a card they don't know I am looking at and reading from. I have to think of what they will ask. It's hard for me when people ask how I am. They aren't really asking but I hate to lie. I have to lie because the interaction requires that I not really answer, it would make it awkward.

    I am thinking now.
     
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  11. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I can handle most cashiers because it's for such a short amount of time - though I do prefer the self check outs. I flat out refuse to go to a hair salon to get my hair cut or manicurist to have nails done or anything like that because they want to talk and interact the entire time and I just can't do it. My sister pre-paid for her, my other sister and me to have a massage. I dreaded it so bad but I know they're not cheap so I went along. I learned everything about the lady's life that gave me mine and I was completely flustered by the end. And I've had waitresses just sit down and start talking to me and I don't know why - I don't know how to shoo them away. Maybe I need to wear a sign saying 'don't talk to me'. If it's going to be more than a second or two, please, nooooo.
     
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  12. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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  13. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

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    I almost jumped when you said waitresses had sat down. For me that would be the most uncomfortable thing I can imagine happening in a restaurant. I do not like people being close to me. Having a waitress who is acting familiar because that is part of her job, then sitting close to me, oh that would .. I would feel awful.

    Their are parts of aspie lives that are invisible to other people. They don't know the energy consuming arrangements we make to avoid things. How important it is to us. One aspie trait I have is patterns. They seem to create themselves but then I need to stick with them to feel okay.

    For a while I was having a banana every morning. During that time a friend invited me to visit him, I would need to travel and spend nights away from my home. It was having that banana that worried me most. I needed to keep that routine or I felt I would fall apart. I don't want to be the way I am in so many ways but I cannot control it and mostly I am a better person because I am autistic. I don't like, cheat or steal. I wait in line for my turn and I don't touch things I am not supposed to. I follow rules. I don't make excuses for myself if I choose to do something I know I should not. I think it makes me a better citizen. My girlfriend is the same.

    I have gone off topic but I mean to connect that the autism that makes it hard for me to communicate and understand, also helps me. I am worried though that I will be too afraid to go to the library. I am feeling like I am just too scared to do it. Over and over I keep picturing the check out desk and I just can't. Sometimes when I am in line people in line next to me want to talk. I don't want to tell them about my book or how I'm doing.
     
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  14. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    I have a library story to share.

    Last month I finally went to the library because books were overdue, and everyone in my household kept forgetting to bring them back. I didn't want to go, so I went online and renewed them multiple times.

    I realized it made no sense to renew them because my kid (They were her books.) either finished the ones she wanted to read, or wasn't interested in the rest of them.

    But I kept renewing so I didn't have to go. One day I forgot to renew. Then I either forgot to return them, or I kept making excuses as to why I couldn't go to the library. Still I didn't renew.

    One day I finally forced myself to go. My fine was almost 9 bucks LOL

    The librarian was somewhat chatty that day, unfortunately. I kept my eyes down and just nodded and grinned in response. She asked, "Why didn't you renew?" I mumbled, "I kept forgetting." (That was a half-truth)

    I told her I didn't have all the money on me at that moment. She said, "Oh it's OK, just give me what you can now, you can pay little by little over time." She was chatty that day, as I mentioned, so she continued, "Whatever amount you give me will be accepted. Your money is always good here! Well, except if you make your own money, of course!" And she laughed.

    I was still looking down at my hands on the counter, I was fidgeting and tapping the surface. And then I just blurted out, "Don't give me any ideas."

    She laughed. I just grinned slightly, thanked her and left.

    It was just something that popped up into my head and blurted out. So.. I guess it wasn't so bad..
     
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  15. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    For me the script is more about me thinking about and planning how I'm going to express myself clearly and concisely so that the person understands me and things will go smoother. It can often give me the confidence to face the situation. Conversations are unpredictable by nature, hence the anxiety, but knowing what you are going to say helps a lot. Even an answer to "how are you?" can be planned - you could give a generic "I'm fine" or you could say "not bad" or something like that. Such questions are not usually a problem for me, it's the unexpected question that throws me.
     
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  16. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Y'alls libraries don't got self-checkout!? It's the reason I love the library!
     
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  17. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    I'm sure there are a lot of libraries in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens that have self-checkout. I live in the Bronx, so most library buildings here are kind of neglected and don't have all the fancy technologies and stuff. There is one library in this borough that I think is pretty good. But that's it... one. I love my neighborhood library because it's where I got my first card when I was 5 (almost 31 years ago!), lots of memories there.. but I am forced to deal with the librarians.
     
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  18. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    I hated that aspect of the small library I went to went I was living in another state.
    The self-check out.

    The procedure was obscure and didn't apply to every item, either.

    The local library doesn't scare me.
    I don't mind talking to the desk help.

    Sometimes I pin a note to my sleeve so that I will remember what
    it is I need to be aware of while I'm there.

    Things like....hunting down a book they think I still have, but it's really on the shelf because they
    didn't check it in two weeks ago where it was returned.
    Or an Inter-Loan I want them to process for me.
    Or making sure that any book I want renewed is actually on the receipt with a new date.
    And so on.....
     
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  19. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    That's odd. The procedure here is just to place the book into the opening then slide your card, and you're done.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't apply to multi-media and other non-books, but I've never checked out anything of that sort.
     
  20. Lysander

    Lysander Well-Known Member

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    Beautifully put. I definitely relate to what you've described. I find my base instinct is to try and find someplace empty, and to just exist there... but there couldn't be anything worse you could do than to hide from pain. Suffering is required as a sacrefice in this world in order to obtain health and happiness. Push your comfort zone gradually, without breaking yourself at the hinges, and it will be very productive for your happiness.