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Has my autism affected my childhood friend developing anxiety?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Amber123, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Amber123

    Amber123 Active Member

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    Bit of background. I've only recently discovered I have autism spectrum disorder (this year). I'm 26. My best friend in year 5 was new to the school and she came from South Africa. The other kids made fun of her because of her accent and there were some things she didn't understand or had a different word for, for example, she didn't understand what a shower cap was (the plastic cap you wear in the shower to cover your hair so it doesn't get wet -which as soon as I explained this she understood, but kids can be so cruel). I took it upon myself to be friends with her and I was her only friend for 2 years (yr 5 & 6), in year 7 everything got a bit crazy as I was being bullied physically and emotionally throughout primary school. I left the school and transferred mid year to a private school where I was meant to fit in (this didn't happen, but that's another story). My friend and I kept in contact for a while, but then it got too difficult even though we lived in the same town, my parents didn't keep in contact with hers because I should have been making friends with kids at my current school.

    Anyway, we lost contact and both grew up and got married. We met up in our capital city through facebook as a bit of a reunion (this was 4 years ago). We had a few wine and cheese nights like married couples do, then she started having a hard time. I asked her if she was OK, and she felt she needed to have a DNM (deep and meaningful) conversation with me. I had recently been through some of my own traumas having realised at that time that I had been emotionally neglected as a child and unloved by my parents (without realising I was also autistic). I decided to bare all in our conversation and apologised for mistreating her as a child due to my lack of emotional and social skills, blaming it on my parents lack of love and support. She said she suffered from anxiety and depression and often had panic attacks. She said moving here from South Africa, she struggled to fit in, she felt smothered by me and in some ways she said she needed the control and direction, but in other ways she needed to learn how to do it herself, or how to cope with social pressures, and she developed anxiety and depression through high school. She also said my mum scared her, which was devastating that my mum had such an impact on myself let alone my friend.

    We are still friends, and I even said to her, I'm here if she needs anything, but would understand if she didn't want anything to do with me anymore if its too painful a memory to have me in her life, just for her to tell me that was her decision, as I'd like the closure.

    Having known all this, I wonder if I caused her to become anxious? Smothering someone, hindering their emotional and social development must have had some impact on her life. I guess what I'm asking is, if I should tell her about my autism, perhaps then she will see she's perfect and was the best friend any child could have asked for? She's so patient and kind and I don't want her to continue to suffer with anxiety and depression if it could be fixed by me telling her it was my problem, me being difficult, I'm the different and weird one, she's perfect and there's no reason for her to doubt herself or think there's anything wrong with her. But then, how can saying something to someone nearly 20 years later fix the issue she's thought she's had to grow up with. I know there's other factors in peoples lives that cause anxiety and depression, but I don't see anything else where it could have come from, she had a good home, no suffering, she didn't move or change schools and she grew up believing in god. I think I'm drawing mostly from what she has told me was the cause from our conversation a few years ago.

    I'm also scared that if I tell her, she will get mad at me and hate me, and I'll lose a recently re-discovered friendship.

    Thank you for reading this post. I appreciate any advice or feedback. My friend is currently travelling overseas and won't be back for a few months, so I have time to mull this over and decide if I will talk with her about this when she returns.
     
  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

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    People take this psycho-bable stuff way too seriously these days. Everything is a 'condition' or 'syndrome' and blamed on something or someone.

    Anyway, your friend seems off the deep end. You befriended her with good intentions. And she even blames your Mom, for goodness sakes. All I can say is she has learned American over dramaticising and over analyising quite well.
     
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  3. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    She had lots of reason to be anxious and you are not one of them. I have a lot of anxiety and no one causes it but me.
     
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  4. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member

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    Think for a moment what she would have gone through had you not befriended her. Would she have been better or worse off? I think your presence helped her. You were an undiagnosed autistic. I know from personal experience just how desperately lonely you can get and jump at the chance for ANY friendship whatsoever. Your apparent smothering her is understandable. I think her anxiety (if she truly had it) was caused by other factors.

    A false aspect of autism you touched on peripherally I want to make clear. Although believed at first, autism is positively, absolutely, unquestionably, without debate NOT caused by cold parents.
     
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  5. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I agree with you, yet not 100% on the psycho babble. Definitely too much is blamed on causes and it's becoming ridiculous, but at the same time I am very psycho analytical. I blame that on my parents. LOL Just kidding. I like being analytical it helps me understand people and their actions and makes forgiveness easier.
     
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  6. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Just Enjoying Survival V.I.P Member

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    It isn’t your fault for goodness sake! You don’t know everything she has been through in her whole life. There are things she might not feel comfortable telling anyone but a therapist. And genetics plays a role too.
    There are too many variables, so unless there is proof (impossible) that you caused her to develop anxiety, depression, panic attacks, then assume the best, that you helped her. You might have kept her alive for all we know.
    Without you helping her back then, she would be worse off right now.
    And, she could have said something to you, like let me try to do such and such myself. She is sort of holding you responsible but she has to take some responsibility too.
    Just a note, I wish you were my friend when I was always changing schools and had no friends....
     
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