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Stolen Youth

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by mw2530, Jan 15, 2022.

  1. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    This past Thursday I turned 34 years old. Birthdays have a tendency to send me into a depressive state due to intense feelings of regret and unhappiness in my life. As a disclaimer, this is going to be a depressing post. The last few birthdays I have done better, but for whatever reason I am struggling a lot this time around. I feel like being on the spectrum has stolen my youth. And someone can never get back their youth once it is gone. It cannot be brought back with money or anything. Maybe God can bring it back, but I feel like he never answered any of my prayers and has just let me suffer so my faith in him has also suffered.

    I never knew that I was on the spectrum, but felt different for all my life from my peers. I had very few friends, was bullied often, and never fit in. I did really well at academics, and liked the school part of school. I liked to learn and crushed most of my peers in school.

    I cannot recall when I first considered the possibility that I was on the spectrum. I don't think I had heard of ASD until I was in college. I don't think I considered myself to have it then since I knew a few people in college who had autism and their behaviors were a bit more severe - if that is the correct word. I don't think it was until after college when I was a year or two into my first job that I heard and read more about ASD. It didn't take long to realize that I certainly was on the spectrum. I felt a mix of relief and pain. It sure explained a lot.

    Life continued to be challenging after I discovered I was on the spectrum. I can't help but feel that the spectrum stole my youth. I had few friends and never experienced the things that a typical kid or young adult experiences. Probably preaching to the choir here. I did so well at academics that I just figured I would do great once graduating, but I was naive to think the working world was like school. I suffered through some jobs I hated and many stressful situations and months of busy times. I stuck with it and now have a job that pays well, and sometimes I think I like it but I am not sure if I am just lying to myself.

    Probably the worst part has been that I have never experienced an intimate relationship. Not once. Went on some dates sporadically, but nearly impossible for me to even get a date. Never had sex, barely kissed a girl. Talk about a pathetic, miserable existence. They say healthy men think about sex every 7 seconds on average. Imagine thinking about something every 7 seconds for almost 20 years probably, but never having the opportunity to experience it. I couldn't think of a worse torture to put someone through. I'd rather that I never was born. It would have been a blessing if I died at birth so that I didn't have to live through such a miserable life. Now the vast majority of single women in my area are either overweight and/or terribly unattractive or single mothers. I have zero interest in either.

    The harsh reality is my failures are not for lack of trying or hard work. I have worked way too hard in my life and it has lead to terrible unhappiness and misery. I would have been much better off coasting through life. I don't really have much to look forward to. Watching my peers live happily with their spouses while raising their children. While I have been sentenced to a life of misery from God himself. I don't really see what there is to look forward to anymore. Not sure what going to work and earning money gets me other than paying for food and shelter. Growing old and getting grey doesn't sound all that appealing. The body will start to break down until it becomes totally useless. Hopefully I am gone before that point. The mind will start to deteriorate even more than.

    Clearly I hold a deep and profound sense of bitterness for how my life has turned out. There is plenty of blame to go around even for myself. I don't really see the point in life anymore or what on earth there is to look forward to anymore. Life sucks and then you die. I just hope it happens sooner than later for me so that I get it over with.
     
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  2. FreeDiver

    FreeDiver How long can you hold your breath? V.I.P Member

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    An almost "exact" description of my life. except I'm 50 now and didn't learn about being on the spectrum until I was 42. I pretty much live a lonely/bachelor life. I have never dated nor ever had a real job in my entire life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
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  3. Gerald Wilgus

    Gerald Wilgus Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I believe your experience is all too common. As a teen and young adult I was socially and sexually isolated, even as I could see my peers progress through life. Little did I recognize the anger and bitterness that this created in me until I was diagnosed at 60 and then felt PTSD when reminded of those years. I am working on that now.

    At age 25 I figure that my social maturity was that of a 15 year old. Then, disgusted at myself, I started cultivating my interests and started getting involved with activities I enjoy. That was necessary for my sanity, as I could not understand that at a time I was working hard on my career and caring for myself, nobody even noticed me. Then I understood that if any woman was signaling social interest, I was unable to see it. I slowly studied being social.

    And then lightning struck. I met my spouse on a trail maintenance trip and she liked me for my interests and enjoyment of the outdoors. It felt amazing that a woman would accept me and at 28 I lost my virginity to her. Just that one accepting woman changed the trajectory of my life. But then, I need to admit that my prior experiences taught me to recognize an accepting person and know the personality and interests of the person I desired to have a relationship with.

    The problem now is that my overcoming my deficits, my achievements, and experiences, seem insufficient to extinguish the anger and bitterness of those early years. Anymore, I don't want to revisit that hurt and fondle it like my precioussss, and am slowly learning to let the positive in. I hope that you will overcome your bitterness.

    Have you thought about getting help and social coaching? I think nowadays there is more of that for ASD and I know that rather than struggling alone, I probably could have benefitted from it. Bitterness can eat you alive and is something necessary to overcome, even if just for your sanity. I wish you well on your journey.
     
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  4. Gift2humanity

    Gift2humanity Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have read through your post, and in order for me not to miss anything, I thought I would answer is in the way you wrote it

    It is my goal to give you some, hope, I have felt suicidal despair like this, more than once, I took an accidental drug overdose, recreationally, years ago, realised it was fatal, never bothered with an ambulance, miraculously woke up.

    I have got bits of help from random online posts, I hope I can do this for you.

    I am 55, I was 34 when I felt suicidal one time, buying a flat with an attic meant, if I got that depressed, I could hang myself.

    Sorry your birthdays, up to now, how depressed you, I stress the words "Up to now”.

    We cannot turn the clock back, but what we can do is ask ourselves what we can learn from our mistakes.

    A Native American Mohawk, also named Dr Edward Hall says people on the spectrum have a license to be a shaman.

    Our brains are wired in such a way that we have extraordinary gifts and talents, the lie dormant unless we recognise them and make the best of them.

    Late in life I learned that, to do this, we must look at what we enjoyed enjoy most because that is what we are best at. "Following our bliss", as the famous mythologist Joseph Campbell said. He helped George Lucas when Star Wars is being made.

    I was diagnosed at 54, I felt different for all my life from my peers.

    I did not even know the definition of the word "friend". I, too, was bullied often, and never fit in. I also was good at academics, but dumbed myself down in order to fit in.

    I was a dunce in the playground.

    I am telling you this so that hopefully, you will feel that someone, somewhere, ee shares some of your experiences and feelings.

    In the UK, we say ASC, autistic spectrum condition. See how much better that sounds done autistic spectrum disorder. It is a blessing, just look at all of the autistics who have done really well in life because they made the most of the special gifts that they have.

    Yes, being told we are officially on the spectrum can feel the relief and explain why things were the way they were.

    Trying to be normal and do “What everyone else does” stole my youth.

    It is hard to live up to the expectations of the Neurotypical world, workplace environment et cetera, this is where "following our bless" and doing the things we enjoy is vital because work becomes love and not just labour. It is easy to stay stuck in a job that offers money and security at the expense of our deep happiness and fulfilment.

    People are attracted to us energetically that is electromagnetically. Sorry for the science but it is true. That is why I attracted men who are used me, emotionally unavailable men, however I now know what I want when I am ready for a relationship and I don't care how late it is.

    We could do with understanding that the universe is made of energy, the word “emotion” comes from "energy – in – motion"

    People treat us depending on the energy we emit. This explains why some of us have a lot of negative or unfulfilling interpersonal or intimate interactions, yet others have deeply fulfilling loving relationships. Not to forget the people who put on a false friends and merely look happy, but our intuition, if we use it, tell us, that deep down, this is just an act to cover up their misery.

    Sorry to go back to the science, but every thought carries a vibration. Just like electricity has a positive and negative charge, as electricity is energy, so do our thoughts, so when we think despair, we attract it.

    This is not to say we should ignore our negative emotions, they are there as flags to tell us that something needs improving inside of us. It is best that we act on these warnings in the form of negative thoughts and feelings so that we can tackle them.

    I know from personal experience that if I think negatively life feels negative, if negative emotions come up and I enquire how I can improve them, life feels like it is improving, if I think positive thoughts, life feels good, and I feel like I am creating something and positive people come into my life.

    We can spend years working hard in jobs we hate, we can spend a lot of time working hard to fit in with the wrong people.

    With this in mind we can give ourselves things to look forward to, hope.

    Comparing ourselves with others, who seem to be happy, does not work, it intensifies the negativity within us which feeds off itself.

    Rather than fail sentence sentence, think of its opposite, freedom.

    Appreciating what we have, not everyone has food and shelter.

    We can work to get freedom from whatever we feel imprisoned us, by remembering what we loved as a child, for instance I love the art, all farms. It was not until I was in my 30s that I discovered I had an artistic talent. It was not until I was in my 40s that I discovered I had a singing talent. Incidentally perfect pitch singing is common in many people with autism.

    There are plenty of old people who are fit and well. I often think of my neighbour in his 90s chopping down wood, and his wife successfully climbing the stairs in our flats with two walking sticks and both were happily married.

    Thinking of these feels better than wondering if I am going to end up as an invalid, or were still dead, before I reach old-age.

    I have felt a sense of bitterness and I know how that feels. I have learnt that it pays to feel into this bitterness and transmute it into its opposite.

    I also know the feeling of self blame and I'm working on that because while I forgive those who wronged me, there is still work to do and forgiving myself, and I need to have the confidence to believe that I can do it, just like I learnt to forgive those who I feel wronged me.

    Last words, there are so many times in my past I have wanted to die, the first time was at eight years old. I think my lucky stars that my death wishes we're not fulfilled.
     
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  5. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    @mw2530,

    Please read the post by @Gift2humanity carefully. He has given you a gift. But you might need to read and reread it several times to begin to understand. Print out that post and carry it with you so you can reread it and contemplate what it means.

    That post isn't just a bunch of randomly and thoughtlessly complied words. Gift2humanity put a lot of care into that post. He did it for YOU.
    He is telling you something very specific but it is up to you to understand.
     
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  6. Tuffsy

    Tuffsy Member

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    Thanks for those incredibly encouraging words @Gift2humanity . Apart from the age difference we could be twins! My experience is very similar. Sometimes I forget to focus on my gifts and just want to give up, but then I pick up my guitar again and feel so positive. Yes we did have a Stolen Youth as @mw2530 says, mine lasted until I was 57, but the rest of our lives we can soar with eagles doing what we do best.
     
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  7. Rasputin

    Rasputin ASD / Aspie V.I.P Member

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    There was a time when I felt as you described, like when I was 21. Younger than you, but that doesn’t matter. I was also an academic freak, particularly in mathematics. However, I had one friend and had never dated anyone. As I reflected on myself, I jotted down attributes which I lacked or needed to improve in myself. I immediately started observing others, and started making incremental changes in myself. It takes time (likely years) to transform yourself, but give yourself credit for positive changes that you make.

    I would never give up on myself. At the moment you are clearly depressed, and might benefit from counseling and/or medication. That won’t solve your problems, but it might help you in coping now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
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  8. Gerald Wilgus

    Gerald Wilgus Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It is very hard work. My nadir of loneliness at 25 led me to a similar rebuilding and by 28 I had met my spouse. But, I never processed the hurt from that time and am dealing with it now.
    FB_IMG_1642298278317.jpg
     
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  9. Rasputin

    Rasputin ASD / Aspie V.I.P Member

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    There is much that I have not processed from my youth, but getting to know a half brother who is also an Aspie has helped. It is almost like we feel a natural connection and are working through these feelings together. My father left when I was four, but it sounds like he was very much like me.

    It doesn’t help you in processing these feelings from your youth, but maybe you can compartmentalize those feelings and focus on your life now. Maybe you will be able to process those feelings later on. I honestly do not know what else to say.
     
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  10. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    @Rasputin, compartmentalizing is a very effective technique.

    Many of us have had lousy lives, myself included. But even though we have many hurts and bruises that we want to heal, the truth is, you can't undo everything that has happened in the past.

    One needs to focus on right now and keep putting energy into being happy today.
     
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  11. Rasputin

    Rasputin ASD / Aspie V.I.P Member

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    I didn’t know compartmentalizing was a real strategy, but I did this. The only frame of reference that I have is myself. Hopefully, what I wrote will help someone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2022
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  12. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    Guess what? Nothing can bring back a neurotypical's youth, either. The world is full of NDs with simply horrid childhoods and failed dreams. They tend not to let others know about such things.

    The best course of action is simply to accept the past for what it was and move on. Yup. It sucked. Can't do anything about it now. Water under the bridge. No point in focusing on it or holding onto old anger or old pain. How can I make my existing situation better, even if it is just an attitude change? If you need help getting there, that's what therapy is all about.

    You're not "robbed" of anything because you had a childhood, it just wasn't the one you'd prefer. The past is but a memory and the future is just a dream, so work on making the here and now the best you can. Do that for a while and the future will start taking care of itself.
     
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  13. AprilR

    AprilR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I relate to everything you wrote, i also accepted the fact that i had asd when i was at college and picked the wrong major resulting in me having difficulty with my studies.

    I always thought that my difficulties with people were the result of social anxiety or not trying enough. After i accepted the fact that no, it was just not enough to try i stopped trying. I barely graduated, after that tried working for a while but got fired 3 times. Now i don't even want to try anymore. I feel like trying my best in my studies and gaining friends was a waste of time, but at the same time being good at studying at least gave me a sense of confidence.

    What keeps me going in life is my parents and loved ones, although i know those people will not stay forever with me to take care of me. I also use escapism through fiction (books/TV shows) and my hobbies to deal with life. It has been my coping mechanism since i was a child.
     
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  14. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate all the posts, but I feel like I am in a deep deep pit. I typically go through life ignoring my feelings and suppressing them because that was the only way I could cope. They were too painful that I had to numb myself from feeling anything basically. If that isn't the saddest thing. But that will never allow for anything to change. But it often was necessary, because for years and years I have been worrying about non social issues such as navigating the working world. I think about how basically I have lied my whole life when people asked how I was or how I was feeling. All the fake laughs and the artificial face that I had to put on to the world day in and day out just to survive.

    Even if things suddenly magically turn around for me at the age of 34, I don't think I will ever be able to get over the anguish that I have experienced from the loss of youth. In some ways, it is a worse experience that dying unexpectedly at a young age. At least then you got to experience the best years of your life, the younger years. Instead I get to skip over the best years as if I was dead for the first 34 years, and get to live the remaining years. I think if I had a choice, I would have opted for the former rather than the latter. If I never have a bad day for the rest of my life, I don't know that that makes up for all the life that has already been lost.

    What is hardest to accept is that I think all of this could have been prevented. But society failed me. Society has consistently failed anyone who has ASD. No one ever recognized my challenges when I was a kid or even an adolescent or young adult. No one helped and no one cared. Parents, schools, and society in general utterly failed to set me up for a happy, successful life, as they have failed the majority of us. It seems like pretty much all of us had to figure out our differences on our own, with little to no help from society.

    I don't know what else to say. I know this is a lot of "poor me" in this post, but I don't think the average person could even begin to understand what many of us has been through.
     
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  15. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think a lot of us do know what that feeling of anger and betrayal re: our childhoods is like. I’ve found it really helpful lately to just accept that I can’t change anything about the past; all I can do is decide how to live now and in the future. I understand how crushing and overwhelming anger can be, though.
     
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  16. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    I believe that therapy would help you to find a better way to cope with the problem. I always suggest cognitive behavioral therapy with an emphasis on radical acceptance but almost any therapy style should help.

    It isn't the past that hurts us. It is how we hang onto it and continue to live in it even though it is long gone that causes suffering.
     
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  17. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Lots of us experienced abuse in our youth and even into adulthood. I spent over 20 years in an abusive marriage. That is a lot of freaking years wasted on a man with crap in his heart.

    After all that wasted time and misery there is no way I was going go waste any more wallowing in feeling sorry for myself.

    Tick tock! Your life is short! But you get a choice here. Wallowing in your misery will get you more misery. Guaranteed. Or you can actually try to do something about it and probably find happiness. If you argue with me and say "oh but it might not work and then I will be really, really miserable" I am just going to laugh at you.

    The best years of your life happen at exactly when you are happy. You don't feel better or more happiness because of youth. Happiness feels like happiness at any age.

    Frankly your line about "if I never have another bad day in my life I don't know that will make up for all the life that has already been lost" is a lot of high drama nonsense.
    Did your hamburger today really, really, taste bad because you didn't get dessert yesterday?
    No, of course not. Would you really turn down a feast NOW because you didn't get you first feast before 30? Just take that whole line of reasoning, have a good laugh, and drop it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022
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  18. Gerald Wilgus

    Gerald Wilgus Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    So true. That is the trap my mind fell into. Now I am taking baby steps back with CPT as I learn to finally process the hurt by realizing the significant ways I helped myself even as I did not know I was Autistic.
     
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  19. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    My concern going forward is as I get older, there will be less and less options and opportunities as people progress through their lives and get married, etc.. I know I need to work on myself as well, but what scares me is working on myself and making improvements, but with no results. I don't live in huge city, but it is not a tiny area either. It is around 100,000 people but than there are some other cities nearby so altogether probably 250,000-300,000. I question whether my odds would improve if I moved to a bigger city since it is a numbers game. But moving comes with its own challenges. I am not sure if I should give it a year and then consider moving or if I should even give it that long. Life is short, and I don't want to waste another year if I am going to be in the same position a year from now.
     
  20. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    Yes! This!

    If you are happy right now it does not matter that you lived through hell. The past no longer exists. If you keep thinking about it you'll be stuck in it. Accept what happened to you as nobody's fault, just a really bad die roll. People who are continually angry or depressed are almost always trapped in the pain of the past and have repressed anything good that happened. Something good did happen or you'd be dead.

    Everyone gets depressed, anxious, or angry occasionally. For it to be a way of life is an indication that you need to change. You have to accept that you are not handling life well and you need a new point of view. I immersed myself in philosophy for decades - plus taking an antidepressant - to get here and I'm still working on it. If you can't do it on your own, that's where a therapist comes in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2022
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