Looking for support, I guess.

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Looking for support, I guess.

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  • mental illness: horse forum

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    08-03-2012, 08:58 AM
Super Moderator
Unhappy Looking for support, I guess.

Hello, all, and sorry, this will be long.

I guess I need to vent and I'm looking for support. I'm not trying to make anybody feel sorry for me, though, and I usually cope with these situations quite well, but sometimes it's just too much.

I have been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome as an adult some years ago, but I managed to fight through my situation as a child and a teenager by myself. My parents suspected that something is wrong, but they have always felt that mental illnesses are somehow shameful, so we didn't talk about it and I was just considered distant and difficult. In case somebody isn't sure about what AS is, here's a great resource on the symptoms, which are all moderate to severe in me - AANE - What is Asperger Syndrome?

I won't go into details about my daily life and I don't want to seem as if I feel "special" (really, I'd rather not sometimes), but the hardest thing for me has always been eye-to-eye communication. It is really easy to communicate over the Internet, as I don't have to think about my facial expressions and body language, but, when it comes to real life communication, I'm trapped. Any expression of any emotions has been learned behavior for me, it is just a programme I use to be able to socialize. I do feel, I do have emotions, but it just doesn't show naturally. It is if I'm living behind a stone wall - I can see everything perfectly, down to the smallest details, and I can feel deeply for most of what I see, but those who are on the other side don't notice it.

And so it comes tho the fact that, no matter what I do and how I try to express myself, it just goes into nowhere and even closer people note how monotonous my tone of voice is, how void are my eyes, how harsh, emotionless, etc. I seem, how unnaturally I move or act sometimes. It doesn't matter that I can act out the different facial expressions that are needed in conversations, because everybody sees that they are not "alive", and many openly express their discomfort around me.

It is different around horses, they are really my healers, and for a while I believed that I am becoming better and better about expressing myself, and I felt really happy for it, as if I was making some real progress and actually having hope in making good, natural relationships with people I like.

But yesterday I got to know that a person I care about very deeply has expressed her concerns about how cold, distand, even aggressive about my opinions I am, and how uncomfortable it is being around me. What hurt me the most is that she didn't tell it to me - apparently she didn't feel it would be worth the conversation. And I never, never wanted to hurt her... So I see that my body has lied to me again, and I am still behind the wall. And there is no cure for it. I will get over it, as always, but for now I feel I have hit a "low", being miserable and cut off from the rest of the world. I understand why people feel so around me, it is just natural, but I still dream of how it would be to be heard and seen.

The only really clear way of communicating for me is writing, because then I don't need my body to look like it cares and I can write down how I really feel and what I am. So I plan to write a letter to this person and express my feelings upon this matter, and I hope it won't just make everything worse than it is already.

Thank you for looking into this and I apologize for any grammar mistakes. I'm still shaken and can't think clearly right now, to be honest.
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    08-03-2012, 09:02 AM
I am so sorry you are going through this saranda. I think it is a great idea to write a letter to express yourself to your friend.

Hang in there and go give your horse a hug =]
    08-03-2012, 09:06 AM
I wish I had some advice, unfortunately I don't have any experience in that area to draw from. I do think though that you will have plenty of support here! Big hugs!
    08-03-2012, 09:11 AM
Saranda, Asperger's is a known condition, and I don't understand why you feel it would be a stigma to let people know you have it. Once people know, they'll take that into consideration when dealing with you.

As far as your friend not telling you, that's normal. She didn't tell you because she was trying to spare your feelings. Plus, whoever she shared that confidence with should have never said anything to you about it. They're a bad friend to both of you.

However, now that you know she feels that way a letter may help rectify the situation, but you're eventually going to have to tell her WHY you're the way you are.

Asperger's is an autism spectrum disorder, and many people have it in one form or another. It's nothing to be ashamed about, but if you don't let people know they'll just continue to think you're distant and cold.

Good luck, and I hope you and your friend can put all this behind you.
    08-03-2012, 09:17 AM
Write the letter but make sure that (if you feel comfortable with it) tell her about your Aspergers AND explain to her what it means and how it manifests through you. Tell her how sometimes your body, voice and face lie.

The only recommendation for future interactions that I can offer is to try to verbalize the bits you can't show, and when appropriate and within your ability and desire to do so, show your care in other ways. Send a card or a letter, leave a little gift - little things like that.

I hope it all works out for you!
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    08-03-2012, 09:21 AM
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Speed Racer said it well.

Reading the link about AS, it seems some very famous, brilliant and talented people had/have it, Saranda I do not know you that well, but what I have seen and read from you so far, I would put you in the upper realm with them, hang in there

FlyGap likes this.
    08-03-2012, 11:38 AM
Super Moderator
Thank you, everyone. So nice to have this forum with such supportive and considerate people. :)

Speed Racer, thank you for your excellent advice. Let me explain a bit - here mental care is still in diapers. People know very little, if anything at all, treatments are rather barbaric (just drugging, actually - for example, a friend of mine was saved from a suicide attempt (thank God), but, instead of real treatment, he was just locked up in an institution and drugged senselessly with huge doses of anti depressants), and different conditions are shunned, frowned upon and laughed at. Especially when it comes to autistic spectrum conditions, depression, bi-polarity, ADD, and such, as most consider them to be just imaginary and a pose to get special attention, and I really don't exaggerate this. If any of my colleagues got to know my diagnosis, I know very well how I'd be treated, and that applies to many others, too, so hiding has rooted deep in my mind and perception. It takes very much to gather up courage and come out even for closer people, and persons like me often grow up fighting with the horrible idea that they "are not good enough". I have fought that, too, and there are no AS support groups at all. It has started to change, but very slowly.

And you are absolutely right. If I want to be understood, I have to explain. I am afraid that a direct conversation will be an emotional overload right now, so I will write a hand-written letter and hand it to my friend personally, explaining it as good as possible at the moment. I also printed out the information from the link I posted before and will attach it to the letter, with examples of how it applies to me as an individual. I hope it will go well and I will keep this thread in my mind as an encouragement.
    08-03-2012, 12:31 PM
I believe a college acquaintance had AS. It was uncomfortable because he did look very disinterested and didn't look like he was having a good time when everyone else was having a good time. But I think, if he would have been open about it and presented it as an open topic of conversation, that everyone else would have been more comfortable as well. People are more afraid of what they don't know. I know it is a different culture? Here than there and that it will be difficult with the way your country is treating mental care.

I am very curious and I hope my question doesn't offend you because I like to learn to be able to understand what others are going through. Can you pick up on others body language?

I wish you the best Sandra! I'm sure the people who are your true friends will understand and be more at ease knowing that the outside doesn't necessarily reflect what's on the inside.
    08-03-2012, 12:39 PM
Saranda, I know many countries are still in the dark ages when it comes to mental issues, and I'm sorry you have to hide your condition. That has to weigh heavily on you.

Aldebono, a lot of people with autism spectrum disorders go undiagnosed, because even in an enlightened country there are still people who think of them as stigmas to be hidden away and never spoken about.
texasgal and HagonNag like this.
    08-03-2012, 12:44 PM
Speedracer, Yes I understand that. Maybe I thought she was going to explain it in her letter to her friend.

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