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Hi, I'm a 19 year old man with autism introducing myself here

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Skels142

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Leicester
Hi all, I'm glad to be here on this forum. And this is going to be a long read for an introduction, and I'm sorry about that but hopefully you will gain some insight.

After finishing first year at university I feel like I have hardly made any good friends who really care about me. I've tried to be myself as much as possible when meeting new people but after a whole year of feeling strangely isolated (despite being around other people quite a lot) I've decided I need to do something different. I'm not sure if it's related with autism, as I don't know a great deal about autism itself despite having a diagnosis, but I have always had strange, quirky hobbies. For one, I can solve a Rubik's cube, I can jump on a pogo stick for really long times, I've always enjoyed playing chess, video gaming (I play a lot on the Nintendo Switch), parkour, and other random things. But, I always get the sense that people don't seem to be impressed and don't want to inquire any further when I try to tell them about this stuff. Also I have a very dry sense of humour and I try to not be like that, but I don't want to be boring either and it's difficult to find a balance between the two when I'm around people other than my own family. It's tough to tell people you're trying to impress that you are autistic because I feel like there is a massive stigma associated with it, i.e. "Autistic people aren't sociable". I'm definitely not the most social person on the planet, but I'm kind and I would never let anyone down on purpose because I'm not that kind of guy.

I got a diagnosis of autism when I was young, but my mum and dad decided to never tell me about it and I found it out inadvertently when I had a meeting with this guy at my school when I was in the middle of doing my GCSEs. It wasn't very nice finding it out and I confronted my mum about it as soon as possible. I don't know if anyone else here got a 'click' kind of moment, as if they realise why they're different to everyone else but that was definitely what it felt like for me.

I'm currently studying a maths degree and I have struggled to find any kind of motivation and after trying to get help, I tried to wing the exams and got a decent grade - but in hindsight, I could've done so much better. This was mainly due to my own motivation really taking a nosedive. Even though it was only first year it was so difficult and incomprehensible, and I found that office hours with lecturers never helped because they weren't one to one. In addition, I also was meant to receive support from a group as part of some kind of allowance I received due to my disability, but my provider gave me a person who, it turns out, didn't study any kind of university level maths (we would speak over the phone for about 10 minutes a week and it just did nothing). To top it all off, I felt I hardly had any friends in maths who I could discuss the difficult maths with. There were a few people who I met who seemed nice but we soon lost touch since they had other people they cared a lot more about other than me. I tried to make an effort with those aforementioned people but it felt fruitless after a while.

I have joined 6 different societies at university in a hope to make good friends and connections but nothing seems to have clicked. In 3 of them, they aren't really 'talking' kind of groups, i.e. chess, for example. In the other 3, they do socials and I try to go to them all, without fail. Despite this I don't feel valued, and I do feel ignored. In societies you tend to have a group of people who run it, and they're the top dogs. Most of them will only talk to other people they value and ignore new people which is just wrong. I've tried to get to know them but it's so hard when you feel like you're just getting in their way. The other night, I actually posted in a society group chat on FB, if anyone wanted to go on a night out somewhere when Freshers week is back on (starting the 23rd of Sept.) And all I got was no messages back and I got completely and utterly ignored. You just can't take any positives from something like that and it just drains your confidence.

In one specific society there was this certain incident involving me and I feel like everyone looks at me and refers to me as if I'm some kind of clown ever since. I tend to be very forgetful, so when I went on this trip at the beginning of February I forgot something really essential and they had a social a couple of days after that. And I felt that everyone just took the mick out of me for that entire evening and it was the only reason my name was ever mentioned that night. If I could turn back time I would eradicate that mistake, but obviously I can't do that. It's things like that that leaves you with scars and you want to forget it so badly but it's difficult.

Some things I've wanted to but haven't to try and mediate my fears are go to the university wellbeing team (which I've heard are bad for dealing with mental health problems on the first place) and go to wellbeing team in maths (because they seem to run sessions like meditation, oregami and other stuff that just seems so alien to me). I've also felt scared because I don't want to be judged based on the 'level' which I feel disabled. I am autistic but I know that you can have a scale and there are people who have it a lot worse than I am. So, it's difficult when you want to put across the fact that you are struggling when in reality, I should be feeling grateful that I have it better than some other people.

I thought that going to university would help me change my life after struggling with bullying (I was always considered a weirdo) and having very few proper friends as I grew up but after a difficult first year, I've had a 3 month holiday and now about to go into second year. It's really hard to stay optimistic and I look ahead with more fear than happiness. It's mainly fear of the unknown as well, because I just don't know what's going to happen in my second year. Am I going to fail? Am I going to cause another forgetful incident I don't want to happen? Am I going to feel lonely for the rest of the year and will anything change for me?

I wrote this in the hope that, if there are other autistic people, or someone with mental health issues who relate to my own, personal problems, that they can hopefully understand what it can be like and they aren't the only ones struggling. I can be a good listener so if anyone wants to speak to me about problems with university life or autism, I would definitely be happy to talk and relate with them about it.

And thanks to those of you who read this and listened 😁
 
hicks

hicks

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May 14, 2019
Messages
855
Location
In a galaxy, far far away..
Hi Skels and welcome to this forum. :welcome:
I went to University many years ago, and the brutal fact is that it can be a hostile and lonely place for those who suffer from anxieties, social difficulties, and who are not perceived to conform to the normal activities of student life. I myself have social anxiety, and I can relate to your difficulties. I'm not autistic, well I never had a proper diagnosis really, but I do wonder. However my daughter has ASD and acute OCD. She is bright, having achieved good GCSE results. We know that she wouldn't survive at University and we're taking steps to let her follow an alternative path through higher education. I don't know if this is an option for you. Maybe studying through the OU? Looking back, I should have taken that option.
My life at Uni was an extremely solitary one. But I was fairly happy with that, because I generally like being on my own, as I'm not good with group social situations, and I don't drink. This immediately alienates me from many social activities, which unfortunately revolve around consuming alcohol. We still have a drink culture in this country.

Your parents shouldn't have concealed your autistic diagnosis from you. That was a mistake. You can't change who you are. Don't try to change your behaviour into something you aren't comfortable with, in order to conform. Try to find people who understand you, and accept you for who you are.

Anyway, I have more to say on this if you would like to talk, but it is late now and I'm ready for bed :)
Thanks for sharing, and I hope you can feel a bit less alone, knowing there are people here who can relate to your problems. PM me anytime, or continue the conversation on threads in the appropriate forums. I don't mind either way.
 
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Skels142

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Leicester
Thanks for the replies 😄 its already making me feel better amazingly enough
 
hicks

hicks

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Joined
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Messages
855
Location
In a galaxy, far far away..
I'm glad. I think we actually have a lot in common. You sound like a really nice person, and deserve to be happy. Don't waste your time with people who aren't on your wavelength.
For now focus on your studies and work on getting that degree. Are you in halls of residence, or student digs?
 
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Skels142

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
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Location
Leicester
For second year, I'm living in a house with 5 other people but I only did that because there weren't any other options. Throughout first year year I lived with flatmates and most of them would try to ignore me, especially when I went in the kitchen. It was kinda tough, especially nearer the end of the year.

i will definitely have to focus more on that degree, I agree. Thanks for the reply, are you a university student yourself?
 
hicks

hicks

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Joined
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Messages
855
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In a galaxy, far far away..
are you a university student yourself?
I was, quite a few years ago. I went to Newcastle and studied computing science. I had a small group of people I used to meet up with on a weekend, but I lived in halls for the entire time I was there. It suited me, but I do have some regrets that I could have made more effort to socialise.

So what sort of career do you see yourself getting into?
 
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Skels142

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Leicester
I don't know about a future career and in all honesty, I've never thought about what I want to do. I went to a careers evening once but it was a waste of time because I was the only first year there, so it was more tailored towards the higher years. I'll definitely have to think about it this year.

It's a strange thing because I feel like I meet up regularly with people as well for events, but despite that, I still feel lonely and isolated from other people (I don't know if you felt the same during university).
 
hicks

hicks

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Joined
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Messages
855
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In a galaxy, far far away..
I know exactly what you mean. It's possible to feel isolated even in a group. My daughter has the same problem. With her it's partly because she's not interested in the things most of her peers are into, so can't generate the level of energy required to make people want to talk with her.
Also do you find that conversation falls flat? Can you not think of things to say? Are you self-conscious? All these things can make you appear nervous and awkward, and don't encourage people to want to be friends. You know that people generally make a snap decision within the first 10 seconds of meeting you, whether they like you or not. First impressions are crucial.

In terms of career, have a think about software engineering. Companies often don't even care if you have a programming background, they will gladly take maths graduates, because they have a logical thinking brain. I really believe that this career path suits people who have social difficulties. I know for a fact that certain organisations within the cyber security sector will actively seek out autistic people, for a number of reasons.
 
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Skels142

Member
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Leicester
Yes, conversation can be tough mainly for me because I don't tend to do a lot of stuff outside of university, I just tend to game a lot and read... You know how people are always talking about TV shows and music and pets and holidays and stuff? I don't have pets, I don't tend to watch TV and I'm not much of a music guy either so you feel people don't share connections with you, which is hat makes it difficult for me. I'm not bad at socialising I just find it tough to find something to socialize about. Nobody really seems to play the games like I do (like Splatoon 2, Minecraft, etc). When I joined societies and stuff I introduced myself to people and it seemed to be going well but it's over the long people sort of realise there are more sociable people and are drawn to them.

I took maths at uni because I got a really good for a levels and I didn't enjoy anything else but maths is so different at uni and the change was really hard to get used to... I know maths has loads of career prospects too.
 
hicks

hicks

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In a galaxy, far far away..
You mentioned parkour. That's pretty cool. I would have thought there's things related to that going on, like rock/wall climbing?
If you have a games console, try inviting someone round to play something. I'm sure that would be a good way to make friends.
And a great way of getting people onside is to volunteer for something. You can gain popularity by helping others out.
 
sadpunchingbag

sadpunchingbag

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Welcome dude i also have Aspergers and loved maths in school. You are definitely welcome here as for the people bullying you fuck them they ain't shit. Focus on your studies and obviously have fun you will be the winner in the end lad.
 
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goodgollymiss

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Apr 6, 2017
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I could help you with math problems... maybe... I did a math degree
 
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goodgollymiss

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Have you tried using wikipedia to help with math or reading textbooks in the library before your courses
 
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goodgollymiss

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Sometimes you need to prepare for hard courses coming up in the summer
You can read online textbooks for tricky courses before the school year
 
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