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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team
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tdewar

Social Anxiety and confidence

2 posts in this topic

Hi,

I'm a male with Aspergers and just finished a 3 year course at University. Even though I did great academically I didn't get much out of things socially even though I did try and join a few societies. I feel this is due to me having anxiety in places I feel unfamiliar with and it takes me time to get to know and trust new people. I feel my life is passing by and I'm constantly missing out on great experiences with great people.

I have only a few close friends and struggle with talking to the opposite sex. I feel I have so much to offer but due to my lack of confidence and fear of being judged I'm too afraid to try and put myself out there which is incredibly frustrating and I usually just don't have the energy. I've often tried online dating but given it up due to lack of interest which I take personally in thinking that I'm unattractive to women and upsets me.

Ultimately I just want to feel content, happy and secure in myself but these worries seem to be really distracting my mind right now. Maybe I need to learn to be more patient but I just feel so fed up at the mo.

I know I may sound quite negative in this post but just feel overloaded and just seem to be going round in circles as my social life is concerned, any advice would be very much appreciated :)

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hello tdewar.

 firstly, congratulations on your successful completion of your uni course.

 now on to the other issues you've outlined. whilst i cannot give 'the solution' in terms of advices, i can perhaps outline perspectives that you may or may not have considered. please take all of which follows as autistic rambling and thought.

  i'll deal with each issue under broad umbrella categories, almost like a venn diagram as they insect, so perhaps best to consider them as gestalt rather than absolutely separate.

 1. anxiety - being autistic, one's anxiety stems from the stimulus issues eg. over-stimulation, sensory overload etc. as you mention, the unfamiliar heightens or exacerbates sensations of anxiety. it often helps to at least be aware that what we experience in terms of anxiety is 'normal' for us. yes, that doesn't much help with the anxiety, nor stop it, as we are sensory beings, but it does at least help to know /why/, and then not turn one's thinking in upon oneself in a 'there's something wrong with me, people don't like me because xyz'; this distorted self-perception can be very damaging so it is best to be aware of the pitfalls and not fall into them. a fear of being judged can feed into this, and i will deal with that aspect later on...              

2. the social ideals - one must be aware of the false ideal when it comes to life and self. the false expectations created by the idea that there is a perfect blueprint to follow when it comes to being a 'successful' person is a social construct and a lie. this gives rise to the sense one is 'missing out' on something, and 'life is passing by' because one has not achieved a benchmark. the tickboxes of this false social construct place unnecessary pressures on individuals to achieve that which is unachievable eg. success, a perfect partner, a perfect homelife, a perfect job, happiness etc. these are false ideals, and it is false thinking. it is a trap, a pitfall, and one that many people fall into. the result is this pressure to achieve that which is unachievable, and when in that mindset, the added pressure creates an exhausting effect on the individual. it's like a dog chasing its own tail; one just ends up going round in circles and berating oneself for failures which are irrational. so throw away the idea away.

3. other people and the dating game - consider for one moment one's expectations,

a) in regards to oneself

and then

B) in respect of others.

now ask the question: what do you want?

 this question can be applied to a) and b).

if disparity exists between a) and b), there will be incompatibility present (evidenced by factors such as feelings of frustration, anxiety, sense of failure, etc)

want is a variable.

 

in order to resolve/balance the 'self' equation, one must reduce the frequency of variables. this can be done by addressing:- the 'wants', (and variables inherent therein).

it is therefore important to identify whether 'self wants' are derived by

 i) external factors

or

ii) internal factors.

'external' factors include the social ideals outlined in 2. above, and are false expectations imposed upon the person; they are false ideals, ideas, and will create incompatibility in thinking and being. 'external' factors also increase variables. the result is that one then exists in a perpetual state of irresolution; one becomes stuck and cannot move forward; one's thinking turns inwards; one seeks constantly for a state of peace and security which seems ever illusive.

'internal' factors include self-defining ideals and arise out of one's own /natural/ pre-dispositions, thoughts and abilities.  these are true expectations as they stem from one's true nature - in our case, our pre-dispositions underpinned by our autistic abilities.

 

resolution of the a) variant, 'wants', and 'factors' means:-

removing any ideas which are non-compatible and stem from external 'false' factors and expectations

identifying and understanding 'internal' factors and 'self'.

 

"ultimately, i just want to feel content, happy and secure in myself..."<---i think you already know the answer and what i have outlined above is already there in the back of your mind. it is almost, and i will make a leap here, as if you need to give yourself permission to throw away the 'tickbox' social identity external factors you are aware you are subject to, and instead, define your own identity.

if you /want/ a girlfriend, and that is all you want, perhaps you need to think more deeply about what that 'want' /means/. we are a strange (and i mean strange in a gentle way) mixture of independent almost solitary nature yet simultaneously have an intrinsic need to give and share. i see it as a polarity, in that we want to touch, but prefer not to /be/ touched, until we can trust and feel safe with whom we are around. it's a fine balance, in finale, and one which can be achieved as long as one stays true to oneself, i think. one will then naturally gravitate to compatible environs which are in turn, inhabitant by compatible individuals.

like all things in life, truth is effortless, and should be effortless. anything else is false.

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