English isn’t my first language but it’s only one I know

The title of this post came about after an Internet argument with someone I consider a friend. It got pretty nasty. Near the end it felt like I was trying to translate from my own native tongue into English and getting frustrated that I didn’t know the words required to present my position. The only problem is, English is my native language. So shouldn’t I be able to adequately express myself in it?

My psychiatrist never got back to me with the referrals he promised. And now, being in New Zealand, I have to go through the whole process again. I’m not particularly looking forward too it. To be honest I’m not really looking forward to any aspect of my life. Look for a job? Who’d want to hire me. Go get my diploma? Why, I don’t really think I deserve it. See my friends? I’m not good company. Start a charity with the intention of bring broadband to regional communities in New Zealand? Who’d take me seriously. Get up tomorrow? To do what, mope some more.

Logically I know that this constant spiral of negativity isn’t healthy at all. No one has to remind me that. I’m the first to point it out to myself. But I really don’t know any better. What does being content even mean? Is that like sleeping? It’s like a mythical land of elves and dwarfs, everyone talks about it, but has anyone ever actually been there?

I need to own this, I need to go seek the help, no one else can do it for me. But the initial appointment costs $80, and I literally don’t have any money to speak of, and this isn’t something I really want to bring up with my parents.

I don’t know what to do.

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I don’t know if I can stay here anymore

I was talking to a friend last night about everything that has happened with me and he asked me a pointed question. He asked me if I’d thought about spending a year, or more, in New Zealand, to find myself before coming back. Needless to say it stuck with me for a bit. Honestly speaking, I don’t feel like I’m welcome here in Sydney.

Let me clarify, I mean Sydney is a big place, obviously there is going to be someone who likes me enough to put up with me. However, I don’t make friends easily. So losing a considerable bulk of my friend group over a girl is heartbreaking, even more so than the original heartbreak the said girl caused me.

Last Friday I organised a get together of friends, supposed to be a bring your own board games and hang out sort of thing. The only problem is, only one person turned up, and he was the one hosting the event with me. Worst still is the apologises, or lack of that, that I received. I only got maybe three legitimate excuses, one last minute, out of a group of around 12 people. The rest didn’t even reply, or bother to turn up despite saying they would.

It wasn’t like the timing was bad either, I gave everyone the entire day and suggested that they just “drop in when they can”. I am deeply annoyed at this, and unfortunately, I don’t feel like I can play this game anymore.

So it’s probably best I remove myself from the situation completely. And if that means I don’t come back to Sydney, so be it. I hope it doesn’t come to that, because I do like it here.

I “most likely” have Aspergers

So I went and saw a psychiatrist on Friday. He told me, after performing an AQ test on me, that I “most likely have Aspergers, Autism,  AD/HD or something of that vain”. I don’t know how I feel about this honestly. I mean it does provide some explanation as to why I always feel “different” and why I have such trouble with social interaction, but at the same time, the idea of using it as an excuse for socially unacceptable behaviour such as the recent saga with Emily does not sit well in my mind.

He explained a type of therapy that could be very useful for me and something I have been trying to express to my friends for many years. The therapy involves someone going over certain social situations with me and then explaining what various non-verbal cues me and what conclusions I should draw from a particular situation. I have been trying to ask my friends to do this with me in general, however it seems lost of them. The idea that I want to talk to someone like Emily to figure out what I have missed.

I mean in that particular situation I have come to understand the majority of the social group knew that she was not interested in me however no one, for various reasons, took me aside and told me this until the damage was irrevocable. However, I should not dwell on the past. I’ve already dedicated an entire post onto that particular topic. However it doesn’t seem to go away. Oh, I have all but dealt with my side I feel, however I am getting practically ignored by some friends and I am wondering as to why. Is it because they are sit of cleaning up my messes or listening to my problems? Is it because they have bias against me because they have been hanging out with Emily and Richard? I don’t know. I’m starting to wonder if they’re worth maintaining friends with.

Really, it’s hard enough for me to maintain friendships without having unexplained animosity. Just a few days ago a conflict with that I didn’t even know about came to a head, the result of which was me defending my actions of the past few months due to me posting a harmless motivational video on my Facebook wall. I had to tell the individual in question to stay out of things for a least a little while because he was being less than helpful. Not to mention he called me selfish. I don’t understand how someone who clearly has a dislike for me feels that trying to help me is in my best interests. I mean, if you can’t get over your preconception that lead you to dislike me, how precisely are you going to empathise with me? Isn’t empathy required to help someone? Or is that some naive noble sentiment I have developed?

I also noted while planning for my upcoming trip back home that I have been unintentionally neglecting friends. None of them made an issue of it, so I didn’t think anything of it, and considering everything I have been through in the past few years it has been difficult to even maintain my friendships here, let alone long distance ones. I kinda feel bad about that. But at the same time I’m not very good at small talk. I make friends with people of mutual interests whom I can engage in mutually stimulating activities. The only exception to this is a friend I meet every Wednesday for lunch. And that I do because it is strongly ingrained in my weekly “schedule” to the point that I notice and actually feel a little bit distressed if it doesn’t happen. Apparently maintaining a schedule like this is one of the defining characteristics of Aspergers.

Which brings me full circle. I really don’t know if I like the idea of having Aspergers. I mean, I used to not know any better, but now I do, and feeling like I don’t belong is something that has been eating at me for a couple of years now. I want to belong. Right now I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. I spent quite a while finding a niche at University I thought I felt comfortable in, but apparently I’m not welcome in that area again. I can’t just go to the place to hang out like I used to. I don’t feel safe.

And I don’t mean I don’t feel comfortable, I mean that I fear that someone might actually physically harm me if I go there at the wrong time. And that isn’t something I should be feeling.

My thoughts are a mess

I was told to start this blog by some concerned friends. They have been suggesting it for a while, telling me it will probably be good to get some of my thoughts down on paper. After all, they are a bit of a mess and difficult to understand.

Things have been going downhill for me ever since Semester 2 last year (2011). Not entirely sure exactly what went wrong but the course load got too much for me to handle and I started having dips into anxiety and depression. Neither of which were pleasant for me, or any of my friends I’m sure.

I thought I was recovering well, what with seeing a psychologist and everything at the start of this year. This is when I meet Emily. I still wasn’t completely on top of my emotions, so I was worried that if I decided to try and start any kind of relationship it would be too much for the girl in question.

I also was having trouble with the concept of what I was supposed to be like before I could start looking for a relationship. The problem is I didn’t think, and still don’t think, I’ll fully recover from whatever it is that is wrong with me. So I thought maybe since I was improving it would be okay to ask out Emily.

I was wrong. Emily, I believe has some kind of learning disability, my guess is autism, and doesn’t understand non-verbal cues. If I was a little more perceptive I might have noticed this earlier. She was saying one thing, and doing another, and for some like me, who has Higher Functional Aspergers, I find this difficult to process. I decided to follow the non-verbal cues, since that is what most neurotypicals, I have learned, base their behaviour on.

For Emily however, this was too much, I later learned. She had told me, as clearly as she could, she wasn’t interested in me, or anyone in fact, in that way. The idea that she could be testing me, that she was just having cold feet, didn’t cross her mind at all. I continued to purse her.

I feel terrible for this, I have spent my entire life trying to understand other people, trying to understand what all the subtle things they do mean, and not once in the months that this situation ended up being drawn up to did it cross my mind that someone might actually be like me, straightforward and say exactly what they mean. I thought no one was like me.

This situation was complicated greatly by a third player, Richard, who as far as I can tell is interested in Emily too. This would be okay, because a quick explanation of what happened with me, and he would probably understand that Emily was different and that he needs to treat her different.

Unfortunately Richard isn’t tolerant of anyone who doesn’t fit the social normative, which obviously I don’t. He and Emily were developing a close friendship, which I’m pretty sure he expected, and maybe even still expects, to develop into something more (which is eerily similar to my initial reaction to my relationship with Emily).

As things between me and Emily were breaking down further, to the point that she had stopped talking to me and was activity avoiding me, I asked Richard for some advice. He used this as an opening to belittle everything I have done wrong in his eyes.

Needless to say I told him to stuff off, and stopped talking to him, and tried using other friends who more understanding to figure out what had gone wrong. He still holds a grudge for that, and even thought I have apologised to him, he seems not at all interested in resolving the situation.

In fact in some ways he has actively sabotaged efforts on my part to resolve things with Emily. With help of friends I have come to the conclusion that he is interested in Emily, and although Emily and he are close and even engage in behaviours that some would interrupt to mean a budding relationship was forming (for example Emily letting Richard stay over at her place for the night), Emily does not reciprocate this feeling, or even know that her actions may be understood differently, and Richard blames me for this.

A few weeks ago I gave Emily an ultimatum. I was sick of the games and wanted some kind of finality to come over the situation. I told Emily I would cease all contact with her if she was unwilling to do anything towards redeeming the situation.

She chose the former option, and true to my word I have ceased all contact with her. I even gave up some activities, and hang out spots, for her benefit. In her last message to me she indicated that she thought she had been clear, and was actually annoyed that I thought otherwise and thought the mutual friends who agreed with me were sympathising with me rather than being objective.

However since then, things have been difficult for me. With now limited contact with my friends, I am feeling isolated and lonely, and even quite resentful of the whole situation. It seems to me that the positive development of putting this situation to rest has instead turned into my own personal hell of my own making.

And most of my friends are completely oblivious to this. I hear about their board games days with Emily, I hear about their plans to go the beach, and these things they seem to make no accommodation for me. Annoying really because the reason things started to break down with me and Emily after a certain point was not because I will still pursuing her, but because she was neglecting me. Now not only am I getting neglected by her, by extension, a large part of my friendship group.

I know they’re not doing it on purpose, but it still hurts. Hopefully my life takes a positive turn soon because I’m not coping very well, although I am seeking psychiatric help.

Names have been changed for privacy reasons.