Monday, November 18, 2013

Wrestling With Myself (Part 1) - Bitterness

Oftentimes, bitterness, envy, anxiety, and depression can build up without me even realizing it. This happens most often when I'm at college, and I tend to blame outside circumstances for my misfortune, even if it's the result of my sour attitude. I realized recently that my jealousy of neurotypicals was starting to show a hint of arrogance; and along with my [view] of NT's as a separate species, I began to subconsciously view aspies as superior.
I suppose I was trying to make up for my own inferiority in this society.

I recently read an article about Adam Lanza and reasons why he probably didn't have Asperger's. However, a heart-wrenching paragraph about an aspie at their lowest explains that we are at least capable of feeling enough anguish to corrupt us from the inside, if we're left to suffer long enough. Still, the chances of it developing into a conscious decision to hurt others is slim. When we're deprived of our needs and desires, what might emerge instead is anger and jealousy, as Charli Devnet points out in her article.

"Long after those days were past, when I was in my twenties and thirties—and, yes, in my forties—my heart would sink whenever I happened upon a group of teenagers chatting, flirting, and enjoying themselves. An unreasonable envy would seize me, and I would curse them under my breath and wish them misfortune. I knew that my reaction was irrational, that these young people had done me no harm, that they were not the bullies who had tormented me and locked me out of their world. Logic could not dispel the anger and pain that seethed within."
"Aspies are prey animals, said Tony Attwood…Wounded prey may, however, grow desperate and strike back."
Read the full article here.

Regrettably, I can relate. Oh, do I relate! When I'm having a bad day (which is about 50% of the time), this is my everyday experience, from going to classes to eating lunch alone in the cafeteria. Even as I pass people on the sidewalk, witnessing friends talking and having fun, and couples holding hands... my heart sinks because I can't have that. I have to conserve my energy, so I can't keep up with college life and friends at the same time. I have to sacrifice one for the other,  or at the very least, settle for less in one category.

It's difficult for me not to be bitter, since I'm constantly pressured by societal norms and expectations that I don't have the ability to meet. I cannot read people well or empathize, most social events cause sensory overload, and I avoid unfamiliar situations because they disorient me.
It helps to relate to other aspies.

Once I'm able to break the ice, I'm actually quite good at making friends. But my barriers, especially at college, seem to keep me a million miles away from having normal social life. My solitude becomes a prison of anguished loneliness as my discontent grows. My perspective narrows and I'm blinded by misery as I deal with these feelings by myself. I've conditioned myself not to cry, no matter how much it hurts.

As tempting as it might be, I shouldn't jump to the conclusion that I've got it worse than everyone else. We all have our own problems that differ in quantity and quality, but they are still difficult for each of us. Still, I cannot deny the fact that I have to deal with this every day of my life. Some days are better than others, but I'm constantly reminded of my shortcomings because our society seems to favor extroversion and social adeptness.

But it's not like this all the time. There's a way out of this mess.
Stay tuned for "Wrestling With Myself (Part 2)."

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