Isolation kills the Soul – growing up with Autism without knowing you’re on the Spectrum

Isolation kills the Soul – growing up with Autism without knowing you’re on the Spectrum
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I was always alone, but never lonely.

My mind was my best friend πŸ™‚

I was labelled as the strange kid that wandered off into daydreams. I spent my youth discovering whatever nature had in store for me to discover. I was fascinated by how things work, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with animals.

When I look back now, I realize that not many people took the time to try and get to know me. This added to my propensity to entertain myself. This led to me isolating myself and never really being part of a group.

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I was more of an observer than a participant. I would study other children, and I would study adults. I would imitate their behavior and analyse their speech patterns and tonality. I would then try and understand this ‘game’ they were playing since it always felt superfluous and fake. I was amazed to see how easy it seemed for them to engage with each other.

I remember when I was 8 years old I was invited to a birthday party on a farm. The girl’s parents transformed their garage into a party venue. Tables and chairs were placed at one end. They had snacks and cold drinks laid out and music was playing. They had a small disco ball and the lights flickering and the beat of the loud music gave me a headache. All the kids knew how to dance. I did not understand this? It was confusing to me to move in one place for no apparent reason, I did not get the logic behind it, and even today I still don’t…

I would start to move further away from social events like this, which meant that I spent less time in close social proximity to other humans.

I was so isolated that I neglected a basic human need – closeness.

Now, after decades of trauma, I understand where it went wrong. I killed my soul. I did not spend time with other humans in order to calibrate my own behavior to fit in with the broader community. This detachment caused pain and a sense of alienation albeit self-inflicted, a necessary evil to survive.

I now know that we need social contact, friendships and relationships in order to gauge if we are still ‘acceptable’ as humans. It gives us conditions of failure which we can then use to navigate our interpersonal relationships.

I wish more people took an interest in trying to engage with people like me and to try and understand how I see and experience the world. Even my own family slipped up on this one.

It took me decades of mapping social queues and their acceptable responses in behavior to just have a normal conversation with someone. This has been exhausting. I would have loved to spend more time with humans growing up…

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10 responses to “Isolation kills the Soul – growing up with Autism without knowing you’re on the Spectrum”

  1. This is one of those posts I can’t “like” because I don’t like that people ignored you as they chose to do. I actually preferred to be alone by myself over being with other people – being alone meant a breather from wearing the mask of who my parents wanted me to be and how they wanted me to act. My social activity was getting lost in a character’s life in a book and, I suppose, living vicariously through them. I am truly hoping that your posts are glimpses of your genuine and authentic self, because I have to say, I’m liking the person I see so far! In fact, you can come hide out in my closet with me if you need!

  2. i relate a lot to your posts. i love reading about your experiences through the lens of your younger self. you’re so open and honest!

  3. I followed this exact same path.. Its only lately I am really allowing myself to want and need connection, the fear of it may make us pretend otherwise but in the end we are only fooling ourselves.. that said a real connection cannot be forced..

  4. The title of your post says it all –
    Not being able to understand the world and why people acted in the way they did.
    Would love to chat more about your experiences, mainly so that I can help my young son negotiate the world that he struggles to connect with too.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,
    Steve

  5. The first 15 years of my life without a diagnosis caused a lot of issues. Bullying, mental health problems, mainstream school where no one really understood why I was weird. I had little friends and the ones I did sometimes manipulated me and left me out. It really hurt. I really relate to this post, thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

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