Hello from Denmark, I am an 18 year old first year college student. I attend a special college for people on the autism spectrum. My diagnosis is high functioning autism/Asperger.
First a little backstory. Prior to attending college i attended a different special needs school for a couple of years, but i completely isolated myself as i hated the people there. The place was so bad that it made me physically ill. I began getting regular headaches, generally just feeling really terrible, and would stay home from school 4/5 days a week for about 4 months. I was basically stuck in bed for close to 4 months. At some point during those months i began to stop caring about anything, and did have very brief suicide thoughts on multiple occasions (that i quickly dismissed though). I am pretty sure i was falling into depression. I luckily moved to a better school, which seemed to pull me out of the almost depressed state i was in, but i continued to isolate myself as my classmates enjoyed minding their own business 100% of the time. I was at that school for about a year.
Now, classes in my college began Tuesday last week and the first week was mainly used to build and strengthen the friendship in the class.
My problem is, after this week, I still don’t care about any of them. At all. As soon as i leave the school premises, they leave my mind. Completely.
I’m mainly stuck in my room as soon as i get home, and i never go out. I have no close friends left. Never been in a relationship. I talk to myself a lot. I simply do not care about other humans or making any relations. I also have a harder time with empathy than normal human beings, but that’s normal for autistic people i think.
It’s probably irrelevant, but My self esteem is also rotten, i think of myself as lower than every other human being i have ever been in contact with in terms of looks, talent, skill and worth, and i usually downplay all of my so called “achievements” in life.
There is no way not caring about other people (or myself) like this is normal. Whats wrong with me?
I Don’t Seem to Care for Other People
I Don’t Seem to Care for Other People
You recently began attending a new school and have not made friends in the first week. That is not unusual. No one, autistic or otherwise, can make real connections in a week. Relationships need time to develop. It could take years to sincerely know someone at a deep level. The fact that your peers “leave your mind” as soon as you leave the premises, is fairly normal. You hardly know them.
You mentioned having gone to specialized schools in the past. If your college is also a specialized school, then other people with autism likely attend. As you noted, people with autism have trouble developing relationships. It might not be that you are the problem. It could be that you are reaching out to people, but they are not reciprocating. Relationships are two-sided. If they are not interested in forming relationships, then it is going to be difficult to connect with them. It could be them and not you. A therapist could objectively assess your situation and assist you in developing more positive connections with people.
The other issue of concern is your potential depression and your low self-esteem. It will be difficult to develop healthy relationships when you think so little of yourself. If you don’t value yourself, then others might follow your lead. This should be corrected. Developing a healthy level of self-esteem is another issue a therapist could help to correct.
Researchers have developed new psychosocial treatments for individuals with autism, who are struggling with relationships. One of the most recent, promising developments is cognitive enhancement therapy (CET). You might try researching it on the internet. If you choose to begin counseling, choose a therapist who specializes in working with people with autism. Counseling could help you better navigate social relationships and raise your self-esteem. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle