Need career advice

Lately I have been facing two major problems in my life. My loneliness that I’ve mentioned before and problems in my career and the possibility that I will have to leave my current career over something that may be a result of me having Asperger’s. Both are causing me sleepless nights and I’m facing some very hard times as I figure out solutions to both problems if there happens to be problems. For the loneliness unfortunately there isn’t a solution that offers a guarantee of a resolution to my lowliness. For example, I could leave Utah to find a state with more diversity but there is no guarantee that this will help with my loneliness. In fact, initially I would be more lonely as I will be leaving my family base here in Utah. There doesn’t seem to be a resolution for my career either as it seems that all information technology jobs require me to have a skill (Oral Communication) that I cannot seem to master so even if I were to get another information technology job I will be in the same boat. There really isn’t any IT jobs that doesn’t require oral communication skills. I could change careers but I will have to take a big pay cut and be even more limited in my career options. Plus there doesn’t seem to be anything other than IT that I have any talents in.

My employer has a grading scale of 1 through 5 with 1 being unacceptable, 3 being average, and 5 being extraordinary. The average employee scores 5’s in all categories but my overall score has been a consistent 3 ever since I started. Some of it had to do in the past with coming to work late and missing deadlines, falling asleep at work which I haven’t done in a long time. My biggest issue is Oral communications. My boss keeps saying that he use to be shy but was able to not be shy but this isn’t so easy for me and it appears that Asperger’s is a factor in my case. My boss told me that when he first took over our unit he thought that I couldn’t talk. As a result I am stuck where I’m at and would like to move up the ladder.

I mentioned this problem to my therapist and she claims that I could make an Americans with disabilities claim but I don’t think this is the case. Reasonable accommodations doesn’t inlcude eliminating a skill requirement for the job. For example, a person who is deaf or hard of hearing can be supplied with assistive technology such as closed captioning, having someone who know sign language sign, etc for meetings but they cannot completely eliminate the requirement that they have to have good listening skills. Through assistive technology, someone deaf or hard of hearing is able to participate in the workforce and listen to meetings and co-workers.

I’m trying to decide if I should leave the Information Technology field altogether even though I have a college degree in Computer Science and it pays more than most jobs or try to find an IT job that doesn’t require so much oral communication skills if such a job exists. Also should I leave my current employer? I’ve been working at my current employer for over 25 years and have seniority. I didn’t work in IT my entire career though. I started out in data entry making a little more than minimum wage, moved to a job mailing out notices, and finally getting a job in IT. It would be a difficult change for me and there is the risk that I won’t do well at another employer and end up jobless. If I do decide to leave IT, where should I go? First of all, I don’t have very many talents and computers is my primary skill and it was my dream job to go into IT. I enjoy my job in IT but don’t like scoring 3’s out of 5’s and being unable to move up. I’ve tried many approaches to develop oral communications and not be shy but all my attempts failed and lacking oral communications is the main reason I’m scoring so poorly at my job.

It bothers me especially reading many sites that say Information Technology is a great job for shy and introverted people when in my case it is an okay job but I am getting nowhere since I am shy and lack oral communication skills. Due to being shy I don’t participate in meetings as often as others which hurts me when it comes to my evaluation and I’m stuck getting 3’s. I was thinking of this one sleepy night when I suddenly remembered one of my college professors saying that if you are introverted that Computer Science/Information Technology isn’t your field and you should consider a different major if you are shy and introverted. It seems some people feel IT is the perfect field for introverts while others don’t and looking at a lot of IT jobs from other employers they also mention good oral communication skills are a must. Can anyone offer me advice on what to do?

 

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Need emotional support that I cannot get

The past few weeks have really been rough for me and I could use a hug or some emotional support. Unfortunately this isn’t possible for me. I even sent an email the The Samaritans after so many difficulties sleeping all week and especially last night. I was debating if I should go to work but I know my boss wouldn’t believe me and if he did and found out it was due to sleep he would consider this an invalid reason to call in sick. Everybody needs a hug, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to help give you emotional support. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible especially if you have Asperger’s. It’s been very tough on me for the past few weeks and I’ve considered suicide as a possible option.

First, summer is a great time to share with a significant other and I’ve encountered even worse luck than before. I am starting to realize that I will never find someone just like my classmates in high school told me. Of course back in high school I was thinking of suicide but figured my life could only get better. Boy was I wrong and I would say that I wouldn’t be alive right now if I knew how my life would be. At 48 it’s time to realize that I’m going to be lonely for the rest of my life. It really upsets me that I can be so defective that no woman will even talk to me. In fact, I have the opposite happening to me compared to other men. I’ve actually had women tell me that they see me as a piece of trash and wouldn’t be caught dead with me.

It didn’t help that my 30 year high school reunion was just a couple of weeks ago. As I mentioned in my previous blog I decided that I will not be going to my 30 year reunion. After some treatment by fellow classmates a couple of weeks ago, it is a good idea that I decided not to go. I’m not considered a member of the class of 1989 and there are actually classmates 30 years later who would have been upset to see me at this reunion. It really hurts to be rejected by your own high school class and it hurts even more to know even 30 years later this hate still exists. Now I want to forget about my high school days even more. In addition to the treatment by classmates I didn’t go because some very rough memories will be relived and I’ll see many of the women who rejected me as well as the men who ridiculed me and called me a loser and said that I would never get married. I can hear it now from many of these classmates telling me “I told you so.” They knew I would never get married and would die alone.

I’m also realizing that I’m stuck in a dead end job. I initially like my job but now that I’m at the top of the career ladder and co-workers are getting promotions while I cannot because I have a poor performance evaluation. Since I’m crappy at Oral communications I am only getting 3’s out of 5’s which is like getting C’s. It isn’t a failing grade but it isn’t an A either. I’ve been questioning if I should even be in Information Technology since Oral Communications is such a big requirement and I’ve been unable to be a talkative person. I’m learning that I don’t belong in Information Technology and it isn’t like I can find a job in IT that doesn’t require so much oral communications. I like my job but I also want to move up plus my current boss micromanages too much which I believe is one reason there has been so many other employees who quit. I’ve asked the question if there is anywhere in IT that I can do good since I seem to be good in coding and testing but not in communications but I’m learning that there doesn’t seem to be anywhere. It also doesn’t help when I have no friends or mentors to help me decide. I’ve also questioned where I could fit in if not IT. It seems IT (particularly programming) is my only talent that I can make a living off of. It’s also difficult for me to spend breaks alone.

To top it off I do stupid things that get people to hate me such as today when driving the traffic started slowing down as I was trying to make a lane change and I nearly rear-ended a car. I had someone flash their lights at me and another person follow me to the parking lot. If I wouldn’t be such a stupid idiot I wouldn’t be hated so much. I’m not a good person and I’m starting to develop my own self-hatred. It is unacceptable that I could make such a foolish mistake. This is another reason women hate me. They don’t want an idiot for a boyfriend. I cannot sleep at night and could use a hug especially after developing a deep down hatred towards myself. I am a horrible person to make such stupid mistakes. This is one reason I cannot get a hug or emotional support. I’m just not a good person and until I act more like a human then I can expect to be treated like garbage.

Why I won’t be attending my class reunion

For many people high school is a golden time of their life that they wish that they could return to. Unfortunately my high school experience wasn’t golden. I was treated poorly by classmates and was hated by many classmates, many classmates were going on their first dates but I was hated by women so I didn’t really have dates, and I also had no friends making me lonely. During my senior year I thought of committing suicide. By the time I graduated in 1989 I was emotionally drained and wanted to forget about my high school days. This year is the 30th anniversary of my class and they plan to hold a reunion. I won’t be going to this reunion for three reasons. First because I wasn’t well liked by most of my classmates and they would rather not see me anyway. Second, I have been depressed and lonely and bringing back the bad memories from high school will make me even more depressed. Finally, many of my classmates predicted that I would never get married and that I would be a failure. I don’t really want them to tell me how right they were that I would not be married and even though I’ve had some success in my life it isn’t as much success that I wanted and they would probably still find a way to tell me that I’m a failure. I even waged a bet with 5 of my classmates in a metal shop class who predicted that I would never be married during our 25 year reunion and bet me $20 that I wouldn’t be married. We didn’t hold a 25 year reunion but at 30 years I am unmarried and gave up looking.

Many of my classmates disliked me and perhaps I caused some of the hate but many always saw me as different and made fun of me. Many made fun of me and some would get upset with me even if I try to say hello to them. I dealt with some who happened to see me in college and they let me know that they felt that I didn’t belong in college. I was depressed in high school due to all the rejection and often longed for a friend that I never had in high school. For a while I had a friend but he graduated early and during my junior year he studied in Germany. I also faced a lot of rejection and eventually thought about committing suicide and in a way felt I should have went with my plan to commit suicide back then even though it would have hurt my family so badly. When I talked to counselors they kept reassuring me that women will eventually “grow up” shortly after high school and I would find a woman interested in me. This of course never happened and I faced the same rejection I had in high school in college. Ironically the primary reason I went to college was to find a woman.

My time in high school had many negative memories that I don’t want to relive. From the teasing by classmates, students who hated me and let me know it, and the constant rejection when looking for a friend. To this day simple things bring back bad memories. For example, I may see a young couple and it brings back memories and me wishing that I would have found some woman who was interested in me. It also reminds me how lonely I currently am and how at 48 it is safe to say I will be lonely for the remainder of my life. Seeing the students who ridiculed me will definitely bring back some bad memories and make me even more depressed. Especially seeing people who were total jerks to me being happily married and me in the same situation I was back in high school, lonely and wishing some woman loved me.

Finally, most of my classmates wouldn’t want me there anyway or they want me there for the wrong reasons such as to tell me that they told me so that I wouldn’t ever get married or that I would be a failure. With me already in a depressed mood this will make me even more depressed and longing for friends. It’s bad enough facing being lonely. I am certain that I will be unable to deal with classmates telling me that I was wrong and the ones I made bets with will probably remember this bet that I wouldn’t be married during our 25 year reunion. It will also be hard for me to see women who rejected me back in high school.

For many, high school is a golden time of their life but for other people like me, high school wasn’t that great of a time and you wish that you could forget your time in high school. Many people wish that their high school days could last forever and have fond memories of their high school days such as going to a prom, etc.

Can someone with Asperger’s be a good and safe driver?

I want to apologize for yesterdays entry as my life hasn’t been going too well and my driving problems and co-workers not liking me because I’m a bad driver has really upset me. Anyone wants to be a safe driver and it really upsets me that I cannot figure out what I’m doing wrong and was even told by a co-worker that if I have no idea what I’m doing wrong then I shouldn’t even be driving in the first place. If I knew what I was doing wrong does this co-worker think that I would continue to do this even though I’m pissing off other drivers? Most drivers want to not only avoid an accident but also avoid road rage. I have literally beat myself up over this and have struggled for a long time to figure what is wrong with me and my driving. I’ve been so self-conscious that I avoid driving when I can and get nervous when I am driving. I remember during college I even didn’t feel like driving on some days and avoided going to class.

Of course with me having Asperger’s I have been asking myself if it has anything to do with me having Aspergers and if it does can I (someone who has Asperger’s be a good and safe driver. I was searching on the internet and came upon a blog from the new york times titled Aspergers, Autism and Learning to Drive. In this article the concerns were with people having Asperger’s/Autism following rules by the book and not being able to read facial expressions. Of course I tend to lose interest in an article that includes Autism Speaks speaking for people with Autism/Asperger’s. It is a long story to explain why a lot of people on the spectrum dislike Autism Speaks and don’t want them speaking on their behalf. Long story short they really aren’t in tune with people on the spectrum. This article mentioned a study by the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation from Rutgers University saying that only 24% of their respondents with Autism were independent drivers. You have to figure in that in major cities, people don’t need a car since the local mass transit can get them anywhere they need to go. The sampling of patients most likely was in a major city with mass transit and if they were in another area the amount of independent drivers with Asperger’s would be higher. There are also people currently driving who may have Asperger’s or other spectrum disorder but haven’t been diagnosed. My personal opinion is that this article has been over-active. Asperger’s or other spectrum disorders may affect driving but not as much as this article claims. In my case I’m not so sure if Asperger’s is the cause of my driving problems. Of course I have no idea what I am doing wrong so I cannot make an accurate diagnosis on the cause of my bad driving.

Is it possible that I just learned bad habits and since I really don’t have a friend or relative with me, I don’t notice? For example, if I had a wife riding with me she would give me constructive feedback if she notices something I was doing that was unsafe. I have few friends so I wouldn’t get feedback from friends either. Without a wife or friends it would be hard for me to get the constant feedback that others get about their driving. My drivers ed days didn’t go too well and I was very nervous to drive with the instructor. My instructor tried to be patient with me but really couldn’t give me as much help as I may have needed. He did realize that I was nervous around classmates so he did one-on-one sessions with me but still I may not have learned too well. I remember that I dreaded driving with the instructor unlike other students who looked forward to driving with the instructor after school. I don’t know if my instructor knew that I was nervous to drive or understood me being nervous other than him realizing that I was extremely nervous when with other students. I also considered quitting the class. I was really bad in drivers ed and even had other drivers yelled at me while driving the drivers ed car (the car was marked with green and yellow stickers) and I became a legend because I was able to make my instructor really mad at me even though he is known for being patient with other students. Learning with my parents didn’t go too well either. They were expecting me to already know how to drive after I was given a learners permit. I remember I dreaded driving with my parents too and even was nervous after I got my license. It is very possible that I could have developed habits that made it past drivers education and even after I got my drivers license. If I remember correctly, my behind the wheel tester mentioned that I missed a red light and that I took a turn too fast but he still passed me. Since there was snow on the curbs he decided not to do the parallel parking test. I knew others who didn’t get tested on parallel parking even in the summer. Of course the testers may have figured that it isn’t as necessary as other skills. It is possible for someone who has no idea how to parallel park to drive. They just would have to look for parking lots since they couldn’t parallel park.

What is even more perplexing about my driving problems is that years ago I told a therapist about how I was self-conscious of my driving. She knew a friend from a local driving school who she had drive with me. He didn’t see anything wrong with my driving. It gave me a boost of self-esteem until I started having the same problems of drivers getting angry at me. I brought this up to another therapist I saw. This therapist decided to ride with me for a few minutes and in this few minutes did notice something I was doing wrong. I cannot remember what it was but I don’t think it was major but she did mention that this habit could cause some drivers to be upset. My biggest problem seems to be that I anger drivers behind me especially when I approach a car ahead or I’m driving behind a car. Especially a car in front of me going really slow. It upsets me that I am so clueless as to what I could be doing wrong and don’t seem to even have a clue. The only thing that I can think of is I am slowing down when they aren’t expecting me to. To the best of my knowledge the driver in front of me doesn’t get mad. At least I haven’t noticed any driver in front of me getting mad at me, it seems to just be the driver behind me. Perhaps I brake too early or keep too big of a following distance. I just cannot seem to figure it out and it is really hard to ask an angry motorist especially when many would say that if I have no idea what I’m doing wrong then I shouldn’t be driving at all. Others could get even more upset at me for asking them. I’m not too good at dealing with angry people.

I’m sorry this article has went into can I drive safely instead of can someone with Aspergers or other spectrum disorder drive safely. I would say that it is very possible that someone on the spectrum can drive safely. In my case I was learning to drive long before I was unofficially diagnosed with Aspergers. In fact, there probably weren’t very many people diagnosed with Asperger’s at this time and the ones who are on the spectrum most likely were diagnosed with something else such as generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety. There is a well written article on this topic at Behind the Wheel with Autism: A Personal Perspective. I think it would be beneficial for people on the spectrum and off the spectrum to practice driving a bicycle on the roads since you can learn some of the basics of reading people and situations. It is also a good idea to choose a driving school that has simulators and a practice driving course. In my case my high school didn’t have simulators or a driving course so my first time was driving on the streets and I not only had to handle the rules and logic of driving, I had to learn the basics of maneuvering a car. It is very important that parents of students on the spectrum be patient with their son or daughter. It is hopeful that the instructor understands and has dealt with people who are nervous driving. It would be helpful if they also understood teaching people on the spectrum how to drive.

With all the video games with realistic steering wheels and pedals that even provide feedback I wonder if there isn’t as many people who are driving on the road for the first time in drivers ed who don’t know some basics on maneuvering a car unlike my situation. Even though these video game cars are not the real thing, they are good at simulating some maneuvers. It could even be possible to create a driving simulator that plays on a PC or gaming console. I hope that driving simulators are more affordable than in the past for drivers education programs. They would be more helpful since students can master the basics of maneuvering and do so at their own pace. Driving on a range could be limiting since it has to be open and you may only be able to practice for a couple hours at the most.

Are you on the spectrum and drive a car? If so I would like to hear from your experiences. This driving problem of mine has been a major problem in my life and I’ve even avoiding driving when I can because I am so self-conscious. I have also literally beat myself up over this. It is so frustrating since I’m wondering if I can drive or not. If I were to get another instructor to look into my driving what are the chances that this instructor will not find anything like the other driving instructor? Is there any kind of listing of drivers education instructors who specialize in teaching people on the spectrum driving skills? How would I go about solving the biggest problem with drivers behind me getting mad? Should I have the instructor drive behind me in a car or could they figure out a possible cause by watching me from inside the car? Please comment on your advice to people on the spectrum who are learning to drive. I also would appreciate any feedback on how I can figure out what is wrong with my driving.

Hating myself and thinking of death.

 

Things haven’t gone so well for me in 2019. This will be the 30th year since high school and I won’t be one of the people who go to my class reunion since so many classmates hated me. In fact, there is one group of guys that will be there whom I made a bet back in a metal shop class that I won’t be married during the 25 year reunion. My class skipped their 25 year reunion so this technically will be my 25 year reunion. With it already being 30 years it has been hard for me to see all the classmates who ridiculed me get married but it never happened to me. I often think of what happens when I get old since I have nobody to take care of me. I also am depressed that I’m so lonely and there is nothing that I can do about it. I also wanted to be a father but these dreams are gone.

I have tried to forget my high school days but there is always something that brings back such rough memories. Whether it is seeing classmates with kids and being happily married, seeing a young couple, or simply seeing some simple thing brings back these terrible memories. For example, if I see a last name similar to a classmates last name or see a classmate mentioned in the paper it quickly brings back these memories. As I mentioned in a previous blog I never had a great time in high school and during my senior year thought about suicide and even thought about carrying it out. Counselors found out about my plans since I left a suicide note to be found thinking I would get help. I thought that perhaps I could have my brain fixed and enjoy a woman like my classmates and not be stupid and made fun of because of it. If I realized that nothing would help me I wouldn’t have left the note to be found and just carried out the suicide. At the time I couldn’t deal with people hating me and calling me a “retard”. It was also difficult for me since I seemed to be stupid and always seemed to do dump things while driving and causing people to hate me. About the only things I learned from this was that I cannot be helped and that my family would have been devastated if I ended my life successfully. I feared that I would live a lonely life, be treated with disrespect all my life, and would lose my drivers license. I feared not living the normal life.

Fast forward 30 years and I now know I will never get married. I also am still ridiculed for being stupid just not as much as when I was in high school. I also seemed to be a stupid driver. After high school, I developed a deep sense of self hatred and would punch myself if I angered someone. At the time I wasn’t seeing a Psychiatrist (It’s a long story of why I stopped seeing a psychiatrist) and had a brother who thought that I was doing it for attention. I went back to the Psychiatrist and had a new diagnosis called Generalized Anxiety Disorder/Social Anxiety. I was originally diagnosed with Schizophrenia but after seeing the same Psychiatrist he decided that I didn’t have Schizophrenia. For years I took nearly every anti-depressant out there and a couple of anti-anxiety medications. None of these seemed to help and my Psychiatrist concluded that my claims that I was angering other motorists was either a hallucination or me setting myself up to fail. During this time I still felt self-conscious of driving but avoided hitting myself like I did before. The medications were also supposed to help me better relax in social situations which didn’t happen so other anti-depressants were tried until I basically tried nearly all anti-depressants out there. At the time my psychiatrist was considering that I had something else other than social anxiety or generalized social anxiety I think he even mentioned one time as an example, Asperger’s but cannot remember if this was the word he mentioned as a possibility. At this time my psychiatrist was about to retire and I was referred to another psychiatrist. During this time I was also seeing therapists and went through a lot of them as they left.

I was assigned to another psychiatrist and eventually change to another therapist. During this time I was talking to this new therapist who is my current therapist and she saw signs that I may have a disease called Asperger’s. After some tests she gave me an unofficial diagnosis of Asperger’s. As mentioned in my earlier blogs this was mixed news. The good news is it seems that now I know what was wrong with me and Asperger’s seemed to explain my problems much better than Schizophrenia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or Social Anxiety. The bad news of course is that Asperger’s has no cure.

After angering a co-worker at work with my driving I have concluded that I am simply unable to drive. So now I am robbed of a relationship with a woman, I am robbed of having a normal brain, and now may have to give up driving. I’ve developed a great deal of hatred towards myself especially after angering this co-worker who seemed to be a great person and before seemed to like me. I’m realizing that Asperger’s is nothing more than a curse and it looks like I cannot live a normal life. Once again my hatred has been so intense that I keep thinking of this co-worker and others and start punching myself in the brain. I’m sick of being hated by others and I’m realizing that I’m simply a worthless person and don’t want to rely on mass transit. Especially when I won’t have the freedom to go camping, fishing, etc since a bus doesn’t go to the back country. I’m realizing that I should have committed suicide back in high school as the life I feared is here and I simply don’t want to live this kind of life. It’s bad enough being lonely. The only problem this time is that I know how devastated my family will be if I commit suicide. The problem is I cannot stand being hated and knowing that I am unable to live a normal life because of Asperger’s. They will always blame themselves for what happened if I do commit suicide. The problem is I don’t want to go through the hell anymore especially realizing that I have lost everything that I feared most in my life. I’ve concluded that I am a bad person to be a bad driver and that if I cannot handle the simple function of driving a car than I am worthless. I will not be respected by my peers and already caused co-workers to hate me due to my driving. I don’t see me as a real human being. I see myself as a piece of garbage and know that I deserve all the hatred I am currently going through and the hatred I faced all my life.

Please think of the fatherless men on fathers day.

Today is an important day for most men my age. It is when their children thank their dad for all that he has done for them. When I was younger I didn’t think much of Fathers Day but the past few years Fathers Day has almost been as depressing as Valentines Day for me. One difference between Fathers Day and Valentines day is that I can stay home for Valentines day but Fathers Day I have to hide my depressed feelings to join my family and thank my own dad for all that he has done. I remember years ago a friend once said that men who are fathers deserve a day like this as if people who end up single and lonely chose to be lonely and chose not to be fathers. Back then it really didn’t bother me as much as it does today. I guess in my 20s and 30s, I figured that I will eventually get married as some people kept telling me will eventually happen when I talked about my troubles find a woman.

I ask people to think of the lonely during Fathers Day. There are many men who wanted to be married and have children who weren’t given these gifts. For them Fathers Day is spent with their own father until their father is gone. Then it will be another depressing day like Valentines Day where they are reminded of how lonely they really are. It isn’t like all men will eventually find a woman.

Making women feel uncomfortable around me.

Today I wanted to expand on my previous entry on April 10th about how some women have hated me or found me creepy. Unfortunately, most of the mistreatment that I encountered by women like Amanda who I mentioned in my last entry is my own fault. I seem to have some kind of intense gaze and women find this creepy. A lot of times I don’t even realize that I have this gaze. I don’t know for sure if this is why someone like Amanda would hate me so much but there has to be something that I did prior to her friend Valerie doing the sick prank of making a fake note to get me to write a note to Amanda. Valerie wouldn’t have been successful with her prank if it weren’t for Amanda to dislike me and feel uncomfortable about me. To this day I am still mad at myself for responding the way I did to the note under the assumption that it wasn’t a forgery. When I received the note that claimed to be from Amanda, I didn’t want to be mean to her and assumed that this note wasn’t fake. Of course the rest is history, the note ended up being fake and my attempt to respond nicely to her made her feel freaked out about me. To this day she probably has no idea that her so called friend Valerie had sent a note to me to provoke me to send one back and I was stupid enough to assume the note wasn’t fake and respond to it.

The reason I want to take another look at this is I have a woman at work who has shown signs that she feels uncomfortable around me. It really hurts me to realize that someone else feels uncomfortable because of me and this is one of the main reasons I thought about committing suicide back in high school. I didn’t intend to make women feel uncomfortable but made women feel uncomfortable and like now, it is killing me to know that I am making someone else feel uncomfortable. It upsets me even more that a lot of times I have no idea that I’m doing something awkward that is making others (especially women) feel uncomfortable. Women already have too many things to worry about. It also destroys my chances of finding someone leaving me alone. It really depresses me to realize that I may have made this woman at work feel uncomfortable. She seems to be a nice person and I’m not the type of person who wants to hurt others or make them feel uncomfortable. I am always worried about hurting others and cannot even think about intentionally hurting someone else. I am always concerned that I will hurt someone’s feelings. Even though I may have Aspergers and difficulties with empathy, I do care about others and really get upset if I hurt someone’s feelings.

In a lot of cases I don’t realize that I’m making someone feel uncomfortable and I can recall at least one case at work where I had no idea that I was making someone feel uncomfortable. In this case I didn’t notice it at the time but one of my female co-workers was upset that I was looking at her in some way. I left to go to the restroom and while I was gone she said some stuff to the other co-workers. An argument occurred as these women surprisingly stood up for me telling this co-worker that it wasn’t like I intended to look at her in this way and that I cannot help it. It’s hard for me to believe that I didn’t pick up on the fact that this co-worker was bothered by what I was doing having no idea that I was upsetting her. People with Aspergers have difficulties picking up social cues but how could I miss what should have been so obvious? I’m still upset about this incident even though this happened over 20 years ago and the individual that got upset with me no longer works for this company and even if she did, I work in a totally different area. I have to say that I’m very thankful for these female co-workers for standing up for me even though this is still my fault for what happened. Not realizing that I’m doing something that is bothering another person isn’t a valid excuse and I should have also been able to figure out that I was upsetting her but I had no idea that I was looking at her in some way that bothered her and didn’t even know that she was agitated with something I was doing. They were also quite nice to befriend me and let me join them for breaks. They realized that I was different and felt that it would be good to invite me to join them for breaks so that I won’t be alone.

I guess the reasoning behind this blog entry is to help me deal with the depressed feeling I have realizing that this female co-worker feels uncomfortable around me which really hurts me knowing that I am making her feel this way. In addition, I wanted to emphasize that I don’t intentionally wish to make someone feel uncomfortable and it really makes me upset when I do. I wish that people understood that I don’t intend to make them feel uncomfortable and a lot of times don’t even realize that I’m doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable. In addition, I may not even be able to pick up social cues indicating that I’m making you feel uncomfortable. It really gets upsetting for me when people get upset with me for how I act as if I did it intentionally but what people don’t understand is that I did not mean to make them feel uncomfortable and it devastates me knowing when I do. It has made social interactions even more painful for me. I just wish that I had normal social behaviors as everyone else instead of being misunderstood all the time.

Forties and lonely

I remember that since grade school I longed for the day that I would get married. As a kid everyone believes that they will be married when they are an adult. I cannot think of any adults whom I grew up with who weren’t married. It was just unheard of to not be married and if someone was unmarried it was always assumed that there was a reason such as they were a horrible person who would have treated their spouses poorly. The only adult that I can remember in my neighborhood who wasn’t married was a couple of mentally challenged guys. I feel guilty but with friends we made fun of them and even teased them about being unmarried. I really didn’t enjoy making fun of them and didn’t make fun of them much as it was more of the people I was with. I just couldn’t make fun of someone for not being normal especially when at the time I had kids who made fun of me and called me a "Retard". I felt sorry for these two adults since they had a condition that they couldn’t really have a great life and were treated like garbage by kids and even their parents. I didn’t think of it at the time but they most likely were lonely since they didn’t have a wife or girlfriend.

Around the sixth grade I started noticing that women disliked me as I had two women in grade school who ridiculed me repeatedly in the sixth grade. I noticed Denise and Jenny and thought they were beautiful and initially thought that they were twins. I told a friend that I trusted at the time that I thought that Denise and Jenny were beautiful twins. This frend informed me that they were not twins even though they were often seen together and even wore similar clothing to school. Since I like legs and feet I admired how they wore nylons and how they seemed to look beautiful in the clothes they wore. One day this so called friend told Denise and Jenny that I had a admired them and even had a crush on them. They didn’t take it too well and let me know that they didn’t like me. I tried to avoid them since I couldn’t even walk down the same hall without them saying something to me. They seemed to be freaked out that I admired them and thought that I was staring at them. This really hurt me and I didn’t trust women as much as I did before. During Junior high there was a couple of women who seemed to admire me but then there was a young woman named Amanda. I didn’t really notice her but someone played a sick prank that I fell for. A girl named Valerie told me that Amanda liked me and I believed her. I passed a note to her asking about her and she responded with another note telling me to get lost. I realized that I had been fooled but didn’t realize that this was only the beginning of my problems with Amanda. At the Time I just wanted to be nice to Amanda thinking that her so called friend was telling the truth when she said that she had a crush on me. I got a break from Amanda as I attended my sophomore year in high school but as I was a Junior, she was moved to my school and during my Senior year things really got bad as I would be walking through the hall and have her yell something at me such as telling me to stay away from her. It really upset me since I really didn’t have any interests in her before her friend Valerie played this prank and am wouldn’t have even talked to her if it weren’t for her friend. I wanted to avoid her but there was always a time that we both happened to be in the same hall.

Despite the mistreatment by some women I figured that there was some woman out there who liked me and that I would eventually be married. I remember one day in a metal shop class I had a bunch of male classmates tell me who I will never get married and I argued with them. Me and as many as 8 other students made a $20 bet that at the 25 year high school reunion I won’t be married. At the time I figured that there isn’t a possibility that I could lose this bet since every decent guy finds a woman right? The constant rejection by women got to me in my senior year and I considered the possibility that I could end up alone for the rest of my life. I considered suicide but was assured by others that women mature after high school and even though I was being rejected now that I won’t be in a year or so. I decided not to commit suicide based on the idea that things can only get better. Unfortunately I was fed some false information by people who either thought that there wasn’t a chance that I could end up alone or simply wanted to prevent me from committing suicide and said this hoping that I would believe it and decide not to commit suicide.

My crisis during my senior year really hurt me academically and my grades were too low to get in to most colleges. I didn’t have any intentions of going to College after high school but decided after graduation that this would be a great way to meet women. During my college years I faced a lot of rejection and started to realize that the people who said that women will mature were wrong. I wasn’t made fun of women like I was during school but women told me politely that they simply weren’t interested and told me the standard dump phrase that I am a “great guy” and “will make some woman happy”. I started to realize soon that this was simply a standard thing women say to men to be nice to them and try and help them feel okay about being rejected but in reality there may not be some woman who will be interested in me. In fact, the entire notion that everyone is loved by someone is a fairy tale. Unfortunately there are some men who will never find someone. I’m sure the two mentally challenged guys who grew up in my neighborhood thought when they were young that they would be married like it seems everyone else is. During their late teen years they too were probably told that women will mature and that they will find someone.

Next year will be my 30th high school reunion and the 25th year reunion was cancelled but I had no plans to go to my 25th year reunion and don’t plan to go to my 30th year reunion. I don’t know which would be worse for me attending a high school reunion. Would me seeing everyone else married including women who I wanted a date or having people make fun of me including the guys who I made a bet with in metal shop during my junior year make me more depressed? It is already difficult for me to log in to my Facebook account and see men who treated me like garbage happily married with children. I feel I was robbed of happiness and wanted to be a father.

I am now 47 and for some reason me being alone has really gotten to me as I’ve been unable to sleep at night since I cannot stop thinking about how much I wash I wasn’t alone. It’s really difficult to be alone since every commercial reminds me that most men have a wife long before my age. This time of the year is especially bad since it is during the Spring and summer months that women start wearing more revealing clothing. It is also the time of the year that we enjoy more of our time outside and I start wishing that I could have a picnic with a woman but I’m not married and don’t have a girlfriend. At 47, nearly all women are taken and the chances of me finding someone to join me is even more remote than the hard times I had in high school and during my twenties.

I spend entire nights trying to fall asleep but end up constantly thinking about how lonely I am and how I am going to die lonely. I keep thinking to myself and asking “Why me?” and realizing that if I had the knowledge of what was going to happen to me back in my senior year when I was thinking of committing suicide, there is no doubt that I would have carried it out. I keep thinking of how devastating my suicide would have been to my parents and entire family but also how I have suffered my entire life and this suffering will not end. It isn’t like you can die from loneliness. Being lonely doesn’t increase your chances of developing a life threatening medical condition that could kill you. I often think about how it seemed impossible for me to even fathom during my teen years of some adult being rejected by every women they asked out and end up being alone until the day they finally do die. It has been hard for me to accept that I’m one of those unfortunate people who will never have someone love them and cannot do things that a lot of people take for granted such as a picnic with their loved one on a warm sunny day or taking a trip to some romantic place. Even a hug after a rough day is something that I cannot have but many others take for granted.

Another lonesome Valentines Day.

This time of year can be especially hard for people who are socially awkward. During the Holiday season we celebrate families and for a lot of socially awkward people such as people with Aspergers or other Autism Spectrum disorders they don’t have a family of their own. Some of us still have parents or friends that we can celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve with but for too many people on the spectrum, they have nobody to spend the Holidays with. I’m fortunate to have parents and brothers to spend the Holidays with. It can be hard during the Holiday season since a lot of us wanted to be married and have a family of our own. We really don’t get to play Santa Claus since we don’t have a family and do not enjoy a nice Christmas Eve looking at Christmas lights with a loved one since we are not married. It can really be tough since you long for what many people take for granted. Of course there are others who have it worse than we do such as people who are homeless or a family who is trying to give their children the best presents but due to their financial situation cannot provide the toys that their classmates get for Christmas. I remember years ago someone writing a Letter to the Editor in a local newspaper complaining how the person she selected for the “Angel Tree&quote; wanted an expensive toy. There isn’t any difference between children from families who are poor and they want the same toys as middle class and upper class children want. They probably haven’t realized that their parents are poor and they wish Santa will bring the same gifts to them that their richer classmates receive. It’s a magical time for children but as children we don’t realize how much our parents sacrifice to make our Christmas a good one and give our children everything on their list. Some parents end up working a second job to provide their children a good Christmas. I guess this is where people on the spectrum or for other reasons don’t have children can help the less fortunate to have a Merry Christmas. During the Holiday season you start to realize what a void your life is without a significant other. You long for a significant other like a child from a family that is less fortunate wants the toys that every other child receives.

Right after the holiday season you get another reminder of how empty your life is without a significant other and how much you long for someone to love you. Valentines Day was created by the card and diamond industry to celebrate love but when you have no significant other there really isn’t any reason to celebrate. It gets depressing when you realize how some people take for granted having a significant other not realizing that there are some people who will never have a significant other. For us, Valentines Day is rough on us and for many years I would cross out the February 14th date on my calendar to indicate that it isn’t anything special for me. Unfortunately there isn’t a cure for being lonely and it is painful and depressing realizing others will spend Valentines Day with a significant other while you won’t be celebrating Valentines Day at all. Valentines Day can be a rough day for the unfortunate people who are lonely.

I’ve had some really rough Valentines Day’s in my life! Sometimes I’ve had to deal with rejection from women who didn’t appreciate receiving a Valentine from me. Sometimes someone would play a sick joke on a woman who disliked me by giving her a Valentine and putting my name on it so that she thinks it came from me. When this woman tells me that she didn’t appreciate my “Valentine” it really angers them when I deny giving them the Valentine. It seems they don’t realize that this was some sick prank. Of course if it didn’t happen to me I wouldn’t think of this happening to someone else. My absolute worst Valentines Day has to be during my senior year in high school. Some guy met a woman at a party that either his disliked or just wanted to play a sick prank on me or her. I received a call from some woman I supposedly met around 1 AM after I got home from work. After I didn’t seem to know who she was one of her friends got on the lines and complimented for making her friend cry. For months after this Valentines Day I kept getting threatening calls from this woman whom I’ve never met and didn’t recognize her name when she told me who she was. She had an unusual name so it was impossible for someone to forget this name. Her friends figured that I simply met their friend and decided to act like I have no idea who she was if she calls me. This was before caller ID so I had no idea who it was that called me and I started receiving death threats from her friends such as telling me that I better “watch my back”. My dad intervened and started answering for me and telling these people that I am not home and also had them make threats towards me such as telling my dad that they know that I’m home. The police were notified and they started wiretapping our phone but by the time they started tapping the phone they stopped calling. I had no idea who these people were but they seemed to know who I was. There was no woman by this unusual name that attended my school so I assume that she attended another school but some of her friends attended my school or knew someone who does. They knew things that only someone who actually attends school with me knew so I can say at least some of these friends did attend the same school as me. It was scary since I was receiving threats from people whom I have no idea who they were and they wouldn’t give me a chance to explain that I have no idea who this woman who called me was and this appears to be some sick prank. I imagine if I got a chance to explain they wouldn’t believe me since they were convinced that it was me that was with their friend and why would someone play such a sick prank on their friend? Most likely this prank was intended for me similar to an earlier prank where someone was stopped by the police and gave the police my name when they were questioned. My parents were called to come to the station but my parents realized that I was in my room and not in police custody. Unfortunately my parents had gotten off the phone and were ready to drive to the station until they realized I was home. It would have been great if my parents knew that I was home and told the police that it is impossible for the person they have in custody to be me since I’m at home with them. Even though they were Juveniles, they still may get into some trouble for making a false statement to police especially telling a police officer that they are someone that they are not. I really wished that the police were able to trace the threatening calls and confront these people. Perhaps they would be more likely to believe me if the police explained to them that this was some sick prank. I was afraid to go to class during my senior year and often cut class since I realized that these people seemed serious with their threats and they weren’t going to call again and risk being caught by police. If they intended to carry out their threat, they would do it without calling first. Since the police talked to the administrators, I’m sure word got around that the police are investigating threats made towards me and someone may have been able to warn these people that if they call me again they could be arrested.

Valentine’s day tends to bring back all those memories of all those bad Valentine’s Days I had as well as more recent rejection. It’s hard to accept that the people who made fun of you in high school were able to find someone but you can’t. I even had students who told me that I will never get married. Unfortunately they are right! I thought of committing suicide during me senior year in high school but was reassured by school officials that everything will get better and that women will “mature” and pick people like me. I wish I had the knowledge I had back then to realize they don’t know what they were talking about. The only reason I didn’t commit suicide during my senior year is because I couldn’t help to realize how devastated my family would be if I were to commit suicide. In addition, the people who made fun of me would have a field day if I committed suicide. I just turned 46 which is far outside of the age people get married. I am old enough to be a dad to the average single women these days! It really hurts that I could not find love and have had to spend Valentine’s day alone all these years. In a way I wish I had the guts to take my life back then. I didn’t want to be alone for the rest of my life and didn’t realize at the time that I was going to be lonely for the rest of my life. People take for granted that they have someone who loves them and someone they can talk to when they had a bad day. Someone who will give them a hug when they urgently need one.

   In a previous entry I mentioned how I was transferred to a special education school in the fifth grade and when I was released to a regular Junior High School for the 7th grade I had no idea how to divide. The reason I was unable to divide in the sixth grade was because I was placed in Special Education Math classes and never was taught how to divide even though this is an important skill when entering Junior High School. Almost as important as being able to read which I knew of one student in my sixth grade special education class who had to repeat the sixth grade in this special education school because he was unable to read at a sixth grade level. Catching up in Math is one of the most inspiring events in my life and I am thankful for my Junior High Special Education Math teacher for convincing me that I can catch up and be able to take a non-special education math class by the ninth grade. Unfortunately for other subjects such as English (especially grammar) I wasn’t ready when my Special Education English teacher also decided to send me to a regular English class. I’m not so sure if he felt I was ready but probably didn’t want to make me take Special Education English for the ninth grade since I was begging to be allowed to take a regular English Class. Unfortunately my English skills were lacking even more than my Math skills when I was ready to attend Junior High. To this day my lack of English skills comes back to haunt me when someone points out my poor English skills. During my time in Junior and Senior High, students saw my poor English skills as an indication that I was mentally challenged and called me the famous R word used to designate people who are mentally challenged because of this. I even had teachers make fun of my poor English skills.

   In the Special Education Grade school I attended we studied second grade level Math and English. In my Junior High Math class, my teacher wouldn’t let me into a regular class if I didn’t know the basics so I had to work hard for two years to get to where I could take Pre-Algebra in the 9th grade that is normally taught in the Seventh Grade. You can see why my teacher wouldn’t let me go straight to Pre-Algebra since there are steps you need to learn in Math before you move on. You cannot solve an equation 5X = 25 for x without knowing how to divide. I remember taking College Algebra which happens to be the most failed math class in our College. Of course one reason is most students are required to take College Algebra but depending on their major, this is the only class they need to take. Calculus is more difficult of a subject than College Algebra and you wouldn’t be able to make it in the required pre-requisites which included Trigonometry or Pre-Calculus without College Algebra and would be lost in Calculus without taking Trigonometry or Pre-Calculus. You definitely cannot go straight to Calculus unless you had taken college level Algebra and Trigonometry in High School. I remember a teacher who taught College Algebra warning us that if you miss even one day you could be completely lost the next day since every day we learn a step that must be mastered for the next day. A lot of students didn’t study the concepts or missed some days in class and found themselves lost and struggling. My Special Education Math teacher realized I needed to master other steps before I could take Pre-Algebra. I struggled in Pre-Algebra but more because I felt I was inferior since I was a Special Education student nearly my entire life. When I moved on to my Sophomore year in college, I had more confidence and did so well in Algebra that for the first time in my life I had students who were jealous of me because I often received the highest score on tests.

   It’s been several years since I’ve been to school so things could have changed but English wasn’t necessarily taught in steps. It was in regular grade school courses but in my Special Education English class we kept at a Second grade pace even though I was in the sixth grade. In my Junior High Special Education class we really didn’t study any English rules. Instead we studied from some book with lessons and exercises such as “Say the deduction: All cats have whiskers.” We were then told by our teacher “Bob has a cat” and asked “What do we know about Bob’s cat?”. We would answer “Bob’s cat has whiskers.” Then our teacher would ask “How do we know Bob’s cat has whiskers?” and we were to answer “Because all cats have whiskers”. I remember getting in trouble once when I put “Because the deduction says so” on a written lesson of the same type. Even though I took Special Education English years ago I remember this exercise since I hated it so much and now question what exactly does this lesson plan have to do with English skills such as proper use of grammar? We also had some reading comprehension exercises but nothing about English and the proper way to write sentences. I already went through plenty of reading comprehension exercises in my Special Education Grade School so at the time I know this really wasn’t something I needed to learn more about. I needed to learn grammar skills! Imagine how lost I was in my first regular English class in the ninth grade as we were diagramming sentences and talking about dangling modifiers that I had no idea what they were! I was able to pass my Junior High English class and my High School English classes were mostly writing journals and reports. For some reason I was able to wing it despite having poor English skills. Either the teachers didn’t really care about any errors I made and were more interested in the writing or my years of reading newspapers gave me some idea of how a sentence is supposed to sound or how to punctuate and even today I lack skills such as this. In College I had to take remedial English or what is often nicknamed Bonehead English but even this course didn’t go into sentence structure. I was able to wing it and my English Professor even thought I shouldn’t be in remedial English. I assume he liked my writing and didn’t pay attention to punctuation or I have been somehow able to pull off writing in an English class even though I was made fun of by others due to my poor English skills – even a professor. I somehow managed to be successful in my two College English courses which were often called College Writing so you guessed it, we didn’t study grammar rules which I’m sure most people knew by the time they were in Junior High or were supposed to learn in remedial English if their entrance test score in English was low like mine. I received great grades on my writing assignments and even had a professor compliment me which is strange like the other times I’ve been complimented on my English skills despite them not being so well. I did have the help of the writing lab for College English classes but they really didn’t notice any grammar errors and often complimented me on my reports and made suggestions on how to make them even better such as removing portions and use wording to make the report more exciting to read. I also was required to take a Technical Writing course for my degree and did well in the written part but now so well in the oral presentation part. Of course one reason I did poorly in the oral presentations was I didn’t look people in the eye during presentations or just looked in one direction which is a trait (at least eye contact) of Aspergers. This teacher complimented me on my ability to write step-by-step instructions but I didn’t do so well on oral presentations.

   The reason I bring this topic up is I hope that the focus of special education is to provide individual help and teach people the skills they need instead of a one-size-fits all approach. I cannot remember all the reasoning of why we used second grade material in my Special Education School but it may have had to do with a majority of the students being Second or Third graders and only three of us were Fifth and Sixth graders. We had different needs. All of us needed to learn Math and English skills at our grade level so that we function in Junior High. My classmate who was unable to read at the sixth grade level could have used help catching up and being able to read at the sixth grade level instead of spending another year repeating the sixth grade. It would have saved a lot of money if we were at the sixth grade level and could take regular Math and English classes instead of Special Education Math and English classes in Junior High. At the time I don’t think educators knew much about Aspergers and am not even sure if it was even diagnosed as it is today. We were often told that we weren’t mentally challenged in that our IQ was normal but we were mentally handicapped in some way. I think a lot of the teachers misjudged the capabilities of me and others. When students are taken from regular classes and are in a Special Education course that isn’t focused on catching them up with their regular classmates they miss a lot such as in my case where I didn’t learn key Math and English skills. Fortunately I was able to learn Math skills but I have lost the basic grammar skills I need to this day and never got a chance to learn and have winged it. I also lost out on a lot of other subjects such as World History. I was able to make up for what I didn’t learn in US History since there were plenty of US Politics, US Civics, and US History courses required in junior high, high school and college. I think this is why a lot of special education students give up and never finish their high school degree. Either they realize they are significantly below their grade level or were placed in a regular class from the special education class and were overwhelmed since they didn’t learn the steps they needed in the special education classes. It doesn’t help that they are ridiculed by classmates for being a special education student or because they lack some skills.

   Another reason I bring this up is because I made some comments on a comment board to a local paper. A reporter decided to write an article and for three paragraphs ridiculed my poor grammar. The fourth paragraph he decided to twist the wording of my comments to make me sound like someone I wasn’t and take my comments out of context to distort what I said. This really hurt me and I’ve thought about suicide. I can safely say that I have lost all respect for this reporter as I think he lacked any class and even if he was doing this to someone who treated me like total crap I wouldn’t be amused by what he did. I have lost my appetite to eat and have been trying to figure out a way to learn the English that I didn’t learn in school so that an event like this doesn’t happen again but I’m learning that about the only opportunity there is to learn grammar is in grammar school and if you miss those classes, you out of luck and become fodder for a newspaper reporter who wants to make fun of someone and at the same time trash their reputation by making them sound like someone who they are not by twisting comments and taking comments out of context. Interestingly this happened the same week that I received a notice that it’s time to renew. After having this happen to me and still being depressed and unable to eat and thinking of suicide because of his stunt, I will not be renewing my subscription and will never rely on them for my news realizing that this one reporter could distort who I am so badly through twisting comments and taking comments I made out of context. So the next time you wonder why you need to know English and grammar, just remember that some reporter may decide to use your lack of grammar to ridicule you and even take your comments and twist them and take them out of context to distort what you actually said. What is worse, even though I used an alias a lot of people know my alias and will read his article and think that I really said what this reporter distorted my comments to say. This is the worst thing that can happen when you are already self conscious of your poor grammar skills! One of the main reasons he probably targeted me was because he noticed my poor grammar skills. This has made me question if I should continue to write blogs when I lack grammar skills and it isn’t like I can just take a course in grammar since these are taught in grammar school.