Social Isolation Hurts

The high school years are difficult for anybody. Teens face the difficulty of figuring out who they are, and have to deal with the peer pressure coming from dating, sex, alcohol and drugs. Being a student in high school, I have noticed that parents do not teach their kids respect and understanding others as much as they should. I have been a target of bullying and gossip throughout my entire life. Ever since I was in kindergarten, not a day goes by without having to listen to somebody point and laugh at me, or make a rude and judgmental comment about me. Because of this, I don’t really have that many friends in school. Many times, teenagers act like this because they want to look cool around their friends. They think that friends will accept them better when they make another person look bad for no clear apparent reason.

If you remember on my two blogs titled “do social skills groups help all students on the spectrum”, I mentioned my odd, obsessive interests that changed throughout the years. During my preschool and toddler years, I had a huge interest in fans. When my parents would take me out places and I would see a fan, I would perseverate about it. I remember my mother telling me one day that I would always stop and stare at ceiling fans and refrigerator fans. If you recall from the same blog I mentioned earlier, there was one incident where my mother lost track of me when we were shopping at a grocery store. She was shopping in an aisle that was on the other side of the store and tried to ask me a question but I wasn’t there. She then looked around the entire store for me, and then she saw me staring at the fans inside the refrigerator. My mother also said that when she found me, I was staring at the fans for about 30 minutes.

As I got older, my interests in fans faded away. When I was in third grade, I became fixated with fire drills. Our school was completely remodeled, and we got a new fire alarm system. Ever since the first time I heard the alarm, I would constantly talk about it with around the other students. I didn’t even realize that the students have had enough with me talking about them until they finally said “Derek, stop talking about fire drills already”. My limited interests also caused some bullying when I was in elementary school. During recess when most of the students were running around and playing with their friends, I would always walk around the playground alone. I realized that nobody really liked me, and that they wouldn’t be interested in playing with me during recess anyway. My parents talked to the teachers and explained that they wanted me to join in activities with my peers, but I simply didn’t want to because they didn’t like me. If you remember from my blog about understanding others, there was a student at Computing Workshop with a more severe case of Autism than I have, and he also had Down Syndrome. He used a special computer called a dynavox to communicate. He had a set of beads that his mother gave him to play with, and during free time he would always sit in the corner and twirl them around. He was in his own little world when he was sitting and playing with those beads, and this student’s parents would always complain about his teachers taking the beads away from him as a punishment for not paying attention to the teacher. The teacher would not let him play with the beads during free time, and he didn’t know what to do with himself. The staff members at Computing Workshop also seemed to think that this particular student used playing with the beads as a method of dealing with stress, and when an adult that doesn’t understand his diagnosis takes that away from him, he won’t know what to do with himself. That is when he will start being uncooperative and not listen. I can identify with this student when I think about my experiences during elementary school, I was in my own little world when I would walk alone during recess. I didn’t pay attention to anybody, and nobody payed any attention to me. Because my parents wanted me to “play” with my peers during recess, my teachers would try to force me into doing it. There were times when I would try to resist to throwing a football with another student, or playing on a jump rope, but my teachers would grad me by my shoulder and push me into doing it. Back when I was in elementary school, I didn’t really have the coordination to catch footballs or play jump rope.

My coordination with catching a ball and participating in team sports have gotten better over the years. The majority of kids in high school should know that making fun of someone because they aren’t gifted at sports, or for any other reason is not acceptable. You have one of those arrogant jerks in every crowd, and the best thing to do is to ignore them. I still do have coordination issues now, and I have been around people who do not understand my Aspergers and that don’t have the patience to cooperate with me. I had to deal with one of those people recently in my electronics class at Lenape Tech. We were putting together a windmill that is going to power the greenhouse that belongs to Lenape’s Natural Resources shop. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing, but it was one of those activities that required strong hand/eye coordination, which is also required for playing most team sports. I didn’t quite understand what we were doing, and the teacher was not in the classroom at the time. We were working in groups, and a student very inappropriately lashed out and had a fit with me. He said something like “God fucking dammit Derek, I can’t believe you don’t know how to do this. You are so stupid, damn junior”. Yes, I realize this student didn’t understand my lack of coordination, but there was no excuse for him to lash out at me like that. After the whole incident, I walked away and asked if I could work with another student or have the teacher give me an alternate task to complete for the day. I should not have to deal with somebody that is going to treat me so rudely.

Because of all the social isolation I have been through throughout the years, I still have a difficulty trusting people. When I meet a new person, I have the tendency to think that they are going to try to make fun of me. It’s hard for anyone to get out of thinking that, especially for people like me. If you remember me mentioning how Mike, my old therapist would try to shove social skills down my throat. From my perspective, he seemed to think that depression and anxiety are things that you can just “snap out” of right away. When he would push me to the limit by putting me in social situations where I felt very uncomfortable, I would resist to it. I don’t like it when people put me on the spot, especially when it’s in a group of peers that I don’t know very well. It has always been difficult for me to deal with people like Mike who are “in your face” about things. If you are one of those kind of people, I will try my best to avoid being around you. It will take time for me to develop social skills that I am going to need for life, and hopefully they will help me deal with all of the rude people that I will have to be around. Those kind of people are everywhere you look, and you have to try your best to avoid them. If people are not willing to get to know me as a friend, then it is their loss, not mine. I have no need to worry about people that want nothing to do with me, they are the ones with the social skills problems, not me.

I am willing to be friends with any person who will accept me for who I am, and that will not try to change anything about me. I am beginning to have a better understanding of who are my real friends and who are not. If you are trying to trick me into believing that you are trying to be nice to me when you are really not, I will eventually find out. It hurts to be rejected by people, and it also hurts to be “set up” by them. I don’t really care if I don’t have a whole bunch of friend to talk to, one or two is enough. As I have said before, “quality is better than quantity”. If I do ever lose a close friend, than I will move on and try to find someone else to be friends with. It’s not my problem if you want to be friends with me, it’s yours. Forget about all of the people that want nothing to do with me, I’ve got other things to worry about. Graduation is coming up next year, and these people won’t mean a god damn thing to me.

Before I go, this is a message to all teens and young adults. Always remember to stay true to yourself, and don’t ever change. I have had to deal with countless people that have rubbed it into my face that they want me to be like they are, when I don’t want to do that. There will be people in life that act that way, and the only thing you should do is to just sit there and ignore them. My “social status” with my peers in high school doesn’t mean anything to me. I hope you enjoyed this, and that you will take all of this advice, and share it with anyone who may need it in the future.


How did I deal with Labels and gossip?

When you are in high school, labels and gossip are one of the things that you will deal with quite a bit. It really hurts when somebody talks about you behind your back, I have been through this many times myself. People spread rumors just because they want to look better than everybody else and that they want to make another person look bad around their friends or family. It’s mainly girls that gossip, but there are boys that do it also. Anytime you say something that may or may not be true about someone, or that is not any of your business, it is considered gossip. My mother is really into quilting and arts and crafts, and she has tons of friends that love to gossip about other people.

Middle school and high school aren’t the only places where labeling and gossip happen, it happens just about everywhere you go. If you are someone with a diagnosis like Aspergers Syndrome or High Functioning Autism, you especially need to learn how to deal with this. Not dealing with it in an age appropriate manner can cause you to be labeled, bullied and gossiped about even more, or even get you into trouble in the future. Dealing with gossip in an age appropriate manner will make you feel better about yourself, and it will be easier for you to make friends and to be accepted in society. I wanted to give you four simple steps that will help you deal with the ignorant gossip that you will most likely experience sometime in your life.

1.) Ignore it:

If you only hear a person gossip about you once or twice, this is really the first step you should take. At this point, telling the person that the gossip bothers you will only make them do it even more. Even looking at the person and telling them that it bothers you really won’t improve the situation. I have found this out the hard way, if you recall Eric from a few of my other blogs. There were times when he would gossip about me, and I would turn and look like I was upset with him about it. Immediately after I did that, he started laughing at me and gossiping about me even more. It was obvious that he was trying to make me feel bad by doing this, I showed him that it upset me and it mad the situation whole situation even worse.

2.) Tell them to stop:

This is especially nerve racking for someone with Aspergers Syndrome, like me. I have been through situations like this myself, which is the whole reason why I am writing about it. Sometimes, you have to step out of your comfort zone to be accepted in society and to stand up for people that who may try to bring you down for whatever reason. Try to look as confident as you can when you talk to the person, but also be polite. Talking to them in a rude tone of voice may cause them to act violently toward you, or they could make fun of you behind your back even more. Try to avoid using any swear words, because using them could get you into trouble, especially if a school teacher sees you. I also strongly recommend talking to them in person instead of online or through text messaging. In your facial expressions, the person can’t really see that what they are doing is bothering you. NEVER THREATEN THEM IN ANY WAY, IT COULD GET YOU INTO SEVERE TROUBLE IN THE FUTURE. VIOLENCE ONLY MAKES THE SITUATION WORSE.

3.) Talk to someone you trust:

If you tried ignoring the person who is gossiping about you and talking to them about it, I strongly recommend that you talk to a parent/guardian,  friend or family member that you trust. The situation with Eric went on for a long time, and I finally had enough with it. When you talk to the person you trust, make sure you give them as much detail about the situation as possible. I recommend giving them information using the “wh” words. Who is gossiping about you? What are they saying? Where were you when it was happening? When did it happen? Why might they be doing it? They won’t be able to help you unless you give them as much detail about the situation as possible.

4.) Talk to an authority figure:

This is the final step you should take, you tried ignoring them, you tried talking to them, and you tried talking to a person that you trust. If at all possible, try to have the person you trust talk to the authority figure with you. Having another person help you can solve the situation quicker and without anymore problems. Remember the “wh” words I gave in the last step, and tell authority figure as much information as you gave your trusted parents/guardian, friend, or family member. Also, make sure this authority figure is someone that other people trust. There have been some bad authority figures out there, you should know who many of them were. Bad authority figures could potentially try to make the situation worse. I have also been through that, and I don’t really want to talk about it on my blogs.

My final thought about gossiping and labeling is that people who gossip, label, and tell me that I have means that they are the ones with the problems, not me. Talking about somebody behind their back shows somebody that you lack social skills and that you are immature and need to get a life. One sad things about that fact is that people that do things like this are the ones who have high authority over people. That is the sad and pathetic truth. If I was in charge of these people, I would try my best to convince them into quitting, or just fire them right off the bat. That is all I have to say, I hope you enjoyed this and I will be back later.

Have you ever been dumped by a friend?

The teenage years are supposed to be the “best years of your life”, right? If you recall from my first entry about my experiences in high school, the high school years have been the most miserable time for me. I spent most of my junior high and high school years being ignored, teased and labeled. People really don’t understand how it feels to be ignored and labeled so much. Because of all the labeling and teasing people have given me throughout the years, it has made it very difficult to find that one true friend that wouldn’t ever bring me down and accept me for the kind of person that I am. In elementary school, people really didn’t seem to notice that I was “different” than everybody else. My parents would make arrangements with my friends parents to get together. When the middle school years came along, people started to avoid me and notice that I was different than everybody else. All of the people that I was friends with in elementary school seemed to “forget” about me. Social cliques started to develop, and I was the person that didn’t really fit in with anybody.

If you remember from my blog about ending friendships, I was friends with a kid named Jason in elementary school. During the weekends, we would always go to each others houses, sit and talk to each other during recess and lunchtime and talk on the phone when we had nothing else to do. Junior high then came along, and the social cliques started to develop. The students seemed to start noticing that I was different than everybody else was, which contributed to why they started talking to me rudely and making fun of me behind my back. The first thing I noticed right off the bat when I would talk to him was that he started hanging out with the people that would always label me and spread rumors about me. There were times that I notice when his new friends were around me, they would start making fun of me and spreading rumors about me when I was in the same room as he was. He never really stood up for me when they did it either, he just sat there and ignored the whole thing. The second thing that I noticed happening was when I would try to have a converstaion with him, he would try to keep it as short as he possibly could. When I would ask him questions, he would answer me with only one or two word responses. At first I thought that maybe he was just in a bad mood and didn’t really feel like talking to me, then I started to realize that maybe he wasn’t that interested in being friends with me. I spent the rest of my junior high school years asking the same question “Why would he ignore me and hang out with the students that made fun of me and labeled me?”

As I have mentioned before, people sometimes just don’t show that interest in being friends with you anymore, even when you have been friends with them for a long time. People change, and sometimes it’s for the worse. Since I am no longer at Freeport, I don’t see this person as often as I used to. When I do see this person, I think about how we used to be friends in elementary school and how we would always talk on the phone when we had nothing better to do. I’m glad I don’t have to see this person anymore, because anytime I do the memories of how he dumped me come back and haunt me.

Because of I’ve been set up by friends in the past, I find it very difficult to trust people. When I meet a new person, I tend to worry and think that they might have something against me and try to avoid me, or they might try to make fun of me and make me feel bad about myself. I am happy that I have friends like Aaron from my Computing Workshop summer camp, but I do wish that we had more time to spend with each other. Because of the labeling, teasing and loneliness that I have experienced in high school, I am very exited about graduating. On my I Google page, I have a countdown until the possible date for my high school graduation in 2011. One thing that I have learned from past friendships is that if they don’t want to be my friend, that it is their problem, not mine. That’s the attitude that I will always have with someone that wants nothing to do with me.It may take time to get over a lost friendship, but I will get over it eventually. I wish that people would have that same attitude as me, because it makes no sense to mope about a friendship that ended a long time ago. I will most likely never see these people again after I graduate from high school, so why the hell should I even bother worrying about them? Even though Aaron is busy, I am certain that he is still my good friend. One or two close friends is all I really need, someone left a comment on one of my other blogs that stated “quality is better than quantity”.

I really can’t come up with anything else to say about this, I hope you liked it and I should be back to write again next week!

What turns me off?

Many kids with Aspergers Syndrome really want to make friends with people. Most of them spend their middle school and high school years being labeled and made fun of. Social isolation causes them to become depressed, and they loose confidence in social situations. Many kids with Aspergers do try to fit in and make friends, but they often don’t understand what can really turn people off. I have been around other kids with Aspergers that have not been through social skills groups like Wesley, and summer camps like Computing Workshop who really seem to be experts at turning people off, but they don’t realize that they are doing it. Parents need to try as hard as they can to help their child understand that some of the things they are doing can really cause people to avoid them, and can cause them to be isolated and made fun of even more than they already are. I wanted to give you five types of people that really turn me off, and that cause me to avoid them. If you are one of these people, I am not trying to offend you. I am doing this to inform you that this is what causes people to not want to be around you, and you probably don’t even realize you are doing it.

1.) Self centered people:

I’m sure that you have been around people like this, anytime you have a conversation with the person, they always interrupt it and talk about something related to their life.  For example, you are talking to them about your bad day, and they interrupt you and say “Well, if you think that was bad, listen this story about something that happened to me”. There are also people out there who try to convince you that their life is better than yours. For example, I once had a friend at school who was talking to me about their weekend plans. They told me that they were going to go visit their relatives. I then made an interjection that sounded something like “That’s cool, I wish I got to see my relatives more often, mine live really far away”. Afterward, he made a comment that sounded something like “I get to see my relatives all the time, mine live pretty close to me”. I then tried to end the conversation, I told him that I had some homework that I needed to finish, and that I would talk to him later.

2.) Easily distracted people:

Have you ever been around a person that just can’t stay focused no matter what you try to do? I tell you that I have been around those people too many times to count. These kind of people are the ones that annoy me the most, you can’t really tell if they are purposely ignoring you, or just distracted by something. I have a few friends that treat their cell phones like it’s their god, anytime I am around them they have to text message one of their friends every five seconds. I’ve had friends that sit there and text message their friends when I am in the middle of a converstaion with them. They just make me want to grab their cell phone and throw it out the window. Just imagine if they were at a job interview, and they were not looking at the interviewer when they were talking to them. That would definitely cause the interviewer to have a bad impression on the person, won’t it? My peers do this especially, which really gets on my nerves because it makes me feel like the person they are talking to on their cell phone is more important than I am. If you want to be my friend, you better at least turn the damn cell phone on silent. If someone text messages or calls you, you better tell them to call you back later. Like I have said many times before, there are people out there that tell me to learn social skills, when they demonstrate behavior like this, which shows a LACK of social skills.

3.) Pessimistic people

A pessimist always searches for the negative side of things, no matter what the situation is. I am trying to work on not being pessimistic when things don’t go as planned. It is one of those things that I just need to learn how to deal with. If you remember me mentioning my math teacher from my freshman year of high school, she was the perfect example. She would always talk about how much she hated teaching, being around her students, and her life in general. I remember one day she was talking to another teacher about a test that another student needed to make up, and she made an ignorant comment that sounded something like this “Out of all the students in this school, this person is the one I can’t stand the most, I absolutely hate her”! I couldn’t believe that a teacher would actually say something like that. Yes, I realize that she may have been having a bad day, but there still is no excuse to say something like that about a student. Another thing that I seem to notice when I’m around a pessimistic, is that I tend to get in a real bad mood also.

4.) Nosy people

There are people like this everywhere, people who just can’t mind their own business. This is the number one reason for why I couldn’t stand being famous, having a camera follow me around every five minutes. I can relate to this one the most. When you are sitting at the computer, they always try to see what you are doing, they always try to see your phone screen when you are text messaging someone. They also tend to “ease drop” into another person’s conversation. From the many nosy people that I have been around, the one thing that they always say when they ask a personal question is “I was just curious”.  That does not mean they want to be your friend, it means they want to find out your private life so they can gossip about it with their friends. Also, when you tell them to mind their own business, they innocently say “Why are you being so mean? I am only trying to be your friend”. Like I said, they are not trying to be your friend, they are trying to find out your private business so they can gossip about it with their friends. Nosy people also tend to ask for information about people you are close to, such as your friends or family. My best advice I can give for someone like that is to say “Why don’t you ask them instead of me?” The best advice I can give you for dealing with a nosy person is to try to avoid contact with them as much as you possibly can. They need to get a life and stop nosing into other people’s private lives.

5.) Touchy feely people

A definition of touchy feely is of or characterized by the overt display of affection, compassion, or other tender feelings by hugging or crying. Simply put, someone who makes a person uncomfortable by touching them. You  may know a person that puts his or her hand on your arm when they tell you something, or that gives you a hug when you first meet them. Many kids with Aspergers Syndrome don’t understand this boundary issue. It can really make a person feel uncomfortable and insecure. This is especially important if the child wants to start dating. If the boy touches the girl inappropriately, he could later face charges of stalking her. Another thing a touchy feely person might do is give their friend a back-rub while they are working. It is not socially acceptable to do that without asking the person first, and if they say no then they shouldn’t do it.

These were my five characteristics that really turn me off about people. I try my best to avoid these kind of people as much as I can. If you are any of these types of people, you might want to think about how this can really cause people to avoid you. I really hope you found this informative, and that you will use this to help someone in the future.

Resolving Conflicts with friends

If you recall from my blog about ending friendships with someone, it talked about four questions you should ask yourself before ending the friendship. Chances are, if you consider someone a close friend, you have a better chance of getting into a conflict  than you would with a casual friend. For example, you see your friend at school and you invite them to go to your house on Saturday. Your friend has their own car, and he decided to drive himself to your house. Sunday afternoon comes, you cleaned up your bedroom and are waiting for them to arrive. About ten minutes pass, and you realize that he lives on the other side of town, which is a pretty long drive. Twenty more minutes pass, and still no sign of him. You finally decide to call his cell phone and see what the deal was, and he doesn’t answer. You were just stood up by one of your friends.

There could be many different reasons for why this may have happened, first off, he could have been busy with other commitments, and he just forgot about your social plans for the weekend. I have been in many situations where people have forgotten about plans because they had too much on their mind. One example was last year, when I attended Freeport, I had asked one of the neighborhood girls if they were willing to give me a ride to school. The time came for her to pick me up, and she just drove right on past my driveway and left. I had another neighbor who usually drove me in, but he was sick and couldn’t go to school that days. I think that if she really didn’t want to give me a ride, she would have made an lame excuse about why she couldn’t do it. She has driven me once or twice before, so my final guess was that she was in a hurry and forgot about it. I just moved on and forgot about the whole situation because I don’t feel that getting angry about the whole situation would have made it any better. If I did get angry about the whole situation, she would probably avoid even saying hi to me when I would pass her on the street or in the school hallway.

Situations like the one with my neighbor are things you could just move on and forget about. These things happen sometimes, and it is really no use to even think about it. However, being stood up by one of your friends is something you should talk about with the person. Ending the friendship may be an easier resolution to the problem, but sometimes you should challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. If you want to keep this person as a friend, this is really the only thing you can do. If you are somebody that wants to enjoy life, than you need to have at least one or two friends to talk to. Here are five tips for you when resolving a conflict with your friend.

1.) Be honest:

As I said before, honesty is one of the most important qualities in a friendship right? In my opinion, this is the first step towards resolving a conflict with a friend. Remember to tell the person what the problem is, and your feelings about the whole situation. Your friend won’t know how you feel unless you tell them. Your friend can’t read your mind. When your friend is doing something that annoys you, don’t just sit there and let it slide. If you do, their behavior could continue to a point where you don’t want to be around them anymore.

2.) Be Respectful:

Yes, it is very important to be honest and tell you friend like it is, but it is also important to do so in a respectful , and age appropriate manner. It is very hard to do this especially for people like me, because their behavior is bothering me. If you are arrogant and rude about the situation, this person could do these behaviors even more, just to purposely make you feel upset. I was once friends with someone in elementary school who kept on calling me by a nickname that I didn’t like, and I reacted by screaming at him on the playground during recess. As soon as my screaming was heard, a teacher came by and made stay in for recess for an entire week. Not only was this rude, inappropriate and uncalled for, it also made that “friend” call me that name even more. My behavior caused him to become a bully, not a friend.

3.) Allow time to forgive the person

It takes time to forgive a friend or a loved one when they do something that really upsets you. Even if they listen to you and give you a sincere apology, you still may not forgive a person entirely.  One of the things that I recommend you do after you talk to them is keep contact with the person at a minimum for at least two or three days. Just like repairing a totaled car, it takes time to repair a friendship after a conflict is resolved. Another thing that people often don’t understand is that it may take that person a longer time to want to be friends with you then when you want to be friends with them. In other words, everybody is different, it may take one person longer to do something than another person.

4.) Don’t be judgmental:

One of the major social turnoffs in any relationship, whether it be and acquaintance, friend, or loved one is people who are judgmental. Unfortunately, there are many people like that in this world. For example, I once had a friend who was having a casual conversation with one of the trouble makers in our school, and I started to worry and think that they were going to start hanging out with them and acting like them. When he was done talking to the person, I walked over to him and asked why he was talking to him. He then said to me “Calm down Derek, I’m just asking him if he got something completed that was part of our English project”. I then understood why he was talking to him. I tend to be judgmental when I’m around a person, and I am trying to work on that. For example, just because a person wants to go to a bar and drink a few beers every now and then doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a bad person. If the person is levelheaded and knows when they are crossing the line, than don’t really worry about the person. However, if this behavior is becoming obsessive, than I would try to talk to the person about their behavior, and the consequences that could happen if they keep it up.

5.) Keep trying

Sometimes, repetition helps a friend learn that what they are doing is upsetting you. I would occasionally send the friend an email, phone call or text message just to let them know that you still care about them. Even if they don’t respond to you every time, I still recommend that you keep doing it on occasions. However, if they are rude to you about it, then I would recommend avoiding contact with them and finding another person to be friends with. As I have said many times before, you can’t MAKE someone be friends with you and it’s their problem if they don’t want to be your friend, not yours.

Lastly, if resolving the conflict doesn’t work out I would let it go and move on with life. Worrying about the conflict can make it even worse. There are other people in the world to be friends with, and it makes no sense to worry about them. I have to say that this is one of the hardest and longest blogs that I have written, because it is something that I am still learning about. I hope you found it informative, and I will be back to write again soon!

Asperger’s Syndrome and Depression

Doctors and Psychiatrists have discovered that there is a high risk of depression and anxiety in kids with Aspergers Syndrome, especially in their teenage and young adult years. Teenagers with the disorder usually deal with the stress of not fitting in with the crowd. Individuals with the disorder have the difficulty dealing with change, as I have mentioned before. The change from living in the house to moving to college on their own can cause some depression and anxiety as well. Because of their odd, and limited interests, they don’t understand how to appropriately interact with other people, especially peers. Because of the fact that they don’t know how to interact with other people and stand up for themselves, they can be susceptible to verbal, physical and cyber bullying. Dealing with situations like this are the most common causes of depression and anxiety in people with Aspergers Syndrome. Because many teens and young adults with this disorder don’t know how to handle these situations appropriately, they could get into behaviors such as drugs or alcohol. This can most likely worsen their depression and anxiety and cause them to even resort to more extreme behaviors, even suicide. Depression in individuals with Aspergers Syndrome is very common, suicide however is not, but it still could happen if nothing is done about the symptoms. I never have and never will think about doing something as extreme as that, but if I didn’t get the help I needed for my symptoms, I most likely could have. I am going to talk about some of the experiences that caused my depression, a few of them I have mentioned before.

In my very first blog, I mentioned how high school was an even worse experience than junior high was. The Freeport Senior High school is larger than the junior high is, but not by much. The first reason the transition from middle school to high school was miserable for me was because it had more people than the junior high did. Yes, I realize that its not as big as places like Butler or Fox Chapel, but it was pretty crowded. Another thing that really caused me to be depressed was that I we were the youngest grade in the school, and I was picked on more than most of the people than my grade because I was shy. As I have mentioned many times before, people would often take advantage of me and try to convince me that they were trying to be my friend, when they really were not. They seemed to realize that I had a difficulty understanding when people were trying to be friendly to me versus trying to make fun of me. Because of this, I did not “fit in” with the people at my school. I didn’t really have anyone to sit with at lunch or hang out with after school or on weekends. People tended to avoid letting me sit with them, and they would often make excuses like “More people are going to sit there, you are going to have to move”. They were your typical snobby, stuck up high school student. That was one of the things that really contributed to my loneliness, depression and anxiety. This, however could have been prevented if I put myself out there more, letting all of the arrogant jerks get to me really contributed to why I was so depressed and lonely when I attended Freeport. With the exception of a few individuals, students at Lenape Tech have enough sense to realize that teasing someone is uncalled for, because they are going into technical fields that involve working with people.

Aside from depression, I also had problems with anxiety in school, and I still do now. Anytime I would get put into social situations, I would always tense up and fear that they would try to do something mean to me. I would prevent that from happening by  simply ignoring the person when they would speak to me. This was because of all the teasing and bullying I got in past years, and I still tense up when I am around new people. When you are teased and picked on by people, it’s real hard for a person to come out of their shell and open up to somebody. I opened up to my friend Aaron B at Computing Workshop real easy because it is a safe environment for me, this program is supposed to help students on the spectrum with their academic and social goals. I know that if they do try to harass me or any of the students in the program in any way, they are automatically removed. That is not true in most public high schools, they usually get that same old “don’t do that again” lecture, which usually doesn’t do anything. As I have mentioned before, many schools tend to blame the victim instead of the bully. Because I would tense up and ignore people when they would see me in the hallway, they tended to judge and label me. I got labeled loner and reject by most people.

The main reason for why I got labeled by people was because they didn’t understand me. Who were they to judge someone without understanding why? I have learned that most people my age have similar feelings of not belonging. Even the popular kids feel insecure about some things, and making fun of somebody makes them feel less insecure about themselves. I feel that having only one or two close friends is enough for me, I don’t want to be “normal” or “popular”. Even though Aaron doesn’t have the time to spend with me, I am still very glad to have him as a friend. One or two friends is really all I need. Popularity doesn’t really matter after high school is over with, so why should I get all depressed about it? I’ve learned that people who think something is wrong with me, means that something is wrong with them. I hope that you all found this informative and inspiring, and I will be back to write again soon!

My blog about my high school experiences:

Four important qualities of a best friend

I wrote a blog about a month ago titled “How can an Aspergers teen know who their real friends are”? It talked about the lack of social skills makes it very difficult for people like me to make and keep friendships with other people. It talked about how to tell whether or not someone is interested in being friends with you,  and to tell whether someone really wants to be a true friend, use you and embarrass you. One of the things I’ve learned about friendships is that best friends are extremely rare, they usually only happen once or twice in a lifetime. I have been through middle school and high school years without a best friend, and it has been a very sad and lonely time for me. I have people that I consider acquaintances, but nobody that I consider “real friends”. As I have mentioned before, I have had people that have tried to convince me that they were merely trying to be my friend, when they were just one of those people that wanted to make fun of me and take advantage of me. They obviously thought that I wasn’t as smart as I really was, and they thought that I would actually fall for their tricks. Social skills groups are a good thing for some people, but they most certainly didn’t help me. There were people that most likely will not be able to function in real life like I can, and I wasn’t particularly interested in being friends with them. Growing up in the small community of Sarver, Pennsylvania has made it sound impossible to find that one best friend who appreciates me for who I am. From my perspective, there are five very important qualities that a best friend should have. If you don’t have these qualities in you, then you should definitely reconsider being friends with me.

1.) Honesty:

I put honesty as the first one on the list because it is the most important quality that any friend should have, whether or not they are a best friend, or a “go to the mall together” friend. One of the people that I detest more than ever are people who can’t handle the truth. People are frightened by the fact that I tell people like it is when they are doing something that could potentially harm them or the people around them, or get them into trouble in the near future. I know that many people don’t enjoy hearing the truth, and sometimes is may hurt their feelings, but I show them the truth about the situation because I care about them and don’t want to see the negative consequences that could happen as a result of them not listening to me. Many people out there have had friends that have gotten into trouble, severely hurt, or even killed because of not listening to the dangers of things like drugs, sex or alcohol. You hear about these things that happen, and it happens in almost every high school class across America. I am an honest person, and I show that in a way that will hopefully convince someone that I really care about them. And if it hurts your feelings, I am sorry. Sometimes telling the truth in a stern tone of voice will get the person to listen to you. Sometimes it takes a person to learn a lesson about something, and hopefully saying it in a stern tone of voice will convince them into listening to me. When I really care about someone, I will not give up telling them like it is until they listen and realize that what they are doing is wrong, and could get them into trouble, hurt, or even killed. Honesty is always the best policy, even when you think that it might hurt someones feelings. If you lie about something, they will eventually find out about it.

2.) Kindness

Aside from honesty, kindness is second on this list for many reasons, but the most important one is when I need help on something, my best friend will try their hardest to go out of their way to help me with the problem. When I ask them a question about a problem I am having, I don’t want to hear that bullshit “I don’t know” answer. To me, an answer like that shows me that you truly are not interested in helping me with the problem, and want to be stuck up and hang around anybody else but me. If a friend gives me a ridiculous answer like that, I will just walk away and find someone else to help me with the problem. There are other people out there who are more willing to help me than that person, and that person obviously doesn’t really care about me, they only care about themselves and their “little group” of friends. They were your typical stuck up, and rude high school clique. The thing about giving the “I don’t know response” when I’m asking for advice on something is that they didn’t even try to help me with the problem. A true best friend tries as hard as they can to help someone with a problem.

3.) Trustworthiness:

As I have mentioned many times before, I know how it feels to be “set up” by people. At Lenape Tech and Freeport, I only have people that I consider “acquaintances”. I personally don’t think it is a wise idea to invite them into my life because of how they have talked to me, I absolutely hate people that treat me like I’m not as smart as I really am. I hate people that think I am stupid enough to fall for their tricks. I am able to tell when someone is trying to be my friend or make fun of me. I may not find it out right away, but I will find it out eventually. I know how high school kids act, especially the stupid ones. A true friend is someone that will never bring you down or make fun of you, no matter what happens. I have a difficulty trusting people in school because they don’t really understand my Aspergers Syndrome, and I fear that they may make fun of me or try to take advantage of me in the future. I am very quick when it comes to finding out whether or not people really have friendship in mind with me. I don’t really trust most of the people I am acquaintances with because they most likely don’t accept me for the kind of person that I am. As I mentioned in one of my other blogs, I hate it when people expect me to participate in things just because “everybody else is doing it”. I consider it an insult when people tell me that I need to be “normal”. A true friend is someone you can trust fully, and someone who accepts you for who you are. A true friend is someone who listens to you, and takes advice from you.

4.) Sacrifice

In my opinion, this is the most important quality of a best friend. A true friend is someone who MAKES TIME to spend with you. It’s okay if a friend is busy, especially when they are in college or just getting ready to finish high school, but this is inexcusable when your friend is in need, whatever it may be. Even if they are not able to spend time with you, they should at least make time to talk to you on the phone, or chat with you online about something. When they start to make excuses about that, then you might want to reconsider being friends with the person. I have had friends that have made ridiculous excuses like that in the past, and it is something that you really can’t control. You can’t MAKE someone be friends with you. If you try to do that, they most likely will avoid you. Remember, if someone doesn’t want to be friends with you, it is their loss, not yours. It makes no sense to worry about someone who ruined a chance of making friends with you.

These qualities are all very important to me, they are in no particular order. If you want to be my true friend, you absolutely must have all of these qualities in you. For additional help, please refer to my other blog about friendships.