The down sides of being on the spectrum

In the past I’ve seen videos claiming that they can show people what it’s like to be on the spectrum. They showed people what it’s like to be more sensitive to sounds and lights, but that’s not really enough to get a good understanding of it. To understand it better, I’m going to go into detail about an incident that happened in my own life.

Back in 2017 I met someone in thermodynamics class (I was at university at the time). Let’s call her “Mai Urai”. I remember when I first layed eyes on her I immediately thought “she’s kind of cute”. When the semester ended I hadn’t said anything more to her than “Hey, I forgot my textbook. Can I borrow yours?” I thought I might never see her again.

Then the next semester came and, to my pleasant surprise, I had not one, but TWO classes with her. A few weeks passed by before I decided to try and become friends with her. I had become friends with someone else online before this point by just saying “You seem nice, let’s be friends” on twitter, so I thought I could maybe try that in real life.

I pulled her aside one day after class and said “Hey, Mai, right?”

“Yes.”

Now was my chance.

“Do you want to be friends with me?” I blurted out.

“Sure.” She said.

Little did I realize that I had made the biggest mistake of my life.

Months passed by where we never had time to talk. She was always too busy. “Asian students are always busy” my Internet friend said (he’s from China and is still getting a phd in biology). So I didn’t think anything of it. I’d send her emails asking her for help with something, or if we could chat and she’d never respond. I remember one time I asked her what the homework problem was that we were supposed to be working on (I used to procrastinate on homework assignments) and she never even replied to that one.

It was getting kind of annoying for me. I didn’t have anyone else to talk to at the time aside from a social worker I saw every week, and the friends I had on twitter. I was so lonely. Then, after the semester ended I found her twitter account and followed her. I went back to making tweets and playing hashtag games and didn’t see her account again for a while. Then when I rediscovered her account I had seen that she blocked me.

Panic set in. I didn’t know why she blocked me. Was it that she just thought I was annoying, or was it something worse? In a panic I wrote up a long-winded email to her where I told her my side of everything that had happened and I begged her to respond.

She did respond, and she accused me of stalking her and threatened to get the police involved if I ever contacted her again. She also said that all future emails would go straight to spam.

It felt like I was in an episode of the twilight zone. I had plenty of experiences where people randomly got pissed off at me, but this was the first time anyone threatened to get the police involved. I didn’t have the foggiest clue what she meant by stalking. I still to this day don’t know what on Earth that was about.

I was devastated. Days passed where all I could think about was her and what had just happened. Literally every thought was about her. I tried sleeping in all day to prevent the thoughts from happening but then I started having nightmares about her.

I had never gone through anything like this before. No matter what I did the thoughts wouldn’t go away. I was barely able to feed myself because I had so much trouble focusing. This went on for days, and then I was able to get at least some of my thoughts back. I went from having 100% of my thoughts be about her, to merely 50% of them being about her.

Every other thought was about her. I told my mother and sister about what had happened and they suggested I go to counseling. That never worked out. The next semester came and I had to repeat some classes. It felt like I was in Hell. I couldn’t focus at all, and I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to. It was the most painful experience of my life.

Why was this happening? One day while I was talking about it with my mother she told me it was because I was on the spectrum. That was the reason why I couldn’t stop thinking about her, and that was the reason why my thoughts often repeated themselves so much all throughout my life.

Then after the semester ended I got to choose my next classes. I looked at the list of classes available to me, and there was one simple goal I had: to maximize my chances of picking a class that she would also be in. I was going to fix this mess one way or another, and I knew that I had to be able to see her. Maybe if I could sort this out with her then the thoughts would stop.

I showed up for my first day of class and she was right there. After a month of hesitation I passed a note to her explaining the whole autism thing along with documentation of it. The next time we had class together the police hadn’t shown up. I waas ecstatic. I thought maybe we could staart over.

Two weeks passed by before they called me into the school’s administrative office. They told me I wasn’t in trouble but I wasn’t allowed to talk to her anymore. It was devastating. I still couldn’t stop thinking about her, and every day I was tempted to talk to her again.

I started losing weight for her, and I made sure that she saw me every day so she could see how much weight I had lost. I did that from early 2019 all the way until the pandemic hit st. louis in February of 2020. I had managed to lose forty pounds for her. She never seemed to have even noticed. Then one day I went to my psychiatrist and she told me that I had gained ten pounds in two months. I also told her that I had been getting intrusive thoughts.

Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that pop into your mind that you can’t get rid of. For me the thoughts took the form of me imagining myself doing something that would get me into trouble whenever I was in public. I remember one time I was working on a project in a library and there were other people there and I couldn’t stop imagining myself just screaming at them for seemingly no reason.

Sometimes I’d imagine interrupting other people’s conversations, or physically attacking people, or jumping off of a bridge (that one would happen whenever I had to walk over a bridge). These took up about 25% of my thoughts when I was in public.

My psychiatrist swapped out my medication, but the new medication had weight gain as a side effect so I wound up gaining back all the weight I had worked so hard to lose, and I then gained even more. To this day I’m still trying to get rid of the weight.

All that weight gain led to me getting sleep apnea, and so I had trouble waking up in the mornings. Eventually the intrusive thoughts got better because of the new medication but they never completely went away.

She graduated in 2020, while I wound up graduating in 2023 because my grades were so bad.

I started going to events more often, I went to meetups, I met new people, I worked on a novel, and yet no matter what I did I couldn’t stop thinking about her and I couldn’t help but want to contact her.

The ability to resist temptation is like a muscle. It gets stronger when you use it, but like a muscle, you can’t keep it up forever. If you have a sweet tooth and live right near a place that sells candy then it’s only a matter of time before you give in, and for me I wound giving into temptation once every few weeks by sending her a message on facebook.

She never replied and eventually sent a restraining order. When you’re on the spectrum people randomly get pissed off at you. It’s always the polite types who are the worst to have to deal with. There is no way around this other than for other people to get how autism works. People tend to make snap judgments a lot and that is a horrible habit to have that can screw other people over.

If you want to learn more about autism then here’s a playlist for you:

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