Sam - Interview 17b
More about me...
Being autistic has ruined Sam's life and he can think of little positive about it.
Although suffice to say this is probably, you may not like what I’m going to say here, but suffice it to say, it would artificial insemination as far as my genes, i.e. autistic ones are not going into the mixing pot when it comes to that sort of thing. Which I appreciate it isn’t particularly pro autism but I’m not pro autism. I don’t want to ever see any autistic people being trod upon, it happens, but when it comes to sort of autistic rights and all that sort of thing I can’t accept that quite simply because I can’t see anything good about aut… well there are very few good things about autism; it’s ruined my life, and I never want to be autistic, and if I had a choice to not be autistic I would never… I would simply take it. And I do see a lot of other people out there, I mean I spend a lot of time with the internet and I do see a lot of autistic advocacy, and I’m not convinced quite simply, because you know, on one page of a forum they’re going on about how it’s great to be autistic and how you know, more people should be autistic and all that sort of thing. And then another forum, another part of the same forum, they go on about a list of their problems; how they’ve got depression, and you know, antidepressants and all sorts of personal issues and I’m thinking to myself, well wait a minute, these problems you’re having, probably wouldn’t, you wouldn’t actually be having if you weren’t autistic, so it doesn’t make sense to me. I just can’t say anything. I really can’t say that much positive, particularly positive things about autism. It’s ruined my life as far as I can tell; it’s ruined a lot of lives of people I’ve met who have been autistic.
Sam's obsessional thoughts are all consuming and he is unable to concentrate on anything else.
Sam finds a lot of people 'banal' but found having a friend at university made a 'massive...
However, I did meet one friend at university who is probably my best friend. I’ve known her for seven years now. And that really made a massive difference, because I hadn’t had one person I could actually talk to. Who I could sit there for an hour or two or longer and have a one to one conversation with, for many years. And quite simply the benefit that that brings is worth more than having twenty or thirty friends who you can socialise with and spend time with but actually can’t really talk to as such, just be in social environments with. And so that was probably, probably the reason I enjoyed university, was because I actually managed to meet someone who actually I could connect with and be friends with. So …
Sam used to hide in his room from housemates and would only consider living with postgraduates in...
If I’ve got a friend I’ve got a lot of enthusiasm for them, and I like to spend time with them, and everyone else I’m just really, whatever. So I just usually if I actually talk to anybody in the house I always talk to one person and everyone answers just purely getting away quite simply. I don’t know I’m not very good with people. So it’s infinitely easier living on my own. Not having to hide in my room while getting hungrier and hungrier as they’re in the kitchen, no one shouting or slamming doors or whatever, at whatever time in the morning. I wouldn’t mind… I possibly… if I did live with anyone else again it would be with postgraduates I think, when I’m at university. Because they are usually much more mature and intelligent and interesting and they them to sleep before say 2 in the morning which is much more convenient for me. And they don’t shout so much. They’re not usually racist either
Sam wasn't convinced by the suggested diagnosis of schizoid type personality disorder and so did...
Sam 'hated school' and around the age of 15 his ability to cope declined 'pretty quickly'.
I think my ability to hold together conversations, seemed to plummet at this point, I don’t really know why. It became much more complicated for me. That’s quite speculative, but suffice to say the level of pressure I felt being in a conversation increased substantially perhaps, I suppose children accept abnormality much better when they’re younger, but when you get to sort of say the age of 15, people are starting to develop individuality and you know, a lot of changes going on and that perhaps demarcated me. And for whatever reason it just became very difficult for me to talk to people, to the point whereby I’d often get these really very, very bad headaches in school. I would just sit there and as soon as the class started, I’d just get this really bad headache and couldn’t concentrate.
Sam feels he is 'psychologically incapable' of doing a job that he isn't obsessively interested in.
I mean, the notion of the life, a lot of people have lived, or of getting a, you know, leaving school, getting a job, working, whatever, they just… people to my mind seem so very, very easy to satisfy. Whereas an autistic person in my experience will often very much more difficult to satisfy, insofar as we can go over and just get any particular job, whereas it’s difficult for me to imagine myself working any but the most specific of jobs, because I just simply don’t care about most of them. And yeah, most of people aren’t very enthusiastic about working whatever job they’re going to work, but they’ll do it, it’s not particularly that big a concern. Whereas, it’s to the point whereby I probably couldn’t do it, I’d be psychologically incapable. Because I just couldn’t focus upon it, and the sheer, the level of will power it’ll take to get up and go to it. I think it would be so much more, because it’s just I’d have to be...out whatever thing I’m particularly interested or obsessed with at any given point. Hm.
Sam talks about the support he has had that hasn't helped him.
Sam recalls an 'emotional distance' between himself and other children.
When it comes to my past, I can’t really remember what happened before the age of say ten years old. I assumed I had reasonably normal functioning life. But when I was ten years old I moved school and this seemed to have a fairly negative effect because I didn’t make new friends, at least of the friends I did make eventually I felt weren’t really interested in me at all to be honest. They just seemed, I don’t know, very distant. I suppose there was a feeling of distance, of emotionally me and them. I’m not totally certain why this was. It wasn’t particularly easy, school, in fact I hated school. It was a lot of stress. I just… I certainly worked hard at it and I certainly made a lot of effort towards it, but I dreaded going most days. I really did. I thankfully wasn’t bullied which was probably a very, I’d say lucky. I was slightly bullied on my paper round, but not actually in school, so it wasn’t so bad. But the big change, the big change came when I was about 15. My ability to cope for some reason, just simply declined pretty quickly. I think it was the level of stress I was under at school, quite simply.
Sam enjoyed the academic focus at university and also met his best friend who he was able to...
Sam stopped talking to his parents when he was 17. Since learning his diagnosis he has resumed...
Sam finds socialising difficult partly because he finds most people uninteresting.
Sam is more optimistic about the balance between socialising and being on his own.
And on the other hand of course, which I’ve been looking for many years of feeling distant and alienated and not connecting and all that sort of thing, on the other hand, a sort of mental health check up where it’s often very difficult to function at all, quite simply. Depression and all that sort of stuff, and there’s a constant sort of, you know, what’s the word? Conflict between the two. And between functioning and having a normal life and spending the rest of my days in my room reading or whatever and not interacting with the outside world, which is certainly easier in some regards but ultimately leads to far worse places psychologically and also for my attempts to live a happy life. So yes, it depends. I’ve been optimistic in the past, but it’s not worked. I perhaps have at least a level of optimism here which is perhaps more well founded. We’ll see.
Every single bill is a new challenge for Sam to deal with.
And probably even just on my own, I suppose, trying to live a practical life. If I want to do things like, sort of paying a bill, well the number of steps that simply takes to do that is really quite considerable, and it creates a pressure from trying to switch off my brain from whatever it’s previously thinking about, towards focussing on something like simply paying a bill. It’s really quite sizeable the number of steps it makes me take, where most people can do it instantly, but every single one’s a new challenge. Whereas the simple ease with which you can simply just sit there and think about whatever, or do whatever you want to do, whatever your mind’s particularly focused upon. That to my mind is one of the essences of autism. What really demarcates the autistic person from a normal person as it were, that sort of level of obsession, of course, there are other distinctions as well.