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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
anxietyisfun Offline
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my last cry for help - January 17th 2017, 12:41 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of suicide, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread therefore might not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

I'm really lost at this point. I have nobody that I feel I can talk to, and no way out of this constant pain. I know that nobody here is a professional and that this will likely just become another post that comes and goes, but I need my life to change and I don't know how. So here goes my stupid rant thing.

I have Asperger's syndrome - I was diagnosed a few years ago. Before that, I dealt with a ton of bullying at my old school because of how 'weird' I was. The kids left me out of their games, so I became sad and lonely, forever blaming myself for the rejection I received. I moved up to middle school aged 9, where I experienced the worst rejection I had gotten so far. I had no friends, I was made fun of by everyone because I couldn't push back at them, and became very depressed. I often described myself in writing as feeling 'numb' something I'm still experiencing now. The horrible numbness. I had to navigate my way through the school alone, for six months bracing the pain until my parents finally listened to my pleas and had me move to a different school. At that point in time my dog passed away, another blow to my already damaged mental state. The school I moved to was better in the sense that it was smaller and the children were generally more welcoming, although it still proved to be a nightmare for me. No friends, nothing to do all day, no sense of self. It was around this time as well that I really began to experience self esteem issues. I'd had some issues with myself before that, but being told I was fat by my mum and by my peers really shook my self confidence, and I became scared to put on my school dress because I knew my stomach looked big in it. I am not largely overweight (at this point, I'm over the normal range by 5 pounds) but I was always a little bigger than the other kids. This was down to my binge eating as a coping mechanism, backed up by the fact that my depression was stopping me from exercising. Every night after staying quiet and lonely during a school day, I came home and binge ate to calm down. My anxiety about school could be overwhelming, and eating was my way of ending the stress of the day. My parents screamed at me for overeating and for not completing basic tasks like self care and doing homework (my symptoms were preventing me from doing so.) That made me sadder and ultimately more depressed and angry. After the time at that school ended, I moved to another where things were better for the first year. I had a group of friends, finally. My anxiety continued to get worse, but - I had friends, right? They were people I laughed with, but never felt really close to. I couldn't tell them anything serious without a laugh. And jokes about my weight or physical appearance were always funny to them, but not me. I was happy I had friends though, until a girl who had been my friend in my very young years joined the school. We had ended our friendship harshly and she had never been too kind to me, but I was pretty foolish and thought maybe she's changed since we were five. So I introduced her to all of my friends, and she came around with us at lunchtimes. Long story short: she took over, spread lies about me, turned all my friends against me, which followed with me blowing up in anger on social media and getting the school involved in the situation. I lost all my friends and spent the rest of the year suffering, until early 2016, when my anxiety just got too much and I could not go in. The school tried their best to make it easier for me, but I just couldn't go. I spent the entirety of last year cooped up in my room every day. Naturally, I became even more depressed. I was placed on Prozac (fluoxetine) the antidepressant last February, and came off it after I made my third suicide attempt in July, and was admitted to the ER. I obviously left the hospital alright physically, but mentally, I'm still getting worse. I'm now at a specialist school to try and help me cope with my anxiety, but I can't make myself go in. When I try to, I get a lump in my throat, my eyes well up and I find it difficult to speak. I usually want to throw up or feel generally nauseous, and this feeling will last as long as I know I have to go to school. This place is my last chance of ever getting qualifications. I have two years until my GCSE's and I can't even complete Maths work made for 11 year olds. I'm not academically behind in any aspect but Maths, where I struggle a ton. Online schooling is not possible where I live. I notice how much happier I am when I'm not dealing with the horrendous anxiety that comes with school. But at this point, I HAVE to go to school or I'll never have a life. I honestly don't know what to do anymore. I desperately want to end my life, I just have no way of doing it. I can't go on living like this any longer. Please help me, someone.
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  (#2 (permalink)) Old
Chuuya Offline
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Re: my last cry for help - January 17th 2017, 02:24 AM

I'm sorry that you've been so much these last few years. It sounds like a lot to go through and I know it's not easy to get through anything hard when you feel alone and have no one to lean on. You may feel like there isn't anyone that you can talk to but there are. TeenHelp is a great place to talk to others, make friends, and get advice. Yeah we're not professionals but we all care and you are always more than welcome to PM me with anything. If you want to talk about something, or just need a friend. Please never hesitate to send me a message!

Despite the fact that TeenHelp is a great place to talk to others and get advice from others who are in similar positions as you, it's not a replacement for professional help. From your post it sounds like you've done a great deal to combat what you're going through. I'm sorry that none of it has been very successful or helpful for you. You mentioned you were on some antidepressants, but came off of them after your attempt. Have you tried any others or do you see a professional regularly to talk about what's going on, work through your anxiety or your depression at all? If not I think that's a great place to start. Talking to a doctor or a professional about your options and say that you feel like this is your last cry out for help. That you want something to change. You have to be honest with them and keep continuing to seek out that help until someone listens and helps you. I know it is frustrating to be met with road block and road block and have nothing work but you can't stop. You can't let the anxiety and depression win. You can get through this.

With your friends, they honestly didn't sound like good people to be around. I know you feel as though they were better than nothing - but those were not good people if they made fun of you and hurt your feelings. That's not what real friends do and they don't drop you because some new person comes in and spreads lies and rumors. I know it probably hurt - I've been in similar situations - but it is their loss. They are missing out on a chance to get to know an amazing person and share in your life. I'm sorry they did that to you.

Making friends was always hard for me too, and sometimes kids can be the most cruel people out there. I wish they weren't but sometimes we can't change them. We just have to continue to live above the hate and the lies that they speak to bring us down. They are not worth your time. I know that's easier said than done, but fake it till you believe it. Because one day you will believe that.

I'm glad you're at a specialist school, even if right now it is hard and challenging for you to do things. You have to continue to go and persevere through it. Talk to your teachers, or if talking is too hard maybe write a letter or an email to explain your situation and figure out ways that you can work with them to learn the material and get through the things you don't know as well.

You are not just another post. Everyone who shares their story or asks for advice on TeenHelp is an individual and unique. You are a person and you matter.

"You'll have to decide for yourself. Walk on your own. Move forward. You've got a strong pair of legs, Rose. You should get up and use them."
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Re: my last cry for help - January 18th 2017, 09:37 AM

I have Asperger's too, though I suspect it's mild compared to others. I was diagnosed a couple years ago. I've been going to an autism center getting training on how to make small talk, idle chit-chat. That has helped some.

My suggestion, don't sweat school. Focus on healing yourself first. If school is causing problems and damage, put it off until later. You can do school later. Or there are numerous other ways to get your GED.

Things to study and practice:

1. Meditation
2. Body Language
3. Conversation Skills

In addition, if you've been depressed for a long time please see a doctor. It's definitely not normal and it can be fixed! This story about antidepressant medicine offers hope to those suffering serious depression:

(I've read any depression longer than 2 weeks you should go see a doctor. I've discovered it's not uncommon to find young adults who have been depressed for years—so long it's their "normal" and they have no idea that other people aren't in the slightest suffering the way they are. It's a treatable medical condition!)

Hope some of this helps. It might help if there's a counselor who specializes in high functioning autism or Asperger's. Meditation will help alleviate stress and you'll be able to interact better. Best wishes!

(I apologize the rest of this post ended up being so long. This is the sum total of everything I've learned in the past 3 years, on meditation, body language, and conversation skills.)

Autism is now a spectrum which goes all the way from "PhD college graduates to people who can't dress themselves."--Temple Grandin. (I just saw Temple Grandin for the second time and that's what she said. She also said don't get addicted to video games; Build on strengths; If you're a visual learner not good at algebra, skip algebra and move on to geometry. And she liked the movie about the 3 black women who worked on the moon landing [I'm not sure if that has anything to do with autism.])

The term Asperger's and Autism isn't well defined and keeps changing.

One problem seems to be reading facial expressions:

Facial Expressions
"Whilst adults with autism and Asperger Syndrome are able to detect basic mental states in the whole face, they are impaired at recognizing complex mental states, and are markedly impaired at recognizing such mental states from the eyes alone."

--From a study published with the title: Is There a “Language of the Eyes”? Evidence from Normal Adults, and Adults with Autism or Asperger Syndrome by Simon Baron-Cohen, Sally Wheelwright, and Therese Jolliffe. Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, UK [The UK is way ahead of the US in autism research and practical help.]

The following is a list I put together over the past 3 years:


A Few Books

Body Language (reading, recognizing, in self and others)
After studying body language I became more aware of not just other people's body language, but also my own body language--what my body position was saying to other people.
  • Body Language : How to Read Other's Thoughts By Their Gestures
    Allan Pease (1984)
    Short, concise, with many useful illustrations (152 pages).
    There are 23 formats and editions of this book, from 1984 - 1997
    [There's also a 2005 book by Barbara Pease and Allan Pease titled The Definitive Book of Body Language which may be a greatly expanded version at 416 pages. This newer book has 20 formats and editions, from 2004 - 2008.]
  • What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People
    Joe Navarro, Marvin Karlins (2008)
  • Body Language and Communication: A Guide for People with Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Simon Perks (2007 The National Autistic Society)
    http://books.google.com/books?id=irH...sec=frontcover (preview)
    Short, concise, 65 pages.
  • Love Signals: A Practical Field Guide to the Body Language of Courtship
    David Givens (2006)

Flirting (using and recognizing body language)
When looking for a potential date, women, upon seeing a man they like, make the first move by flirting non-verbally. Then the man makes the first move by moving over to the woman and opening a conversation using his small talk skills. Common problems are the man doesn't recognize the woman is flirting with him and wants him to come over and talk with her. If you're a woman, flirt more. If that doesn't work, he probably is just "flirt blind" and requires a direct approach using words.
Social Skills
  • Improve Your Social Skills
    by Daniel Wendler (2014, Kindle Format)
  • The Asperkid's (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-so-obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens with Asperger's Syndrome
    by Jennifer Cook O'Toole (2012)
  • Coping: A Survival Guide For People With Asperger Syndrome
    by Marc Segar
    http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/alistair/survival/ (Free. PDF, Kindle, EPUB)
Asperger's Syndrome
  • The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
    by Tony Attwood (2007)
  • Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships
    by Ashley Stanford (2002)
    Oct 21, 2014 — a new fully revised version was released.
  • Business for Aspies: 42 Best Practices for Using Asperger Syndrome Traits at Work Successfully
    by Ashley Stanford (2011)
  • Communication Issues In Autism And Asperger Syndrome: Do We Speak The Same Language?
    by Olga Bogdashina (2004)
  • Theory of Mind and the Triad of Perspectives on Autism and Asperger Syndrome: A View from the Bridge
    by Olga Bogdashina (2005)
  • The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband
    by David Finch (2012)
  • Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life
    by Cynthia Kim (2015 [even though it's only 2014, the book says in two places copyright 2015])
  • The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity by Norman Doidge, M.D., chapter 8, discusses autism and some new remarkable treatments.
Meditation has the ability to switch off the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS, "fight or flight") and switch on the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS, "rest, digest, restore"). People also tend not to be sociable in SNS state (anxious), and sociable in PNS state (relaxed). Switching on PNS state helps one to be naturally sociable. (Also research "Polyvagal Theory", which is another label for pretty much the same idea.)
  • "I know I should Meditate, But...": What you can learn about health and happiness in ten minutes a day
    by Spencer Sherman
    http://www.amazon.com/know-should-Me...dp/B00OUGWW7Y/ (Kindle,99Ę)
  • The Mindfulness Breakthrough: The Revolutionary Approach to Dealing with Stress, Anxiety and Depression by Silverton, Sarah (1999)
  • How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist
    by Andrew Newberg M.D., Mark Robert Waldman (2009)
    [Despite the book's unusual title, it's really a book on brain science, and how brain science shows Meditation is very healthy for one's brain. Meditation reduces fear & anger, and increases kindness and compassion by strengthening the anterior cingulate.]

    (Basically all of Positive Psychology can be deduced from the result of Cognitive Science that "Activating a thought strengthens and reinforces that thought." The rest is just deciding which thoughts to strengthen by activating them, and which ones to weaken by not dwelling on them. e.g. go to a church every week and hear a fearful sermon instilling the "Fear of God" into you, and eventually you will become a more fearful person. Likewise, go to a different church and hear a sermon each week on how God is Kind, Loving, Caring, and Nurturing, and eventually you too will become a more kind, loving, caring, and nurturing person.)
Dating(Dating comes much more naturally once you've done meditation for a couple months.)

(about Asperger's)
  • Temple Grandin
  • Mozart the Whale
  • The Imitation Game




The ways people communicate include:
  • Words
  • Tone of Voice
  • Speed of Voice
  • Volume of Voice
  • Facial Expressions
  • Hand Gestures
  • Body Language
  • Physical Proximity
  • Touch
Five Levels of Communication:
  • Phatic Communication
  • Factual Communication
  • Evaluative Communication
  • Gut-level Communication
  • Peak Communication

French-writing Swiss author Madame de StaŽl wittily hinted at two centuries ago in opining:
"The desire of the man is for the woman, but the desire of the woman is for the desire of the man."
(I found the best examples of English conversation I could find to study is in the "English as a second language" category.)

English Conversation 01
(good samples of conversations)

Learning English with Misterduncan in England (87 videos)
(Excellent series for Aspies of all levels.)
  • Lesson Fourteen (Expressing Yourself Using Body Language)
  • Lesson Eighteen (Small Talk)
  • Lesson Twenty One (Compliments)
  • Lesson Twenty Two (The way you feel)

Asking 100 Girls For Sex (Social Experiment)
(The point is observing that nothing bad happens if you approach someone and make an ass of yourself.)
(Zero success, but surprisingly, nothing bad happens.)

Asking 200 Girls For Sex (Social Experiment)
(Again the point is learning that nothing bad happens if you approach someone and make an ass of yourself.)
(Having zero success in America, he goes to Europe to try)
(Not surprising, he has 199 failures.)

Am I UNDATEABLE? Chelsea looks for romance in the big city!
[So cute -- all the actors are dogs!]
(Other than cute and adorable, void of any useful content other than pure entertainment, and the idea that humans are animals too.)

(There are other youtube videos I've seen which were helpful, but I need to track them down again.)

Other books:
  • David Keirsey - Please Understand Me II
Describes the 4 basic personalty types. This has helped me a lot in understanding people who are different from me. Also helps me understand that it's normal for other people to be different from me, because most other people have a different personality type.

  • How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes
  • Emotions: Making Sense of Your Feelings by Mary Lamia
  • A Field Guide to Earthlings: An Autistic/Asperger view of neurotypical behavior by Ian Ford.
  • Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
    Hilarious books. The author has Asperger's or something similar.

The biggest help was the Question Bank. A list of questions I can memorize and then use to open a conversation with. (By learning these, I also became aware of when others were asking me question bank questions.)

(This is my Question Bank I've put together. I apologize the following is lengthy and there are a lot of duplicates.)

Making Conversation:
Remember "Small Talk" or "Chit-Chat" conversation isn't really about exchanging useful information. e.g. the opening phrase, "Nice weather we're having, isn't it?". Yes I can see the weather is nice just as well as the other person. The question really isn't about the weather, the question is just a ruse to get the other person to speak. Then I can hear his voice, and determine from his voice what mood he's in. (I'm OK at picking up moods from voice. I get little info looking at a person's eyes.) Plus it bonds us because now we've had an exchange of words. Building that bond is the purpose of Small Talk. Now we are more familiar with each other.

(The following is my abridged version for memorizing. A longer version with explanation and examples follows later.)

Small Talk Chit Chat topics for conversation:
CURRENT EVENTS (weather, sports)

Getting to Know You: (familiarity)
TIME (past, present, future, weekend, holidays)

HOBBIES (movies, TV, books, music,...)

LOCATION (past, present, future)

FAMILY (sisters, brothers, children, parents, pets, relatives)

OPINIONS “So, do you like cats or dogs better?” “If you could be any ice cream flavor, which one would you be?”

FEELINGS Once you start to learn more about their feelings and opinions on things, you can start to develop a real bond.

Family Occupation Recreation (hobbies, fun) Motivation (inspire)

Connection is achieved through shared experiences or empathizing with others.

(The above is my abridged version. e.g. if I can remember "TIME", then I can think "Past, Present, Future" and then build a question, "What did you do yesterday?"
"Do you have any plans for tomorrow?" All I have to remember is "TIME". The rest I construct.)
  • Exit Strategies
    (Conversation turns to past tense.)
    (It's good to know how to get out of a conversation. Then I won't be so nervous to get into a conversation, because I won't feel trapped. I can exit the conversation at any time.)
    • It was nice meeting you. It was great to meet you.
    • It was nice to see you again. It was great to see you.
    • I’ll see you later.
    • Enjoy your lunch.
    • Have a good day.
    • Talk to you soon.
    • I gotta go. See you later.
    • Sorry, I need to go.
    • Sorry, I have to get to ___.
    • I’ll let you get back to ___.
    • I should get back to ___ but it was nice talking to you.
    • Have a good one.
    • Have a great rest of your day.

Endings. (“Well Wishes”)
  • “It was nice talking to you.”
  • “Have a good day.”
  • “See you around!”
  • “Enjoy the rest of your day.”
  • [Lunch] “Enjoy your lunch.”
  • [Friday] “Enjoy the weekend!”
  • [it's raining] “Don't get wet!“

  1. Initiation Strategies
    1. “Hi. My name is _____. What’s your name?”
    2. “How are you?” “Fine. How are you?” “Fine.” (robot phrase)
    3. “How’s it going?” “Pretty good. How about you?” “Pretty good.” (robot phrase)
    4. “What are you up to?”
    5. “What’s new?”
      1. “Nothing much… What’s new with you?”
    6. “May I join you?” (e.g. for lunch)
    7. What do you think of …
      1. the instructor
      2. the weather
      3. the class
      4. the food

General Questions
    1. TIME
      1. Past
        1. What did you do….
        2. Did you do anything fun
          1. this morning, yesterday, last weekend, last week?
      2. (Monday morning
        1. How was your weekend?
        2. Did you have a good weekend?
      3. Present
        1. How’s your day going?
        2. What are you up to?
      4. Future
        1. Do you have any fun plans for…
          1. this afternoon, this evening, tomorrow, this weekend?
          2. <next holiday>
        2. Where are you going after this?

    1. PASTIME
      1. What do you do in your spare time?
      2. What do you do during the day?
        {alternative to asking what their job is, in case they don’t have a job}
      3. Hobbies
        1. Do you have any hobbies? (Anything that’s not work)
          [Need hobby answer]
      4. TV
        {many people are switching to Netflix and Hulu}
        1. Do you watch TV?
        2. What do you watch on TV?
        3. Do you have a favorite TV show?
      5. Movies
        1. Have you seen any good movies lately?
      6. Books
        1. Read any good books lately?
      7. Music
        1. What kind of music do you like?
      8. Travel
        1. Do you like to travel?
        2. have you traveled anywhere interesting?
      9. Cooking
        1. Do you like to cook?
    2. Have you been here before?
    1. Remind me your name again?
    2. Sorry what was your name again?
    3. Robot Phrases:
      1. How are you? Fine, and you? Fine.
      2. “How’s it going?” “Pretty good. How about you?” “Pretty good.”
      3. “What’s new?” “Nothing much… What’s new with you?”
Location: Past:
    1. Where are you from?
Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

Location: Present:

    1. Do you live nearby?
    2. Do you live around here?
    3. Where do you live?
    4. What part of town do you live in?
    5. How long have you lived in … {Location + Time}
    1. Do you have any children/kids? {Family}
    2. Do you have any pets? {Family}
    1. How do you like the weather?
    2. It's a nice day today, isn't it?

    1. What kind of computer do you have?
    2. Do you like animals?

  1. Specific Situational Questions
    1. Do you mind if I sit here?
    2. Is this seat taken?
    3. WORK:
      1. What department do you work in?
      2. What sort of thing do you do?
      3. How long have you been working here?
      4. How has work been going?
      5. (if new) where did you work before?
      6. How long have you been coming to this group?
      1. What type of employee are you looking for?
      2. What makes people successful here
      3. (be interested in the company)
      1. What inspired you to come to this class / meeting?
      2. What inspired you to try <Yoga, Meditation, etc.>
      3. Is this your first time here?
      4. Have you been here before?
      5. Have you been to this class before?
      6. How long have you been coming here?
      7. Have you ever done Yoga before?
      8. Have you ever done Yoga here before?
      9. Have you ever meditated before?
      10. How did you learn about this class?

    1. How do you like the food here?
    2. What team are you rooting for? (sports)
    3. child:
      1. What grade are you in?
      2. What school do you go to?
      3. What's your teacher's name?
      4. Do you like your teacher?
      5. What is your favorite subject?
      6. What is your favorite animal?
    4. Restaurant
      1. What do you recommend?
  1. Responses/Comments
    1. I’m OK.
    2. I’m pretty good.
    3. It’s a beautiful day.
    4. I’m looking forward to a good day at work
    5. Hobbies / extracurricular activities:
      1. I do volunteer work
      2. I volunteer at Mental Wellness Center
      3. I practice meditation, yoga,
      4. I read a lot of books (lead)
      5. I like to study computer programming (lead)

A “lead” offers someone the opportunity to ask a follow up question.
e.g. “I do volunteer work” “Oh, where do you volunteer?”

Reciprocate. A person asks you a question, you can ask them the same question back. e.g. “Hi. What did you do toay?” “I did <xyz>. How about you? What did you do today?”
Be prepared with responses if you ask someone a question and they reciprocate and ask you the same question back.
  1. Appropriate Topics
    1. Environment. Weather. Temperature. Humidity.
    2. Class.
    3. Observe what other people are wearing (compliments).
    4. Weekend
    5. Work
    6. School
    7. Vocation
    8. Hobbies, groups, classes
    9. Future Plans
    10. Movies
    11. Books
    12. Food
    13. Where someone is from
    14. Traveling
  1. Inappropriate Topics
    1. Negative Body comments (weight, fat, ugly,)
    2. Religion
    3. Sex
    4. Relationships (have you stopped beating your wife? How’s your relationship with...
    5. Negative gossip about other people
    6. Politics
    7. Death (My late wife)(Has anyone you love died recently?)
    8. Race, Ethnicity.
      Don’t be racist (negative), sexist (stupid), (all judgemental)
      (All those Jews, and Black people, and Mexicans,... {negative}
      Chinese are so good at math...{stereotype}

  1. Hints & Tips
    1. Show interest in the other person (that’s fascinating!)
    2. Avoid Negative Comments, Complaining,
    3. How to interrupt to ask a question:
      start with an apology. e.g. “Sorry, what’s a __?”
      then get the back on track:
      “Oh, OK thank you. So you were saying...?”
    4. Stay Positive
      1. Don’t complain about anything I don’t like
        (Except football?)
      2. Topics which make other people uncomfortable.
      3. Negative comments about other people (gossip)
General Questions
    1. What did you do this morning, yesterday, last weekend, last week,
    2. Did you do anything fun last weekend?
    3. How was your weekend?
    4. Did you have a good weekend?
    5. How’s your day going?
    6. Do you have any fun plans for this weekend? Holidays? Halloween?
    7. Do you have any plans for this afternoon, tomorrow, this weekend, next week
    8. Holidays:
      1. Do you have any plans for Halloween, for Thanksgiving, for Christmas?
    9. Have you been here before?
    10. How has your day been going? Week?
    11. Remind me your name again? Sorry what was your name again?
    12. How are you? Fine, and you? Fine.
    13. What are you up to?
    14. What do you do in your spare time?
    15. Where are you from
Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
    1. Do you have any children/kids?
    2. Have you seen any good movies lately? Read any good books lately?
    3. Do you live nearby? / Do you live around here?
  1. Specific Situational Questions
    1. Do you mind if I sit here? Is this seat taken?
    2. WORK:
      1. What department do you work in?
      2. What sort of thing do you do?
      3. How long have you been working here?
      4. How has work been going?
      5. (if new) where did you work before?How long have you been coming to this group?
    3. What inspired you to come to this class? (try Yoga, Meditation, etc.)
    4. Have you been here before?
    5. Have you been to this class before?
    6. How long have you been coming here?
    7. How did you get here? (e.g. work party)
    8. How do you like the food here?
    9. What team are you rooting for? (sports)
  1. Responses/Comments
    1. I’m OK.
    2. I’m pretty good.
    3. It’s a beautiful day.
    4. I’m looking forward to a good day at work
    5. Hobbies / extracurricular activities:
      1. I volunteer at Mental Wellness Center
      2. I do volunteer work
      3. I practice meditation, yoga,
      4. I read a lot of books (lead)
      5. I like to study computer programming

Hi. How are you? Fine, how are you?
Fine. Thanks.

"Hi, my name is <name>. What's your name?"

TIME: Past, Present, Future: as in:
  • What did you do today? Yesterday? Last Weekend? Last Week?
  • Do you have any plans for this afternoon? This evening? This weekend? Next Week?

movies. "Have you seen any good movies recently?"
In a group (like a meditation group, or Yoga class)
  • "How long have you been coming to this group?"
  • "What inspired you to try this class?"

How long have you worked here?
What department do you work for? (What do you do?)
[Look for pictures on display in their office you can comment on.]
Remind me your name again? [Someone you've met once before.]

Monday Morning:
  • Did you have a good weekend?
  • Did you do anything fun over the weekend?

  • How's your morning going? (Fine/OK. And you?) [reciprocate]
  • How's your day going? (Fine/OK. And how about you?) [reciprocate]
  • How are you today? (Fine/OK. How are you?) [reciprocate]
  • How are you doing? (Fine/OK. How are you?) [reciprocate]

Stay Positive!
Have Enthusiasm!
Be Cheerful!
(This is all much easier after you practice Mindfulness Meditation.)

Reply positive: either something you recently did that was positive,
or something positive you are looking forward to doing in the near future.

Reply positive: either did or looking forward to doing.

“I'm looking forward to a good day at work.”

“I'm OK. It's a beautiful day.” (transition to topic of Weather.)

When you ask someone a question, be prepared for the possibility they may reciprocate the question back to you.

Lead-In: Ask question but preface with comment
"It's a nice day, isn't it?"

Reciprocate question

If someone asks if I have plans for the weekend and I don't, I say,

"I don't have any plans yet."

Starting a Conversation with Someone You Know
When you see someone for the first time during the day ask, “How are you?”
Ask about their:
  • Past
  • Present
  • Future
  • Interests
Getting to Know Someone New
Start the conversation:
  • Ask about something you see or might have in common (e.g. “Do you like this class?” or “That looks like a good notebook. I need one like that.”)
  • Introduce yourself.
  • Ask and tell about these categories to get to know them and discover what you have in common:
    • SCHOOL
      • What classes do you take? Are they good?
      • Have you ever had Mrs. ___ class?
      • Don't you think coach ___ is tough?
      • Who's your favorite teacher this semester?
      • How did you like the lecture in history today?
      • What classes are you taking this quarter?
      • What do you do for fun?
      • Do you like sports?
      • Do you like music?
      • What shows do you watch?
    • Where are you from?
    • FAMILY
      • Do you have a big family?
      • Any brothers? Sisters?
      • Pets?
    • WORK
      • Are you working anywhere? What's it like?
    • FOOD
      • What are you having for lunch?
      • Do you like what your mom packs?
      • Do you want a cookie?
      • Do you like tuna, because I don't!
    • SPORTS
      • Do you play any sports?
      • Did you see the Lakers game last Sunday?
      • Do you want to play basketball at lunch?

Avoid Sensitive Topics.

End the conversation. Explain why you need to go and say, “It was nice to meet you.”
(This is a time when it's OK to make up a small lie. The following may just be excuses, they may not be true, but they kindly work.
"I have to go."
"I have to get to class."
"I have to get to work."
"I need to <excuse>"

Things I've learned:

“The brain must affix a name onto anything it experiences in order to file it into memory.” —Andrew Newberg M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist (2009)

New word: “open” Open a conversation. Begin, commence, initiate, start.
  • Question Bank
  • Responsive Interjections. Validate.
  • Others are wed to their ideas
  • Stay Positive
  • Balance*
  • Branches

Strategies I currently use to open a conversation:
  • Make a comment. e.g. in a store, me making a comment about something allows others to hear my voice, know me a little better.
  • Asking a question demands a reply

* I was once living with someone very shy. I wondered what to do if we were together in the kitchen. If I say nothing and ignore her that's rude. If I ask her a question she might not want to reply. I came up with the idea of saying something which opened the opportunity for her to reply but which did not demand a reply so she could stay silent if she wished.
  • Conversation is back and forth
  • One aspie author describes conversation as like making a sandwich. The sandwich is passed back and forth each side adding to the sandwich.
  • I note I seem to be OK talking with someone I know.
  • Difficulty would be sustaining a conversation with a stranger ~ as in line at a grocery store, woman behind me, talkative, commented she liked the cereal I was buying. (Is that rude?) I was in a good mood for talking but sustaining that conversation I couldn't as we quickly exhausted the cereal topics.

OK I learned:
  • Branches
    Keep track of branches other people introduce. Identify the branches. (Hence, the Name quote at the beginning. Without the name “branches” I probably completely missed this before. Now I have a name for it I know what to look for.)

Empathy Comments

These are comments I'm supposed to interject into a conversation when someone is talking to me and telling me something that happened to them. I can reply with positive comments if it's a good thing that happened to them, or negative comments if it was something bad. (I had a hard time figuring out the meaning of positive and negative. I couldn't figure out what math had to do with it.)

I originally called these "Sprinkle Words" or "Sprinkle Phrases" (since there's usually more than one word)

Positive Comments
  • That's Amazing
  • How Annoying
  • That's Awesome
  • That's Awful
  • Cool
  • Oh Cool
  • How Cool
  • That's Cool
  • Very Cool
  • That's Fantastic
  • How Fabulous
  • Sounds like Fun
  • That's so Fun
  • That's Great
  • Interesting
  • That's really neat
  • Very Nice
  • No Way!
Negative comments to sprinkle in when someone tells a story of something bad that happened to them:
  • Oh Bummer
  • That's Horrible
  • I'm Sorry
  • How Irritating
  • What a Nightmare
  • That's No Fun
  • That's not good
  • Oh no!
  • What a Pain
  • How Sad
  • That Stinks
  • How Terrible
  • That's Too bad

Meditation was probably the most helpful thing to learn in the long run.

Learning Body Language also helped.

Learning Question Bank of questions to ask. I only needed to remember a few and that greatly helped.

Antidepressant medication eventually helped me once I found the one that worked for me. I had to try a lot of them before finding the one.

I've read that about 70% of people with Asperger's develop clinical depression, because we don't know how to socialize and we end up feeling isolated, which hurts. Depression can also lead to anxiety if it gets deep enough. Fix the depression, and the anxiety will fix itself. Medication, exercise, eat healthy. For me medication was eventually what did the trick. You won't have to suffer like this forever. There is a way out. Took me a long time, but doctor eventually found the medication that worked for me.

Last edited by del677; January 21st 2017 at 06:31 AM. Reason: Major overhaul, rewrite. Clean up. Added comments in red.
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