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Am I socially retarded?


Lundi_Hvalursson

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I have usually been made fun of and called "retard" throughout my childhood as well as adult life, but when I look at how I act in public, I do act quite awkward. I tend to act so painfully awkward that people stare at me, and even make comments about me to others or even to me myself. I have OCD, several types of anxiety, hypochondria and Asperger's.

Some examples of what I mean by "socially retarded":

-Often when offered a handshake, my hands simply stay at my sides and I give the person a blank look, i.e. blank facial expression. Often this angers or irritates people, and they make comments about me for it.

-Although I am not mutistic (at least not chronically), if someone asks me a simple question like, "What do you do for fun to relax?", I would look at them with a blank facial expression and just say nothing, or stutter with gibberish sounds like "eh", "uh", "oy", etc. Then after around five seconds I would answer, but I would answer stuff like, "Watching war movies like Platoon (1986) or Casualties of War (1989)." Then they would look at me as if they had a "wtf?" facial expression.

-I often am a bit worried about coming into contact with other people's germs. Sometimes I put the lower part of my face inside the upper part of my shirt when in a group of people. If I have to drink beer from the bottle of wine from the glass, often I tilt it so that the liquid enters my mouth, without my mouth actually touching the bottle or the glass. I often get weird looks for this.

-For some reason sometimes my balance is off, plus I am very clumsy; I accidentally tilt my torso backwards or forwards almost to the point of falling down. 

-I absolutely need to eat finger foods with a fork or spoon. Thus, you often see me eating popcorn, chips, crisps, chicken wings, etc. with a fork or spoon.

-Since I have no natural instinct or notion of flirting, either I say nothing or say something idiotic. For example, either I tell a woman nor give hints that I like her, or I just blurt out straight, "I like you".

-I usually have had no body language or hand motions whilst talking. Lately I tried talking with my hands. However, my hand motions are often disjointed, causing me to accidentally knock glasses of wine and beer down without noticing.

When I was a child and teenager, on and off I went to psychiatrists to try to work on socialising and my anxiety. Nothing really worked, but I do have a history of having problems with social stuff.

Do these traits make me essentially "socially retarded"?

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First of all, I am truly sorry for the way people have treated you in the past. The sad fact is that most people don't know how to act when faced with somebody who thinks and acts differently. That is THEIR shortcoming, not yours.

You are not in any way "retarded". The word shouldn't even exist in this context. Asperger's or OCD alone can make life challenging and challenging issues is what you "have"..though I'd use the word "have" in this context with caution too.

We have fancy labels for all sorts of physical and psychological "abnormalities" and no one to my knowledge anyhow, has actually defined what "normal" even means. Yes, one could argue that there is a "mainstream" mode of socializing and behaving towards one another and people tend to stare if one suddenly behaves differently. People can be total aholes to one another at the best of times and I am truly sorry you have to bear the brunt of people's inability to see through social convention and see the person you are.

The  truth is NO ONE is perfect. Most of us humans keep a mask on all the time. When we let it down, we behave differently, behave "irrationally"and who's to say the world wouldn't be a better place without the so-called social niceties?

Nope. you are not retarded. God I hate that word. You seem like a good guy and I hope the very best for you.

Edited by samadhiSheol
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Some people (maybe most?) don't understand how OCD has varieties, that it manifests in ways that aren't just the most familiar examples. The behaviors can confuse them. Depression can be this way, too. Many people thought I just didn't like them because I didn't accept their invitations, I wasn't there for them when they needed me to be. They didn't see me as depressed. And I believed everyone thought I was a jerk. 

I'd rather know you with your conditions than just see a version of you who is making efforts to conceal or excuse the symptoms. You can work on being a better version of you and you're acceptable just as you are. At least, I think so. Do you think it's possible to see you, apart from the conditions? 

What might that look like? For example, a person in my support group has Tourettes. Many people think that means cursing but this individual's tics are repetitive movements and sounds similar to a laugh. It is awkward when someone is sharing a sad, disturbing event with the group and this individual is making noises that may sound like laughter and yet, this person is acceptable to our group. We see a person we've gotten to know, not a suite of symptoms. I am curious what do you think about that?

 

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20 hours ago, Atra said:

Some people (maybe most?) don't understand how OCD has varieties, that it manifests in ways that aren't just the most familiar examples. The behaviors can confuse them. Depression can be this way, too. Many people thought I just didn't like them because I didn't accept their invitations, I wasn't there for them when they needed me to be. They didn't see me as depressed. And I believed everyone thought I was a jerk. 

I'd rather know you with your conditions than just see a version of you who is making efforts to conceal or excuse the symptoms. You can work on being a better version of you and you're acceptable just as you are. At least, I think so. Do you think it's possible to see you, apart from the conditions? 

What might that look like? For example, a person in my support group has Tourettes. Many people think that means cursing but this individual's tics are repetitive movements and sounds similar to a laugh. It is awkward when someone is sharing a sad, disturbing event with the group and this individual is making noises that may sound like laughter and yet, this person is acceptable to our group. We see a person we've gotten to know, not a suite of symptoms. I am curious what do you think about that?

 

I think that what people refer to as "mainstream" is extroverted neurotypical with no social awkwardness. Personally I do not think that "mainstream" should be the standard by which everyone is judged, but I do not make those arbitrary rules.

I think that most people do not understand OCD or anxiety or anything that is not "normal", full stop. I think that my character can shine through despite my faults. But the two are usually intertwined.

In your example, if you are talking about myself personally, yes I would accept someone like that with Tourette's Syndrome. However, in meetups when I meet people, I would estimate that the vast majority of people whom I have met would never accept such a person. They cannot even tolerate me and my social awkwardness, and I do not even have Tourette's Syndrome.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As I read this all I was thinking was "OMG I am not the only one!!!" I am like that when in public or at work with colleges and people I dont know very well, sometimes I've nothing to reply when people ask me questions, I shrug or give short answers like "yeah" "ok" "im good" and then I run away thinking "omg everyone must think im such a stupid idiot, like who cant talk or communicate properly like a normal person"? 

It's embarrassing and frustrating and has lead me to stay at home and not go out with anyone, I'm just to anxious otherwise. 

You're not the only one, hopefully knowing that makes you feel a tiny bit better ❤️❤️

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/8/2020 at 5:29 AM, Lundi_Hvalursson said:

Sometimes I feel like I am irreparably awkward to the point that it is too off-putting. 

It's just your self image, I'm sure and I'm sure it gets better once you are able to accept yourself. Sometimes this acceptance is hard because of our family background..sometimes it just helps to find the point of living..🙂 so, you won't mind if you are awkward or not..

 

 

 

 

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On 1/19/2020 at 7:00 AM, Mikayla said:

It's just your self image, I'm sure and I'm sure it gets better once you are able to accept yourself. Sometimes this acceptance is hard because of our family background..sometimes it just helps to find the point of living..🙂 so, you won't mind if you are awkward or not..

 

 

 

 

I look in the mirror sometimes to test my gestures, and I do seem to look awkward even to myself. I am still trying to fix it, but it is kind of one of those problems that seems to create newer problems. So keeping up with making new solutions is quite tiring.

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  • 4 months later...
On 12/26/2019 at 3:19 AM, Lundi_Hvalursson said:

I have usually been made fun of and called "retard" throughout my childhood as well as adult life, but when I look at how I act in public, I do act quite awkward. I tend to act so painfully awkward that people stare at me, and even make comments about me to others or even to me myself. I have OCD, several types of anxiety, hypochondria and Asperger's.

Some examples of what I mean by "socially retarded":

-Often when offered a handshake, my hands simply stay at my sides and I give the person a blank look, i.e. blank facial expression. Often this angers or irritates people, and they make comments about me for it.

-Although I am not mutistic (at least not chronically), if someone asks me a simple question like, "What do you do for fun to relax?", I would look at them with a blank facial expression and just say nothing, or stutter with gibberish sounds like "eh", "uh", "oy", etc. Then after around five seconds I would answer, but I would answer stuff like, "Watching war movies like Platoon (1986) or Casualties of War (1989)." Then they would look at me as if they had a "wtf?" facial expression.

-I often am a bit worried about coming into contact with other people's germs. Sometimes I put the lower part of my face inside the upper part of my shirt when in a group of people. If I have to drink beer from the bottle of wine from the glass, often I tilt it so that the liquid enters my mouth, without my mouth actually touching the bottle or the glass. I often get weird looks for this.

-For some reason sometimes my balance is off, plus I am very clumsy; I accidentally tilt my torso backwards or forwards almost to the point of falling down. 

-I absolutely need to eat finger foods with a fork or spoon. Thus, you often see me eating popcorn, chips, crisps, chicken wings, etc. with a fork or spoon.

-Since I have no natural instinct or notion of flirting, either I say nothing or say something idiotic. For example, either I tell a woman nor give hints that I like her, or I just blurt out straight, "I like you".

-I usually have had no body language or hand motions whilst talking. Lately I tried talking with my hands. However, my hand motions are often disjointed, causing me to accidentally knock glasses of wine and beer down without noticing.

When I was a child and teenager, on and off I went to psychiatrists to try to work on socialising and my anxiety. Nothing really worked, but I do have a history of having problems with social stuff.

Do these traits make me essentially "socially retarded"?

I would not say that you are socially retarded.Most things that are a problem for you such as eating and drinking, can be overcome if you realise that extra care goes into prepared food and drinks when you eat and drink them. You have to confront these issues to get over them. To help ease your mind, ask questions when you buy something to be eaten or drunk. 

You are special and everyone deserves love and care. I am sure that there are people around you that love you and care about you. Everyone has their own personalities and styles, which means they will communicate same messages in different ways. You can expect that.  

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