Mental Health Support

I don't know what the title should be

I was finally feeling happy and motivated. Why does everything go wrong when you finally have things the way you want them?

After getting the necessary experience for a year while also working full time to save money, I was accepted onto the teaching course at Edinburgh University last year. It felt such a privilege to be there at such a prestigious uni with beautiful buildings. But of course, the grass is always greener on the other side. My tutor was awful and just wanted to churn out teachers like it was some kind of factory. Which meant you had to do everything her way and me her expectations. My experience there was awful. The people are cut-throat and the lecturers are bullies who want to weedle out the weak before we fail and make them look bad at the end of the year. They have pokers stuck up their..... And they realised I wasn't one of them. And they got me off the course as quick as they could. Half way through I quit because I was too weak to cope with being a teacher. All the negative feedback and the fact I kept doing everything wrong was just piling up on me. So I quit knowing I wasn't capable of being a teacher, my dream job since high school.

After that I felt weak and useless. To top it off, the guy who seemed great for me in the beginning, turned out to be a thief and a gambler. He stole from me. And in fact it was money which meant a lot to me and he knew it (birthday money, some of which his family had given me and a £100 note my brother gave me for my 21st which I decided to keep). He took it. To have your trust betrayed like that... And after losing your chance at becoming the one thing you always wanted to be.

After that I came on HU for support. I was pretty low. During this time I met someone and we have since moved in together. I'd say the relationship itself is pretty good, we are a team. I finally feel like the guy is also the one fighting to make things work. I was happy and motivated in my new job and I was happy to be coping. I went to work with a spring in my step. It was waitressing and I was proud to be able to manage my own section of tables (which I got too stressed with in a previous job and got fired because of it). But then of course, I got fired from this job too. The reason was that I "don't fit in". I'm pretty sure that's discrimination but hey, they got away with it. I checked, it's not unfair dismissal if you've been there for less than two years. Another thing that has stuck with me is that he said they have a certain standard. It's a minimum wage job for Christ's sake? How the hell can I not meet the standards? It's a god damn joke! I can't even meet the standards of a minimum wage job, so what the hell can I do?

All of this is because of a condition I have. One I'm currently going through a very long and drawn out assessment for. It's Asperger's. My brother has it too. More men than women have it and it's harder to diagnose in women because we are more desperate to be accepted socially and therefore mask it better. But I have a lot of the traits: mis-reading people and situations which can get me into a lot of trouble, lack of concentration, getting attached to things, incapable of doing more than one thing at one time... That's just a few. It is stopping me from doing anything with my life. I can't even get a simple job! I can't pay bills or keep my car. It is kind of reliant on my boyfriend getting a good job, maybe then we can pay everything. But then that makes me a taker and a user. I'm not that person at heart, I want to work! I'm not even asking for much! It just feels like when life starts to work out for me just a little bit, it turns to crap again. Why can't I just keep a job and be left alone? Why do people have to keep beating me down just because I'm different and don't fit in very well. As much as we would like this to be an equal opportunities country, it certainly isn't. Because the weak people like me always fade out.

I suppose now I can look forward to losing the next thing. And that is probably moving back to my parents house because I can't afford to keep my car in order to travel to work. I have a small restaurant job atm. I have done two shifts and already it is clear they have their doubts. All I have to do is make drinks. Why is that so hard for me?

Anyway, there is no work where we live and barely any public transport so I need a car to travel, but I can't afford the £622 insurance bill coming my way next week. £622 for what? I've been driving for a year and haven't crashed so why is it still so high? It's about keeping young people down. Promising us at school age that we can be anything we aspire to be, getting our hopes and dreams up and then just taking it all away. I can't even really afford to have moved out of my parent's house. And I'm terrified I will have to go back. I'm tired of having the rug pulled out from underneath me. I'm now scared that I will get fired from the next job and the one after that. At least when I FINALLY get my Asperger's diagnosis (probably in a year from now because the NHS are useless) I can sign on and get disability allowance. Not much to hope for right? I am still hopeful that I won't have to move back to my parent's house but my boyfriend keeps saying it might have to happen. So maybe I should give up that hope and succumb to taking yet another step back. But I swear, it can't do this much longer. I can't keep moving forward only to be told by society that I'm not good enough and have to fall back. I'm already starting to give up in this new job because I know they're gonna fire me, so why get my hopes up? It only ever seems to lead to disappointment.

12 Replies


That is a sad story, not fitting in because you have Aspergers Syndrome. It is of course unfair and understandable that you are hurt and angry, and don't think much of some aspects of people.

Have you ever joined the Aspergers Society? Their website has a lot of advice and I think they have counsellors who can offer support to people with Aspergers and also to their families. They have local support groups too, all of which can help you to make sure similar things don't happen to you in the future. You should not be unfairly discriminated against - being dismissed because you do not fit in really is unfair as well as being unlawful. I wonder did you tell them about your diagnosis, as obviously they cannot be expected to take account of it unless they know about it. I think the employment office would be able to help you in finding a job where your disability is taken account of and not discriminated against so approaching them may be a good idea. Also the local mental health team may be able to offer support though I know services are over-stretched - they may know of other support services for you locally.



I haven't heard of the Asperger's Society but will check it out. There is a programme I really want to get on to because it has helped my brother so much. But I need a confirmed diagnosis to go on it. They can even help you get into work. So I kind of have to just struggle away until the doors finally open. There are jobs I can get into like you say and they will know how to handle people with Asperger's, but I need a diagnosis first. It took my brother two years to finally get seen! I have been referred to the doctor who is the only qualified to make the diagnosis. It'll be a few weeks before I even hear back from him. My GP first referred me to the nurse about 3 months ago. So I will already have waited 4 months before I even see the person who can help.

But yeah, more doors will open after I am diagnosed. Asperger's explains everything about me. All the problems I had growing up, all the feelings of being unwanted and lost and not being accepted. If I had been diagnosed younger I may not have had to go through all of that. But I suppose better late than never. It has only started showing up since I've had to work with people, I just can't read people and get lots of things wrong, I feel useless sometimes.

Thank you for your advice. It was really helpful. I just have to play the waiting game now xx


I can identify with some of what you say in that throughout my childhood I felt unwanted and the odd one out, as a result I was extremely isolated socially, always being bullied or standing around on the edge of the group. I found it so painful that I used to go as far away as I could and hide during school breaktimes just to be alone so no-one could see how unhappy I was and that I was close to tears for fear of being teased and hurt more. As a result I didn't learn the social rules and still struggle when there's banter in a group - by the time I have managed to understand a joke the group have moved onto the next thing, so I feel I'm always one step behind, then have a tendency to just switch off and let it all go on around me. As a psychologist and trained psychotherapist I understand why I find things difficult socially at times and yet as a result of lengthy therapy I can relate openly and closely on a one-to-one basis now and am beginning to feel more comfortable in a group. I recently joined the Ramblers and walk with a group of people which changes every time but I am gradually learning to dip in and out and just be comfortable being who I am. Inbetween I sometimes have self-doubt but go the next time knowing I will be fine as people seem to like me despite how I feel.

I hope you find a way to overcome some of how you are feeling. Often when we have Aspergers like symptoms what we lack is the experience of learning how to be with people in certain situations and the more we are able to let ourselves be in those situations the more we gradually learn from them - BUT it did take me a long term therapy relationship first in order to learn the degree of self-acceptance that enables me to feel comfortable in myself.

Yes, I can identify with your feeling useless. I used to feel completely inadequate and believe there had to be something wrong with me - there was, in that I hadn't learned how to BE with other people and how to BE INTIMATE with them. Now I have learned that life is so much easier and so much more enjoyable. I do hope you find those experiences.

Did you have a lonely childhood too? If so, you might consider in time seeing someone long term for therapy as allowing someone to know you over a long time and finding they understand and accept you and like you as you are does wonders for self-acceptance and social confidence.



I'm not sure my childhood was lonely. I was definitely depressed and had a large group of friends. However, I never wanted to do the things they wanted to do, like under 18's nightclub (too crowded and would have to watch other ppl kissing and dancing which was what I wanted more than anything I just didn't have the confidence and would freeze when a friend encouraged me). I guess I felt left out. But that was my own doing, it wasn't for the lack of ppl trying to get me involved. I would just freeze, like I said, and shut down mentally and wish I was somewhere else. I felt more comfy going to the cinema, still do.

But these friends weren't the "popular" group. They got bullied too on occasion but the bullying was definitely worse for me. And no wonder, I made myself a target simply by being me - wanting to be left alone by the bullies and not knowing how to react to things and shying away. Which comes down to the Asperger's. I have learned more about social interactions over time and am not quite as awkward but it's still obvious to others that I don't fit in. I think with jobs, they give me time to get used to a new environment and then it becomes clear that I won't entirely get used to it.

The frustrating thing is, I WANTED to like these things - parties etc. But I was too scared to go. Staying at home seemed more safe and inviting. And when I sat at home in my room watching a film in bed with sweets and putting on weight, I'd hate it and wish I'd had the courage to go out with them. Messed up huh? But on the few occasions I did go with them, I longed for my bed where it was comfortable. I understand it better now but when I was a teen it made me so angry and in a bad mood with ppl.


Evening want to change,

I am sorry you are feeling down at the moment. Life is not easy and when we are feeling down everything can seem to be going wrong.

In terms of your Aspergers, I would agree with what Sue has written. I also found a link to good and bad jobs for those with Aspergers which you might find useful. Being a waitress is not recommended so please don't beat yourself up. You are good enough.

Let's look at the positives, you have a great new boyfriend who is supportive and understands about depression and anxiety. Big plus? IN THE PAST (underlined) your ex boyfriend ended up not being very nice. That is his problem, not yours. You are a good kind person and his behaviour is not a reflection on you nor is it your responsibility. We have all picked bad, good and indifferent partners and friends. I've had more than my fair share of bad boyfriends who have betrayed my trust and hurt me. Just don't let it impact on your current relationship.

I'm sorry about the teaching career. It is very hard when you realise that what you always wanted to do isn't something that is going to suit you. It doesn't mean you have failed because at least you tried. That would be worse to have not tried at all. I studied English at university and thought I would be a journalist. I'd always wanted to do that. I spent a year afterwards working as a journalist on a magazine and hated it. I wasn't pushy enough and got the sack. So dream ended and I was lost about what to do. But remember you will get a job that suits you and you enjoy. It might not be tomorrow but looking at the positives at least you are finding out what jobs don't suit you. You are good enough, you just haven't found the right role for you yet and you are still only young. In terms of your employers it is their loss not yours.

Moving back home. Again, it doesn't mean you have failed. I had to move home twice once when I was about 26 and once around 32. Do you get on with your family? Then think of it as spending more time with them, with them supporting and loving you and you getting to know them well as an adult etc. It could enhance your relationship with them and how lovely to be able to move back with them. My mother REALLY didn't want me to move home. It will take some pressure off you financially ( yup cars are a huge expense) and allow you to deal with the NHS etc. I'm a home owner now ( well with the bank!) but that didn't happen quickly. Take some pressure off yourself. It doesn't all have to be perfect!

We all take one step forwards and two steps back sometimes. But you are an intelligent, articulate woman with an understanding new boyfriend living in the wonderful city of Edinburgh. Take baby steps and it will get better.

Sarah x


Hi, your reply is also really helpful. Thank you for taking the time.

It's weird with my family because I get on better with them now. And I guess I fear that I will lose that if I move back. My boyfriend said it would only be as a last resort. It's the thing I fear most I think, even more than being stuck working in a restaurant. The thought of it makes me panic a little. The other day I was round at my parent's house and me and my mum argued about jobs. She just gets me so angry and it gets worse and worse until I walk away. It wasn't as bad as in the past coz I could walk out the door and go home. But if I lived there again, I know it would get bad like before.

How did you feel when you first left journalism? The thing is, people told me I could make it as a teacher, even teachers I knew told me I'd make it. Only one person questioned it and that was my mother. At the time I just felt she was being negative while everyone else was being encouraging. Sometimes I feel I should have listened to her more. If I had, I wouldn't have had my heart broken so many times... She just seems to know these things, but she also knows I won't listen, I guess because I have to learn the hard way. But failing the teaching course was a blow to the head, I just couldn't figure out why it had to be that way.

Yeah, my boyfriend is a sweetheart. He has been badly hurt in the past and I know it can still affect him now. I swear, I could never do what she did. Fair enough he was pushing her away but still, she went way too far. I couldn't hurt him like that, he's too special to me. We have our silly little disagreements and I can be very unreasonable at times (this can be down to the Asperger's as well because I can have my mind set on one thing and can't always tolerate change), but overall we work as a team and when he really needs me I will be there. So yeah, he is a huge positive. I guess I'm just afraid of losing that.

I will have a look at the link you sent. Thank you for that xx


I had very similar experience to yours in that people told me I would make a good teacher but then when I did train and taught within FE I WAS really good at teaching adults and imparting understanding but was also USELESS at teaching adolescents because I didn't understand their stupid jokes and cheekiness and couldn't control them. Because I hadn't been through a normal teenage myself I didn't know how to get them onto my side. Like you I used to feel so depressed about it, but in time came to realise I simply didn't have certain skills - but that I DO have other skills. You may find the same thing, that there ARE things you are really good at and other things you can't do. The trick is to find the right niche for your own skills. xx


Yeah I think you are right about that. Working with ppl definitely isn't for me. I just don't understand ppl xx


Hi it must be very difficult for you and I do understand how you must feel. The thing to remember is that it is not your fault in the same way as any other illness isn't. You are not a failure, you are trying your best. It is hard enough for those without a disability these days. It is not just you - I am 60 and can't get my pension until 65. I have some disability ie lung disease and depression (and age). I can't get a job and not sure now whether I could keep one either. I have to sign on for benefits.

There are a few jobs mainly civil service, local government or hospital staff where you are guaranteed an interview if you have a disability and meet the minimum requirements of the post. You might be better of going for those type of jobs instead. It is very hard in the current market though isn't it? Let us know how you get on. xx


Yes, it is incredibly hard right now. It seems too much to ask for to just get a full time job and pay bills and save money for the future. It is really frustrating. My expectations of myself have somewhat lowered in the last year but lately I can't even seem to hold down a minimum wage job. I know that I am trying my hardest. And that's the hard part. I'm not lazy or disinterested, I genuinely want to work, I'm just not good enough because of some stupid condition that has been hiding the last 24 years. I know one day I will cope better with it, but right now I don't want to be a disappointment. I don't want to give up, I haven't given up. I went to work at the restaurant tonight even though I was scared. I made silly mistakes yet again and kept getting the orders mixed up in my head. If I am told 4 drinks, I usually can't remember no 2 and 3. I had to keep getting him to repeat. I forget because I am anxious and then that makes me more anxious. My confidence is low in this job after being fired, that's the problem. I am trying to remember. I asked the manager for a pen so I could write things down but he said not to. I don't know. I think I will take a pen and pad in with me and just see if it makes a difference. He doesn't want me to waste time writing and I get that but it'll actually save time coz I won't get anything mixed up. Think I'll just go ahead and do that, it may help xx


One thing you might find you are really good at is working with and helping people who have similar difficulties in fitting in - it's an obvious place where your own experiences would enable you to be really good at the work. Just a thought! xx


When I was in teacher training, I did find it easy to feel sympathy for the kid who had Asperger's. The thing with teaching is that you can't focus on one pupils, there are 20 kids to think about. The fact is, if you focus on one, the rest fail. But if you neglect to give that pupil as much attention as he needs, he will fail while the rest of the class may pass. I felt it was an unspoken rule in teaching to forget the dead weight and get as many pass marks as you can. That is BS. It made me so angry and still does. Basically, there is no help for people like me in schools, unless you are REALLY bad and can barely function without help. Why should these kids be forgotten? Why should they be sacrificed? It isn't fair. And that is one of the reasons I didn't get on in teaching. Because I openly disagreed. I was shocked that teaching was like that. There just isn't enough hours in the day to help those who are struggling, so they must be sacrificed in order to let the majority succeed.


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