Hello, dear Pastor Jeff!
Your site addresses many issues related to puberty and sex. My question is not directly related to this, but I don’t know who to send my question to. So, I’ll ask you, and I hope you can help me.
Well, I’m a young 24-year-old woman who recently started working. I was always very shy, I was bullied throughout school and developed selective mutism. For many years, I didn’t speak to anyone at school or anyone in my family except one of my sisters. I remember one day in sixth grade when a girl hit me and laughed. The following year, a boy spat at me in class when the teacher wasn’t there, and everyone laughed. I couldn’t defend myself on any of these occasions. In high school, I got the nickname “weird” and suffered a lot of insults, especially in physical education classes, because I was (and still am) terrible at sports. I never had many social skills, and I never had friends or a boyfriend. (Just so you know: I’m a virgin and I intend to get married as a virgin because I know this is the Lord’s will.)
Currently, I no longer have selective mutism, but I can’t start conversations and only speak when spoken to. I generally respond quietly and with short answers. Recently I started to suspect that I have Asperger’s Syndrome because people close to me said I do. Researching autism, I realized that I have many symptoms, such as food selectivity, difficulty talking to other people, anxiety in harmless situations, difficulty maintaining eye contact, and difficulty getting out of routine, among many other symptoms.
As a child, I went to therapy for over three years to overcome my shyness, but it was useless, and I continued to be very shy and withdrawn. I know there is no cure for autism, but living with it is very difficult. I grew up hearing from my parents and teachers that I had to be like other children, that I had to talk more and be normal. But I can not. Now that I’ve started working, my coworkers notice that I’m different. Anxiety is making me want to quit my job, but I really need this job. However, I feel like I won’t be able to keep my job for long because my boss doesn’t like me because I’m shy and withdrawn. I think at work everyone thinks I have an intellectual disability because of my strange appearance, but I always had good grades at school and I don’t have any intellectual disability.
Please help me with advice or anything that will help stop this. I just wanted to be normal! I wanted to be able to make friends, find a boyfriend, get married, build a family, and keep my job.
I’ve had depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. I know that suicide is a sin, and I don’t want to go to hell. I decided not to end my life because I want to live with Jesus forever. But my life is difficult because I am like that and I can’t change it even with therapy. Is being like this a sin? I don’t want to displease God. But I need to get rid of this anxiety and this fear. I just wanted to have a normal social life. Talking seems so easy to other people! Why is it so difficult for me? Why do I have to be like this? I read on the internet that in more than 80% of cases, autism is genetic. Did God create me like this? I suffer so much from this. I know that God loves me and wants to save me. He’s not to blame for anything. I just desperately need help overcoming my issues with anxiety and difficulty socializing.
Please, pray for me! I love you in Christ! Thank you for your website with so much useful information!
The first order of business is to be evaluated for autism. With an official diagnosis, more doors will open up for help. There are organizations to help the autistic find and keep jobs. Perhaps there is one in your area.
I have numerous friends who are autistic. While it makes life different for those with autism, it isn’t an impossible task for those who are as high-functioning as you appear to be. What often happens is that so many issues arise that you become overwhelmed. Thus, we are going to break things down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Asking why God made you as you are is not beneficial to your situation. People have been asking why they were born blind, deaf, or missing limbs for centuries and the simple answer is “We don’t know.” The better view is to accept this is your life, so make the most of it because whether you know the reason or not, you still have a life to live.
One attribute that is common among the autistic is difficulty in reading people’s body language and tones of voice. The tendency is to assume extremes. A look of annoyance might be taken as anger, for example. Thus, the autistic person constantly feels like he is missing things or getting things wrong. Many autistic people get better at reading social clues as they get older. It helps if you have a good friend who understands what is going on and can point out the things you might have missed. My guess is that you avoid eye contact because it is too confusing to understand. You avoid talking because it simplifies your life. Much of the anxiety is because you aren’t certain how people are reacting. While you say your boss doesn’t like you, I wonder how much is what he actually said and how much is your interpretation of his body language.
Thank you so much for your quick response, Pastor Jeff!
I’ll be looking for an official diagnosis soon and I know this could open doors for more help. I will try to maintain more eye contact and try to make good friends. I know that just complaining doesn’t help and that I have to make an effort to improve my situation. I started my job a little over two weeks ago. Fortunately, all my colleagues are good to me and I hope my boss is too.
I know we don’t have all the answers and that God is good all the time and all things work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28). The Lord has helped me thus far and will continue to do so. His advice was very helpful! Please pray that God will help me deal with anxiety and all these issues!