asperger’s and suicide

Does The Social Isolation of Asperger’s Ever Push You to Despair?

Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome often struggle with a profound social isolation. Some feel it more than others. For some it is managed but for others it leads to despair and for still others it could factor into feeling like one wants to commit suicide.

If you have Asperger’s, have you ever felt this way? I heard recently from someone with Asperger’s Syndrome who wants to remain anonymous but who asked me to post something they shared with me on this blog.

The person who sent me this email is a 44 year old woman who says she just is at a point of such emotional pain – an emotional pain she described to me as seeming not only endless in terms of her social isolation but an emotional pain that she realized recently she has always felt and struggled with.

This 44 year old woman asked that I just call her E. E and I had a long conversation about the reality and nature of social isolation in Asperger’s Syndrome. I know myself, it’s an isolation that isn’t always felt as isolation as such but it can bring about many different feelings. I think that for many with Asperger’s Syndrome issues within the social realm of life cause varying degrees of emotional pain and bouts of despair and/or loneliness that need to be coped with. They can often come and go. More and more in my life they seem to come rather than go though.

E writes:

“I am not a person who thought that I would ever want to take my own life yet I find myself feeling this way a lot lately. I don’t think I want to take my life. I know that sometimes there is just such a deep pain that I have absolutely no idea what to do with that it pushes me into feeling total despair.

I watch people socialize, as if it was a sport or something – a sport I can’t play, don’t get, and that makes no sense to me. A sport that I sure don’t have the rules to or for. Whatever it is that people are sharing seems important to them. I don’t get it. I really just don’t get it. It is foreign to me. But then I look at my own life and I don’t have any friends. I don’t have any family. I am not connected to anyone, place, or even thing. Sometimes that matters and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s hard to articulate.

All I really know about these feelings of despair is that they come out of feeling like I don’t belong anywhere. I don’t feel like anyone cares about me. I don’t know anyone. And to be honest, at least a lot of the time, I don’t know that I really care about others – not the way it seems you are actually supposed to, if that makes any sense?

I’m writing to you A.J. in the hopes that you can talk to me because you have Asperger’s Syndrome and because you are a life coach. I don’t know who else to even try to explain this to. I don’t want to put my feelings on to you but I figure you must at least understand what I am talking about at some level.

Do others with Asperger’s Syndrome, if they are really honest with themselves, ever also struggle with this painful place that can rise up out of nowhere and leave you feeling that you just don’t belong anywhere? Do others feel as invisible, weird, and unimportant as I do? Even sometimes? Are there others out there like me who have no friends and no family and just feel like society sees them as worthless as a result?

I really feel like I want to just quit on life. I have no plan or anything right now but when I get to this place where I hurt so bad, I cry, the tears juts pour down my face. And I know that there isn’t anyone to help me with this. I know that this cannot be changed. I have Asperger’s and what that mainly means, among other things, is that I am lost socially. I stick out somehow. I have been bullied all my life. I am a freak. People see that I am different. I don’t even understand how they figure that out when they don’t even know me. I feel socially helpless and so clueless – just totally lost and that means painful despair for me”

If you have Asperger’s Syndrome and you are reading this and relate, I’d sure welcome your comments so that E can get some feedback other than the feedback I gave to her. I wonder if we don’t all know this place of despair when it comes to the reality of that intersection between Asperger’s and social struggles to varying degrees?

I hope that some readers will share their feelings and/or experience about social struggles and/or being bullied or teased and having Asperger’s and if that leads to feeling so frustrated it ends up going all the way to feelings of despair and/or hopelessness.

I have known 3 people with Asperger’s Syndrome who did take their own lives. Do we talk enough about Asperger’s Syndrome and suicide?

I must say that I strongly identified with most of the despair that they felt, at one point or other in my life. I myself sometimes do feel a significant amount of pain at the difference that I know I own when it comes to social “stuff” because I have Asperger’s. Not that that means the same thing every day or in every single social situation.

I also wonder if there aren’t aspects of socialization, whether understood, cared about, desired, or wanted at all, that still somehow end up effecting us in ways that leaves us feeling less than in the face of what is often a glaring difference. I must admit that there are times when I realize later how unaware of my own glaring difference I can be. And when the awareness arises later I can’t deny that it can be extremely painful. There is something very cyclical about this that continues to unfold in my own social experience, at times, that I may somewhat intellectually understand or have some insight about but that still, in the actual unfolding moments of, I remain mind-blind to.

Does the social isolation of Asperger’s ever push you to despair? If so, what do you do when you reach that place? What do you feel?

If you don’t want to share a comment here on the blog, but would like to discuss this, please feel free to email me at

© A.J. Mahari, May 8, 2009 – All rights reserved.