Ridicule and rejection often takes its toll over the years, resulting in not only a pervasive blue mood, but also an element of paranoia in the mind of the autistic individual. In other words, he or she is so used to being mistreated (emotionally and/or verbally) that he or she comes to expect it.
Oftentimes, autistic adults’ paranoid tendencies result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, their “expectation of ridicule and rejection” leads them to say or do something that provokes the very negative response from the other person that they so dread. For example, in anticipation of a critical comment, the person with ASD may deliver one first, inciting the other person to return the criticism. This, in turn, convinces the person that others and indeed “out to get” him or her.
Unfortunately, many people with ASD not only had to endure various forms of social stress throughout the school years, they now experience much of the same at home and at their place of employment. Many have reported bullying both at home and in the workplace.
The main venue for the ASD person's retaliation against others for past hurts tends to be online (e.g., in chatrooms, forums, etc.) where he or she can chastise others, yet remain fairly anonymous. The typical Asperger’s adult does not have the confidence or social skills to stand up to the “offending party” face-to-face.
As adults, people with a blue mood experience little joy in their lives. They tend to take life too seriously, and to take other’s comments and behavior too personally. In fact, many adults on the spectrum that I have worked with are unable to remember a time when you felt happy, enthusiastic, or motivated. They often report feeling as though they have been in a one-down-position their entire life.
These individuals tend to be rather irritable, gloomy and negative much of the time, usually expecting the worst possible outcome when uncomfortable challenges and struggles arise. They tend to be inactive and withdrawn, worry frequently, and are critical of themselves. Most have a hard time enjoying things and having fun – unless it is a solitary activity, usually one that involves their “special interest.”
As one man with Asperger’s stated:
A blue mood appears to affect more women than men. Many of these women report feeling mildly, yet chronically depressed to the point that it seems to be a part of their personality. Kara, a female with Asperger’s, had this to say:
Having a blue mood may be associated with the presence of personality disorders (e.g., avoidant, dependent, histrionic, borderline, and narcissistic). However, it is difficult to determine the extent to which a personality disorder is present since many of the long-term problems of having a blue mood affect interpersonal relationships and how the ASD individual perceives him- or herself.
If the adult on the autism spectrum finally seeks treatment, it is not uncommon that he or she has had this problem for a many years. Because a blue mood tends to develop in adolescence, the autistic individual may believe that it is normal to always feel this way. He/she does not realize that the quality of his/her mood is anything out of the ordinary.
As another young man with ASD stated:
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