Reply To: ADHD and loneliness

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All of my life seems to have been a preparation for the solitary existence-well “friendless” anyway-that I experience today and until my recent twin diagnoses of Autism and ADD that was not a problem and I was reconciled to it. I do still have contact with my ex-wife who lives just a few miles away. We get on reasonably well most of the time and I still hold her in the highest possible regard, she is every bit as attractive to me now as she was when we first met and has retained all of what I regarded as her special qualities. On top of that she has proved herself to be an exceptional mother to our two daughters who have grown into fine young women. The reason I am telling you all of this is that I now realise just how damaging being married to me was for her, she is doing fine and has made a good life for herself with a career but I did not turn out to be the person she thought she was marrying and what I now see as my Autistic behaviour and inability to function as a “normal” adult caused her huge problems and made her very unhappy. To a large extent the growing realisation of the negative effect that I had upon her has made me shy away from further involvement with anyone. I am a GOOD person, I always do the “right thing” but prolonged contact and deeper involvement with anyone always seems to end in awkwardness and the fracturing of the relationship. I don’t mean any harm but I cause it anyway and I am becoming increasingly aware of how my Autism and ADD have defined my every step so far through life. I am not in control of my life, people get hurt and disappointed when they get too close to me and I do not want to cause any more harm so I keep my distance.
Now though, I am starting to feel lonely because I am grudgingly allowing myself to pass on some of the responsibility for the trouble I have caused/endured over the years to my conditions rather than to flaws in my moral fibre and plain stupidity-the net effect is the same but allocating ownership of events more fairly has removed some of the heavy burden from my shoulders.

Now I want to go out into the world, try to elevate my self-esteem by engaging with people more positively, feeling less like the shitbag I have believed myself to be all of my life. I would like to build good relationships with others and banish some of the anxiety I feel when in close proximity to people. (I only relax to any extent nowadays if talking to others if I am standing much further away from them than is normal-I feel an almost magnetic repulsion and my mind just scrambles making conversation extremely difficult, the ever-present knot in my stomach gets tighter.)
There are some people I am loosely associated with and i would really like things to develop but although they are the kind of people I would choose to have as friends I am such a terrible mess of a person I am sure they would be terrified to get any closer. I would never push for such a thing, I fear the embarrassment of further rejection and the risk of hurting and disappointing them.
So my only real chance of making new friends (meaningful one’s) would be to find people who know about ASD?ADD and are not easily freaked out by my eccentricities and how the hell do you go about that? I am not in any social circles-no surprise there- so there is not a large group of people for me to explore and try to identify suitable candidates.
I cannot see any way of breaking out of this-I never believed that there was any prospect of “release” from what feels like my psychological incarceration and if I ever had any socials skills, they have long since evaporated so YES, I FEEL VERY, VERY LONELY, the prison gates may well have been opened a little for me, encouraging escape but I am institutionalised and the truth is that I will never be able to leave.