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Can I help this person? (suspected autism) - LONG

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Can I help this person? (suspected autism) - LONG

Postby updown_14 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:46 pm

Hi all

I met someone (person O) who I suspect might be autistic but I'm not sure and by no means an expert. However, when I did meet him, a lady who was in the same volunteer group as me and O said that she had worked in that field and believed he was a classic case. I'm wondering how to help this person or at least get them to seek the support they need (if at all possible). Some background...

My partner and I met met person O (38 year old male) at a festival and immediately we thought he was kinda quirky - he never answered a question directly, didn't seem to have social skills (inappropriate interrupting, repeating himself, not following instructions which got him into trouble, etc) and he did this thing where he kind of rolled his eyes back in his head.

We swapped numbers and a couple of months later, ran into him again at another festival and he was the same - we hung around with him as we liked him and found his comments quite amusing but after a while, we felt we'd need to get away as he wouldn't want to stay in the same spot for more than 5 minutes and was just so unbelievably negative all the time. He also never had money so was always asking people for drinks, #######1, accessories to borrow and so on.

He told us he'd had a bad relationship with his father and that he'd been sectioned years ago (although the way he described the hospital and treatment, it sounded like something out of the Victorian era). When we asked why, he just said that his dad had put him there. O also said that he'd received a diagnosis for autism once when he was younger but they made a mistake and he wasn't autistic. His mother is apparently also a therapist.

Anyway, he's since been messaging me regularly on Whatsapp and I've been chatting back but I soon noticed how quickly his conversations became really circular and, again, full of negativity and blatant contradictions. He lives in a council flat in a rough area not far from us and he's always saying how much he hates where he is, how he's scared, can't trust anyone, seems to get into issues where he lives - just really paranoid all round.

I've tried being positive and suggesting reading certain books or watching certain You Tube talks on confidence and self esteem, courage, etc., getting a hobby, or drawing/writing down how he feels, then I think I've made a breakthrough and it's back to the same messages like I never said anything to begin with. Often, it's a string of texts - sometimes 10-15 in a row for a few hours, then in the early hours of the morning, nearly always on about security, safety, how he hates the city he's in, etc. Sometimes things don't make a lot of sense in that the messages don't seem to be in an order that I can really make sense of.

He says he wants to travel and has money, then I send him some useful info, then he doesn't have money and doesn't want to leave where he is and throw everything away, then he's back on the travelling idea, then it's the same messages repeated about not wanting to live in the flat, safety, etc. then he's asking me to live in France with him or go to Dubai and then back to the same.

I tried another more direct approach and said I think he should go and get tested for autism but he didn't really seem to acknowledge it and just repeated the above. I've said to get therapy or call the Samaritans (as I was worried he might attempt suicide) but again, he didn't seem to acknowledge. I've also tried being very direct and saying that no one wants to hang around with someone who's negative all the time so if he wants friends, he needs to start looking at positives but again, it's like I'm speaking to a brick wall. I don't know how else to phrase things as I've tried being empathetic and direct but it's not working.

I feel bad as it seems like his family don't really bother with him and it's dreadful to feel so lonely but I don't know how to help him as my communication methods clearly aren't working very well. I used to volunteer with autisic people who lived in sheltered housing but O seems to be high functioning compared to the people I worked with.

Can anyone offer any tips? Does this sound like autism or mental illness? I don't really want to shut him out as he already feels betrayed by lots of people in the past but equally, I have my own $#%^ to deal with and while I'd like to help him, I can't be a therapist to him and can't deal with the negative 95% of what he says.

Thank you.
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