February 29, 2012
By Lee Passehl
Sometimes other people’s opinions can be hurtful to me. For example, when I enjoy watching something on the Internet and someone makes a bad comment about the video, it can make me not like the video, distract me from watching the video, or not want to watch it anymore. So I’ve learned to stay away from the comments bar (where people can type what is on their mind about the video).
In 2005 when I was 20, I joined a local sports message board site because I was missing my friends from high school and I wanted to make some new ones. I thought this website would be a good place to do it because most of the people on the site were my age and liked sports (I was a manager for my high school football and basketball teams and participated on the track team). About two weeks of being on the message board, I noticed that the people on the website hated/disliked auto racing (mostly NASCAR) and made strong opinions about it. They also said “it was not a sport” because they thought it wasn’t physical. This really offended me because I loved auto racing. They would trash auto racing and this really made me feel bad.
One time when I got into a big argument with a member of the message board, he told me that I “had no right being here.” This really lowered my self esteem. I decided to get off the board. One member said I “really needed a life” and it really made me feel stupid and worthless. My parents had to deal with my constant anxiety about it and it affected all our lives negatively for a very long time.
These days, I am pretty much careful about what I post and where I post it. I can now handle opinions much better, but I still need a lot of help when dealing with them. I can deal with criticisms about my driving when someone tells me how to take a corner better or if my car is not handling right. However, the opinions opposing my opinions still bother me just a bit. I am still sensitive, especially when people get mean and nasty. I need to separate the person from their opinions, and that’s very hard for me to do. But one day I will shrug it off and laugh and I tell myself that this doesn’t deserve my attention. These things are not worth obsessing over and dwelling on all my life. It takes me a very long time to “let go” because it feels like it’s welded to my hands. I am still learning about how to recognize my emotions and what to do with them.
Lee blogs for the Autism Society about his life with autism. Read his story!
Topics:Living with Autism
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