Well, a few things came up. The first was this picture.
Here are a few others you might be familiar with:
Freak, Nerd and Rape Victim
Yes, even Rape Victim. Every autistic woman I know has been raped at one time or another, even myself. My own experience is in the gray area, because I only consented to avoid saying I was raped. But on to the point: Your child will get a LABEL anyway. Make sure it’s a label that actually gets help.
Another was the latest episode of Mom. It’s February 21, 2019. The title character on Mom (Bonnie Plunkett) learned she had ADD. And she’s in her sixties. And she’s fighting being sober from various drugs (and alcohol; I lump it in among the others). She had said her life was harder without the diagnosis. I must say, my life was hard, but living without a label, a diagnosis, is harder. And why do you want that for your child?
“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.” -Chinese Proverb
Well, they are using this hashtag on Twitter right now to talk about mental illness.
So, what do tree planting and talking about mental health have to do with each other? Well, for starters, there is a lot in common, as stated by the old proverb. Can you go back in time? Not that I know of. But can you start talking about mental health, plant that proverbial tree, now? Of course.
“Mental Illness only affects the people who act or look a certain way.” Would you be shocked if, and I am only saying if, Guy Fieri had depression? I would not. The losses of the once-strong Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain should have shaken that out of your mind.
“Mental Illness is character weakness.” This comes from the belief that you earn health and wealth through finding favor with your chosen deity – known in some circles as The Prosperity Gospel. But what happens if, say, you get a mental illness? Does that mean you are not good enough? This false notion about mental illness believes you are not good enough…
“Mental Illness can be cured with willpower, vitamins and exercise.” Sorry, Tom Cruise, but this is simply not true in many cases. Denying the sufferer the medicine, the very thing that provides relief, is cruelty.
“Mental illness prevents you from holding down a job.” I HELD DOWN A JOB AT IN-N-OUT FOR SIX YEARS! Sorry for the shouting. This is simply not true. It is a corollary of the “character weakness” myth.
“Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why not just take a pill?” Because much of the time, “taking a pill” is only a start. Many of us need a support system.
“I can’t help.” Many, many people need your support. Just being there for them makes a big difference. It did with me.
“Prevention is impossible.” Ever heard of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? The core of it is TRAUMA. That is one of my own mental illnesses, thanks to people in my family.
Mental health is coming out of the woodwork with or without you. It is connected to physical health as well. People are tired of losing their loved ones to suicide.
My mother gave me all the available vaccines. And no, that’s not why I am autistic. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk reason. Now there are outbreaks all over Europe and the United States thanks to people not vaccinating their children. And I wonder if they are blaming the autistic people like me for it. I mean, after all, most of the people not vaccinating their children blame their children’s autism on it. So, even if I am not blamed outright, I wonder if I am blamed in secret.
I guess I wonder if I am paranoid, because so many people want to see me “Cured,” aka essentially destroyed.
Now, I must admit something: I did go and watch The Masked Singer. Yes, the one with Jenny McCarthy as a judge. No, I do not think she’s the brightest crayon in the box. She did not even get the unmasked person right. I only wanted to see what the Twitter-fueled craziness was about. Honestly, it did involve me a little, but it did not seem too engaging. Honestly, I only enjoyed the Monster and the Peacock. Ask me privately if you want to continue further. I’m at email@example.com if you’re interested.
But this brings up a key issue for us autistic people in general: people will disagree with us, even in the face of cold hard facts. It’s kind of like flat earthers’ stubbornness into seeing whether the earth is flat or round, even though they accept the fact that Mars is round, because they see it with their own eyes. They will always have an answer for whatever facts you can have. For instance, the sun, according to them, is about the same size as the moon. Also, Antarctica is a wall that surrounds the earth. Why am I sputtering this nonsense? To remind you that ignorance is a choice, and some people will put their fingers in their ears and scream “LA LA LA LA LA….” to avoid being wrong and found out.
This is very sad to say, but sometimes, you, the autistic in the know, must smile and grit your teeth, knowing that there are people who think things different from you. That does not make them right and you wrong. When the facts are revealed, they will get their just desserts.
Why, yes, Karen, they can. While it’s not necessary for an autistic person to prove themselves this way, it’s a good skill to know.
I did not know if I could change a tire without help. Sure, I would start, but somebody (usually a man) would always help. While I appreciate the chivalry, it does not help in the knowledge department. Anyway, as of 6:15 this evening, I learned I could. From fixing the jack (took 2 tries), unscrewing the lug nuts, taking off the flat tire, putting the spare tire on, and reapplying the lug nuts… it was not too hard.
You want to know what the hardest part was? Not the lug nuts. It was aligning the spare on the axle. But of course, it was getting dark, so maybe it is usually not as hard as it would have been in the daytime.
I recently came across an argument – people getting weighted blankets to help them with sleep was a form of cultural appropriation. I was wondering: is this true?
I’ve never really considered this argument. But you can make a case for both sides.
First, that weighted blankets at Target is disability cultural appropriation. I can see the argument simply because disability aids and fidget toys, such as fidget spinners, became a fad. (Remember those? I still have mine.) They only became popular when abled people took them up. You could make the case for weighted blankets undergoing the same abled person pickup. It literally took the abled people taking up weighted blanket for them to even show up at Target – and they still do not come in queen size for my bed! What a shame that it takes the abled people to pick something up to become available for people who cannot make the something. That’s the textbook definition of ableism.
The argument against abled people taking up weighted blankets as cultural appropriation is another side. Basically, that something once used for autism, anxiety, and other disabling conditions is now used by abled people might just be natural because abled people see the aid can help them, too.
I see nothing beyond the above for these arguments, but I am disturbed by that fact that disabled people are not allowed to take control of their narrative the way other marginalized cultures do. We still need to pitch our disability aids to abled people to be able to even get them. Fidget spinners, fidget toys and weighted blankets are prime examples of this. Most abled people cannot see past the ends of their noses when it comes to us.
The sad thing is, my mother does not even know about the weighted blanket, so I do not have one.
Well, the Christmas decorations are put away, the patio door is unblocked again, the TV is back in its regular spot, and the front lawn (if you can call a small patch of grass that) is bare again. We’re back to normal, and I survived the cleanup. Strange how fast it all comes down.
Now, on to New Year’s Eve. Honestly, I never knew how well I had it celebrating at home alone. No crowds of people, no loud and obnoxious bar patrons, and if I want a drink, I can get one myself. Also, no dressing up, no worries about how it looks on Instagram, and I can stay home with my dog, Bear. Bear will give me a kiss at midnight, so no worries. And if I don’t feel like staying up that late, I don’t have to – but it’s pretty normal for me.