Autism Acceptance Month Day 30: A Little Empathy for the Isolated

Well, there is not a lot to say now. This Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month has been dominated by Coronavirus. There was a little talk about autism at the beginning, but it’s been mostly about the pandemic. Granted, there were some puzzle pieces here and there, and the tone-deaf White House did the “Light it Up Blue” thing, among other places, but Covid-19 took out most of the ableism.

Isn’t it funny how it took a global pandemic to finally get the “able” bodied and minded to feel what isolated disabled people have been feeling all their lives? We have been isolated, lonely, dejected, and rejected. Why do you think we have chips on our shoulders?

An update about my family: no one has called or receive calls from my mother’s side of the family except one aunt. In my nuclear family, the only one to call or receive calls is my younger brother. On my father’s side, at least my last living aunt calls every once in a while. I give more credence to my aunt on my father’s side because she actually calls. Mark my words: if I ever get rich or successful, they will be the only ones I acknowledge as family or get a red cent of my money.

Quarantine Life, Day…Whatever, it all Runs Together After a While

I try not to be arrogant. The reason I’m talking about tips on staying home is that my mother and I have done this staying home thing for years. I’m on disability; she is on Social Security. It’s not like we’re robbing banks and throwing money out the window; we stay home during the end of the month. I only wanted to help, and offer a preview of what we as a collective people in quarantine may be dealing with. That’s why I mentioned the weird sleep schedules I have been plagued with for years. Of course, it’s not easy when your mother is the only person you speak with on a regular basis.  It often gets lonely when people do not call. (Of course you know this; a regular reader has read my whining about nobody calling for months.) Now, in recent weeks, I have developed a hard shell around my heart concerning my relatives; it would be nice for them to call, but if they don’t, they should not expect me to. I don’t have half their numbers. They never gave them to me. Survival of callousness must be achieved somehow.

I have an upcoming task at hand to keep me busy for a month or two. I will be crocheting a blanket for my new niece/nephew coming into the world. They will be adorable! That ought to help things. Anyway, how is your quarantine going? I would like to hear from you.  

Blaming Myself for Measles Outbreaks

This is one of the hardest things I have had to admit. I somehow believe that I am to blame for the measles outbreaks we are experiencing today. Somehow, it feels that antivaxxers are using my existence to not vaccinate their kids, and causing all these cases of measles.  

The thing is, there seems to be a pervasive feeling that I am hated for existing, and that my very existence makes parents sick, and therefore they don’t vaccinate their kids, and that makes their kids sick. I can’t help but wonder if I am causing all this pain in the world.

Am I a monster?  

Quickshot – World Autism Month. Yay.

I’m stating the title rather sarcastically in my head. I mean, I think Autism Awareness, in the traditional sense, has already saturated the population. I mean, who asks “What is autism?” anymore? How about Autism Understanding? How about Embracing the Autistic? How about Autism Acceptance? There is literally no one I come across that asks me “What is autism?”

New Amsterdam and Stigma

I’m watching an episode of New Amsterdam – and one patient attempts suicide. Fortunately, she survives. Trouble is, there is so much stigma surrounding the family that the patient is worried she will lose her mother’s love if she undergoes therapy.  

Here is how the stigma is dealt with: 

  1. A judgmental mother. She does not even acknowledge her daughter’s attempt. “She slipped,” she says. 
  1. A culture which describes illness as “weak.” I’m not sure if it’s the Asian culture (which is not specified), or 21st-Century American culture. Both are equally hateful of the ill.  
  1. They are trying to wrangle around her getting therapy with lies.  
  1. Now, the doctor is talking to the mother. He brings up another point: that the mother might have blamed herself.  
  1. Now the psychiatrist talks to the patient. She is describing symptoms of anxiety and depression. 
  1. Now the mother is admitting she needs help too, after her daughter apologizes.  

Anyway, there are a lot of sadness and shame associated with the daughter’s depression. Fortunately, there is a lot of love, and burgeoning understanding, between the mother and daughter. Love wins out in the end.  

Do not dismiss this case. Stigma is real. Thanks to stigma, people are not getting the help they need. Thanks to stigma, there have been people in psychosis causing chaos on the roofs of buildings. Thanks to stigma, people are suffering in silence. Thanks to stigma, people have died by their own hand. Why is it not enough that people are suffering and dying to fight stigma? How many people have to die?

Autism Thanksgiving Prep Helps, Part 2: Early Prep

Please forgive me…I’ve been trying to process all the happenings in California, which is now Fire Country. I’ve been numb from all the climate change denial, the fake compassion, and inability to learn. (We all know who this is about.) Please, support legitimate causes surrounding California.  

Now that the California Public Servant Announcement is done, let’s get to…. 

Autism Thanksgiving Prep Helps, Part 2: Early Prep 

If you have not been reading lately, just know that this year, as in years before, I am in charge of Thanksgiving cooking – with help in the timing department from Mom, of course. Fortunately, most of the dishes are baked in the last hour, so that makes things a little easier. I only have to cook mashed potatoes, bowtie noodles and gravy on the stove. Everything else is baked/roasted.  

I already have the turkey in the refrigerator, and have had it there for a few days, because we got a large one. Strangely enough, I have encountered a small mass of ice in the cavity every time I have cooked turkey before, no matter how long I have set it out – not up to a week before, though. Anyway, the turkey has always been a success, so there’s really little to worry about there. Just so you know, we do NOT stuff the turkey with stuffing prior to baking; we need room for our aromatics. Besides, we have a bunch of turkey stock and broth formulas on hand for our stuffing and other dishes. Of course, we roll out enough food to feed an army, or feed us for a weekend.  

Much of this stage of prep involves deciding how and in what to serve our dinner. A quick hack for this: Use sticky notes to label the dishes, so you’ll be ready when the food is ready to be served up. And don’t move the notes around! You could lose them.  

Why am I prattling on and on about Thanksgiving food prep? It helps me deal with the holiday, of course. It helps center my mind and body for the upcoming task. Besides, most people think that because of my autism, I would not be able to do Thanksgiving cooking. Well, boo on them. I’ve done Thanksgiving cooking for years. I’m thankful for the ability to do it.  

Anyway, involving the autistic person in the process, and explaining it clearly to them every step of the way, is key to helping them deal with the holiday. Remember, think of things from their point of view: many of these Thanksgiving dinners involve strange foods, strange practices, and even people who are not normally there for a lot of the year. To an autistic person, this amount of upset can be overwhelming. Have empathy. (Funny I need to say “Have empathy” to people who think I can’t have empathy. Ironic? Maybe.) Explain this clearly and physically age-appropriately. They can understand more than you think.  

Also, a pro tip: Pull the turkey into the fridge TODAY, if you haven’t already. Even those small turkeys that weigh maybe four to six pounds some people are fond of need at least two days to thaw.

Leave it in the Booth

Do you wish you had a say in how your government works? Do you wish you could tell the government what you want, have people who care about you and your issues represent you in Congress? I’ve got good news. You do have a say that can affect the government. It’s called a vote. You simply go into the booth and make the choice. I’m not versed on all the ways and machines you use to vote, but you simply make the choice you want. I heard the officials use simpler machines and systems than that used to. My precinct uses a paper you read into the machine.  

I’ve also decided to address some issues and sayings regarding why people do not vote. Unfortunately, I have an issue with each of them:  

1) “My Vote Won’t Make a Difference.”  

Newsflash: As of writing this, we are within 48 hours of the polls opening. Polls show a slight margin to one side. Notice I said SLIGHT. The polls might even be in the margin of error. I’m not saying which way they’re leaning, because it might poison the will of that side. I want everyone who can to vote. Besides, there are countless stories online about narrowly decided elections. So, maybe this country is big and you’re small, but at least you can make a choice – unlike other countries.  

2) “I Don’t Like the Lesser of Two Evils Strategy.”  

I’ve railed against the Lesser of Two Evils myself. Remember the 2016 posts? Anyway, now that it’s midterms, there is a chance there are more parties to vote for besides Democrat and Republican. I know those are the major ones, but you might be able to put a referendum on those parties!  

3) “The Weather Does Not Agree with Me.” 

It has been said Republicans should pray for rain. But, I believe Uber and Lyft offer free rides to polling places. I wish I could drive so I could help people get to the polls – but I’m pretty sure you know  

4) “It Takes Too Long to Vote/Too Far Away.”  

Let me get on my soapbox for a minute. How could you say your vote is inconvenient when you can google Voter Suppression and find it, even in this election? How many of your ancestors fought and died to have their say? How many of your foremothers and forefathers could not even vote? How many of your relatives cannot vote now? You who are registered, you are privileged! You have a chance to speak when others do not! Have your say! 

 

If you’re registered, please vote. I really don’t care who you vote for, whether it be Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green or even Communist – even if it’s against who I want. I want you to be heard. I want you to have your say.