Too Fat to See the Doctor 

I have been alerted to a fatphobia effect: women are canceling their doctor appointments on the fear that they’re too fat to see them. I can’t say this fear is entirely unwarranted. I mean, every single time I go to the doctor, I am lectured about my weight. I mean, why don’t you just refuse to see me unless I am a size 2? Would make you feel better? Oh, wait. That’s OVERT fat discrimination. You can maybe get sued for that. It’s too obvious. But, honestly, I feel like canceling the doctor and never seeing her again. With my autism, that would be comfortable, but it would also be unhealthy. But here’s the thing: my doctor hates that I’m fat. I don’t even want to go to the doctor anymore. I wish my health insurer would carry a doctor who was fat-friendly. Then maybe I would not dread going to the doctor.

I wonder if Humana offers fat-friendly doctors???

So There is an Outbreak of Measles in Minnesota…..

So there is an outbreak of measles in Minnesota among Somali-descended children, spreading to other vulnerable populations. I want you to understand that. What I don’t want you to do is point the finger at me about it. For the longest time, I thought that, being autistic and scary to a neurotypical population that is afraid of me, that I was the cause of unvaccinated measles outbreaks, in Minnesota and Southern California (at Disneyland, no less), especially since Jenny McCarthy literally blamed her son’s autism for all her suffering in life. But, in this case and others, I have already dismissed my existence as a cause of measles outbreaks, especially since now there are more complex, pointed reasons as to why there is an outbreak of measles they are dealing with in Minnesota. I want you to read the next sentences very carefully. That’s why I have separated them out.

*****

The causes of the outbreak of measles in Minnesota are as follows:

  1. Ableism, represented as Anti-autism
  1. Racism
  1. Xenophobia

The causes of the Disneyland outbreak in Southern California are as follows:

  1. Ableism, represented as Anti-autism

*****

These lists are not finished. First, I want to discuss the discovered causes of the measles outbreak in Minnesota. Let me start with ableism.

Thank you so very much, Jenny McCarthy. Thank you, Andrew Wakefield. Thanks a lot, Autism Speaks. While I won’t go into the extremely non-duplicated, thoroughly debunked, corrupt and hateful so-called “study” of how you think the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine causes autism. I have felt personally responsible and personally attacked because of you. You have made children sick because of my existence. You have murdered over nine thousand children as of July 2015. And the cause of all this pain and destruction? The existence of autistic people. I am autistic. Therefore, you make ME a target. Your hatred of me justifies your actions of denying children their health, their immunity, even their lives. You justify your kills because of me. I am tired of being the cause for the loss of innocent lives.

*****

Now, onto the next two causes, because they are interwoven and intersected. They are Racism and Xenophobia.

Now, when most white American people look at Somali immigrants, what do they see? They see dark skin – race being the previous mark of slavery, and they devalue the person. They see a foreigner – those “evil” people trying to come and take their lives, jobs and livelihood. They see a Muslim – and deem them dangerous, evil terrorists, not realizing that most Muslims HATE those terrorists. (Don’t get me started on some of my Muslim friends’ seething rage.) So, when these dark-skinned foreign so-called terrorists come to them with an issue – their children are getting autism – what do those white American people do? They ignore and deny help to these inferior people. So, what does the ableist, Anti-vaccine camp do? They listen, and recruit soldiers for their own terror. Herd immunity is compromised. And children in Minnesota now have measles, many of them hospitalized because their weak and developing immune systems are defenseless against the onslaught. Now do you see how danger and strife can get a foothold due to racism and xenophobia?

*****

I am not here to bring anybody down, or anybody out. I am simply facing hatred in three intersecting directions of ableism, racism and xenophobia. Now, I know I am not black and an immigrant, but I will fight the diseased rot of ableism, racism and xenophobia right alongside its victims. I do it every day – even in my mind. When children are dying, there is something wrong. One absolutely must speak up for the sake of the future. One must speak up for the sake of the suffering children.

 

What to Do About Mental Health Stigma 

STIG-MA (noun):

a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person:
“the stigma of mental disorder”

synonyms shame, disgrace, dishonor, ignominy, opprobrium, humiliation, (bad) reputation shame, disgrace, dishonor, ignominy, opprobrium, humiliation, (bad) reputation

Source: Oxford University Press

*****

I just realized something: Mental Health Stigma is not killed through lecture. Sure, I can sit and talk about how mental health stigma hurts, but I can also offer some tips to combat it. Research is fairly sparse on the topic – how to combat mental health stigma – but I’ve been looking at it anyway. There are a few tips to consider:

1) Combat internal stigma: Internalized stigma is not really your fault. It’s instilled in you by your family, your friends, the media, and even strangers. You might want to think of your mind as a sponge – if it sits in the dirty water of stigma, it will eventually absorb the dirty water of stigma. Get yourself away from those who are living in the dirty water as much as possible; however, we are talking about cleaning out the dirty water you have already absorbed. Here are a few things to consider:

-Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder are real medical illnesses. Why are they published in medical journals if they’re not?

-See a therapist if you can. I know that often, people are

-Don’t self-medicate. Using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs to make yourself feel better often leads to addiction, and a troubling condition called Dual Diagnosis. I don’t know much about this condition, but bringing on multiple conditions is not recommended for anyone. It takes you the rest of your life of taking care of yourself to live well with mental illness; it takes just as long to recover from addiction.

2) No Name Calling: From one “Crazy” or “Nutjob” to another, those words hurt. They are just as derogatory as racial slurs, and calling something “gay” when you mean stupid. As far as I’m concerned, this name calling is hate and discrimination.

3) Praise for Seeking Help: If you don’t get that it’s good to get professional help with your brain, I’m here to tell you this. It’s good to get professional help for your brain. Your brain is a complex medical instrument that often requires a professional’s expertise to get it working properly. If no one tells you this, know that you are a good person for seeking professional help. Remember, you are not Superman.

4) Take Care of Yourself: I cannot stress this enough – self care is essential. What people do not get about self care is that it is not always the glamorous bubble bath most people picture it to be. Self care is taking your medication even though you gag on the larger medicines. Self care can be the bubble bath or treating yourself, but it’s other things, too. Self care is seeking help if you need it. Self care is resting when you need it. Self care is getting to your therapy appointments. Self care is learning that you can still live a full and productive life with your state of mental health. Self care is not self-medicating.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If others want to contribute tips and tricks for combating mental health stigma, by all means, tell me.

The Cold Within, by James Patrick Kinney – A 1960s Poem For Our Time

Read this poem, take it in. This is the political problem for our time – cold, hard hearts ON ALL SIDES.

*****

The Cold Within  – by James Patrick Kinney

Six humans trapped by happenstance
In bleak and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs
The first man held his back
For of the faces round the fire
He noticed one was black.

The next man looking ‘cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes.
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight.
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

Their logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.[1]

*****

I’m not asking you to change political beliefs. I’m asking you to open your heart.

America needs a hero.

Boxed Up

Now, for some strange reason, I get troubled by shows with fat women. Why is it, when a woman in particular is cast who has a little weight, that weight is her defining characteristic? What about her interests, her favorite teams or hobbies? Do they think fat people have no hobbies? That’s insane. I will give TV shows more credit in the 2016 viewing season. Katy Mixon and Chrissy Metz-two plus size women on TV, with more to name, I’m sure. Although I consider it a baby step, it’s a step in the right direction. It also looks like the viewing public likes women we, the American Public, can relate to. This does not trouble me. What troubles me, in fact, is the fact that weight is a major issue for their characters. I mean, not only is it a major issue, it seems to be the box that the person is put in has little room to move, or even breathe, except for the way the box defines.

I have always had trouble fitting into the boxes society has had for me. Short, white, autistic, fat…it seems that no matter what box you go in, there is only one way to fit inside the box. Most of the time, though, I cannot fit inside it. Take autistic, for example. For some reason, the box of autism’s rules are like this:

-No talking

-No popular special interests

-No relatability

-No girls (Yes, some girls miss out on their paper diagnosis due to the fact they are girls)

-No individuality

Do you see the problem here? According to most people, I stopped being “autistic” according to the box’s rules at various points in my life, maybe even at conception. That is not fair! That is not fair to talking autistics. That is not fair to autistics who like popular things, like Pokemon and NKOTB. It is not fair to autistics who can relate to non-autistics. It is definitely not fair to autistic girls. It is definitely not fair to autistic people, because they are very individual. I have not met one autistic who was too much like another autistic, or too much like anyone else.

This particular box-placing and box-busting can be applied to any particular “box” or “label” that people are put in. There are black people accused of not being “black enough” for various reasons. The various sexualities abounding have their own stereotypes and breakable “rules” that they must contend with. I don’t like boxes. Stop putting me in them.

The Blessed Lady Autistic

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? The “blessed autistic.” How do I justify being a blessed lady autistic? Because I got my autism diagnosis in childhood, that’s how. I was semi-diagnosed at three. My mother got the confirmation at eight. I did not know it then, but I am lucky. Most women receive their autism diagnosis in adulthood, when they have lived a large portion of their lives being misunderstood, targeted and most likely raped and abused.

Here is my story: “She’s one of ours!” Was the exclamation one doctor called to the other when they were examining me. Of course, I was on the other side of the one-way mirror. Anyway, it’s a hard road I traveled, but consider this: I was confirmed different. I did not realize this through the teenage years, but being different gave me a freedom to be weird. If I did not understand people, it could go back to my diagnosis. If I acted weird, it was explained by my diagnosis. Sure, I may have to fight for my rights, but there is a freedom to having an explanation as to why. So, why are we not getting these diagnosis to the women who are autistic until they have lived maybe half their lives in pain?

Here is the problem: most of my fellow lady autistics do not receive their diagnosis until adulthood, sometimes late adulthood. Susan Boyle revealed her diagnosis at 52. I assume she had got it recently, but my mother and I could spot it almost immediately. I have also heard of diagnoses being delayed until 68 years old for one case. Most of the bloggers who claim autism and are female are self-diagnosed, and have yet to receive their paper diagnosis. I say I am blessed because I had a woman in my corner who wanted what was best for me, fighting against people who did not want to put a stigmatizing “label” on me. So, lying to me and tossing me out to a society I do not understand to be raped and abused is better? You people throughout my childhood who fought doing anything for me, you absolutely suck.

So, what is the problem with getting a diagnosis to a girl in time to help her? Why, sexism of course. “You can’t be autistic! You’re a girl/woman!” Is a common statement made to autistic women who are trying to get their paper diagnosis.  That above statement defines the textbook definition of something wrong. You can be autistic and be a woman. Ask me. I think there is not enough study, training or education concerning autistic women. Besides, the study of autism is definitely skewed towards the most privileged individuals in society – the rich white male. Also, there is a false theory that the autistic brain is masculine. Perhaps there has not been enough study of autistic women to help find the members of autism’s lost tribe.

Why did they not study me, if I was such a rarity? I got some study and tests in elementary school, but besides standardized testing, it stopped there. Why not track my interests? Why not study my behaviors? What, is there not enough money, or not enough priority? I suspect that John Lennon’s statement “Woman is the ni**er of the world” is also the same with autism. This is the textbook definition of  intersectional prejudice. Autistic women are ignored because we are not male enough, or neurotypical enough. Until we value women and neurodiversity, I suspect I will be one of the few blessed lady autistics to get her diagnosis in childhood.

About that “High-Functioning” Thing…. 

TW: Use of “functioning” labels as assigned by NT parents

Stop. Don’t leave yet. I’m not going to throw a bunch of junk at you on how I’m supposedly better than those who are lower functioning or whatever. So, I can pass for neurotypical in some circles. I guess that’s an asset for someone like me. But is that supposed to make me “better” than anyone? I must confess: I have recently struggled with this question: If I was lower functioning, would I still be loved?

It haunts the mind of the autistic, no matter where they are on the “functioning” scale. Many people dubbed “lower-functioning” are often thrown into group homes where they are not treated with basic medical care, let alone human decency. Often, love for the autistic, no matter how they fit on this “functioning” scale, is denied.

My mother just said to me, “I love you for who you are. I will always love you for who you are.” That is very comforting to me, because I have struggled with my worth as of late. I don’t know why I do, except maybe I do know why I do. I am told that the autistic is unfit for society in many ways – even more so since I am a woman, and can pass for neurotypical.

So what? I do not think I am better than the “lower-functioning” autistics. Far from it. Perhaps they are much smarter in this autism thing than me, perhaps not. I do not say I speak for them, either.

Autism’s “functioning level” does not conclude a person’s worth.