Autistic Head Canons: Do Autistic People Need a Superhero? Or Do We Have One Already?

Now, heres the thing: a superhero can galvanize and empower a still woefully untapped sector of American society, at least by Hollywood. (Black Panther, for example.) That is the same with autistic people, especially concerning the superhero genre.

 Or is it?

 I think we have an autistic superhero – or three. Stay with me and Ill explain.

DraxNGOMH

 The first case for an autistic superhero is Drax the Destroyer from Guardians of the Galaxy. This stems from a story that a young boy with autism identified with Drax when it was revealed he does not understand metaphors. (Look up Nothing goes over my headfor a reference.) Now, since Drax is of an alien race, a diagnosis of autism may not apply as well. Maybe this trouble with metaphors is typical of Draxs species. After all, in the Cinematic Universe he is from a race called primitive.(Or so the other species think.) Anyway, some autistic people identify with him, so he counts.

Groot

The second case is Groot, also from Guardians of the Galaxy. He is often identified with nonverbal autistic people, due to his lack of verbiage. (Everything is I am Groot.) Anyway, since he is not canonically diagnosed as autistic, his case spreads a little thin, I must admit, yet his nonverbal tendencies helps some autistic people identify with him.

Billy-Movie-2017

 The third, and only canonical, case for examination, is Billy Cranston, portrayed by RJ Cyler in the movie Power Rangers of 2017. Let me make it clear that it is not the TV Billy portrayed by David Yost. It is strictly given to the movie version. Now, this is an excellent, canonical representation of autism in the superhero genre. The first reason is obvious: Billys autism is canonical. The second reason? It is one of the few portrayals of autism by an African-American. Normally, the autistic person is portrayed by somebody white, and more often male. Trouble is, autism does not know or care what race or gender you are. Ive met many different types of autistic people. Finally, the autism Billy has seems to be accurate to a certain extent, but not representative of ALLautistic people. Nor does it have to be.

 Im glad that autistic people can find themselves a superhero. Its a great vehicle of empowerment.

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Autistic Pride Day 2018

Well, it’s Autistic Pride Day. It’s also the first Autistic Pride Day I finally learned that being autistic is okay.
The thing is, I was forty before I learned it was okay to be autistic.
I was forty before it was okay to not be good around delicate glass.
I was forty before it was okay to need some quiet space.
I was forty before it was okay to dislike certain food textures.
I was forty before it was okay to be weird.
I was forty before it was okay to be fat.

Now that being forty is almost over, I have finally learned it is okay to be myself.

I have decided to bring back the Infinity Rose. (see the picture? If not, it’s a rose with a rainbow infinity symbol in its center.)

I don’t want anyone else to be forty before it’s okay to be themselves.

Quickshots – June 15, 2018

Don’t worry – I’ve been working on a few things.

  1. Sarah Jessica Parker admitted “Sex and the City” would be more diverse if made today – I have a few ideas surrounding the casting. Let the arguments begin!
  2. After much “Big Bang Theory” viewing, I have concluded that Sheldon Cooper might just very well be autistic – but as long as the showrunners don’t name autism, they can get away with cruelly mocking autism (am I right, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady?).
  3. Sometimes, your desire to stay well informed will clash with your need to stay sane.

We Need to Bust Some Mental Health Myths

Of course, you all know by now that accessories designer Kate Spade died by suicide. I’m not going to get into the details, but you can Google them any time you like. Somebody even leaked the VERY PRIVATE note she left for her daughter at the site. (Not cool.) Anyway, we need to talk about it. There has been a huge spike in suicides since, too.

I have decided to see what myths I could bust concerning suicide, and in extension, mental health.

Let me start with this one: One of the things most people get wrong about depression and suicide is that every case of depression has a rational origin. That is not always true. Sure, some of them have rational beginnings, but this is not always the case. No amount of money, success or fame is going to save you from something inside your head. It’s in your country already!

It is also a myth held by most people that mental health problems don’t affect them. I wonder – do you ever really know the people who know? Do you know what they face, how much energy they expend to just get ready for the day? Conservative estimates state that one in five people suffer from a mental illness. Those are Conservative estimates. Midline estimates state one in four, by the way.
Kate Spade just subverted the myth that people with mental health needs, even those who are managing their mental illness, cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job. She designed some of the best handbags ever for a living. I myself held down a high-stress job at In-N-Out Burger for six years, with periodical raises. I could utilize my strengths to fit the job perfectly. Anyway, I don’t have to argue with you on how well I can hold down a job. Especially with the help of medication one can take in the morning and go on with the rest of your day, many people with mental illness hold down perfectly good jobs, in all industries.

Here’s another myth we can kick down: Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough. In what universe? Look, if some gruff person in a fur or leather jacket could actually snap a person out of mental illness, I know of people who could make millions doing exactly that! But trying to make a person “Man Up, You Big Girl!!!!!” never works, and leads anyone down the road further to suicide. Aren’t we trying to prevent that?
I would like to also bust this myth. “There is no hope for people with mental health problems. Once a friend or family member develops mental health problems, he or she will never recover.” Sure, the problem may never go away, as it is not a cold, but we can live with it using the proper treatments and parameters. A little sidetrack: Did you know that in the 1848 novel Moby Dick, whales are scientifically classified as fish? The point is, both the medical and scientific communities can be wrong and need to correct themselves at times. It has happened before. Why not let it happen again?

Finally, and this is the big one: “Once a person wants to kill themselves, they are destined to do it.” Not true! I’ll tell you a story of a man who jumped over the side of the Golden Gate Bridge. He is one of the few to survive, by the way. Once he left the safety of the bridge, he regretted doing it. On the way down, he prayed to survive. He did – barely – but the regret stayed with him. He has never tried it again. Now, it doesn’t always take an extreme case of attempt to bring about the will to live. It may sometimes, but sometimes, just telling somebody is enough to deter it. In my case, that is what happened to me. I told somebody who told my mother, who got me help. It was in this instance I learned I had depression. It did not take a long time for me to learn how easy it is to manage, when you do what is necessary, even to the point of stigma.

Anyway, these are a few of the myths out there.

The Extent of My Autism Accommodations: A Very Short Article.

REGULAR AID:

Disability Income: Roughly $1050 a month. That’s it. (Good thing my mother helps me with her income.)
Medicare with Extra Help: Keeps my medicine payments down to $25. (See below.)

SERVICES I MUST PAY FOR:

Medicines to keep me from dying: $25.
Psychological Therapy: $40. Per appointment. I don’t get this. If I want to eat, I must sacrifice this.

*

Basically, all I get is Basic Disability Income and Extra Help from the Medicare people. That’s it. I pay for everything else to some extent. Any other services are out of my reach financially. Therefore, any other services are useless to me. Any service is useless if you can’t get it.

When You Die

NOTE: This is in response to a recent blog post written by a parent of an autistic child. 

“What will happen to my autistic kid when I’m gone?” “What will happen to my autistic kid when I die?” Well, if you hog all the autism care and concern and leave none of it for them, they will probably die alone, possibly killing themselves.

Have I got your attention now?

An isolated, dependent, and short lifespan is the current fate of most autistic people. Do you want to stop that? Don’t hog all the care and concern. Remember, the autistic person is suffering the most. NOT YOU!!!!!

Also, I have a few questions I want to ask:

Here’s my question: Can they learn to adapt and live?

Some autistic people need round-the-clock care, but I believe many do not. You must learn where on this care spectrum this person falls, and make the proper arrangements. You might be surprised where this person falls, and where he functions highly. Also, get him some autistic friends. I don’t have any close autistic friends right now, except on Facebook, and there are times I feel all alone.

Here’s my next question: Can they be autistic around you?

There is a LOT of pressure to fit in, to be acceptable, to conform. Autistic people, because they are bullied, left out and ostracized, feel this pressure more than most people. Holly Robinson-Peete’s son once declared “I don’t want autism” to his family at one time in the course of conversation. This just broke my heart. I could not put a finger on it at the time, but I realized it meant that he feels he cannot be loved and/or accepted until he can conform to neurotypicality. I could not watch another episode of their reality show.

Another question: Is there somebody they can be autistic, and therefore themselves, around?

If not you, the autistic person NEEDS to be autistic. It’s a fact of life as of May 29, 2018. If they are not themselves around you, they need to be themselves around somebody. They need somebody they can trust. Not you, them. You might be surprised who they trust, and it may not be the people you trust. Remember: many times, they have learned to not trust themselves or their instincts. I have gone through this behavior, and have re-learned to trust my instincts in my thirties. By then, it was almost too late.

I am currently forty years old. By some estimates, the average death age of an autistic person is thirty-six. (By some, it could be as late as fifty-four.) This means I may have already outlived my lifespan by four years. Not much time on this world where we face rejection, is it? Most autistic people still may be doomed to die alone, but you can help change it. There is a group of people who can help your child, because they know what your child is going through. They are going through it themselves. These are what we call autistic adults.

Ten Things that Grind my Gears

  1. The whole treatment of Meg Griffin.
  2. Having to borrow a title from a show that treats their teen daughter like feces.
  3. The fact that I have to hide the fact that my very nice upstairs neighbor is black because some very powerful white people assume she is some kind of criminal.
  4. The fact that I am forty and only qualified to work in a fast food joint because I only have an Associate Degree.
  5. People who go swimming in pubic pools when they don’t feel well. Stay home and get well!
  6. The fact that I have to justify my autism diagnosis because I am not Sheldon Cooper, Raymond “Rain Man” Babbitt, or some other white male whose weird is life-throttling.
  7. The fact that I have yet to see an autistic girl who likes assumed girly things on T.V.
  8. That most of the autistic people in media are white, male and otherwise of a privileged class.
  9. That these stereotypes throttle non-white, non-male autistic people from being believed.
  10. That I am even having to mention these in the 21st Century.