Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not The Point. Stop Being Ableist.

Source: Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not The Point. Stop Being Ableist.

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Better Off Dead?

http://www.vox.com/2015/9/17/9346685/republican-debate-trump-autism

Wow. Thanks a lot, Donald Trump. You have reiterated why I have to go over the same ground in the war for my safety and the safety of others like me. I know I am autistic. I just do not want to be pathologized, pitied and feared for it. Calling autism an “Epidemic” and “out of control” makes it sound scarier and harder than it really is. Do you have any reason why I find that offensive? I find it offensive because it makes me feel like a tragedy. I know I should not listen to people like you, but you invade my head and make tunnels in my brain. You make me think I ought to get off the planet, because that is the only way I can make it a better place. How do I put this? I am not going to get off the planet for you. I am not a tragedy. I am not a burden. I don’t know what I have to do, or how much money I have to make for you to value me, but I am glad I don’t have to prove my value to you. I prove my value to those who really care about me every single day, and none of them are you.

Let me bring up another point to this debate: Leaving aside the fact that the so-called link between autism and vaccines has been left unduplicated, debunked and left the man who published the study without a medicine license, you, Jenny McCarthy and the anti-vaxxers are simply saying this, by withholding vaccines from diseases that maim and kill:

“My child is better off dead or maimed than autistic.”

Thank you very much, Donald Trump. You have proven to me that your reliance on emotional anecdotes and wanton ignorance of science and medicine knows no bounds, and your tongue knows not the poison it carries and strikes into the hearts of your followers.

Who Is Cambria?

Who Is Cambria?

This is a question I had yet to ask myself until recently. Everybody, whether good or bad, told me what or who I was.

“Cambria is autistic.”

“Cambria is a cutie; she looks good.”

“Cambria is a psychotic sack of ****.”

“Cambria is my daughter.”

I did not even have to learn who I was for a long time, because I had never had a lack of people telling me who I was. So, when most of the people abandon you in one way or another, what are you then?

“Cambria is worth abandoning.”

My mother ran off to Florida to be with a man (but she learned and redeemed herself later); my sisters used me up and spat me out; my friends, God knows where they went; and my father sent me to my mother and then died. I am not trying to be fair or observant; I am relating how I was feeling at the time. Feeling abandoned is one of the major issues in my life – I feel it all the time.

Now that I know better on where everyone stands, I can see that I have no idea who Cambria is. Will you come on my journey to discover who I actually am – without the restrictions of my haters, and with the support of those who really love me?

That Fateful Day

911butterfly

It pains me to think that school age children do not know the gravity of this day, but have distanced themselves from it. Maybe it’s because I was alive during this time, and old enough to remember. I was 24 on this day 14 years ago.

The morning of September 11, 2001, I was living with my sisters. We helped each other in the morning, getting ready for work. Today, it was my elder sister. My younger sister took her to work at Old Navy that morning. She worked in shipping and receiving, which meant a 6:30 a.m. start time. We said goodbye for the day, and off they went. I had the day off, so I tried to go back to sleep. I could not go back to sleep. (I did not know it at the time, but when I cannot relax, something major is going on.) My younger sister came back in, crying. She said planes had hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. She finished by saying, “I am not kidding.” She was too devastated to be kidding. The news was just unbelievable. We did not have TV at the time, so we turned on the radio. One of the towers had already fallen by the time we turned it on, so we could only hear as the other one fell.

The reporting was chaotic. At one point, a reporter said that eight planes had been hijacked. Fortunately, it was reduced down to the four we know of. One plane had mysteriously crashed in the middle of Pennsylvania, so God only knows where that plane was being aimed. We picked up my sister after her store was closed, and I had the day off, so we were all together, comforting and supporting each other as sisters could. When my nephew was picked up, we all went to dinner at where I worked, which was unusually quiet for such a loud, boisterous place. Eventually, we made it to the Drug Emporium, where they had CNN on – and the plane hitting the second tower on loop. It threw my nephew into a scared fit. He went to his junior football practice, where the coach told them of his place in the Army Reserve, and his decision to go if needed. (Fortunately, he never did.)

In the days to follow, things were surreal. We all went to American rallies, vigils, we got TV so we watched CNN all the time for three weeks-at least I did. The “support America” haze lasted for an entire year afterwards, even until September 11, 2002. My boyfriend at the time even started a honk-your-horn rally over the freeway. It was so strange living in this particular haze, because we did not seem to be in need ot if before. Maybe what I’m trying to say is, when history happens before your eyes, it’s so different from seeing it on a page.

A Story for World Suicide Prevention Day

When I learned Robin Williams had committed suicide, I was in shock for days. How could someone who brought laughter and happiness to so many not be able to have some of that happiness left over for himself? I grieved and mourned, like the rest of the world. For those of you who drove his daughter off Twitter with your comments, I condemn you. She needed you, and you let her down. I wish I could be baffled by suicide,  but sadly I am not.

I am going to tell you something difficult: I was once considering suicide – even up to the planning stage, when I was discovered and reported. I was 17. My parents were divorcing, my younger sister was rebelling against the rules and going through her migraines, my brother wanted to live with his father, my elder sister was doing her thing, raising her little boy. I don’t know if it was a cry for attention – because some people think that. I was failing my classes, getting my dreams dashed, I had no friends – the list goes on and on. When living with autism in high school, one is usually bullied and left out of things, as I was, so I had no friends to speak to. I think I was trying to end the pain, which would end anyway soon – and through some more pain, learn I was stronger than ever.

The events of the day I was discovered go like this: I had decided to stay home that day, because I had the flu, I think. Late in the morning, I was confronted by my mother, who was devastated at the news. I remember little about the conversation, except she said, “I can’t lose you.’ It tore me to my heart, because I thought my death would make people happier. That’s what people think when they consider death as a way out- that only positivity could come out of it.

My mother took me to the school nurse, where I told her of my formulating plan – something to do with knives. Since I was discovered, there was only one thing I could do: tell people how much I was hurting, and watch as they rejected me – but they never rejected me. I could not tell my acquaintances; there was no one close enough to talk with. Then, I was taken to the doctor’s office, where I was interviewed, and by that evening I was in the psych ward of a local hospital. I ate cold roast beef, Brussels sprouts and some sort of starch dish – I cannot remember. This would begin a long journey which would involve pills, regaining my love of certain things, and finding out who my true friends are. It would last for years, through divorce, abuse and being completely alone, but now I am back.

I can’t say I haven’t gone back down that dark path since, because I was starting to go when my sisters kicked me out of their house and sent me back to my mom, but I have never been so far again. It’s only under extreme pressures that things like this enter my mind, but it’s been thankfully only once.

You know something? I have said the word “I” more times in this article than all the others. That is the tragedy when you’re only thinking of yourself – you get down on the subject you’re thinking of when it’s you. Perhaps thinking of myself less – getting out of my head and into others’ problems – is the key to having a purpose.

Want to know what goes on in the mind of someone considering death? Here are a few thoughts:

1) Negative Self-Talk: “Everyone would be better off if I was gone.” “I’m a burden.” “I’m a source of tension.” “Things would be better without me.” When you think your presence is only negative, you tend to think it needs to go.

2) Toxic Relationships: I hope reading the article is giving you a clue as to who or what was influencing my thinking – people letting me down. Hopefully, you can find someone to go to when things like this happen.

3) A Poor Self-Image: People with autism are viewed as a burden and a tragedy, as are most people with so-called disabilities. Sometimes you need to have the person think of a scenario where their specific talents are necessary for the survival of society. For the autistic, for example, maybe the lesser knowledge of social graces can finally bring the truth out considering a bad situation. If somebody wants to remind me what good things about a person like me has, please let me know.

4) Mental Illness: Depression and other illnesses are common in people who think death is a way out. As a matter of fact, it is often a sign that there is an illness there.

5) Alcohol / Drugs: Fortunately, this was not a factor in my contemplations, but getting a mind-altering substance into somebody is usually a dangerous prospect, especially when death is concerned. You’ve seen the beginning of “The First Wives Club,” where the wife was insanely drunk when she leapt to her death. There is truth in that. Self-medicating is a sign something is wrong.

These are a few things which get inside the head of a person on the verge of suicide. I wish I did not know it intimately, because I could have led people down a dark, unforgiving path of death.

I hope talking about my experiences does not glorify suicide, rather I hope it drives you to get away from it. I know for a fact my family would never recover had I gone through with it – and I would not be here to triumph today.

National Suicide Hotline:

1-800-273-8255