Everybody Is Identical: a response to An Open Letter to the Depressed Aspergian

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QuinnPRK
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20 Apr 2016, 7:15 pm


Trigger Warning: This article discusses depression and suicide at length. Do not read it if you are easily triggered by such subjects. Do not let your children read this if they are too young.

A friend of mine jumped off her roof last week. Her name was Zara. She was a painter. She wasn’t autistic, but she struggled with isolation, and finding friends wasn’t easy for her. That was one of the things we connected over.

In times like these, I think back to a quote by D.T. Max, the biographer of David Foster Wallace. Wallace was one of my favorite writers. ...



kraftiekortie
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20 Apr 2016, 8:03 pm

I'm so sorry that Zara took her own life.

She seemed to have so much potential.

My ex-fiancé committed suicide in 1998.



metaldanielle
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20 Apr 2016, 10:24 pm

That was wonderful. Thank you.


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mikewhateverm
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21 Apr 2016, 7:01 am

text removed by moderator. (sock puppet post made by a member who was banned last year)



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21 Apr 2016, 9:58 pm

I think the one thing we have going for us, albeit it's working quite slowly, are the number of people who, if they don't have a child on the spectrum, have someone close who does.

I think back to my own teens and twenties and I think the worst was the sense that my autism was a constant societal assault on my efficacy. If you're weird you have a tremendous uphill battle to show the world that you have anything to offer. It's one thing to spend life single, it's almost more than I think a lot of people can take to add to it unable to financially support themselves - often through no more than having enough of the right types of people around who'll huff, puff, hyperventilate, and just about knock themselves out if someone around them isn't stereotypically and culturally normal. I liked your article on employment and especially I think for guys, the stigma of being a screwup if you can't financially fend for yourself can be crushing.

My own thoughts, particularly as my own battle has become less emotional and more just one of trying to keep the silver-lining of my life in place (really demanding from life that I be able to finance the activities that bring me joy), is that for those of us who are stuck somewhat on the out - finding meaning and joy in life in the particular opportunities we have within that space is critical. I consider myself incredibly lucky that I've had a close network of friends on and off through my life and by and large the since late high school and early college, although there are plenty of times where I do draw off to myself just because I can only take a lot of the things they'll want to do in doses.

It might sound a bit odd but I feel like, if we were going to look toward autistic community solutions, our solutions would be about forging new paths and means of fulfillment based on the things we have an abundance of. If we live in a society that really does what it does just as much to anyone as to us (we simply drew the short straw), we may want to focus on exploring the spaces between the bars or within them more intensely - particularly when rattling the cage constantly yields more of a sense of desperation. One thing people can do obviously is turn inward and take up a contemplative practice, and there's a lot of ways to do that, but even that is just an example of a traditional way of going about things.

I hope that didn't ramble on too much, but I definitely think we want to do what we can to brainstorm our own sort of practical nuts-and-bolts cultural solutions. WP is definitely a great start, the next thing might be ways for people to find more active doing-things-together kind of time and space. Also, it might be a little controversial to bring up this point, but spirituality seems critical for making the most of this as well - whether that's in a secular sense or something more organized/traditional. What I mean by that is the dialogues people have with themselves often make or break their happiness, and in our case we're under enough long-term stress that we need to take command and responsibility of those internal narratives as much as possible both to avoid being throttled by what's going on outside of us and to carve out our own space for happiness where it's possible.


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TessSpoon
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22 Apr 2016, 6:12 pm

If this were you speaking in front of a physical audience I was a part in, I would stand up and applaud you at the end of the speech.

Very well-written, good sir. Every point struck close to home, for me.



stephenreynolds9663
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26 Apr 2016, 12:37 pm

A brilliant article. Thank you for writing this.



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29 Apr 2016, 12:28 pm

My husband has suffered from depression all his adult life. With Aspergers it is hard for him to get the counseling/treatment he needs. Thank you for shedding light on this. We need to all work together to ease the burden those with both depression and Aspergers are carrying.



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29 Apr 2016, 1:25 pm

mikewhateverm wrote:

There is also a trend online which says that socially awkward white male geeks have it easy, and because of this, there is no shame in humiliating them, even harassing them. Those people cite Bill Gates as an example, but Gates had excellent marketing skills. An example of this shaming tactic is at http://leighalexander.net/faq/ under Why do you sometimes mock ‘nerds’ and ‘gamers’ so virulently? Isn’t that the same kind of bullying you rail against?, where she claims that make nerds are "overprivileged" with no evidence. Another example is http://reddit.com/r/niceguys, which is centered around this shaming.


A bit of a tangent here, but something that bothers me a lot these days. Even assuming someone is indeed "over-privileged", more talented or has a better life situation than yours, how on earth does that justify actively and intentionally trying to make their life harder? It's an incredibly petty and entitled (yes, I said it) attitude in itself.


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30 Apr 2016, 1:30 pm

We all have identical needs to feel free, loved, accepted and wanted. When those needs aren't met, that's when things start to go wrong. If too many things go wrong and for too long, an individual will end up seeing suicide as the only answer. I feel that it's a very sad and tragic thing to have happen to anybody and their family. Once the person is gone' it's too late to fix things.


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12 May 2016, 12:49 pm

At my university they have an ASD support group, for all the ASD people. One thing I picked up from that is "sometimes you ARE right, and it IS the other person who was wrong" in regard to social interactions.

I want to set up a summer camp or something of that nature for autistic girls (teenage, before that is too young, after that is too old), mainly so they can get to meet other girls like them (also so I can meet more of them, I've met so many of the boys, now I want to meet at least a proportionate amount of the girls, the girls often get excluded) as the boys are much more likely to meet boys like them as more of them are diagnosed and more stuff is geared towards them.


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21 May 2016, 2:59 am

I've been feeling this so much lately. It helps knowing I'm not alone (although I wish I were, because I don't want others to hurt either). I've been pushing myself to socialize more and more lately, trying to date, go out, meet people, join clubs, etc., because of how lonely I've been feeling lately, but I think I may have taken on too much at once. And every little rejection, real or perceived, makes me feel that much more certain that something is "wrong with me". I think "normal" people are less affected by these rejections, and they don't internalize them the way more sensitive people do. And having felt so much rejection as a child in school, I feel like I'm destined to always be rejected over and over again. I know this thinking is detrimental, but it's hard to change.



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21 May 2016, 3:08 am

mikewhateverm wrote:
However, I know that this will probably spark some controversy, but I believe that another reason not mentioned is there is a stereotype applied to some people on the spectrum that they will be successful mathematicians, scientists, engineers, ect. This is all unproven however, and can lead to false expectations for certain individuals that might be good at small calculations but bad at problem solving (like me) which can cause humiliation. A more in-depth article is at http://www.autismdailynewscast.com/spec ... 196/guest/


I agree! I have a friend who isn't particularly good at math or similar skills, and because of it some people have "doubted" that she could really be autistic, even though she displays all of the typical symptoms. I think there definitely are a lot of people on the autism spectrum who are good at things like math and engineering, but I think a lot of that has to do with their tendencies to hyper obsess on whatever they are interested in. Obviously if your obsession is math, and you do it all the time, you are bound to be pretty good at it. I also think more men are interested in those sorts of things than women, but that may just be because society portrays those as male activities and therefore fewer women take an interest in them.



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21 May 2016, 9:29 am

It does not matter what your "special interest" is that determines if you are autistic it is having one. Unfortunatly what happened is that to explain the concept of special interests certain interests were used as examples, they became stereotypes and now a lot of people think if you are not obsessed with these topics you can not be autistic. Maddening.


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AspieSauce
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23 May 2016, 7:15 pm

People with autism are by definition different from people without autism. Otherwise, there would be no need for a label classifying the cluster of symptoms.

A person with Asperger's becomes disenchanted with the world, filled with people that have completely opposite moral views on lying, cheating, stealing, etc.

Of course it's depressing to find out that most people are terrible. It's even more terrible to realize that people without autism view us as bad people as well, albeit for the ironic reason that we are different from them.