Do you think Asperger's is something to be proud of?

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Willard
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09 Jun 2010, 5:11 pm

Yupa wrote:
From my observation it isn't.


As the chorus has concurred, it is what it is. We neither chose nor created it, so pride is perhaps the wrong word. I'm not ashamed of the fact that I'm not like the superficial masses, and generally unconcerned with what they think, so if I seem like a snob to them, they may perceive my indifference as some kind of aloofness or pride.
Yupa wrote:
You tell people out in the real world you have Asperger's, they see that as a disability and a bad thing. People are naturally uncomfortable around those they perceive as sick. If you tell someone you have Asperger's, they will think of you as mentally sick and try to avoid you.

It will also probably be extremely hard to land a job or make friends if you tell people publicly that you have a mental disorder.


Okay, there are several things in that statement I have found not to be true:

First - When I tell someone I have AS, virtually none of them know what the hell it is - if I call it Autism, they can't wrap their heads around that, because they think Autism = Retardation, and its abundantly obvious that I'm not mentally retarded. And even though they have no clear understanding of Autism, they know enough to know they can't catch it, so they don't treat me as sick. If they avoid me because of it, good effin' riddance to them. Why would I want to associate with someone that ignorant?

The problem with AS and jobs is not in getting one, we can seem as 'normal' as the next person for the length of a job interview, and a lot of us are quite talented at one thing or another. I've never had a problem making a good first impression, or doing a job well - its the social functioning over the long haul that gets me fired. Again, if you mention it in a job interview, you may be asked how that condition might affect your ability to do that job, but it's a congenital neurological condition, not a 'mental illness'. If you characterize it that way when you bring it up, then yes, that might kill your job interview. Not mentioning it and then running into problems on the job because of it will get you fired every time, because nobody will believe you when you tell them why you're unable to do what they expect you to. Of course, I will grant you that people are not the least bit sympathetic or understanding even when they know you have a disability, if it's not one they can see.

Yupa wrote:
If anything you should hide it and try to act normal. Believe it or not, it's not that hard.


:lol: Oh, poor misguided one! I know a lot of Aspies like to believe that. 'Faking NT isn't that hard, I do it all the time and nobody knows the difference' Well, I know you don't want to believe this, but the light bulb will come on for you one of these days - YES, THEY DO KNOW.

Asperger Syndrome by its very nature causes us to lack the natural ability to read and interpret nonverbal social cues. If you can't SEE the social cues, or understand them when you do, how the hell do you KNOW when you're acting 'normal'? What seems 'normal' to you, what feels like 'behaving just like them' can still mean you're failing to give or respond to a dozen little gestures and looks and facial expressions that everybody around you is seeing, but YOU ARE NOT. In other words, you may be passing for 'normal' up to say 80 or 90%, enough that the people around you aren't constantly saying "What the hell is wrong with you?" But that does not mean that every time you leave the room, they aren't shaking their heads and muttering "Jeez, what a fruitloop."

Whether you tell them or not, they know you're not quite like them. If you share the truth, then at least they'll know why you seem a little different.

I think what we should be shooting for is to make Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism as well understood and as accepted as Dyslexia. Nobody think Dyslexics are crazy, stupid, retarded, dangerous, or sick.



Last edited by Willard on 09 Jun 2010, 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

conundrum
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09 Jun 2010, 5:17 pm

Willard wrote:
Asperger Syndrome by its very nature causes us to lack the natural ability to read and interpret nonverbal social cues. If you can't SEE the social cues, or understand them when you do, how the hell do you KNOW when you're acting 'normal'? What seems 'normal' to you, what feels like 'behaving just like them' can still mean you're failing to give or respond to a dozen little gestures and looks and facial expressions that everybody around you is seeing, but YOU ARE NOT. In other words, you may be passing for 'normal' up to say 80 or 90%, enough that the people around you aren't constantly saying "What the hell is wrong with you?" But that does not mean that every time you leave the room, they aren't shaking their heads and muttering "Jeez, what a fruitloop."

Whether you tell them or not, they know you're not quite like them. If you share the truth, then at least they'll know why you seem a little different.


Hmm...maybe that's why some people say they're "afraid" of me. My bf told me it was the way I dressed. That may have been part of it, but.... :lol:


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09 Jun 2010, 5:29 pm

I'm not proud of it, but I don't wish for a cure for ASDs. I'm proud of the fact that I'm living by myself and I'm financially independent, and I'm proud of myself, for dealing with that Nightmare called High School, long enough to graduate on the A-Honour Roll. Those are things to be proud of, because I've worked at them. I enjoy being an aspie, because that's the life that God gave me, but enjoying something like that, and being proud of it, are two different things, in that case.

Here's some examples:

I'm proud to be blond.
I'm proud to have a beard.
I'm proud that I love cartoons.
I'm proud to be skinny.
I'm proud to be a Kinks Fan.

Sorry...those are examples things that a people don't acheive. Those are examples of things that just are. You can't be proud of something that just is, but you can enjoy it.


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xalepax
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09 Jun 2010, 5:48 pm

at the moment it feels like it has ruined ten years of my life since I got the diagnosis so I guess the answer is a no...


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Claradoon
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09 Jun 2010, 7:01 pm

This thread has gotten very strange. As for being proud of having Asperger's, that is the first step away from being ashamed of it. Yes it's just a neurological formation but so is love, if I'm to believe the scientists on TV with their lit-up x-rays.

Yes, I would say take pride in what is good about Asperger's, especially if you've been hanging your head about it. Being diagnosed can be tough - you're not the person you thought you were. If you feel ashamed, then I would most seriously suggest hanging out here at WP and see for yourself that these are people, just people, with the same likelihood of good and bad. You're not a freak, you just need to explore your talents and burdens.



Homer_Bob
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09 Jun 2010, 8:42 pm

It's obviously isn't but it's something that should be accepted because it's not like you can get medication or some kind of operation and make it all go away. Aspergers is forever.


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09 Jun 2010, 8:45 pm

I think people should neither be ashamed or proud of AS or any other innate trait they are born with.

Pride is more appropriate for achievements. Nobody can help how they are born, that's just a gift. What you've done with what you've got, now that's something to be proud or ashamed of.



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09 Jun 2010, 9:02 pm

Yupa wrote:
If anything you should hide it and try to act normal. Believe it or not, it's not that hard.

You might as well go up to a guy on crutches that it's really not that hard to walk, and he should try to hide his broken leg and fit in with everyone else.


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Dernhelm23
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09 Jun 2010, 9:18 pm

This thread makes me sad. It seems as though the OP is trying to do what we are all trying so hard to get away from...that is putting us in a box. One of the very reasons the public has a stigmatized view of AS is because they assume that we are all Rain Man. Some of us are, and that is fine, but that is only a very small part of a very vast and hugely diverse spectrum in which no two people are exactly alike.

Autism is NOT a mental disorder, it is a neurodevelopmental abnormality. The physical makeup of someone with AS will visibly appear different from someone who is NT.

Being satisfied with who you are and having a sense of identification with the community to which you belong, especially in the context of an online forum as you say you don't agree with, is NOT the same as putting it on your CV or blurting it out as one of the first things you inform someone you have just met. Those are the only ways it could possibly affect any aspect of your professional life, and even then, in my experience the adversity is nowhere NEAR as great as you fear.

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If anything you should hide it and try to act normal. Believe it or not, it's not that hard.


I don't want to sound angry or start an argument. But I do find this statement extremely offensive. I have just now discovered that Asperger's is a part of who I am, though others have known it all along, and looking back one of the most damaging things I could have ever done to myself was try so hard to be "normal," even when I thought I was. Not only was it damaging, it was literally impossible. I can say this with complete confidence because I have spent every minute of 22 years trying. I have never in my life been told that trying to be something one is not is a healthy way for anyone to live.

At any rate, I am further offended that you feel it is something we should have to hide to begin with. I understand the viewpoint that "you cannot be proud of something you have not achieved," and I do agree, depending on the understanding of the word "pride." However there is an applicable definition, and in the sense of Black, Irish, Gay/Lesbian, and Aspie pride, to name a few, the specific word pride is also defined as "an affirmation of one's self and the community as a whole." This has nothing to do with accomplishments, but is still a legitimate use of the word pride. So yes, it is okay to have pride in the community to which one belongs, even if that which makes it a community is something as easily changed as eye color or blood type.

With that said, I can completely understand those of you who have had your life negatively impacted by the presence of autism, either in you yourself or a loved one. But this is where our diversity comes into play. I personally have experienced meaning and freedom in knowing why I am the way I am, and have always been even before I knew about my autism. I also understand that not everybody has had my experiences, and what is a blessing for me may be a curse for others. So I will offer encouragement and prayers that those lives that are negatively impacted by this will become easier and more positive, but I will also continue to enjoy my own meaning and freedom. And I expect those of you in a more negative place (that I cannot assume I won't be in should my life turn around as life tends to do) to not judge me for where I am at. I certainly don't judge you.



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09 Jun 2010, 10:04 pm

Dernhelm, what you say is also true of me - every word. I used to describe my life as pure, unmitigated hell.

Then came the Dx and I added inherent shame to my repertoire. That's not necessary or even true, but I was still running on the values of my family. *That* is the point where AS Pride could be a remedy. The shame is one end and pride is the other - let the pendulum swing, eventually it will balance. I'm not thinking of spending my life looking down my nose at NTs. Just enough pride (self-respect) to allow me to accept myself.



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09 Jun 2010, 11:14 pm

Dernhelm23 wrote:
Being satisfied with who you are and having a sense of identification with the community to which you belong, especially in the context of an online forum as you say you don't agree with, is NOT the same as putting it on your CV or blurting it out as one of the first things you inform someone you have just met. Those are the only ways it could possibly affect any aspect of your professional life, and even then, in my experience the adversity is nowhere NEAR as great as you fear.
Someone with very little social awareness can do this, too. I did it in the past, until I've read further about disclosure and why it's not always good to disclose to every single person you meet.

Am I proud of having this specific label? No, I'm not, because it's an arbitrary label. What I'm extremely proud of, though, is my high self-esteem and my ability to walk to a different drummer without caring what everyone else thinks/feels about it.


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09 Jun 2010, 11:20 pm

Quote:
With that said, I can completely understand those of you who have had your life negatively impacted by the presence of autism, either in you yourself or a loved one. But this is where our diversity comes into play. I personally have experienced meaning and freedom in knowing why I am the way I am, and have always been even before I knew about my autism. I also understand that not everybody has had my experiences, and what is a blessing for me may be a curse for others. So I will offer encouragement and prayers that those lives that are negatively impacted by this will become easier and more positive, but I will also continue to enjoy my own meaning and freedom. And I expect those of you in a more negative place (that I cannot assume I won't be in should my life turn around as life tends to do) to not judge me for where I am at. I certainly don't judge you.


+1



Dernhelm23
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09 Jun 2010, 11:30 pm

Quote:
Someone with very little social awareness can do this, too. I did it in the past, until I've read further about disclosure and why it's not always good to disclose to every single person you meet.


Ok, yeah, that's a good point, I'll give you that. I would even go so far as to say that I'm NOT at the point yet where I have learned what exactly is too much information and what is okay to disclose and when. I just meant that appropriate disclosure doesn't necessarily equal a social death sentence.

Quote:
Am I proud of having this specific label? No, I'm not, because it's an arbitrary label.


Yeah, I'll give you that too. After all, it's not really about the label at all, is it? If your intentions are in the right place, the labels only serve to help you understand yourself and how to adjust your life to make it easier, and to identify you with a community of like-minded potential kindred spirits in a world you never really felt at home in. That's my source of pride anyway.



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09 Jun 2010, 11:35 pm

I'm not ashamed of my AS, but I'm not stupid enough to share it with everyone I meet.



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10 Jun 2010, 1:35 am

Not proud, but in some ways happy with some of my symptoms, like getting an interest and learning all I can about it. Just the feeling of spending hours with it and learning more and more from it, then telling people who may not necessarily care about it everything I can remember about it. The ideas I come up with and my detailed imagination could be a part of it too. And I really don't mind being alone. I feel lonely very rarely.
I like not being like most people I know. I get annoyed when people all use the same slang, or dress the same or have the same ignorant viewpoints. I know not all are like that but I'm yet to find someone who doesn't get on my nerves.
I like that I can teach myself things too. I'm teaching myself physics and people around me are either laughing at me or rolling their eyes at me. I've even been told to go out and get drunk by my mother, haha. But people don't think that I can do this but I do and I'm actually getting really knowledgeable about it.

There are negative parts to it too - my biggest obstacle is my aversion to change and my disinterest in people. I can't really do things on my own, like cook and cleaning is a chore too. Luckily I have meds to help with that. I wish I was more independent but I'm not. It's something I've got to work on. I guess the worst would be my explosive meltdowns.


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