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MindWithoutWalls
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19 Jan 2012, 11:40 pm

Ganondox wrote:
Ok, you got me, I'm 15 years old and have no idea what I'm talking about.


Well, hey, we post to learn from each other. You said stuff that advanced the thread, and everybody's opinion is worth hearing about, even if only to expose new angles to the issue at hand. Your point was worth considering. It's not as though we're immune to the kinds of things that could make anyone else not live up to their potential. I think the problem is that tired old assumption that we're not doing all we can, simply because our capabilities are not properly understood, and we're not doing what other people think we look like we could do. They judge based on what they think is obvious and not on things they can't see. I guess they just don't believe in what they can't see. And if we don't look like we're dragged out from our efforts, they assume we're not (but that we should be), and therefore that we're lazy.

While there are some NTs that live in such poverty, violent surroundings, or other tough circumstances that life always seems to be one desperate move after another or one long, harrowing experience of hanging on by fingernails, this is hardly ideal. It's easy for those who have less dramatic circumstances to shrug and say people should all just do what you have to do, and that's life. But those who have to live that way would probably all, or at least almost all, prefer to actually be able to live life, not simply cling to it in a state of desperation all the time, until they finally die.

What would I do if I had no alternative to working besides the street? Probably end up on the street, where I wouldn't likely last very long. Even if I could manage to work, I'd be one of those with nothing left to give outside of that, because that's pretty much how I was in my early adulthood already (and, eventually, it was like that even when I worked only part time), and I'm not quite so energetic now and have pain more easily. As it is, though, I think there are people around me who value me and would not like to miss out on the things I contribute because of the time that I have and the lifestyle that allows me to develop the skills and talents I possess. I don't just play a drum; I lead the musicians in my group, and the dancers have live music to dance to because of my efforts. Our performances and the classes we've taught have been enjoyed by many. I couldn't have done all that alone, but others clearly wouldn't have done it without someone to urge them on, put forth new ideas, and learn stuff ahead of the group so that I could share it and we'd evolve as a group. It's not just my thinking so. I've been told as much by our current lead dancer.

I'm not just dead weight on society. I do make a contribution. I'm just not able to do enough of it or to do it in an context in which I could make a living at it. That's the nature of artistic pursuits. It's extremely hard to make a living at them. But they're still valuable, and doing them for free means those who don't have enough money to pay for them all the time can still benefit from them. So, I think I'm doing a service to society, not just sucking up resources. But many people view that kind of attitude as just about heretical, which is a shame.


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SammichEater
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20 Jan 2012, 12:54 am

The more I think about this, the more truth I see in it.

Believing you can do something doesn't mean you can do it. But you'll never be able to do anything, if you don't believe you can.

There are 3 types of people. Those who try and succeed, those who try and fail, those who don't try. With all the negativity I've seen around these boards, I wouldn't be surprised to find at least a few in the latter category.

Most aspies (I assume) put up with a lot of crap. And, as it has already been pointed out, stating the above doesn't really help in any way. Over several years of being put down, it's easy to see how one could develop such a "can't do" attitude.

But that wasn't me. Yeah, some people treated me like crap. But I knew that I was better than that. It's not my fault if someone is having a bad day, and that's their problem, not mine.

I was always told that I could do anything I put my mind to. To this day, that remains true. I am both capable and willing to do things that less than 20% of the American population either can't, or don't want to (I'm just assuming, I have no idea what the actual statistic of Americans with STEM degrees is). And yes, I know, I have become quite egotistical about it.

If anything, that will be my downfall. It's not that I can't do things. It's that I can't seem to accept the fact that other people can't do things as well as me, and rarely, if ever, live up to my expectations. I'm going to need to work as a team, but that's very difficult for me, because my ambitions are always much, much higher than that of the average person. I lose my patience when I'm working with normal people; they just don't get it. They aren't focused or serious, and this makes me frustrated. Just one little slip, and that could cause me to lose my job.

I know my strengths, and I know my weaknesses. If I can manipulate that, I think I'll be fine. Oh, there I go being optimistic again. :wink:


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Verdandi
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22 Jan 2012, 8:30 pm

Ganondox wrote:
Ok, you got me, I'm 15 years old and have no idea what I'm talking about.


That's not what I meant.

I don't mean you don't know what you're talking about. I mean, I've made the same point to SammichEater, which is that autistic people often experience what looks like a regression as more demands get piled on them. Someone who does well in grade school might find high school's demands too difficult to fully function. Someone who functions well in high school might fall apart in college, or while trying to hold a job, or trying to manage a household and a budget and all kinds of other obligations. The more responsibilities you have, the greater the opportunity for failure. That doesn't mean you will fail, but the likelihood increases for everyone. For someone who already has limited bandwidth for dealing with increased demands, hitting that limit can be catastrophic. I was not trying to be adversarial, and I apologize if I came across that way or came across as dismissing your perspective.

This conversational topic is particularly frustrating for me because I have dealt with heightened expectations that I couldn't meet all my life, and when I failed to meet them, that was used as evidence that I was a terrible person. And I believed that, believed that my inability to function was a personal and moral failing, rather than a matter of cognitive limitations. That caused me a lot of harm over the years, especially as I kept trying until I hit my nadir in 2004.



Last edited by Verdandi on 22 Jan 2012, 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ganondox
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22 Jan 2012, 8:35 pm

Verdandi wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
Ok, you got me, I'm 15 years old and have no idea what I'm talking about.


That's not what I meant.


No, I really shouldn't be talking as if I had any knowledge as I simply lack the life expiriences needed for discussing such a topic.


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Verdandi
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22 Jan 2012, 8:37 pm

Ganondox wrote:
Verdandi wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
Ok, you got me, I'm 15 years old and have no idea what I'm talking about.


That's not what I meant.


No, I really shouldn't be talking as if I had any knowledge as I simply lack the life expiriences needed for discussing such a topic.


I edited my post as I hit submit too early - you can see an expanded explanation.

You have the same right to talk as the rest of us. I didn't mean to tell you to shut up.



Ganondox
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22 Jan 2012, 9:33 pm

Verdandi wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
Verdandi wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
Ok, you got me, I'm 15 years old and have no idea what I'm talking about.


That's not what I meant.


No, I really shouldn't be talking as if I had any knowledge as I simply lack the life expiriences needed for discussing such a topic.


I edited my post as I hit submit too early - you can see an expanded explanation.

You have the same right to talk as the rest of us. I didn't mean to tell you to shut up.


Well I'm sorry if I caused any personal offense, I didn't mean to, and I am now aware of you

. Oh, but I don't want to fail later in life. I guess I just want to believe what I'm writing is true.


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Verdandi
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22 Jan 2012, 9:38 pm

Ganondox wrote:
Well I'm sorry if I caused any personal offense, I didn't mean to, and I am now aware of you

. Oh, but I don't want to fail later in life. I guess I just want to believe what I'm writing is true.


You didn't offend me, if that helps.

I hope you are as successful as you want to be.



hockeytaz
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23 Jan 2012, 1:01 am

I'm anything but helpless. I've had to fight for every inch of ground my entire life. I've saved my own life several times already and I'm sure I'll do it many more times before my life is finished. The one thing I've realized is that no matter how hard I try, some things are just impossible. I'm never going to play hockey in the NHL, I'm just not built for it or have the skill level. Am I helpless because I had to give up that dream? No. Just realistic. That's just like learning that there are some skills that I'm never going to be able to learn or accomplish no matter how hard I work. I've had to realize that there are always going to be things I need help with, whether that's from a future spouse (wouldn't that be nice? Now if I could just find a date!) or someone else. It's OK to ask for help. It's OK to say, I've tried as hard as I can, but I need help. I'm not a machine, I'm a human. I only have a certain capacity before I crumble under the weight of everything. Everyone has a different capacity, some more than others. It doesn't make anyone of us less or more than the other, it just makes us who we are.



CaptainTrips222
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23 Jan 2012, 1:25 am

Ganondox wrote:
I believe a lot more autistic people would be independent if a lot more autistic people HAD to be independent. I've learned a lot of stuff really quickly that for whatever reason I did not learn at that appropriate age once I was forced to actually do it.


Good observation. But remember, some people on the spectrum are REALLY impaired. Others, it seems, just got treated as disabled from early on, and have life skill issues because of it.



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23 Jan 2012, 1:55 am

I don't know why you guys are making this so complicated. You take a person who is 'out of tune' with all of the people around them, who is bullied in school, has no support network either in friends or family and you get learned helplessness. It's the lack of access to help, in all it's forms, that leads to helplessness. I'm willing to bet that most ASD people either don't want help or just don't think of asking for it. It should be no surprise that this is the case with people who have a severe social deficit. I think people, even aspies, underestimate the consequences of the social difficulties in AS. The biggest advantage NTs have is access to a larger pool of knowledge in the form of friends and family when dealing with life problems, so they are less likely to feel helpless. So is helplessness in ASD learned or just a natural consequence of the larger condition? My money is on the latter.



creative_intensity
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23 Jan 2012, 2:10 am

Ganondox wrote:
Verdandi wrote:
Oh, but I don't want to fail later in life. I guess I just want to believe what I'm writing is true.


Well the good news for you is that there are far more resources to help you succeed now than there were even 5 or 10 years ago, so you stand a much better chance of being a huge success in life than those of us raised even a decade or two earlier.

And the whole notion of success is so subjective. I consider myself to have achieved some major successes (academic and professionally) and some pretty bitter failures (mostly personally). But I've managed to largely work in a career I like and to pick up a handful of truly great friends along the way.

I do know that the successes I have achieved are directly related to the peculiar wiring of my brain. Does this make up for the pain of social failure? Depends what day you ask me!

But we shouldn't judge others like us based on their perceived successes or failures, not even if they are harshly judging themselves. Well all have our own unique challenges we face, and while there are common traits we share, no two of us are exactly alike either in the wiring of our brains or the external conditions we face in our lives.



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23 Jan 2012, 2:21 am

Rascal77s wrote:
The biggest advantage NTs have is access to a larger pool of knowledge in the form of friends and family when dealing with life problems, so they are less likely to feel helpless. So is helplessness in ASD learned or just a natural consequence of the larger condition? My money is on the latter.


Very well said. I think it is easy to underestimate the social resources (of all kinds) available to an NT versus somebody on the spectrum. This underestimation has been one of the things that has confounded me most in life. At times it has appeared as if they all have some secret code they use to communicate. And, it turns out they do, both in terms of facial expressions and body language, along with intonations and an informal language that always seems evolve faster than I can keep up.



CaptainTrips222
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23 Jan 2012, 3:17 am

Rascal77s wrote:
So is helplessness in ASD learned or just a natural consequence of the larger condition? My money is on the latter.


Probably. As we study AS more and more, and the impact it has, we're going to see just how seriously social deficits can screw a person up. It's like how we study victims of abuse, and people with PTSD- it's not just sad memories, it's drastic.



MindWithoutWalls
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23 Jan 2012, 5:00 pm

Part of the problem here is, as I think has been stated, that people can't always distinguish between someone's learned helplessness - or laziness or whatever the judgement is - and their actual limits. Before I had access to (or knowledge that I needed) certain dietary supplements, my doctor used to admonish me to go out for walks with my dog. I couldn't seem to get her to understand why I couldn't do that, even though she knew of my fibromyalgia and didn't dispute the diagnosis. Once I started getting what I needed, by trying something suggested by a friend, I got out there and started walking on my own. I didn't need to be told to do it. My body got the urge to move, and I gladly went with it. So, the evidence that I wasn't just lying around out of a false belief that I couldn't get exercise was in what I did as soon as I became more able.

The other part of the problem is in the understanding that people aren't just being exposed to a few disappointments in life, from which they learn to give up. Some of us got hammered on over and over, by various people, for years. Given such circumstances, out of what, then, is someone supposed to develop the optimism and sense of control over one's own life to prevent learned helplessness after all that, unless there's appropriate help or circumstances get a lot better on their own? I got lucky, with my mixed bag childhood, and yet I still had a long way to go before I could really learn what my actual capabilities were, even though I had the drive to finally see things through. Some have been luckier than I, some not as much.

Between those two problems and the matter of actually varying capability, which also has already been mentioned, the situation is kind of a mess. It leaves a lot of people looking like they're either lying to get away with doing less than they're able to do or irritatingly whining about their delusions of inability. And not much is worse than telling the truth and not being believed. Ask any woman who's been raped and then told by others that it never happened, that it wasn't any big deal, or that she must've asked for it.


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