Underlying Cause of Asperger's Syndrome: Existential Dread?

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Pepperfire
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05 Apr 2008, 2:08 pm

sartresue wrote:
Angst marks the spot? topic

The list of "causes" of Asperger's and Autism continues to grow:

Vaccines
Refrigerator mothers or poor parenting
Trauma
Allergies
Drug abuse
Mercury
lifestyle (laziness)

And now...
Angst

Please add to the list if I have inadvertently omitted anything. :roll:


You missed ignorance.


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Belfast
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05 Apr 2008, 3:40 pm

Gosmokesome wrote:
I used to feel lots of existential dread but then I just got comfortable to having to add meaning to my own life myself instead of just trying to get things or do things in order to reach a sense of fulfillment. People seem to want things in order to get other things in order to get other things. I have always wondered where they were going. You get 80-90 years and you're going to spend it on getting stuff? But then what else besides spending your time on getting stuff? That is the emptiness and it's facing this emptiness that could be called existential dread.
Gosmokesome wrote:
Oh well we're all just monkeys, clever monkeys but still very messed up monkeys.

^ QFT. Very well put.
marshall wrote:
RainKing wrote:
Existential dread means an uncomfortable or frightening (or sick) feeling upon realization of (or direct confrontation with) the meaninglessness and emptiness of the universe (or nothingness).

Yes. I experienced that feeling starting around the age of 13. I think I came up with the thought that “everything is meaningless” only to explain a feeling that was already present in me.

It’s impossible to objectively declare whether something is meaningful or not without any outside context. Since the universe as a whole can have no outside context any declaration of purpose is purely aesthetic and emotional in nature. Of course this thought isn't really a comfort when you're in the midst of a crisis.

^These reflect/resemble my experiences/cognitions as well.

There's interesting few pages (pg. 133-136) on "Existential Depression" of "gifted" persons-from book "Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults" by Webb, Amend, Webb, Goerss, Beljan, & Olenchak. Don't know if that's what's being referred to by OP or subsequent posters-depression & dread can't be too far apart.
"...it arises from the ability to contemplate issues about existence and the asynchrony that is inherent in giftedness. Gifted children develop the capacity for metacognition-thinking about their thinking-early, in some cases even before they develop the emotional and experiential tools to deal with it successfully. They are able to see issues on a global scale, along with their implications. Combined with their metacognition are their idealism, their intensity, and their sensitivity, which often results in feelings of alienation from the world around them."


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poopylungstuffing
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05 Apr 2008, 4:09 pm

Existential dread....yes....come to think of it, it is the overriding theme of many of the songs and poem I have written.....so yes.....

This is a song I wrote when I was 22 that is an example.


All this stuff
All this stuff
All this stuff
All this stuff

I will play games I will turn somersaults
Drink the wine, speak in rhymes, laugh and beg to be a part of all this stuff

The book you read at night before you fall asleep
Wondering where the fly builds it's nest
wondering why despite all the the changes
Nothing stays the same

Soul like a cardboard box
Filled with an accumulation of thoughts
Thoughts filled with an accumulation of ALL THis Stuff

All this stuff
All this stuff
All this stuff
All this stuff

Ten million poets reflected in the sky
Ten million billion childred
Is there enough magic in the mines to support their well adjusted growth?

We're all in space but we can breathe
Now thinking that we've got to leave
We're worshipping the Christmas Trees
And we are all such honey bees
Waggle Dancing in all this stuff
Shaking and Baking in all this stuff

Excuse me while I cut off my ear,
You know I can drive, but I can't steer
It's a crowded city I'm the only one here
Walking around and looking at all this stuff

Maybe I should learn a trade
Got to school and get good grades
So my checks will be higher when I get paid
And When I die, I will not fade
I will have left behind
A whole lot of Stuff

All this stuff
All this stuff
All this stu-u-u-ff

makes more sense as a song than a poem...but has always been one of my favorites and only an example of one of many on the same subject



sartresue
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05 Apr 2008, 4:29 pm

Pepperfire wrote:
sartresue wrote:
Angst marks the spot? topic

The list of "causes" of Asperger's and Autism continues to grow:

Vaccines
Refrigerator mothers or poor parenting
Trauma
Allergies
Drug abuse
Mercury
lifestyle (laziness)

And now...
Angst

Please add to the list if I have inadvertently omitted anything. :roll:


You missed ignorance.


Ignorance is not bliss topic

And it does more harm than good, Pepperfire.


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poopylungstuffing
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05 Apr 2008, 4:31 pm

which reminds me of another song I wrote when I was in my late teens..



Belfast
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05 Apr 2008, 4:41 pm

My previous post was just addressing existential issue at face value, as thing in itself. Upon looking at title of thread again, I do not believe that existential dread is cause of Asperger's. Dread could be a possible result.
Literature says in many places that both anxiety & depression can develop in person with ASD-in part because of how other people treat that person (so that's not inherent to ASD, but consequence of social environment), in part because of an outlook that person happens to have (which can occur in NT's also).


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poopylungstuffing
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05 Apr 2008, 5:45 pm

Belfast wrote:
My previous post was just addressing existential issue at face value, as thing in itself. Upon looking at title of thread again, I do not believe that existential dread is cause of Asperger's. Dread could be a possible result.
Literature says in many places that both anxiety & depression can develop in person with ASD-in part because of how other people treat that person (so that's not inherent to ASD, but consequence of social environment), in part because of an outlook that person happens to have (which can occur in NT's also).


I agree....not a cause but a result...or byproduct...
Existential Dread is a natural part of the human condition.



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05 Apr 2008, 6:36 pm

I just found a pretty good definition of autism and what it is.. explained in a way that makes a lot of sense to me even more so than a huge technical, scientific definition:

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters:

The autistic brain quite simply has a notably different neurology in how it functions, much like a cat and dog are different in neurology, though seem mostly alike in many ways: a cat isn't a defective dog, just a cat. Likewise, if a cat attempts to be a dog, it doesn't work so well in practice: a cat that tries to be something it's not (a dog) will end up with mental problems from attempting to live that lie. So, too, will autistics have more psychological problems brought on by trying to (or being forced to externally) act like neurotypical (aka "everyone else") people, because it isn't natural, and results in a lot of long-term stress.

Mental illness is something that's transient, or at least it develops over time: autistics are born that way, and it can't be cured, and it doesn't go away with time: it is a developmental difference, and some types of expected developments may not happen, or happen much later, while still other developments may be something neurotypicals never have themselves.


***Question, Does this seem like a viable explanation to you all? or is it something that can be "cured" or corrected.. or maybe no one really knows yet? Are there proven brain scans that show that the autistic brain really is structurally different???



the_falling_frog
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05 Apr 2008, 7:55 pm

Yeah, I think I was about 13 or 14 when I realized one day that ultimately any reason or rationale for any kind of behavior is arbitrary, and furthermore that someday, the last human being will die. On a short timescale, of course, I don't see any inevitable threat to mankind, or myself personally- but at some point for some reason, it's a given that I, every person I've ever met, everyone I'm related to and everything I've done will be forgotten, because forever is a pretty long time for any kind of information to persist. I think there are a significant number of people who never really develop an understanding of how much time a billion years is, and how unlikely it is that after that much time passes there will be any humans, anywhere. All of Ray Kurzweil's speculations aside. I think that's a large part of what is meant by existential dread. I try not to think about it, what do you all do? And of course there's the fermi paradox- and the simplest conclusion you can draw from it is that any technological civilization probably only has a certain lifespan before all material resources get used up. That particular conclusion is subject to a lot of unknowns though and may not be correct, but how do you keep from feeling a little anxious when you've already come to the conclusion that we're all just dandelion fluff? Given a long enough timescale even famous people like Ceasar and George W. Bush will be forgotten. I don't think this has a lot to do with AS though except that somehow most people seem to be able to choose opinions based on what they want to be true rather than what the actual facts are, and deny reality by force of will. Or maybe they're really unaware of these things, and a tendency to play fast and loose with logic has allowed them to overlook the obvious.
Personally, I find that whiskey helps.



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05 Apr 2008, 8:59 pm

I have enough real things to worry about to worry about existential dread...



SertraOD
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05 Apr 2008, 11:21 pm

pakled wrote:
I have enough real things to worry about to worry about existential dread...


If you don't consider the issues brought up during an existential crisis to be "real", then you obviously don't have a sense of what is real in the first place.



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06 Apr 2008, 4:31 pm

sartresue wrote:
Pepperfire wrote:
sartresue wrote:
Angst marks the spot? topic

The list of "causes" of Asperger's and Autism continues to grow:

Vaccines
Refrigerator mothers or poor parenting
Trauma
Allergies
Drug abuse
Mercury
lifestyle (laziness)

And now...
Angst

Please add to the list if I have inadvertently omitted anything. :roll:


It should be first on that list, then. :)

You missed ignorance.


Ignorance is not bliss topic

And it does more harm than good, Pepperfire.


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06 Apr 2008, 4:38 pm

I actually took a class in existentialism in College, focusing on Albert Camus. I discovered that Philosophy is the art of applying infinitives to ordinary life. It was either self-evident, or hopelessly vague to me...;)

It depends on where you fall in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. If you're worried about feeding a family, keeping a job, and dealing with various ailments, you literally don't have time to worry about one hand clapping, etc..;) I probably wondered about life, the Universe and Everything, but once I hit 42, I realized I didn't have an answer...;)



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06 Apr 2008, 4:40 pm

I really don't dread much of anything. As far as the meaning of life and existence go, I have my theories. Assuming my theories are correct, I have nothing to fear.


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06 Apr 2008, 5:17 pm

Belfast wrote:
There's interesting few pages (pg. 133-136) on "Existential Depression" of "gifted" persons-from book "Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults" by Webb, Amend, Webb, Goerss, Beljan, & Olenchak. Don't know if that's what's being referred to by OP or subsequent posters-depression & dread can't be too far apart.
"...it arises from the ability to contemplate issues about existence and the asynchrony that is inherent in giftedness. Gifted children develop the capacity for metacognition-thinking about their thinking-early, in some cases even before they develop the emotional and experiential tools to deal with it successfully. They are able to see issues on a global scale, along with their implications. Combined with their metacognition are their idealism, their intensity, and their sensitivity, which often results in feelings of alienation from the world around them."


I just had another thought. I think a lot of aspies derive most of their pleasure and contentment from very specific interests/obsessions. It was at the age of 12 or 13 when it became conspicuous evident just how much my emotional connection to the world differed from the majority. Other people simply didn’t derive pleasure from the same kinds of thoughts and activities that I did.

Being continually confronted with this conspicuous reality makes one acutely aware of the subjectivity of one's own aesthetic values. Even values that most people take for granted as universals. Confronting this subjectivity for the first time is what lead me into existential crisis. I really think this is the true source of so-called existential depression for me.

Hope this makes sense.