I don’t fit in with Autism.
I was diagnosed aged 42 on 13th February 2009. By then I had adopted a neurotypical stance and the real me had become disguised under years or practice at being something I was not. Occasional slippages were put down to “mental illness”, “depression” or simply “having a bad day”.
Years of self restraint, of training myself to dull my excesses and grind down the sharp edges of my Aspergers left me feeling hollow inside, broken and abnormal. I rarely felt free to be myself apart from when I was free from the shackles of work and the expectations of others.
Of course I was depressed. I have Dysthymia but that is simply another part of me and is not, of itself, a result of being Autistic. I just rarely feel joy or happiness as life wears me out and I don’t have the energy to be happy. I would rather just curl up.
The Autistic crowd in Twitter are a great bunch. I am sure they are true Autistics.
But I don’t fit in with them at all.
I read posts that genuinely scare me. I don’t want to be in the same group. I don’t share the venom that’s spilt.
Of course everyone has an opinion but when that opinion is put forward as representative of the Autistic community I find that genuinely frightening and, in all honesty, it doesn’t further our cause.
I am not a rebel. I am not here for a fight that involves a depth of feeling, no doubt genuinely held, that manifests itself in name calling and vile diatribes when, with the next breath, we are asking to be taken seriously and preaching awareness and acceptance. How can we ask that when we offer up such nastiness ?.
I feel ashamed and sad.
I don’t fit in for another reason. Intelligence. I am sure many Twitter “friends” have very high IQs. They exhibit the high functioning attributes so often associated, rightly or wrongly, with Aspergers and Autism.
I am not intelligent. I am not a genius. I have no talents. Anyone who says otherwise really doesn’t know me very well. I know what my IQ is and, honestly, it’s nothing special (and the mind can be trained to do IQ tests so I doubt they are really that accurate).
And so I don’t fit in. Much of what is discussed and which appertains to Autism is so far beyond my understanding that it might as well be written in Martian. And that’s another worrying thing.
I fear there is a division within Autism itself. Some, no doubt well meaning Autistics, seem to think they talk for everyone on the spectrum. But they don’t because they use a language that only those who are high functioning will understand. Those of us, somewhere on the spectrum but lacking the mental capacity, are being left behind by a movement over which we have no control.
By doing this, the false impression that the NTs hold, that we are all savants and super bright is reinforced. Has anyone ever thought that, as a non high functioning Autistic, I simply get placed as being someone with a mental illness because I don’t match the public criteria of Autism ?.
The final reason I feel out of place is a move to diagnose more and more people with Autism. I don’t agree with it. I think it’s dangerous.
It’s becoming fashionable. It’s becoming the thing to be. Diagnosed or not (and everyone should have a formal diagnosis) now “celebrities” are taking about it and claiming it as some sort of fashion accessory.
I suspect millions of NTs have Autistic traits. That little thing that, on its own, is just how they act or feel and meets a diagnostic criteria on its own. But that is not Autism. That is not Aspergers. That’s just them.
I know that, within the community, there is a move to encourage more and more people to come out. But which is more desirable ?. A core of properly diagnosed, supported and resourced “true” Autistics or a mass of (hopefully well meaning) self diagnosed Autistics using resources which could and should be aimed at those with genuine need ?
So, three reasons I don’t fit in..
I said on Twitter that this blog might be controversial. If it is, then so be it. I write from the heart.
My opinions are my own. I don’t follow the crowd. I don’t enjoy the crowd.
So.. I don’t fit.
Autism. Why I don’t fit in with the crowd – http://wp.me/p39sYQ-G