Okay, so just a little thought experiment to get you clever and creative folks discussing...
Morpheus sits you down and places a small green pill in front of you saying how it will instantly and painlessly 'cure' you of your autism, giving you the neurotypicality you would've had from birth, had things been different.
Do you take the pill?
I'd have to wish my two Daughters out of existencce so that's a NO.
All I wish is that I knew about it right from the start , I have a lifetime of merciless self-recrimination behind me, I'd rather not have gone through that
I've heard a few people say the same thing, wishing they'd had their diagnosis as a child instead of in adulthood, but I can't understand that. Back when I was a child, in the 70's and 80's, (even if the diagnostic criteria HAD existed) there were NO support services for autism! Had I been diagnosed back then I'd have been even more marginalised than I was by struggling along in ignorance by myself.
Services nowadays are only beginning to catch up and children now have access to much more help but they're still dropped from the radar as soon as they hit 16 - in some ways I wonder if that's worse than what I went through because I wasn't lulled into a false sense of security in expecting people to understand me. I think it's cruel not to provide services for teenagers and young adults too.
Unless you all mean that you wish you were children nowadays instead of back in the bad old days? While that would be better in terms of service availability, I wouldn't want to revisit my childhood for ANYTHING!! (But that's a whole different story ...)
I can't imagine being more marginalised than I have always felt.
I am an old git now, and have only just found out I am Autistic, it would take too long to go into how damaging it has been all of these years thinking that I was uniquely stupid and inadequate because of the difficulties I have come up against every single day. Just knowing that I was not the only one who felt this way would have been helpful, the absence of any kind of support would not have worried me very much, that one piece of knowledge would have made a huge difference to my self-esteem and would have meant I could have spared myself a lot of anguish and self-recrimination. I also believe that it would have helped me in social situations, I would have been more at ease with myself and therefore more relaxed in company..
I have had so many social failures, embarrasments and hopeless misunderstandings that I can no longer face anything other than the most fleeting of interactions with Neurotypicals, it's OK I am a survivor, I can adapt to any situation however bleak if I grant myself enough time to "process" the realities of my "new" circumstances.
When pondering the question of whether or not we should take the magic Autism erasing pill, we should remember that our symptoms are not an adjunct, they are an integral part of who we are, our personalities are, in effect the sum of an incalculable number and array of other "symptoms" working away at us constantly, altering moods, swaying opinions, dictating actions and plans, etc,etc.To remove Autistic traits and simply leave a void would be catastrophic because the greater part of our identities have been forged by our experiences as Autistic people in a Neurotypical world it would be like simply removing defective parts from a car engine, not replacing them with new ones and then wondering why nothing happened when we turned the ignition key.
We might as well ask to become entirely different people with different lives lived in different places.
Expectations of others-it's easy now, my strategy is not to have any!
I don't understand people very well, if I get too involved, my awkwardness sets me apart, any grouping of people will automatically seek to establish a commonality so that all are singing basically fron the same page increasing the sense of security, it is natural but if you can not fit in, even if that does not pose an immediate threat to anyone else you find yourself being regarded as "other"If they are not afraisd of you, you will find that they start off by gently pointing out "differences" and will make similarly gentle jokes about the numerous gaffs and faux pas you may commit but in my experience this escalates-sometimes alarmingly-and you find yourself the object of ridicule and pracical jokes-which can often be anything BUT funny. I am crap at participating in everyday "banter".and this provides others with even more scope to make myself the butt of their jokes..
I could rage against the machine all I want but nothing will change, after spending many, many hours thinking (conducting post-mortems!) about the latest wall I have slammed into, head-on, vague patterns emerged and I began to realise that these people were not bad. They are simply responding to their own perceptions of their environment and the different elements within it. This can get nasty, I often think that their behaviour is entirely instinctual, they may behave in a way which goes against their upbringing feeling a compulsion to act in a certain way because it is their genetic inheritance to seek out the oddbod and "marginalise" him/her because this behaviour has been "selected" as a valuable evolutionary mechanism for weeding out the "non team-player who would probably have been useless in a fight to the death with the tribe on the other side of the hilll.
If I could go back to my own childhood and star changing things? Where would I start? Which one of those tiny and not so tiny cogs could the clock mechanism do without?
I don't think I would want to do without any of my rusty little cogs either. For better or worse, they're as integral as you describe.
I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll never understand people. I'm still learning to understand myself! I don't 'get' the herd mentality either and it baffles me why, in groups / gangs / cliques, members so readily compromise their own integrity simply to be in with the crowd. Is it ever worth it? Then again, as someone who's spent half her life 'Masking' to 'pass as normal' in society, am I really so different? It's a conundrum.
All I can say is that I'm overwhelmingly exhausted with the effort of 'Masking' (not particularly successfully I have to add) and had decided long before my diagnosis that I simply wasn't doing it anymore. I haven't lost any friends since then but I didn't have any anyway so, the way I see it, I have nothing to lose but my own integrity!
Groups, gangs and cliques only exist because someone is on the outside. They're always nasty, unless from an inside perspective. I have no interest in raging "against the machine" either, it's an exercise in futility.
I'm afraid I don't have a lighter-hearted counter to this rather morose post tonight, been one of those days I'm afraid. Finding it difficult to see the silver-lining for the fog tonight. Hope your day has been a better one :)
I hope you are asleep and not reading this now (01 48!)
Every day is crap to some extent, I have been going through a lot of that recently. Rejection is something which I should be used to by now butit stillalways comes with a jolt and I had a major one of those a few weeks ago, I've just realised I am too tired to go into this now-I could waffle on for hours here, read through it at the end, most probably decide it is a load of self-pitying,unintelligible trash and delete it- likely outcome!
Hey, sounds like yesterday was a bad one for us both! I appreciate your reply though and, again, can relate to the sentiments. Every time I think, in social situations, "Yeah, this is going / went well!" something (who even knows, or cares, what anymore) blows it apart. I'm sick of analysing these things, 'people', 'society', they just suck basically.
Today was another day though and it was a better one. No particular reason. I just spent most of it reading the 'New Scientist', immersed in logic and understandable, quantifiable outcomes :) Bliss! Also, saw a picture and short piece about a fish who has a LOT more to complain about than I have: named a 'Sarcastic Fringehead' and pretty much looking 'like it says on the tin', when startled it's mouth opens wider than it's actual head in an unfortunate and frankly gross imitation of 'The Scream'. Pretty funny though :) Yep, today was a better day because I realised I'm not an ugly fish. We take our 'kicks' where we can find 'em!
catch you later-tons to do today and I need to be outside working while it is dry.
Hi there Endymion,
I meant to get back to you yesterday but got distracted- how was your day?
Looked up your Sarcastic Fringehead on Youtube I have seen it before but it is such an amazing creature i could never get bored watching it, I am surprised by how colouful they are-beautifull!
I like spiders a lot-have you seen the Peacock Spiders? They mostly live in South East Asian forests and in Australia,they are about the size pf a little finger nail and not at all dangerous to humans, They also have brilliant colours and there are many defferent kinds.I won't say any more about them, just take a look on Youtube, you may be delighted by them!
Right now I am listening to " Faith" by The Cure. It's a bit teenager of me but I am unrepentent, they sound as good to me now as they did when I first heard them a certain number of decades ago, I lived in Cardiff when this first came out-I am amazed that I can remember any of it because I used to get through quite a lot of Dope and the two years or so i spent there are a bit of a blurIt was a weird time in my life ( when hasn't it been, weird is normal but I had a lot of interactions with various people and went through quite a lot-most of it was good, well, bits of it were-like I said, I spent a lot of time stoned.
The people I met were generally friendly enough and they did try tp make me feel welcome. I had thought that if I moved to a city that my "weirdness" would not stand out so much and not be refgarded as so much of a freak. to an extent that's how it went but the walls were still there and I kept on crashing straight into them
At parties I'd sometimes catch snippets of what people said about me when they thought I could not hear or were too stoned to take it in and it was mostly a deflating experience, I won't repeat what I heard but it was mostly "cautious neutral" to downright suspicious and occasionally hostile but I never did anything bad to anyone, why would I? I was in an exciting city, having a great time getting drunk.stoned/occasionally laid. I had work and I really wanted to make a new start. but I kept on finding myself being held at a distance. I was always crap at smalltalk and
oops-I'll have to come and finish this later-something has come up
(if you find this stuff too self-indulgent or just plain boring, tell me to stfu,!
Not boring at all, I looked up the Peacock Spider and they are quite colourful! Like tiny dancing Maori warriors :) don't think I can go so far as to say a spider is beautiful but they're certainly interesting! Funky little critters.
I often relive previous lives through the music I was listening to back then, it's quite nice to be transported back sometimes. I might not particularly remember the people I was around back when different types of music were the soundtrack to those times, but somehow the music does bring back the feelings, smells, atmosphere and memories of the time and of other music I liked at that time.
Old dance music takes me back to growing up in Glasgow, watching the older teenagers break-dancing to the likes of 'Can't Touch This' on their 'ghetto blasters' - good times! That era of music brings back images of the graffiti art (some of it was excellent) around the skate park.
I don't tend to be a 'fan' of any particular artist, group, or genre, instead I like a little bit of everything. I'm a secret fan of country music (Willie Nelson, Don Williams, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Rodgers) but in a different mood I like Dr Hook, Dire Straits, Eminem, Madness, lots of 60's stuff and just whatever sounds good at the time from any decade. A little bit of everything. More recently I like Sam Smith, Rag'n'Bone Man, and a few others my daughters have introduced me to.
I don't do parties anymore but I did used to try to enjoy them because everyone else seemed to. I didn't mind drinking but I just couldn't see the point of drugs. I tried a couple but it wasn't fun or particularly enjoyable so I just stopped. Same with drinking to be honest, I hardly ever take a drink nowadays. I can feel that spinning, out-of-control, buzzing-brain, light-headed, hyper-ness just from being overwhelmed by the loud music, the clamour of so many people and conversations, and the lights even when I'm just drinking water so I don't do anything to make those feelings worse these days. If I do feel like a drink it's because it's something I genuinely like and one or two is plenty for me once or twice a year. I prefer to drink at home, relaxing. One or two really decent malt whiskeys or a nice warm liqueur.
Anyway, I'm sure you're bored by now so I'm off. I'm no use at small talk either so I have to stop myself rambling on too much when I do get started on a subject, sorry!