12 May, 2010

Negative and positive

Autism is only a gift if you consider a giant pile of shit to be a gift.

Although I tend to think it's weird to be complaining and making a big deal about someone else's giant pile of shit. I guess that maybe if it's your kid, you could argue that people have such strong feelings about their kids that they're just sort of feeling the shit that their kid feels, sympathetically--but has it really ever helped anyone who's coping with a giant pile of shit to have the people who are supposed to help them, their parents, just carrying on all the time about it? I mean when things are awful sometimes you want to just ignore them and it doesn't help if your parents are making a huge deal.

My experience is that it's a lot easier to carry on about someone else's problems than it is to carry on about your own. Because if you actually have them and you had to think about them all the time it would make it impossible to actually do anything or be in a good mood.

But I think what I was going to say is that I'm apparently some sort of alien for thinking autism is a giant pile of shit? Sometimes I wonder if the difference is between negative and positive symptoms--and I don't mean negative and positive as in good and bad, but the way they're used when talking about schizophrenia.

So negative would be not being able to do things other people can do, or not being able to do them as well. And positive would be doing things that are obviously different.

I'm not really trying to say that these are two different types of mildly affected ASD people. Obviously people have pieces of both. But I feel sometimes wholly negative and like that's even worse because no one will ever notice that I need help. Or the worst thing is that I just look sort of nervous or there's this tiny little thing left that people sense, that they don't even consciously think about, and that screws me when I'm passing.

Today I was thinking how I used to have much more trouble with phones than I do now--I was quite terrified of them in fact--but for some reason, quite a lot of these thoughts don't actually make me feel better, they make me feel bad, like, "Oh, here's one more thing I can't use to prove that I actually have a disability, because it's better."

Why does it not make me feel better that I can do these things?

Well, two of my references for my summer job told me that the person who interviewed me, when she was talking to them, kept talking about how quiet I was, and asking if they were sure I would be competent, and saying that she wouldn't put me in any situations where I'd be responsible for someone's safety.

Which I don't understand. I learned to use phones. I practiced a lot. I worked hard. And then--oh cool, because of the way I sound on the phone--

I was thinking about one article on the ASD rights movement that was written in the last few years. It was the New York Magazine one maybe. I just remember this part where the author was meeting with ASD people who are in the movement, and the author kept characterizing them as being "just a little quirky," and while he wasn't really trying to devalue them I don't think, that characterization does imply some things.

But when I think about it, to work so much, to be so scared and tired all the time, just that little bit of failure is enough, to completely wear yourself out every day and barely have the energy for anything but passing, and then the conclusion is--"just a little quirky," being used both to imply that you may not have that much of a right to speak, but also showing that you haven't even completely succeeded, that you're still doing it wrong--like a line infinitely approaching zero. You'll always do it wrong.

So I don't know. Maybe positive people aren't this tired.


  1. I'm positive and I'm tired. I wish I could turn off my "try" button. I do not enjoy talking on the phone, it's always awkward.

    This has nothing to do with your post but I really hate it when a job posting lists "outgoing personality" as a requirement. It makes me feel left out of the ENTIRE world.

  2. I don't know how to react when people are hurt. I just kind of stand there and think "What should I do?" Are they badly enough hurt to call 911? Or can I drive them to the emergency room? Or is all they need a little help and they will be fine?

    I can never tell what people feel and what they need which is one reason it can be dangerous for me to be supervising people.

    I'm more than simply "a little quirky." I'm disabled, but some people still can't grasp this concept and still aren't okay with this.

    If a person has all of the positives but none of the negatives I'd question whether they have an ASD at all.

  3. Stephanie, I'm not using positive to mean good, I'm using it to mean visible/active.

    So for example, monologuing, or speaking in an obviously different way from other people, would be positive symptoms because they are actions and they are visible. Not being able to make decisions would be a negative symptom because it is an inaction and often isn't visible to other people.

    And I actually think that positive symptoms are a lot more stereotypical ASD and it makes it hard for people to understand that negative symptoms are even real ASD, or even are a disability, because people think a disability has to look disabled.

  4. positive=visible?

    Well in that sense I am almost all negative.

  5. I don't think Autism is like an amazing gift, I don't have the "awesome" gifts that Autism supposedly brings people. But i think it's a hit and a miss with some people, I don't view Autism positively, or completely negatively either. . it just is. It's there, and it's not going to go away. So I deal.

    But, yes, I agree about the whole.. not visible thing and negativity when it comes to certain aspects of Autism. I have the same problem as Stephanie does when it comes to people getting hurt. I, do what I guess is called gawking.. and just stare and ask the person who is hurt what I should do. Which I guess isn't appropriate, but I don't know what else to do. :/

    But, yeah I feel the same way you do sometimes. With the whole 'I accomplished something .. cause i can do this!' but then someone points out other things that you can't do and it doesn't make the accomplishment seem all that important. (which it is, but it sure doesn't feel like it because there is a long list of things I can't do.)