07 September, 2011

I imagine this could be triggering

Also, one of the reasons that I find it so upsetting to be told that social skills do exist is that I think social skills are about as legit and dangerous as sexual skills--and by sexual skills, I mean the idea that being good/successful/able at sex is a flat line going from No to Yes.

Like lots of kids with autism I was put on antipsychotics and it screwed up my life. One of the things the psychiatrist used to explain why I should be on antipsychotics was the fact that when he asked me how high my sex drive was, I said it was "low," which indicated that I was depressed. I was 15 years old and felt terrible about myself and my body. I'm also queer and an s/m person among other things, so I haven't always felt like engaging with my sexuality because it's kind of alienating. Also, those things aside, some people just have low sex drives.

So we know that--just like not looking people in the eye is a way to have bad social skills--not wanting to have sex as much as other people do is a way to have bad sexual skills, to be bad (worthy of medicalization) in the area of sex.

I wonder what the other bad sexual skills would be. I imagine they'd be a lot like bad social skills.

Not liking the same things other people like.

Not reacting the way you should.

Crying when someone does something you're supposed to like.

Saying no to something that everyone's supposed to do.

Bringing up something weird just because it makes you happy.

Throwing a fit just because someone tried to make you do something you don't like.

Just not being interested at all.


  1. I was going to comment on the other post, but now I will write on this.

    I was put on antipsychotics that ruined my life because I have no social skills, I believed I had no social skills, then I read this great blog with posts that made sense to me about Social Skills Don't Exist and I think that I can't have something that doesn't exist.
    Congratulations, you made me think and change my mind. :)

    Social skills appear to be a very cultural thing, maybe saying I was born in the wrong nation is more true than bad social skills. As an example in some coutries to look someone in the eyes or hugs are rude, sense of humor is something that is different for different people.

    I have a lot of social anxiety because of traumas, bullying and etc, and that is part of what people say when they say I have no social skills.

    There is no right way of being human is there?

    Knowing and accepting I am Autistic (not asperger, I don't like having asperger) and disabled changed my life, I am not a text-book Autistic, but I am still Autistic.

  2. About sex, many people are asexual and many like me are demisexual, and that is fine, no need to think this is a sign of illness.

  3. Thank you, that means so much to me!

  4. The fact that you've been on antipschotics was really confusing to me when you claimed to not be able to relate to me having been a target of violence in some ways. (I think I know why people react this way now though)

    I haven't been on them myself... I have held them in my hand. Insisted on knowing what the pills were before taking them, which the "staff" didn't like. They gave me something misleading to read, it made me think it would be OK to take them (although I still didn't know they were antipsychotics). So I said I would take them, but then they told me one of my parents had refused to allow me to take it. But they wouldn't tell me why. Then they said "It's okay now, we got permission from your other parent." (they're divorced) I said I wanted to figure out what my first one's objection was since that one is in health care as a career, which they REALLY disliked. They let me talk to that person during the phone time, then I found out they were antipsychotics and there was no way in hell I was going to consent to taking them.

    This happened when I was institutionalized. Who knows how long they would have kept me if I had taken them ("side effects" of drugs become "symptoms" of insanity). I'm glad you've figured out you belong in the "crazy house" too. (no money or art, give me a few years)

  5. Well I don't consider drugs violence, I thought you meant people physically hurting you. Besides I wasn't in an institution and when I think about stuff I always feel like maybe it was my fault because I didn't really resist being put on meds.

    Some people in my mom's family have had pretty severe depression and I'm a very emotional person who can be hard to be around when I'm talking about something that makes me emotional, so my mom got worried and took me to a psychiatrist who turned out to be a dick. It's not like I sit around being angry with her for this, but it is hard because whenever I do mention it as a reason for not wanting to go on meds, she basically tells me that it isn't her fault and she didn't know better.

    Okay, so I'm pretty sure my mom knew me well enough to know that the psychiatrist was incorrect in telling her that I was having hallucinations. Also it's pretty much common sense that ADHD medication is not the obvious response to discovering that someone else-injures?

    Oh well. Not a great experience. But I don't really consider it violence, just shitty. It sounds like you were under a lot more pressure, I wouldn't have been able to stand up to that. How old were you?

  6. I was probably about 15. And I really don't see how manipulating you to put you on a drug that can cause permanent brain damage and sometimes death is not violence or physical. I'm not trying to make some kind of abstract theoretical point, they literally seem the same to me.

    some questions... (take them as rhetorical or real ones)

    You had psychiatry messing with your head your whole life. I managed to avoid their attention until I was a teenager, but when they found me I had to deal with institutionalization etc. Who had it worse? Are we allowed to relate to each other's experiences?

    I had people harassing me and occasionally doing things like hitting me in response to being neurologically different. You had people harassing you and putting you on dangerous drugs that can cause permanent physical damage in response to you being neurologically different. Who had it worse? Are we allowed to relate to each other's experiences?

    I was put on drugs I didn't want or need (and that I didn't put up a real fight against for various reasons), but mostly not the same drugs as you were. Who had it worse? Are we allowed to relate to each others experiences?


    I know these are breaking the rules about who you relate to/claim experience with and one the hardest things for me to deal with is the "HOW DARE YOU CLAIM TO HAVE IT AS BAD AS ____ YOU SHITTY PERSON" thing (if you wanna silence me pull this out). But look at how close our experiences actually are. If I had read the paper faster or my one parent knew less about medicine, I could have been put on antipsychotics, maybe for a long time. If you had drawn the attention of different people, you could have been institutionalized or hit. These things are just one step away from each other and what actually happened is not that different.

    (the other thing is just where things that make you bleed are supposed to worse than the ones that don't, but usually the things that happened over the long term are harder to deal with than the short term ones, even if only the short terms made you bleed)

    I know I'm not being super coherent here but I'm in a hurry writing these last two comments so I'm sorry.

    And absolutely I'm not insisting you claim to be able to relate to something you don't feel you can... but I equally can't stop myself from feeling I can going the other way.

    thank you thank you thank you for writing

    PS I said I had hallucinations too.

  7. I mean, I was 15 also.



  8. Pancho, I really relate to and appreciate what you said about violence. Thank you.

    (Amanda, you know I love this.)

  9. I liked this conversation.
    A little late, but I don't think a teenager have much choice on what psychiatric medication they take, even adults don't have much choice sometimes, I was 15 too and was coerced because if I didn't take them they told me I was going to die, and that without meds I was going to keep ruining my family life, so I took them for 8 years, because of some things I am just now learning to be assertive and have rights.
    So I can relate even knowing that nobody ever have the same experiences, some were better, some were worse, but all were marked by what happened.

  10. I actually dreamed a few nights ago that I was on antipsychotics again--my parents gave them to me and I just had them so I felt like I should take them. I went off them more than six years ago.

  11. I'm sorry you were on them for so long.

  12. Thank you too Julia- it's encouraging to hear that from you and you're another person I should thank for writing.


    Good, I figured it was that or "this guy is being a tremendous asshole and won't shut up." (as I wait sitting outside your blog door)

    I've been thinking about this more and I have lot more I want to say even though I've already said a lot. I will share one more story though...

    Basically, a couple people were taking turns jumping on me, back when I was a kid. And I didn't tell them to stop, I didn't cry out, I didn't try to get away. I sure didn't like it, but I didn't do anything to stop it. Got a bloody nose eventually, and then even more eventually they stopped. No one told me that people weren't supposed to do that to me or that this was violence.

    So what did I feel like a decade after this?
    -That it wasn't really violence.
    -That it was my fault for not trying harder (or at all) to stop them.
    -That if I talked about it or resented other people for it even a little (blaming other people didn't occur to me), then I was manipulating people, pandering for attention and sympathy, etc.

    And I probably would still have felt away if you, Amanda, hadn't had the "that's so awful I can't even imagine what it's like" reaction to something less violent than that.

    So when you were put on antipsychotics, one of you made an informed decision, one of you had a medical degree, and one of you was a minor with less knowledge/experience to draw on.

    It's like Julia from JustStimming said...
    "We have to pass it on like a secret. You’re okay. We’re okay. Everyone else is wrong."

    Or like that Sarah Itoh, a woman with Down Syndrome who has been convinced that's really a child, said in an article you linked:
    "I just want you to know, even though I have Down syndrome, it is O.K."

    You, Amanda Forest Vivian, are okay.

    The "as bad as" is meant stop us from relating to each other. Insisting we define autistic people by the diagnostic criteria, that the ones who fit the criteria are "more real," is meant to stop us from relating to each other. Segregation is meant to stop us from relating to each other. And this all happens because, if we really looked at each other's experiences and saw we were dealing with basically the same things, there's no way we'd put up with this stuff. So they have to keep us isolated. What might we find out, otherwise? (and this is exactly why I want to start a meetup group here)

    @Mybrain, my first drug experience was "If you don't take this we will have to institutionalize you." My first institutionalization experience was a result of the side effect of the drugs. That counted as voluntary. It probably counted as voluntary when the institution people told me they'd inject with ativan if I didn't take it orally, too.

    The things we do "voluntarily"...

    I guess I ended up saying most of it anyway. But that's probably really everything.

  13. One time this boy and his sister used to wrap me up in a blanket and kick and hit me and roll me around. I'm not sure how I felt about it.

    You really should have a blog.

  14. Well there you have it- you have, in fact, been violenced in the hitting sort of way and can do more than imagine what it's like.

    In the example I was talking about, I definitely wasn't sure what to think while it was going on. I did think it was "normal" in some way and that one of them was my friends, someone I looked up to. And it almost felt like something happening to someone else (although I probably felt like at least a third of my life).

    I have actually secretly been writing what I would be writing if I had a blog for the last few months. I disliked most of it, but a few things were okay and I was thinking about fixing them up and starting a blog with them. But then the repair people decided to delete everything on my hard drive so all those things are gone (along with a bunch of other stuff like music I wrote) and I got discouraged. But if I had my own blog I would still comment on your blog until you told me not to (or to do it less).