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How Many of Us Are "Socially Normal"?


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1 hour ago, Hopelessly Broken said:

This whole desperate need for others, constant reassurance and reciprocity is something I will never understand. 

i totally agree with you. i am not autistic, though in having this viewpoint i often find myself feeling isolated from folks i know irl. i've found much more peace and fulfillment as a solitary unit than in relationships.

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i, contrarily, would rather have companionship. that's a deeply personal preference, however, i would argue that most of the world's population, if given the opportunity between the two, solitude and companionship, would choose companionship.

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i mean, no offense, but i wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to even be commenting on this thread let alone understanding what "normal" people wish or don't wish for.

you should take a step back and be respectful of the desires of others, whatever those may be, as clearly there are differences between us and you are coming off as both offensive and bitter.

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On 5/10/2021 at 4:34 AM, basuraeuropea said:

i have been thinking lately a lot about the relationships that i have with others, friendships mostly

I’m 37 now. I have no friends anymore (they ran away when I got really sick), but I somehow managed to get and stay married. I’ve been married for 11 years.

On 5/10/2021 at 4:34 AM, basuraeuropea said:

i have been able to grow a 'grown-up career' and thrive.

I have not been able to finish school or do anything career wise because of schizoaffective. I almost died by suicide and got court ordered in state hospitals a lot. I’ve been on SSDI for 13 years now.

On 5/10/2021 at 4:34 AM, basuraeuropea said:

how this impacts your romantic relationships and how many of you guys and gals are in fulfilling romantic relationships?

I got to know my husband before getting court ordered for a long term stay at a state hospital out of town. Well we lost touch for a while but later he started visiting me regularly. Which I still think is sweet.  So he was aware of my “crazy” right off the bat. 

I’m sorry you are having to deal with issues like whether or not to disclose something about it on your dating profiles. I get it though. I would say, everyone has something that they have to carry as a burden, right? You never know. (For instance, my husband had cancer and we had to deal with that scare. Although MI has stigma attached to it.) I don’t know if a long explanation is necessary? But it’s totally up to you. I understand the feeling. I often feel like I’m an insane monster walking around town. As though I have a sign on my back. I really do.

It does impacts everyday relationship issues. It is a daily battle. I know I stress out my husband and I know he did want children and there’s no way I could have handled that. I can’t even handle pets (we tried dogs and a cat), unfortunately.

I mostly hope that I haven’t ruined his life though. I’m trying to be better to him now, especially now because I’ve hit a tiny better spot in my illness. Zyprexa has been good to me. So if I can undo some damage I’ve caused I want to for sure.

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At one time I was married. But he decided I was crazy, among other issues. For many years after that, I dated no one. Eventually I had some dating experience triggered by manic episodes so not exactly based on solid ground. Now I’m in a sort of situation vs relationship, that sounds better than it is. I tell no one of my MI and if I went back on a dating site I plan on not mentioning it. On one hand I’d love to remarry to have someone to count on. But I don’t want to have to give up my privacy or have to be that vulnerable. So there you go. I can work ok, but romance isn’t something I understand much. Sex, yes, romance, not so much. Is that normal, good, or any other label, I couldn’t say, it’s just what I’m dealing with.  I don’t trust many people so that’s a factor. I do envy people who have been married forever and seem happy together but it’s just not my life. And everyone is different so if someone doesn’t want that, it’s not my business and I respect it.  I can only speak for myself here. 

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6 hours ago, basuraeuropea said:

i mean, no offense, but i wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to even be commenting on this thread let alone understanding what "normal" people wish or don't wish for.

I will be gentle.

I am Autistic. That is one facet of who I am as a person. You are a Neurotypical. That is one facet of who you are as a person. In those very specific cognitive differences we may have in terms of the way emotions and certain other functions are processed in our two brains, we differ. Aside from that, you and I have similarities. I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. You suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. My condition is treatment-refractive. Your condition is treatment-refractive. But our MI is something we have, not something we are - we are both normal people. And as a normal person I generally wish for, and don't wish for, the same things as everybody else.

The topic of the thread asks the question: "How many of us are 'Socially Normal'"? By definition, this is a question open to interpretation, and reply by all persons, including persons on and off the Autism Spectrum. Indeed, the perspective of people on the Autism Spectrum is particularly valuable in this context because they are the ones most often marginalized by Neurotypical assumptions about what constitutes a human cognitive 'normal', and are therefore the most qualified to challenge those assumptions.

You exhibit such an assumption when you say you wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to even comment on a thread about 'normal' people. Because, naturally, we're abnormal, right? Weird, freakish, even? Let me adjust your perspective. People on the Autism Spectrum are human beings just like yourself. The notion that high-functioning Autism is a mental illness is increasingly being called into question, as it should be - we are not ill. We are simply not wired the way you are. The fact that you don't understand the way our minds work does not mean there is something wrong with us. The fact that your inability to adapt socially to our mindset does not mean that we are socially handicapped. Those ideas only exist because Neurotypicals assume that their way is the 'normal' way because they are in the majority. There are more Star-Bellied Sneetches with stars upon thars than there are Sneetches without stars, so starless Sneetches must be abnormal, right? Wrong. They're all Sneetches. Frankly, I don't really feel human–see the phrase in my avatar–but that's mostly because Neurotypicals seem go out of their way to make it so very hard to identify myself with them. (My parents are, however, both Homo sapiens, so there it is.)

You seem to imagine that Autistic people have no interest in companionship, no desire for connection with other people. Perhaps you have heard somewhere the often-repeated canard than Autistic people are incapable of love. Utter hogwash. We love deeply, need human contact the same as everyone else (indeed, we are not exempt from any of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs) and yearn for the society of people whose minds we understand, and who understand ours. Unfortunately, we're surrounded by Neurotypicals. Not, please note, 'Neuronormals'. The difficulty we have with relationships is not that we don't process emotions, but rather that we don't process them the same way. We learn very early that Neurotypicals do not react well at all when someone doesn't respond to their emotions their way. For them, it's emotionally my-way-or-the-highway. It's like walking across a minefield, and then when the Autists get their arms and legs blown off doing it, they get called repulsive freaks because their limbs are missing.

A great deal of offense can be administered with the preamble 'I mean no offense'. The caveat does not release one from the responsibility of considering what one says before saying it. That's why I have learned that I really have no choice but to out myself as Autistic whenever I meet people, because if I don't explain that I think with an Autistic brain, they automatically assume that I'm an asshole. By telling them up front, at least I have a 50/50 chance of them giving me the benefit of the doubt - though to be honest it really usually just boils down to whether they think of me as an Autistic freak rather than a Neurotypical asshole, and I guess I do it because I prefer the former to the latter. By the assessment of most everyone who knows me, however, I am not an asshole. So the conclusion drawn by the average Neurotypical from their 'normal' reaction to me must, therefore, be wrong. And if they're wrong about that, how much of the rest of their assessment of me is wrong? Could it even be that the problem is that the definition of "Normal" is wrong and there's nothing the matter with Autistic people at all? Imagine that.

I am speaking mostly in terms of Autists on the high-functioning end of the Spectrum. Clearly, persons with profound Autism who are unable to communicate or interface with the world around them are in different circumstances, and this points to what I consider an obvious fact - that the definition of Autism (i.e., the definition of "Abnormal" in this case) is certainly ill-devised. Any definition that lumps the workings of my mind into the same pot with those of someone unable to function under one single term 'Autism' has taken lumping to a ridiculous extreme... and is without doubt a Neurotypical. I have read any number of texts on Autism written by Neurotypical "authorities" on the subject, and never cease to be amazed at how they all fail to realize that they're operating under the same assumption of Neurotypical normalcy.

There is no simple answer to the question posed by this thread. Social "normal" is constantly fluid across cultures, traditions, ethnicities, time, fashion, and politics on the grand scale, and are subject to the whims of individuals. If the question distills down to what should a human being normally be expected to do or seek as interaction with other humans, that question also carries a raft of assumptions about what an individual ought to psychologically need. But none of us can make an objective assessment of the psychological need of another - we inherently have no way to understand another human mind without reference to our own. Everything we know about what it means to be human we understand because we have our own experience to measure against, so we assume that our internal measure is a standard. Why do I understand that another person might be hungry? Because I know what it feels like to be hungry. That's pretty standard, right?

Why do I feel sympathy for someone who is blind? Because I know what it is like to see, and then not see. But what about a person who is born blind, and has never known what it is like to see? Does that person have the same sympathy for another blind person? Does that person consider blindness a disability? As far as that person has known since birth, that's how humans are supposed to be.

Why do I assume you need a certain amount of companionship? Because I need companionship. Except you might need it a lot, and I don't, and there's no way for me to intuit that without being you.

Because our way of looking at "normal" is always colored not only by external influences but also our own internal biases, it's practically impossible to arrive at a baseline normal human behavior that "should" apply to human beings in general, and certainly not on a forum populated by people whose minds are challenged each day by Pandora's whole goddamned Box of mental horrors. In fact, I'm not even sure we should be asking ourselves this question - the corollary to "How Many of Us Are Socially Normal?" is the unspoken question "How Many of Us Are Socially Abnormal?". It does none of us any good to think in those terms. The only question that matters in terms of our peer support is: How many of you are able to meet your own social needs in spite of your MI, and will you tell us how you do it?

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1 hour ago, Cerberus said:

A great deal of offense can be administered with the preamble 'I mean no offense'. The caveat does not release one from the responsibility of considering what one says before saying it.

And in fact, almost invariably something offensive will follow 'I mean no offense'.  If you're not going to be offensive, you wouldn't need to say it.

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10 hours ago, basuraeuropea said:

i mean, no offense, but i wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to even be commenting on this thread let alone understanding what "normal" people wish or don't wish for.

you should take a step back and be respectful of the desires of others, whatever those may be, as clearly there are differences between us and you are coming off as both offensive and bitter.

Who are these “normal” people you are suggesting only respond on a place called Crazyboards?

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11 hours ago, basuraeuropea said:

i mean, no offense, but i wouldn't expect someone on the spectrum to even be commenting on this thread let alone understanding what "normal" people wish or don't wish for.

you should take a step back and be respectful of the desires of others, whatever those may be, as clearly there are differences between us and you are coming off as both offensive and bitter.

Fuck you. End of story. 

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Posted (edited)

i mean, i didn't want to be exclusive by stating that people on the spectrum weren't really necessary within this thread, but i should have been more clear as to who i wanted feedback and opinions from. as for the 'no offense but' usage, it was clearly used in sarcastic response to the poster who used it invariably to offend in the post above.

again, i really should have made the post stating, 'for those who are suffer from  depressive and anxiety disorders...' but i didn't, because again, inclusion.

and for the poster who asked where the normal people are on crazyboards - they aren't here, they're living their lives without mental illness proving to be a great hurdle in the way of major life goals. note that normal was placed in quotations and it was placed in quotations for a reason. you interpret that as you wish.

that's all i have to say about that.

Edited by basuraeuropea
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Posted (edited)

Actually, I openly accept that people may have been offended, even though no offense was implied. Also, you do realise that autistic people are people, right? And that we can also have those illnesses? I am one of them, and as Cerberus stated, so is he. As for your comment that I apparently cannot know the wishes of neurotypical people, you obviously did not read my initial post. I have been abused and neglected because of them. People have literally tried to murder me because of them. So, yes I am very much capable of being aware of neurotypical people's wishes and needs. Respect goes both ways, though, and I can count the amount of times I have had my own respected by neurotypical people with less than a hand of fingers. To demand respect from me shows your privilege, and it is damned ugly. Again, autistic people are people, we exist in this cesspit society as well, therefore our input is just as important as neurotypical people's. 

Implying that I am, and that we are somehow less of people is what earned you the fuck you I gave. I do not say that to many people, despite how much others have abused me. But I refuse to let people treat me, and autistic people as a whole, in such a manner without holding them to account. I suggest you check your privilege before it bites you in the ass or you trip over it. I am done here. People like you make me wish I could set myself on fire and burn to dust, and make me wonder why I should want to be a part of, or anything to do with, the human race. 

 

Edited by Hopelessly Broken
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13 hours ago, basuraeuropea said:

i mean, i didn't want to be exclusive by stating that people on the spectrum weren't really necessary within this thread, but i should have been more clear as to who i wanted feedback and opinions from. as for the 'no offense but' usage, it was clearly used in sarcastic response to the poster who used it invariably to offend in the post above.

again, i really should have made the post stating, 'for those who are suffer from  depressive and anxiety disorders...' but i didn't, because again, inclusion.

and for the poster who asked where the normal people are on crazyboards - they aren't here, they're living their lives without mental illness proving to be a great hurdle in the way of major life goals. note that normal was placed in quotations and it was placed in quotations for a reason. you interpret that as you wish.

that's all i have to say about that.

Really, put down the shovel and stop digging.

You didn't want to be exclusive, you say, but you really should have been more clear that you only wanted opinions from people you consider normal? Not the 'unnecessary' people like the ones with Autism? So you're essentially saying you want to be either inclusively exclusive, or exclusively inclusive, neither of which is the way we roll here. 

Your assertion that "normal people" are 'the ones without mental illness' would brand every one of us here as abnormal, and I reject that. As I said above, mental illness is what we have, not what we are. We are normal people with MI, just as we might be normal people with diabetes, or obesity, or a lost limb, or blindness or deafness, or any other chronic condition that makes daily life more challenging. Stigma thrives when we allow ourselves and others to define us by our MI, so we cannot.

All in all, I don't think 'normal' is working for you in getting your point across. I recommend you choose a different adjective.

Quote

as for the 'no offense but' usage, it was clearly used in sarcastic response to the poster who used it invariably to offend in the post above.

There's a difference between your usage of it and his. He used it after the fact to explain that although he accepted that people might have been offended by what he said, he had not intended it to be offensive. You used it aforethought as a fig leaf for what you knew would be offensive before you said it - and then doubled down in the next post by actually explaining that you did it intentionally. Nonetheless, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you simply phrased things poorly, or, as they say in the political sphere, 'misspoke'.

I suggest we leave it at that.

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i mean, i think, @Cerberus, that it's a given that those on the spectrum, along those with personality disorders and those with severe forms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are not  by any means approaching normalcy in any social manner; really, in manner at a all. i never at all said, however, that i wanted opinions of those who are normal, as no one on this site suffering from any form of mental illness is 'normal'. we are all suffering, but some are so far from those who are not affected by mental illnesses and part of the norm amongst the general population that their input, while valuable to those, i'm sure, within their own respective communities, isn't of any value to me as what am i going to find of value in an autist stating that he/she doesn't understand the value of human interaction? absolutely nothing to an anxiety sufferer taking a benzodiazepine and an ssri.

i've been a member of this forum for nearly a decade, but i haven't posted much because while i do have severe variants of my respective disorders which lie along the depressive and anxiety spectrum, i have found a home on sites dedicated to generalized anxiety disorder as well as panic disorder with agoraphobia rather than here and even then, i don't visit those sites often because my life here and there goes to hell, however, generally over the course of the years, it's been closer to the norm than what i've seen here. i just thought i'd pop on over, but clearly the members of this site are far too different from me and far more affected by mental illness in daily life as demonstrated by this thread in which there are far too many autistic individuals or those with personality disorders or those who suffer from disorders involving psychosis, and i can't forget those with personality disorders that it's clear i'm not at home here and my place is on forums dedicated to those aforementioned and dedicated to anxiety and depressive disorders.

i hope that you all do get the treatment that you deserve in order to live fulfilling lives, because it's sounds like it's needed.

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Wow.

So I guess my opinion was also not welcome because psychosis is a leading part of my bipolar (pdoc phrases it as 'on the schizophrenic spectrum').  Yet, I'm happily and successfully married, and have a successful career.  So, I guess I'm normal after all, and by your yardstick, more normal than you.  

I also have the urge to say, fuck off.

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You have dealt with this topic extremely poorly from the start, and you're stomping right into the realm of being a bigger asshole than the moderators, which is a no-no.  Even if you have been around here on and off since 2012, you should have picked up by now that on CB we do not advocate competing on who is more "ill" than whom, or pass judgement on the basis of diagnoses and the type and amount of medication we are or are not taking.  I would encourage you to pack up and go back to one of your other forums.

Mia (one of the asshole moderators)

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2 hours ago, basuraeuropea said:

it's clear i'm not at home here and my place is on forums dedicated to those aforementioned and dedicated to anxiety and depressive disorders.

Your posts in this thread have made that abundantly clear. By all means return to those forums and take your breathtakingly odious attitudes with you. We will not tolerate them any further here. Please be so good as to not let the door hit you in the ass on your way out; we would prefer not to scuff the finish.

Cerberus

Moderator

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I should not have tried to help out. I guess suffering from severe schizoaffective disorder makes my opinions and my life story/experiences lowly or worthless or inappropriate or what have you on a MI/MH website of all places.

I was only trying to help yet I get slapped in the face. Stigma is alive and well CB-ers. Even within the MI community, it seems (as is blatantly demonstrated here).

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On 5/10/2021 at 5:34 AM, basuraeuropea said:

anyhow, i was wondering, because most of us here have very severe disorders or very  severe variants of disorders, how this impacts your romantic relationships and how many of you guys and gals are in fulfilling romantic relationships?

Also, think of the attitude given this is literally in his first post...I mean really.

 

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Reading the way this person speaks about autistic people was enough to cause me to vomit uncontrollably and collapse on the floor, unable to move for hours, and when I was finally able to wake up and move, the severity of the graphic flashbacks was disorienting. That is the kind of damage that can be caused by people like this. And I am alive, I have known many autistic people who died because of this. I was there. 

To the people with the other diagnoses, you deserve better, you are just as important, of value and worthwhile as everyone else in this world. Your illness does not, and never will change that. You are not less or inferior. You are people, just like everyone else. 

I cannot say myself that I understand what its like to have a psychotic illness, but I do know what its like to be literally dehumanised and treated like less. It is disgusting, and no one deserves it. 

Take care. 

 

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