So I joined this forum to talk about my various mental health issues and try to find a solution or two with people who can relate. I been diagnosed with autism, clinical depression, and oppositional defiant disorder at various points in my life and I'm currently 16 years old at the time of this writing. I hope to have a great time with you guys.
[This post assumes that both genders can be victims of sexual aggression, and examples herein, while grammatically gendered, are not so to demonstrate a gender-specific point. Don't throw brickbats.]
I read in the news today that Neil deGrasse Tyson has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior by three women. I have no idea whether he is on-spectrum; given his fluency as a communicator, I doubt it. But reading the details got me thinking. One complained that he peeked under the covered part of the shoulder on her sleeveless dress to see a tattoo of the solar system that she had mentioned at a party of the International Astronomical Congress; while she apparently acknowledges it wasn't an assault, she says it shows he is capable of "creepy behavior". Another felt he had given her an "awkward and incredibly intimate handshake". The third, more serious, alleges waking up naked in his graduate student bed in 1984 after blacking out from a drink he had given her, with no memory of what had happened, but assuming he had drugged and raped her. She did file a police report years later, and began blogging about the incident in 2014, the year Tyson began hosting Cosmos on television, 30 years after the alleged event.
I detail these things because I can easily, easily imagine an Aspie committing either of the first two gaffes in utter and complete innocence, and a neurotypical losing his or her wig over it because of a whole suitcase full of assumptions. And then... OMG, #MeToo! The pile-on begins. The suspicion. The pre-judgment. The inquiry. The Trial-by-Twitter.
Is the Aspie, is the HFA, prepared, even equipped to contend with this? Hardly, because it is a social onslaught of NT making. It is warfare on the most hostile possible battlefield.
Now, this is not to say that autistics cannot be guilty of interpersonal offense. Delayed development of social skills may result in inappropriate expression - indeed, "creepy behavior". Auties may not have a neurotypical's appreciation of personal boundaries. Yet there must be some consideration for the difference between willful sexual aggression and aggression without intent.
For example: If a neurotypical 13-year-old boy walked up to a woman and openly touched her breast, there would rightly be consternation and outcry. That boy is old enough to understand that that constitutes a transgression. If an Aspie 13-year-old boy walked up to a woman and openly touched her breast, the degree of his offense would depend on the degree of his autism. He could very well simply be fixated on the shape, or the color of the blouse, or the fact that she as an individual differed from the individual next to her, in a tactile way, and did not process that an investigation was not in order.
A neurotypical bystander, however, would not draw this distinction. Both cases would represent sexual harassment, because the woman would have had the sanctity of her body violated, and her sensibility outraged.
And this is where my question arises with respect to the entire movement: Is there not some point at which a person's sensibilities - in essence, their feelings - must be weighed against other factors to determine whether an action rises to the level of an offense? The Universe is full of upsets; we are not guaranteed to be made constantly happy, not by events, and certainly not by one another. Indeed, that would be an impossibility, because it is seldom possible to make two persons equally happy in a single matter in which both are equally invested. At some point, the offended person must accede to accepting some level of annoyance, discomfort, embarrassment, shame or affront in situations, or we would all be constantly knifing one another for pounds of flesh (and then knifing one another over the knifings).
Was the woman harmed when Mr. Tyson curiously looked at her shoulder? She was not. Was she embarrassed? Possibly. Was she demeaned in front of colleagues? One would have had to be present to know. Did Mr. Tyson act out of salacious intent, or simply because he couldn't resist looking at an image of the solar system? One would have to know him well to say, but his body of public life and work suggests the latter.
Was the woman harmed by being creeped out by his handshake? She was not. Was she made to feel uncomfortable about further workplace interaction with him as a result? Ah! Here, one may come to differing views. In my view, she was not made to do so; she chose to do so. She did not address the issue in a positive-affirmative manner saying, "I'm sorry, that made me feel uncomfortable" and I would prefer to keep our relationship purely professional", thus giving him an opportunity to back gracefully away. She instead took the offense and ran with it, informing him that the next day would be her last day at work. She elevated the value of her own sensibility to a level higher than both the value of her job or the value of the fairness she owed to another human being. To my mind, she fails the test for sympathy.
Because autistics so frequently are unable to relate to neurotypicals on an emotional level - i.e., the level of sensibilities - the possibility of negotiating understanding in this sphere is limited. That suggests the likelihood that autistics may tend to stumble more frequently in this arena of social conduct, and to fare poorly under a neurotypical lens when confronted.
Perhaps, #MeNToo would be more accurate?
Edited to add: Never mind the #MeNToo idea - I can already hear the fits being thrown because it looks like “men too”.
My 25 year old son, diagnosed with autism, severe anxiety, intellectual/developmental disability, has had a severe sleep disorder his entire life.
He averages about 3.5 hours of sleep per night. Often, that's not all at the same time but aggregate between 10pm - 6am.
Over the years, we've tried dozens (and dozens...) of both alternative and conventional treatments.
Specific to prescription medications to help induce sleep, we've tried over 15. Almost all medications have had a paradoxical effect on him (activating vs. sedating). None have helped with sleep.
He's been on risperidone for about 3 years. No other meds.
We have not tried Trazadone (and probably many others).
ANY ideas are welcome!
By Southern Discomfort
I've just gone down on risperidone, from 2 mg back down to 1 mg. This is part of the plan to shift things around a bit and depend a little more on lamotrigine than risperidone because I'm a little worried about my increased prolactin levels, it sort of looks like I'm growing breasts a lot of the time and of course I don't like that. No one has actually told me my prolactin levels outside of "it's higher than normal". What "normal" means is anyone's guess because they're either not telling me or can't tell me. Whatever. At any rate I don't like it so the plan is to keep risperidone down to a minimum, I originally felt bit from my so-called "psychotic" symptoms at 1 mg anyway.
Maybe I should have gone up in lamotrigine before lowering risperidone again. I've had a harder time with my self-esteem again in the last couple of days and I don't feel as happy generally as I did before. I had a bad appointment with my psychiatrist on Wednesday, I came out feeling pretty much like shite. I tried to explain my difficulty with sudden plans people make, the one example I used was the friends from my peer group decided they wanted to go for a coffee after the session further up in town. I couldn't do it, there wasn't enough notice for me and I already got it into my head that I was going to go home and I couldn't change the route now, my anxiety went up as a result. Instead of "trying to pathologise it" my psychiatrist tried to push the idea that if I condition myself more to try things I'm not expecting that it would come more easily to me in the future. I understand where he's coming from and maybe that's true but I also don't necessarily believe it will work. My social worker and my old psychiatrist told me I'm autistic and my understanding of it is that changes in routine don't really suit people with autism. My old psychiatrist was great, I'm still annoyed he decided to leave for Exeter, he explained to me that if I try to "normalise" (for lack of a better term) my autistic traits my tics and anxiety would get worse as a result. So with that knowledge trying to condition myself to joining in with out of the blue activities seems counter intuitive. I'm now confused of what to do with myself. This new psychiatrist won't even give me a diagnosis for anything and I have a lot of doubt in my head about the Asperger's thing because whilst there is a fair bit I do relate to there is also a lot I don't. I spend nearly every waking hour reading about autism trying to piece bits together of how it affects me BECAUSE NO FUCKING PROFESSIONAL WILL TELL ME. I feel like making a Freedom of Information request because they just won't tell me anything. Either that or just not talking to any of them again and just shutting down completely.
I have a hard time trying to express myself at the best of times. Trying to get words out of my head onto paper or verbally is very hard because I just don't know how to start myself and these things escape me before I even have a chance to grab hold them. It's a miracle that I got this far into writing about myself. Every time I meet with my psychiatrist or social worker they ask me, "How have you been?" I don't know how to answer that. Generally? Over the last from days? How do I sum it up without over or under appreciating what I've felt? I try to distract myself from my thoughts at the best of times with my interests so that masks a lot of what I feel so it's not like I have full excess to my thoughts and feelings at the best of the time because if I did I would be drowning.
I don't really feel like I have anyone to talk to about these things, no one who can truly relate to what I feel or do anything about it. I have one cousin who also has Asperger's that I might be able to open up to but I don't know if I can or not. I feel like if I try to make attempts to talk to people that I might come across as needy so I generally don't bother, I also don't know the appropriate amount of time before chatting to someone again so I just avoid doing it all together. He's is especially the case of this because he doesn't seem to want to chat to his family a lot of the time and he deleted his mum and one of his sisters off Facebook and his other sister thinks she's only hanging on by a thread so I don't want that to happen to me because I genuinely like the guy.
I just don't know what to do. I feel alone and confused.
I/we just joined up because.. Eh. Needing support/people who relate and such. Social media's alright, but the privacy is always wonky and the ability to compartmentalise isn't so great. Forums/IRC are better for this kinda thing, I think.
Anyway, yeah. Barrel of raccoons, etc. We have a long list of things, most diagnosed, some not (some by choice.. I don't want DID going anywhere near my medical record. :x). I keep thinking I've processed my abuse stuff and then discovering yet another delicious core of it under the next layer. Heh. My resolution this year at least is to not end up like 2015.. Too many near misses on suicide (we suck at it, it turns out), too much.. Retreating back indoors, not doing anything, not going anywhere.. Barely creating like we used to. So, yeah. I want to change. However, treatment-resistance is a pain on that front (in the 'my brain chemistry gives no fucks for your puny pills' sense, rather than 'my doctor thinks I talk back too much and all I got was this crappy diagnosis' sense). I took about 15-20 variations on antidepressants before throwing the towel in at hardcore-MAOIs (having to give up ADD meds, painkillers and basically-eating? Nah.).
Anyway, pluralwise there's four of us. We'll probably all stick our noses in here once in a while. I'm Whisper. There's also Wynn, Tri and Felix. We're fairly recently plural.. Had a breakdown last year and that did it, I think.
* C-PTSD (not diagnosed yet but plain as day)
* General Anxiety Stuff that includes panic attacks, OCD symptoms, social anxiety.
* Chronic Pain from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
* Depression-Dysthemia (Chronic/Severe/Treatment Resistant)
* Oh, we get psychogenic seizures, too. Trying not to be embarrassed about that.
Er. Anyway. Hi.