When I read this post from someone else’s journal, I was struck by the awesome amount of negative reaction I felt in the back of my head. I do not know this author from Adam/Eve, so I am not going to comment about their journal, nor am I going to direct about the post directly. The reason it is linked here is so the discussion may be framed properly.
I will, however, quote in full the comment I posted on that post. It reads as follows:
Okay. I am autistic, too. The fact that I do not waggle my hands in the air like I am being electrocuted at intervals I am not going to bother quantifying does not make me any less autistic.
I am not going to conform to your stereotype. It is no less a harmful stereotype from my point of view than was the Rain Man stereotype. I am genuinely frightened to have nervous tics mistaken for hypoglycaemic symptoms, with all of the resultant assaults on my person it entails.
Waggle your extremities in public to your heart’s content. I will not try to stop you. But stop making that out to be a qualifying condition of being autistic. It is not, and nor will I submit to suffer the effects of people mistaking it for such. I am very sick of what I refer to as the Involuntary Breakdance being confused with such.
You are doing me more harm this way than the Rain Man pushers ever did. They at least admitted their stereotype is a stereotype, and apologised in public for it.
Now, if the comment I quote above sounds a bit rambling and confused, it is for a reason. I wrote it in the aftermath of yet another early morning bout of hypoglycaemia. Stop acting surprised.
We need to go back in time a bit for all of this to make complete sense. Please be patient with me.
Like a lot of autistic people, I have a very baffling set of difficulties with sleep. I never like to be accused of bragging or talking myself “up” without merit, but my difficulties with sleep would qualify as being quite intense. Sleep does not come easily to me, and when it does come, it comes in patterns that are not conducive to living a nine to five existence. It comes in patterns that are broken. It comes in patterns that require the use of medications in an off-label manner to maintain. (Specifically, the medication known to chemists as Quetiapine, an expensive and very much potentially dangerous medication.) It is one of the worst aspects of my life that helps make an already difficult existence that much harder.
Unlike a lot of autistic people, I also have diabetes. This subject is a whole minefield, unfortunately, because people who believe themselves informed often like to display in public that they do not know their arse from their ear where the subject of diabetes is concerned. The kind of diabetes I have is the kind one gets diagnosed with when they are a child. That is, the kind that results from your immune system mistaking your islet cells for foreign invaders and destroying them. The kind that requires subcutaneous injections of synthetic hormones to live with. For the rest of one’s life.
There are numerous side-effects listed for synthetic insulin, and side effects of synthetic insulin have all their own symptomologies. (Yes, I made that word up on the spot, eat me.) But one of the most incredibly powerful effects of low blood sugar, or hypoglycaemia in scientific-speak, is sleepiness. And I do not mean your garden variety sleepiness resulting from an eighteen hour shift. I mean the kind of sleepiness one feels after having been locked in a room with search-lights shining into their faces from every conceivable angle. In other words, the kind of sleepiness that you maintain in other people as a form of torture. The kind where all one can think about is getting sleep in any form, even if that means the permanent kind.
Does diabetes sound like fun to you? Something you would aspire to have because it seems nice or beneficial? Yes, I am asking for a reason, normies, because the times I have heard it quoted as mentioned on conservative shithead radio makes me wonder. Who in the hell could mistake diabetes for something anyone would ever want to live with?
There is a reason I am mentioning my diabetes so much in this post about a post in another person’s journal. Namely, people who I will not mention here mistake my diabetes as a license to put their nose up my arsehole further than it should otherwise be possible to go, and keep going.
This brings me to the subject of extraneous bodily movements. Many people, for reasons very complex and variable, exhibit what scientific folk refer to as “nervous tics”. The late actor Heath Ledger apparently licked his lips a lot, for example. This nervous tic, I can only speculate as to how he developed. In most of the films he was employed in, he hid it well enough that one could watch his entire life’s work and not know about it. However, interviews demonstrate that his habit of licking his lips was something he had to work fairly constantly to suppress. Except in one role where he incorporated it into the character, exaggerated it, and turned it into an added creepy detail in a character that was already beyond most peoples’ tolerance levels for creepiness.
I myself have a lot of nervous movements, tics you might call them, that can be seen in similar terms to Ledger‘s incorporation of his tongue movements into the Joker. Scratching parts of my person such as the shoulders, corners of the head, or jaw, are motions that I do so reflexively and without conscious thought that I can continuously do this throughout conversations without so much as a pause for thought. People have commented to me that I often seem like I am itching terribly during my conversations with them.
It is not a coincidence that my most direct proxy character, Kronisk, is able to make people feel so uncomfortable in their own skin that said people will claw their own skin off trying to make the sensations stop.
You see, when I was young, I had an idiot male parent following me around who seemed to be watching every move I made, every breath I took (you know how the song goes) for any sign that I was “hypo”. That is, that my blood sugar was low. When one’s blood sugar is low enough, the brain’s control of the muscles suffers, and badly at that. But what can you do when you might put on as many as a thousand unconscious bodily movements in a minute when nerves are frayed?
(Oh, and that nurse/whatever in Westmead Hospital who told me to sit down and eat because I was “a bit vague”? This applies just as much to you, too.)
When your blood glucose level falls as low as 0.7 mmol/l, the ability to waggle your hands about in the air like you just do not care is not a right, a luxury, or even a vaguely nice thing. It is pure, unadulterated hell. Because on some level you cannot consciously control, your brain keeps exercising it at precise intervals that you cannot precisely anticipate, but feel an urgent need to suppress in order to get certain things done. Certain things with names like survive.
In case it is not becoming clear, when passives post things with words like “stim” in them, I read that passive-word (“stim”) as something entirely differently. I see the word “cunt” in its place, as in “I am a…”.
What I see also looks a lot like the above image. As in the people who write “stim, stim, stimmy stim” as if it is a requirement of being autistic look like the shit-eating wastes of Humanity that are in the above image. Seriously, I have seen more intelligence-demonstrating folk in Marsden Hospital (people with soft intellectual palettes should not click on these links).
I should probably also mention that from what I know of Marsden Hospital (for the intellectually handicapped, as they used to append to that name), if you were a resident there who waggled your hands about in the air like you just do not care, you were likely to get your hands tied, pulled behind your back, and so forth.
Some people feel a reflex of perceptive fear, paranoia, and recrimination towards others every time they move a fukking muscle. After years of enduring the feeling of having every movement of my body watched for the slightest excuse to force sugary product into my mouth by others, I am one of those people who feel a reflex of perceptive fear, paranoia, and recrimination towards others every time they move a fukking muscle. This means I am not capable of following your “stim, stim, stimmy stim” stereotype of autism at all, and find your constant pushing or “promotion” of same very offensive at the best of times. There have been many conversations I have had with Professor Anthony Attwood where I have not moved a muscle. Where such is my concentration on the words going back and forth that my entire physical form with the exception of my jaw, tongue, and throat seems to have stopped dead. As if frozen, in concrete, below the surface of a particularly frigid area such as Norway’s coastline.
Oddly enough, this did not make him reconsider his belief that I am autistic. Not one bit.
There is, always has been, and always will be, a way to build a positive role model of the autistic (child, adolescent, or adult). But what the loud hands stereotype crowd do not get is that when you replace one stereotype with another, you are essentially replacing one problem with another. You are not solving any problems, just substituting one for another.
I have positively no idea what my blood glucose level was when I was rudely awoken this morning, nor when I read the document I have linked at the start of this one. But what I do know is that when my blood glucose is sufficiently low that even gross motor control is noticeably impaired, the manner in which my body moves or does not move whilst I am trying to cross about fifty feet of floor in order to get the tools I need to rectify the problem brings to mind all of the herd-conformist passive “we be the be all and end all of the autistic” folk and their stimmy stim stim requirements of being autistic.
Think about that. The most unpleasant state my body has been in during the last twenty-five years (a list that includes getting pieces chopped out of my face to remove cancer) brings stimmy stim stereotype to mind.
(It should be noted here that a lot of the problem is because external people try to “treat” problems not because of any discomfort on the patient’s part, but because of how uncomfortable the identified problem is making them. A better recipe for bad medicine, I have yet to discover.)
That, ladies and gentlemen, says a lot about where this mass-herd-conformed stereotype of the autistic should be shoved.
I don’t see your comment there (so maybe it got deleted) but I also don’t see anywhere in his post or the point of the Twitter party saying “you MUST stim in order to be considered autistic!”
I bite my nails – I have for as long as I can remember and I have never been able to stop. That is my stim. When I have managed to stop myself for short periods, I do other things like pull my hair out. Biting nails is much more socially acceptable than pulling out hair. Especially as a woman.
I was hit, shamed and abused by my parents for biting my nails. I want a different world for my son. I want him to bite his nails or flap or whatever he needs to do to feel calm and happy be accepted. I don’t want him to feel shame for doing something that, most importantly, doesn’t hurt anyone else. That’s what the point of celebrating the stim is all about.
I am a man of many peculiar reactions and unspoken inferences. And one of the problems with the whole “you must throw yourself around like you are convulsing to be autistic” movement that has sprung up lately is that theirs is an unspoken implication. A bad one, at that. For one thing, the manner in which they promote it, pervasively and without consideration that it may be untrue in some or even many cases, can have harmful implications who do not fit it. I believe I made that fairly clear in the original text. There are people around the world who have not completely recovered from Rain Man being considered the whole and sole of the autistic. Which is where I am coming from when I say this new stereotyping is as bad as that.
And I beg your pardon, but I also bite my nails. I do not bite them as a nice, happy thing. I have bitten them, pulled them out, and in two cases torn them out so completely and often that they do not grow properly anymore (the two biggest toes). Right now, I am suffering very much from an ingrown thumbnail that has pushed the inside of the skin to one side of my thumbnail out far enough that even typing can at times be quite painful. It bleeds pus and blood quite regularly at the moment. So much so that I can go to bed with a completely clean thumb and wake up with the side caked in pus. This is not the result of any positive process, but rather looking at the edges of my nails and seeing enough dirt under them that I just end up thinking what the hell and bite off the edge. Often going a wee bit far in the process. I will post a picture of this thumbnail in good time so it may be seen what I am talking about.
As you can see here, my camera does not focus well on individual fingers (a problem I am desperately trying to understand). But what you see on the right side of that thumb is where the subcutaneous layer of the nail bed has literally risen out from under the skin in response to the way the nail has sunk in. This is very painful, very prone to infection, and can cause the thumb to flare up in pain at the most basic daily tasks. I have had this nervous tic of biting my nails for most, if not all, of my life. Whilst I have learned to cope with it, it is days like today (and the five preceding) when I would give anything to not feel compelled to do it every time I see dirt under the edge of a nail, or at any time.
It is one thing to celebrate something. The late G.G. Allin once recorded a song that could be presumed to be a celebration of pedophilia, for example. But he was very careful to narrow and compartmentalise the focus of the song in question, making his rather transgressive lyrics in that song refer to himself and himself only (“I’m a pervert, it’s okay” for instance). That is where the whole “celebrate the stimmy stim stim!” argument falls flat on its arse. Not only is the presumptuous presumption that “everyone who is autistic does it” sorely mistaken, the belief that it is a 100% positive thing 100% of the time is flat-out wrong.
I am uncertain of which I am more outraged by at this juncture, to be brutally honest. I am painfully aware of every movement in my body (with the exception of the muscles in my face, which are curiously numb and were so even before the skin cancer removal), and painfully aware that I do not want every twitch or breath I take to be questioned by every normie on the fukking block. Nor any passive autie who wants me to promote their autism stereotype in spite of the risk it entails to both myself and future generations. I am also not amused by the thought that anyone out there thinks that the way my body can jerk and twitch at just the wrong moments in an emergency as to render me unable to get to what is needed in order to alleviate said emergency is anything to celebrate. There is a nose in my arsehole, one with a microscope and telescope strapped to it, and I want it gone. As long as these people continue to promote “we are the whole and sole of autism, end of” in this Rain Man-istic way, that will never happen.
And that is not acceptable.
Well, I get the anger now. Thanks for explaining.
But I still don’t think that gives you the right to use such incredibly hostile language towards people who do have stereotypies. On their own blog, no less. They have just as much right to talk about their stims in a positive way as you have the right to talk about yours in a negative way. You have no right to push your own negative way of thinking onto people about their own stims, though. And that’s what you did on Ben’s blog by calling it “being electrocuted”, “the involuntary breakdance”, and other derogatory phrases. So you’re doing the exact same thing you’re accusing him of. Telling others how to act.
I think you are confused about the phrasings and manner I use in my journal. The entire journal is founded upon an idea, specifically, the felt need to provide one non-mainstreamist, aka passive, view of autistic civil rights and how they best be defended. It entirely consists of my perspective because I feel my perspective is one constantly left out when the passives gather around their little table.
What goes into what I write is not intended to be a thoughtful, gentle discussion of other people (unless these people have done something worthy of that, for example Paul Verhoeven). Most basic psychologist training begins with the precept that time after time, the hierarchy of the Human thought process is that intellect is second to emotions. What goes in here is about my emotions and how they react to certain stimuli. In this article’s case, the published article that it is in response to, and will likely get far more people reading it and thinking it the biggest dollop of wisdom since Einstein was a boy. My references to one of my own unpublished characters, Kronisk, and his ability to make people feel so uncomfortable within their own skin that they end up ripping it off, are there for a reason. They are a poetic-ised description of how articles like that one make me feel on a very base and fundamental level. I am sorry if that makes people uncomfortable, but my right to feel comfortable in my own skin has been ignored for far too long and I will do more than write venomous statements in order to assert it.
None of this would be necessary if the mainstream autistic movement would do away with the stereotypical image of the autistic they promote (often allowing it to be co-opted by so-called “geek culture” in the process) and focus on a “many, of different types” image. The number of posts I have dedicated to pieces of mainstream culture that, by accident, portray the autistic more effectively and empoweringly than the media the stereotypists want to thrust on us (eg Big Stereotype Theory) confirms this much. The movement is stuck in a perpetual infancy because it refuses to move beyond a stereotypical image. There is more variety between the X-Men that were included in the first real X-Men film than in the way the autistic mainstream “culture” promotes us all.
I have a very big problem with that. So should everyone else on the spectrum, frankly.
I agree that you should write on your journal in any way you damn well please. What I take umbrage with is you perpetuating negative stereotypes in someone else’s space, just because they choose to be positive about their own stims.
I am not sure exactly where I am even referring to or using stereotypes. I am trying to voice an objection to a stereotype that has been put in place and, although intended for positive purposes, is having decidedly negative effects upon some.
The word “stim” is enough to make my skin crawl. Its sound is really quite disturbing to me. It is one that got thrust in my face so often and at a very bad time, that I find its pushing as if it is a requirement of being autistic quite abhorrent. The mainstreams need to get over the fact that just because you are autistic does not mean you stimmy stim stim, and nor should you be expected to. Spending one’s time in a prison or boot camp, having every movement known or otherwise in one’s person scrutinised to the point where one is constantly trying to imitate others’ movements just to please them, is a good way to understand why. That is a very watered-down description of what my school years were like. So if you are upset by my offense at the expectation that everyone on the spectrum wave their hands about like they just do not care or whatever, tough.
Quote: “I find its pushing as if it is a requirement of being autistic quite abhorrent.”
This is where I have to defer to your experience because I simply have not had that experience myself. If you have the time and energy, I would love for you to link me to those who have made those claims so I can be better informed (and then maybe make my own post about it all).
One more interesting point: it’s not just Autistic people who self-stimulate. Most NTs do also and they don’t even realize it. I think part of the point of the other post is to educate people on the fact most people have some sort of repetitive action they do without thinking and it’s totally ok. The point is not whether you do, it’s just if you do, you don’t have to be ashamed of it.