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How weird is weird within the range of normal?

I have been asking myself this question as of lately. Why? Because it has come to my attention that a lot of what I either used to consider normalities or had accepted as anormalities in my personality fits in with the picture of a well-socialized aspergian. My mother attests to this, but then again, she is rarely skeptical whenever I recount my experiences. (And how could she be? After all, only I know what happens in my mind. But it seems that sometimes I don't know, and I'm not sure how I interpret it either.)

My scores on various tests indicate that I could very well be right about such an assumption. Actually, I took one of those tests without any prior idea of how I would score or what really characterizes the mind of someone with a light (or, to a certain degree coped-with, if that makes sense) degree of Asperger Syndrome, and my unusual score compared to that of other people I know surprised me and worried me somewhat.

That my way of perceiving (or even not perceiving) the world could generally be called "strange" or "different" has been clear to me ever since I was very young. For a long time I assumed that other people somehow must be less smart than myself, yet I always felt that I was the one who appeared less smart compared to them in any area except schoolwork, bookly knowledge and the like. It didn't matter to me as I valued my form of intelligence more than theirs. As a kid I thought my way of thinking was more "adult" as a result of only socializing with adults until school age. As a teenager I thought it simply to be more "conservative", and when I got even older I had accepted it as just "quirky". People tell me that I always seem to try to be different, and even though I feel that they are wrong in this assumption, I don't try, I'm just being honest, I cannot honestly claim that I don't somewhat enjoy this position. All people believe themselves to be exceptionally unique, but few people are believed as such from their surroundings as well.

So then, the conclusion so forth seems to be that yes, I am not like everybody else. But who is?
Is people's strangeness jugded from their actual personal experience or simply from their actions, or in other words their ability to conform to social standard? Do they do what is expected because it is natural and integral to their personality, or because of a feeling of duty? And if it is indeed integral, is this a result of socialization that has made that which is expected internalized? And likewise, don't some people just have a natural wish to be non-conformist?

I think these questions are very relevant to consider if one is to make an accurate analysis of whether one's brain is unusual enough to be deemed "differently wired" or not. There are, as of today, no brain scans that can tell us what sort of brain a person has. A diagnosis is largely based upon your own experience of yourself as questioned by a psychiatrist, as well as observation of your mannerisms and testing of various skills. This is a flawed system, in my opinion, or at least, terribly difficult to work with.

Because I could easily throw tons of rock-solid "evidence" at you, yet you could probably also give me some time figuring out "alternate explanations" for all of these aspects of my personality, and I would most certainly come up with some highly plausible theories. I could also ask my friends about various things like "is this a normal way of thinking/acting/feeling?" and no doubt some of them would say "not at all!" but depending on the question, there would probably be at least one that could identify with it as well. Then what is left to define the cause of one's strangeness?

Is it simply the presence of a certain amount of symptoms at once? The degree to which they affect one's daily life? And how do you measure that, when it differs so much how good people are at accepting themselves, adapting to their surroundings, or even denying their own feelings?

All this fuzziness makes it easy for people to say "oh my, the symptoms fit me!" and thus start self-diagnosing. And you can never really judge their accuracy because all people are so different, whether they have AS or not. But then, there isn't much left to define your condition. And one may ask oneself what becomes the point of proclaiming it.

This is why I feel that it is important to get a professional opinion on the issue.

What really scares me, though, is that people can trick others into believing they have AS in order to have stronger foundation for voicing their opinions on ASD issues. What is even more scary is that they often represent popular "feel good politics" that many people embrace without questioning where it comes from.

To be fair, they more often would call themselves "autistic" and not AS, all the while intentionally misleading people into thinking that they speak for any severely autistic person. This is something I encountered when researching autism back when I was working with autistic kids. I also read up on Down Syndrome since I worked with a kid who had that condition as well (...but no person could ever fake having DS). I was once again scared out of my mind by the amount of crap the public will take as long as it is the happy kind of crap. One spokesperson for so-called "autism rights" is Amanda Baggs, a person that impressed me at first, but I quickly got the impression that something was "off" with her. She claims to be classified as Low Functioning, and she also claims to be non-verbal, yet she is able to communicate through typing. Okay, it might be possible, but some googling shows that not only didn't she become "autistic" until age nineteen, which in itself is impossible, she also started acting so severely disabled as to the point of having to wear adult diapers. It's not difficult to find pictures of her from her teens where it is obvious that she is in no such condition.

But people want to believe her words, because they are so pretty and hopeful and it is what people need to hear, and it would be both terrible and impractical to have the dream of Amanda Baggs be crushed.

Yeah, I'm just saying what all people know me to say about just about anything - it's gotta be scientific, and it's gotta be real, bitch!

Drugs, alcohol, and depression

This sounds like the saddest title ever. But in a way these things are easily combined, although they are very different. The general opinion of society appears to be that drugs are bad, alcohol is good, and depression is something we don't want to talk about. The first two are used as a simple (though not very effective) form of self-medication against the third. ...what am I trying to say in here?

It's that these are three of the things that there seems to be a consensus about in society. The fourth must be sex, but it doesn't fit into the theme of this post.

Drugs are BAD BAD BAD for you. People are terrified of drugs. Images of junkies living on the street spring to mind. It's criminal, it's addictive and what's for sure is that you WILL DIE from it.
And of course there is a very valid reasoning behind this mindset. But there are also big differences between types of drugs and their usage. A lot of this shit is pretty bad, but sometimes there are other problems that demand much more attention, which brings us to…

alcohol‚ a gift from the gods! Any social occasion that is worth you while needs loads of alcohol to go with it. You are meeting your preferred group of friends? Better make sure to bring enough beer, or money to buy beer if you're going out. You're not drinking, you say? At best you are just a weirdo, at worst you are a stuck-up representative of the Moral Police. It doesn't matter what day it is, who you are, where you are going, what your taste in beverages usually is - if you are above the age of 18 you WILL be drinking, and very happy with this superficial kind of social life.

Unless you are one of those depressed idiots that don't want to see anyone. Among other people, depression tends to be seen as a) rock'n roll. or b) "get over yourself already!".

When conjuring up the image of the rock'n roll type of depression they think of a mysterious‚ movie-like character with very interesting life problems, and maybe also a troubled past. This person is living on the edge and doing exciting (and maybe stupid, but still cool!) things in order to find meaning in his or her existence. S/he is of course remarkably physically attractive, in that mysterious, alternative (but not loser kiddish alternative) way. On the outside such a character may appear fearless, tough, suave, nonchalant, even, but on the inside they are suffering deeply. Of course all that is needed to end that suffering is that they find True Love, which in true movie style renders them as stupid as the surroundings they originally stood out from.

Oh, all the trouble and depression makes for such a dreamy character! You want to fuck her or be her‚ most of all both at once, although any option is impossible because this image of a person has nothing to do with reality. Unfortunately, true depression does not manifest itself in such a glorious way.

Then we have the other type of view people have of depression, which is that of a whiny person with nothing to complain about, who should get out more and see other people. The stress being on other people, because we sure as hell don't want to console Miss Crazyface. She needs to get laid. Badly.

This actually DOES bring in the fourth thing I mentioned in the beginning - sex. It is seen as the eternal solution to all your problems; if you have enough good sex everything else in your life sorts itself out, as if by a magical spell. If you are grumpy, or sad or in any other way not behaving as expected it must surely be because your sex life is lacking in some way. If the people around you know for a fact that you are not getting laid‚ you will not hear the end of it - either directly or indirectly.

And what if somebody were to speak up and suggest that sex, or even romantic relationships, is not the most important thing in life? Or that if your friends are actually worth their salt‚ you don't need to be drinking every single time you look into their faces? Or in any other way challenge these ideas people have of what is "good" and "bad" in life?

(Yes, I know that my mood these days, weeks, months is not very light-hearted, but I still believe these questions are interesting and important.)


Popsicles are the best for hungover days.

But if you don't have any, chocolate milk will do.

I was staring emptily into the air, or maybe looking like I was observing the kitchen counter very closely. I had drunk half a liter of chocolate milk.
"Are you alright?", Roomie asked, like she always does. It seems that quite often I act in ways that signal to her that I can't be alright.
"Yes," I said, like I always do.
She was taking out a blackened pizza from the oven. Her ex-girlfriend was waiting in Roomie's bedroom.

I decided to take a shower, and while in the shower it suddenly occured to me that the song called "Yes! We Have No Bananas" is a terribly sad one if you know French. Avoir la banane, "to have the banana" is an expression in French which means being happy or energetic. Not having even a single banana in French must therefore be a somewhat unfortunate situation.
In the song they even say that they do have onions, which makes it even worse because, obviously, onions make people cry.

So I made myself a new El Jay account, and made that the title: "Yes! We Have No Bananas", only in French, so that one can really tell what the true meaning of this song is.