I know I said I was going to address the opposing viewpoint at the end of my last post, but… well, you’ve read enough of this blog to know how I feel about that. So, that would be kind of redundant to do so.
What I wanted to talk to you about tonight (it’s not quite midnight at the time that I’m typing this) is a bit of a personal story.
Earlier tonight, I was picking up a few extra hours at work during a musical performance, when a particularly emotional memory came to mind. I’ve mentioned to friends a few times about this specific memory, but it never carried the same emotional weight as it did tonight.
To explain, I’ve spent much of my life in a bad mood. This could mean anger or depression. This memory occurred during a period of depression.
I remember I was very depressed around this time of year in 11th grade, so it’s possible that this moment may have coincided with that particular bout of depression. A bit of context: I was depressed because I sought companionship through attempts at dating, but nobody seemed interested in me.
I don’t remember how it started, but one of my teachers knew I was depressed and why and somehow got the entire class singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Being in the depressed mood I was in at the time, I wasn’t participating in the singing.
At one point, while the rest of the class sang, this teacher (I should clarify this was a history class) turned to look at me and said, “Remember that, JD.” Or some similar line to that extent. I remember the subtextual meaning of that sentence more than how it was worded. And it means a lot to me, even to this day.
For whatever reason, this memory hit hard tonight. I just wanted to share with you what I’m feeling in this moment. I want to make it a goal of mine to pay it forward. That moment came at a time when I really needed to know I was not alone. That’s a moment of healing I want to focus on paying forward for others who need it in the next decade.
This decade was drenched in so much anger and negativity. We all could use some emotional healing right around now.
It’s not Journey, but maybe it will help someone heal a little when they could use it the most:
Happy Winter Holiday Season with love. May you find peace with yourselves, within yourselves in the new decade. I’ll see you on the other side of New Year’s. Rock on, Spectrumites.
…And we’re political, already! We missed you, Jon…
Aww… I missed you guys, too. I just wanted to check in and give an update on where my head is at the moment.
Spoiler Alert: This post might get a bit heavy…
A number of… situations, I’ll call them… are affecting me recently. For starters… Okay, you know what? I’ll ease you all into this. Let’s start with the least complex and build from there.
After I processed the 2016 Presidential Election, I had posted on this very blog, an appeal for readers to, at the very least, attempt to get to know members of opposing political parties and, at bare minimum, try to understand why they felt the way they felt about their stances on important issues affecting Americans. From the events that have transpired since then, it appears my words had fallen on deaf ears.
We’re more polarized than ever before. My calls for unity are not to imply I at any point approve of any of the egregious attitudes the current administration has displayed over the past almost-two years. My words are to insinuate that domestic affairs facing vulnerable American citizens are not going to improve if we’re all too busy in-fighting to improve them.
In American society, citizens used to come together and discuss issues civilly and make minor concessions and compromises with each other, even though they may not entirely agree with each other on every issue. Although this meant that nobody got absolutely everything they wanted out of the solution they would then enact, it would provide a starting point to build upon and improve from over later incarnations of said solution.
Every man for himself
At some point–I can’t necessarily say it started with Donald Trump, but I have noticed this has become the relative norm at an alarming pace since he announced his Presidential campaign in late 2015–members of society stopped caring about what is needed for a healthy society to function, instead focusing on their own finances. Where the collective focus was once the benefit of the greater good of the people (in general), that focus has now shifted to an “every man for himself” scenario.
When students owe $1.5 trillion in student loans and don’t even have $1,000 in the bank each month with which to repay them, and the Secretary of Education cuts all programs designed to help these students be able to repay these loans without overextending their budgets… Is this really the society we want for our future? We’re willing to keep voting for the people who would give billions in tax breaks to corporations who don’t use it to expand the job market, but we as a society deem this acceptable?
Say what you will about the Affordable Care Act of 2009 (ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare), but that law gave the option of health care to millions of disabled patients who had been previously disqualified from having insurance because of pre-existing conditions such as, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cancer, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Lupus, Osteoporosis, etc. The key take-away from this is people were previously disqualified from having insurance because they held a diagnosis for a condition they had no control over having, but the ACA made them eligible for the insurance they needed to pay for the life-saving medical treatments they needed for the first time in their lives.
Then came the current administration… For the first time since it’s enactment, the ACA had not enough defenders in the government to stave off repeal. When Donald Trump’s administration released the revised list of what it considered a pre-existing condition, it had included sexual assault–a criminal act involuntarily forced upon the victim–on the list. To this day, the administration has re-asserted its intentions to repeal protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.
Obviously, you’re interested in ASD if you’re reading this; you are reading this on a blog devoted to an autist’s life on the spectrum as written by said autist (Autist, aspergian, spectrumite… Whatever gets you through this post…). Chances are, then, you either know or love somebody with ASD who will be impacted by such a repeal or know of somebody with ASD who will be impacted by such a repeal. …And they will be impacted by such a repeal. …And at a prevalence rate of 1-in-59, you probably do know or know of somebody with ASD who will be impacted.
What I’m trying to get at here, is vote. I’m not going to try to tell you who to vote for and how to vote, but I am going to tell you to vote. Period. Vote like you have children whose futures depend on the choices you make now. Vote like you have people who are counting on you to make the choices you feel deep in your heart are the best choices you can make in their best interest. Ten years from now, will you honestly be able to tell them you did everything you can to give them the best life you honestly could? How about twenty years from now? Thirty?
Vote because you can make a difference. If nobody voted, nothing would change. By not voting, you are guaranteeing that nothing will change. If you do vote, you have a 50% chance that the person you voted for will win and make the changes you want him or her to make. Isn’t that worth trying? Have we given up on each other as a society that much that we don’t even want to try to make life better in the future? And this is only one issue weighing on me, lately…
Thirty… 3. 0. …
This month will mark my 30th birthday–or as I like to call it, becoming six five-year-olds in the same adult body–and I generally get emotional at this time of year as I reflect on my life. This year is different for me for the obvious reasons.
Barren promised lands
If I had been fully employed by SAP’s Autism at Work program from the very beginning–as opposed to being brought on as an intern whose contract timed out after 21 months–I’d have had my first promotion right about now. Things worked out differently, as they had, and that’s not the case. I’m having a hard time in my mind reconciling with that. It’s just something I have to learn to emotionally accept… however much it still hurts and feels unjust in mind is just the way the situation is.
I had so many goals for myself by the time I turned 30, many of which I am not going to be able to accomplish in 18 days. I wanted to be employed–and appreciated in my work–with something tangible to show for it by now. That never happened. At least not with the being employed with something tangible to show for it by now part. I’m on the cusp of 30, and my resume is a small list of internships that ultimately led to more unemployment.
All I have to show for my efforts over the past 10 years are two degrees (a bachelor’s and a master’s), a failed wedding engagement, and thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt. This is not the life I’d imagined for myself by 30. I don’t even get called in for job interviews, which doesn’t really surprise me given my lackluster ability to get a job offer in the past.
It’s not even a lack of effort on my part. Nobody ever calls me back, and there’s no contact information available for me to contact the hiring recruiter. As time goes by, it becomes harder and harder to explain to my family why I’m still unemployed. The current statistics, which suggest 86% of autists are underemployed or unemployed, don’t help my ability to find work either, but that’s little consolation at a time when the economy is supposed to be exploding with new job opportunities on the market.
Bringing It In for a Landing
This has been an exceptionally long post, even for me. I just wanted to check in and let you know where my mind is at, emotionally. If you’ve read all the way to the end of this post, I appreciate you taking the time to do so. As much as I wish my life had more… fulfillment… in it, this is what my life is at the moment. There’s not much more I can do to change my situation that I haven’t already tried.
No matter what happens tomorrow, I wish all of you the best, as I would hope you all are doing the best you can with what you have. May you find peace with yourself, within yourself, and I’ll try to do the same. Life’s a journey; enjoy it while it lasts, I suppose?
Since before the inception of this site, even before I was approached by the Kinney Center in 2011 to start what eventually became The Aspie Epilogue, I have spent almost all of my time trying to shatter the ASD mythos, from which, all negative stereotypes are born.
If you’re a seasoned veteran of The Aspie Dialogues, you’d know that the biggest stereotype that I’ve always tried to shatter as much as I can is the notion that we are disabled. (Incidentally, if you’re a new reader, welcome aboard! I just wish we could’ve met on a lighter subject.)
In the past, I’d always viewed this notion of disability as the notion that there is something wrong with us, that we are broken and need fixing. However, I’ve come to realize something over the past two days:
That’s a fallacy. And you can quote me on that.
I’ve recently realized that my notion of disability was flawed and required re-examination. So, I did.
I’ve come to terms with the idea that disability simply means we have our limits, which we need to be careful how we approach.
Some people may have more limits than others; some people may strive to push their limits further. Others, may not pay attention to what their limits are and, rather unfortunately, they may push beyond those limits, past their comfort zones. This may lead to even less fortunate results.
About this time in 2012, I posted about poor life decisions on The Aspie Epilogue. Yeah… Those kind of results are what I’m talking about, here.
So, what brought all this on, in the first place? What could have possibly happened two days ago that could shake my faith in one of my core philosophies?
This past Friday night, I realized that I had to get a fasting blood test done the next morning. Not knowing if I should take my medications, I had to skip taking them. Twice. Once Friday night, and once Saturday morning.
Only, I had forgotten to take Saturday morning’s meds while there was still enough time left to take them before interfering with the evening dosage.
Needless to say, I could feel a tremendous difference. In fact, I almost had an outburst at the clerk at my local comic book store over a simple mistake. To his credit, he did handle himself very professionally; I was the clear jerk in this situation. I own that. It took everything within me to not have a meltdown and to simply move on without further incident.
That’s when it hit me:
I’m not just at a disadvantage, as I always liked to say on The Aspie Dialogues, I also have a condition that hinders my ability to modulate my emotions. In other words, I’m disabled.
I have limits that neurotypicals don’t have. I have to approach my limitations strategically so that incidents like the situation at the comic book store don’t occur.
So that was Saturday, but what happened Sunday after I’d had two doses of my meds in my system? The abridged version is: I ruined my mom’s good mood for the entire day. I mean, the. Entire. Day.
Once again, my emotions got the best of me and I snapped momentarily. It should have ended there, but once I started trying to dial back, all hell broke loose.
I wanted to talk it out, my mom didn’t, and we butted heads over that. Needless to say it got much worse (verbally) before it could get better. I ended up going to my friend’s house for the remainder of the day, while my mom took the rest of the day to calm down. The incident made her sick to her stomach for much of the day, even after it ended.
Emotions: 2; Jon: 0.
So, where am I, right now?
I’m at home, at the moment, and things seem to be quiet, now. Mom’s asleep, and Dad’s watching TV.
Emotionally, I’m scared out of my mind. I try to put up this facade that, “I’m not disabled; I have a disadvantage.” But let’s be honest and stop sugarcoating this:
I am disabled, and that puts me at a disadvantage. And that scares me. I’m scared for my parents, who have to put up with this from me, right now. I’m scared for my sister and her husband, especially since she just had my first niece last Friday.
Not to mention, I’m scared of what might happen if this happens in front of Vivi.
I have a beautiful, sweet girlfriend, who has never seen this side of me before. I’ve always tried to hide it from her for her sake, but by denying my limitations for so long, is that not the same as denying an inherent piece of who I am?
I honestly don’t know what she sees in me. I’m loud, I’m terribly out-of-shape, and I don’t even have that much hair on my head, anymore. (I’m under 30, by the way.)
When I look into her eyes, I see my whole world. I see everything I’ve ever wanted in a long-lasting relationship. I love her, and I want her to be safe and happy.
But how can I keep her safe and happy if I can’t trust myself to rein in my emotions properly?
Clearly, this is a discussion I plan on having with her in the near future, and I hope she sees this to know just how much she means to me. (And believe me, I love you with all my heart!)
I want our relationship to move closer, but I’m scared of myself after these recent outbursts. How can a relationship built on trust last, if one party can’t even trust himself?
So, what’s the bottom line, here? Am I saying that I want to break up for her sake? No. NO. A thousand times NO.
What I am trying to say is, that I’m scared. I see the possibility of everything I’ve ever wanted in my life slipping away, and I don’t want that to happen.
I want to push through this carefully and meet the next limitation I have to face pertaining to my disability. I want this to bring me closer with my loved ones in the end.
But if I’m going to do that, I have to face a certain very uncomfortable truth:
I am disabled, and that puts me at a disadvantage.
Here’s the catch:
Though I am disabled, and that puts me at a disadvantage, what really matters is how I cope with that disadvantage.
That’s the stage I’m at in all this, right now. I’m trying to sort out my coping method.
I’ve long believed that anger is inevitably temporary. That is, our minds and bodies don’t have the required stamina to keep it up forever. Either we get physically tired of it all, or it drains us mentally and emotionally. Anger exhausts us until we just give up on it. Even so, once that happens, it’s not always so easy to repair the damage anger causes in the end.
These last two days have taught me that.
Until next time…
May we find peace with ourselves, within ourselves.
Last week, I digressed for a moment to pay tribute to a personal source of inspiration for me. However, there was a snippet in there about negative emotions and the importance of letting them out.
LET ME BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS! There are right ways to do so, and wrong ways to do so!
So, this week, I wanted to suggest some ways to let these emotions out safely and appropriately.
1. Before starting any of these suggestions, you may find it helpful to talk to somebody you know and trust about what’s been bothering you. He or she (or they, if you speak to more than one person about it) may be able to help you and offer you guidance. Worst comes to worst, they can provide a shoulder to cry on. Just try not to discuss in public. Personal matters may be better discussed in a more personal setting. It’s up to you, though.
2. Take a deep breath and count to x. X can be any number you want. X could be 10, 100, 3, 50, whatever. It’s all up to whatever is most comfortable for you.
3. Go for a walk. You could walk for 20 minutes, a half hour, a full hour. Again, it’s up to what you’re comfortable with. Just let your loved ones know what’s on your mind before you do it, so they know you’re safe.
4. Exercise in general can be a good physical outlet. You’d be surprised by how much pent up aggression you can relieve safely just by getting some daily exercise in. These can be sit-ups, push-ups, lifting weights, going to the gym, whatever you want it to be. Just don’t overdo it, and don’t take it out on the equipment, either.
5. This may seem counterintuitive at first glance when someone else is causing an incident and making you upset, but hear me out. When this scenario happens, the other person wants to get a rise out of you. They want the power to control your emotions. Don’t give it to them. You can always walk away. You have the power to remove yourself from a tense situation before you become upset. If the other person sees he or she is not getting his or her desired reaction from you, this person is more likely to leave you alone in the future. This one may take more practice than the others, but it’s worth it in the end.
I hope this has been enough of a help to get you guys started. May you find peace with yourself, within yourself.
I’ve touched on this before; this is nothing new. Today is Valentine’s Day, or VD to some (and there is a reason for that which is inappropriate for this blog).
Let’s talk about what this holiday has meant in the past: People fortunate enough to be in relationships spend massive amounts of hard-earned money in the hopes of pleasing his or her partner. If you don’t have a partner, you become an outcast.
All this “love” only occurs one ONE PARTICULAR DAY OF THE YEAR. What happens during the rest of the year?
Life goes back to normal, as all these supposed “lovers” wait another 364 or 365 days (leap year) to express their love.
If you truly love somebody, you should want to express that love all year long. Valentine’s Day makes no sense whatsoever when love is thought of in its truest, purest sense.
So what do I recommend for the “singles” out there? Love.
Love those around you. All the time. The Beatles once sang that “the love you take is equal to the love you make.” This is true.
Love even though you are angry, hurt, and heartbroken.
For the rest of you, show the people you love that you care ALL YEAR LONG. Do something nice for them. Don’t cut them out of your life for a day just because of Hallmark. These people need someone to show that they care today the most out of all the days in the year.
If you truly love them, you’ll let them know.
May you find peace with yourself, within yourself.
PS – I love all of my readers. Without any of you, The Aspie Epilogue would not be what it is today.
This is the time of year that many people express their love for each other in explicit ways (second only to Valentine’s Day). Every year around this time, I see this all around. Perhaps a friend just announced a new relationship or an engagement. Maybe it’s people kissing under the mistletoe. Heck, it might even be those Hallmark Channel movies that depict a terrible portrayal of how love happens in the real world — usually around the holidays.
Then I look back on the past nine-or-so years of dating failures in my nonexistent love life… Suffice it to say, New Year’s Eve is the most depressing day of the year for me. Yes, it’s even more depressing than Valentine’s Day.
I still haven’t met anybody who’s willing to spend five seconds on a date with me. This year, I’m taking a different approach to my response.
Quite frankly, if you love somebody, you love them all year round. You don’t need one special day out of 365 to express it. You certainly don’t express it on that one day of the year just because Hallmark tells you to.
When we are kids (at least, when I was a kid), we were all taught that we were all special. On Valentine’s Day, everybody was told to bring enough valentine cards for the entire class, and we did. Fast-forward to high school, and it becomes painfully clear that not everybody is special enough to warrant being a valentine.
For those Puzzle Pieces who’ve learned this all too well, this is why I’m writing to you: WE ARE NOT ANY LESS SPECIAL OR LOVABLE SIMPLY BECAUSE OTHERS DEVOTE THEIR HEARTS TO SOMEONE ELSE. We will have our turn to experience this. I can’t tell you when or how, but it will eventually happen. Someday. That’s the only word of encouragement I can offer right now.
For many people — NT or otherwise — the holidays can feel empty. I know mine do at times. Sure, we give and receive gifts, but what’s the purpose of the gift in the first place? Is it because we need to fill some kind of void inside? Or is it because we care about someone so much, we want to make her world that much brighter, if only for a short while? I believe in the latter.
It’s almost sad to think how different the world would be if we all shared our love with those close to our hearts every day, not just during the holidays or on Valentine’s Day. Sadly, life doesn’t always work that way.
There are five different types of moments in our lives:
1. The Good – Perhaps you just bought that high-end item you’ve been saving up for for so long. Sure, it’s nice to receive something, but there’s more to life than that.
2. The Bad – Maybe your favorite sports team just turned over 48 points to the other team and lost the game. Yeah, it didn’t go your way, but you’re alive, fed, clothed, and you have a roof over your head. You can’t complain too much about that.
3. The Ugly – There’s been a death in the family, or your significant other left you for some other guy. These are the moments when you feel like life will never be the same again.
4. The Beautiful – Your wedding day, or maybe there’s a birth in the family. Either way, these are the moments that make life worth living when all else feels lost.
5. The Indifferent – These are just the everyday moments in your life. Nothing is special about them, right?
The Indifferent moments are an excellent opportunity to show someone that you care on a personal level. You don’t need a special day of the year to do that. Maybe it doesn’t even have to be a particular person. There are many people in our lives; you never know which one of them might need that reminder the most.
This year, even if you don’t have a significant other, show the people in your life that you care in some way. Eventually, you will find the person who takes you for who you are. Until then, may you find peace with yourself, within yourself.
My goodness, it’s been a long while since I last updated the blog with any substantial… well, updates (redundancy be damned).
The biggest update would have to be that I am a fully accepted graduate student now. No more of that silly provisional status.
My current GPA is a whopping 3.56 in grad school. I haven’t seen a cumulative number that high since high school!
I am now in the third week of my second semester out of five at SJU, and I could never be happier. Well, actually, that’s a bit of a stretch; I could have a job and my own apartment. Never let it be said that I look gift horses in the mouth.
Now that I know I’ve survived a round of graduate study, I’ve begun to think of what I might concentrate on in practical terms. I’ve always tried my hardest to help others. I am a creative writer. That creativity is my greatest asset, so why not combine my writing with my desire to help others (beside this blog)? What could I possibly have in mind for that?
It’s simple, really. I plan on finding out from my advisor how I would go about getting my Level I teaching certification for English at the Secondary Education level (that would be grades 7-12 for those of you playing the home game). I know I’ve said that many times in the past and haven’t followed through on that plan yet, but I’m gaining focus in my life beyond schooling. For the first time since high school, I have a solid plan for the longer term. My life will not lose its purpose after getting my master’s degree. That MA is merely a stepping stone for me. I’ve done some preliminary research on the Praxis requirements, and I’m fairly certain I can pass the Praxis II for 7th-12th grade English. Apparently, I don’t need to take the Praxis I — or rather its replacement test — because I already have my bachelor’s degree. Here’s hoping the best for 2013!
In other news, Valentine’s Day is coming up. Historically, I’d be depressed by now, but for some odd reason, I’m at peace with myself. I don’t know why, but I have more confidence about this year than in years past. I can’t explain the feeling nor can I explain what I’m thinking, but I’m more optimistic that I will be okay, even if I don’t have anything to do on February 14. I’ve been trying in vain to find a relationship for about eight years. Somehow, that doesn’t matter at the present moment. I just know that it will eventually happen. I have more important worries to focus on right now, worries like graduate school and making my goals a reality.
For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am embodying my catchphrase, “Find peace with yourself, within yourself.” That is the power of a stress-free moment of clarity. In case I don’t see you for another while, have a safe, happy Valentine’s Day!
P.S. – I realize I’d be committing a crime by not referencing Bugs Bunny in a post that derives its title from his catchphrase.
I thought in light of recent news coverage reports, I should jump in and offer my deepest condolences to those affected by the shooting that occurred on Friday, December 14, 2012. For far too long, incidents like this have been occurring across America. It seems that the only detail the mass media can agree upon is that the shooter may have had a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. This is in spite of numerous contradictory reports on everything from the shooter’s identity to the location of some of his victims. But let me assure you all of one thing. This is NOT the norm for puzzle pieces.
The media wants there to be someone or something tangible to blame for incidents like Newtown, Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc. If it’s not inadequate gun control, it becomes Autism. Can it really boil down to a single, one-size-fits-all, lowest-common-denominator? Most certainly not. This is a complex moral issue with many complex moral factors. To my understanding, there are multiple factors that have contributed to this particular incident:
1. Let me start with the most obvious. Guns. How did he get his mother’s guns? Why were these guns accessible to him? What do we do now to prevent tragedies like this from occurring again? This last question will be much harder to answer than the first two. Do we ban all guns? No. There are certain uses for guns such as Police Officers’ and Federal Agents’ protection when a perp pulls a gun on them. Population control is but another common use for guns. Do we make them much harder to get for the average civilian? Most certainly. The second amendment was written at a time when the British forces kept invading the newly formed United States of America. Since then, we have seen absolutely no foreign forces invading American soil in a very long time. Almost 200 years, if I’m not mistaken. Also since then, gun-related crime statistics have increased substantially. This can be attributed to the general public remembering we have a second amendment, but forgetting the whole reason why. Some choose to miss the point, entirely. There are others out there who feel that we need more guns for protection. I want to set the record straight, I am not simply “blaming guns” or advocating for “gun control.” Rather, I feel there has to be a better balance between the second amendment and sensible gun control and responsibility. Notice that the UK and Australia both have sensible gun control without outright banning them, and yet, their crime statistics have decreased substantially since those regulations were passed. So keywords here: sensibility and responsibility. That goes for any privilege. Yes I consider it a privilege, not a right, to own an object capable of blowing one’s own head off if one misuses it. The same goes for cars and anything else which requires immense responsibility.
2. Moving on to the next factor, the issue of whether or not Autism Spectrum Disorder had anything at all to do with this needs to be addressed. The argument for this one is that mental health treatment is very scarce in this country, and that it was his “lack of empathy” that is “characteristic of people with ASD” that enabled him to feel no remorse. I feel the need to address this before it spreads too far. Speaking as a puzzle piece, I know I’m not a shining example for emotional regulation. I will admit that I’ve destroyed enough inanimate objects around the house in an irrational fit of rage (those tend to be irrational, after all) over the years to fill a cemetery. This is normal to puzzle pieces. But here’s the important piece the general public needs to recognize. We typically do NOT premeditate a mass murder. Most of us… the VAST majority of us… shut down and withhold our emotions until they either A) explode, or B) fizzle out and we move on with our lives. Most of us explode at ourselves due to the fact that we do not have the communicational skills to tell others how we are feeling that day. In the event that we explode at others, it is a knee-jerk reaction to either A) our frustrations with our inability to communicate with others, or B) our over-stimulation to our very sensitive sensory perceptions and the frustrations that go along with that. I can tell you with 100% certainty that when I explode externally and tantrum (I still occasionally do, but it’s nothing like it used to be), it is because I am beyond my ability to adequately tell somebody, “Hey! What you’re doing or saying is upsetting me!” It usually tends to direct itself at my father, but that’s for a different post. And once these emotions do fizzle out (normally, I’ll just become terribly exhausted from my tantrum and force myself to calm down), I feel great remorse for my actions and take responsibility for them. I may sound violent when I am upset. I may say things like, “I’m going to beat you with a toaster.” But when that moment comes, I will typically just say something sarcastic and move on without the violence. And that is how I imagine the majority of puzzle pieces out there.
3. That all being said, I can now address the issues of whether or not mental health resources are adequate in this country. But before I do, I just want to say that Autism is a very social disorder; it likes to bring all of its friends when it crashes the party. Even if the shooter had a diagnosis of ASD, it was most likely simply the primary diagnosis, not the only diagnosis. There is a very high likelihood that there were other issues that went unchecked for quite some time. Now, then… I will go on the public record as saying that adults on the spectrum receive almost nothing in terms of treatment or resources unless it is a very symptomatic case. Just a few years back, I was told that my therapist and psychiatrist would no longer see me because of my age. I had just turned 21 at the time. Now imagine that, but you have no resources to begin with. That is the case with many, if not most, of adults with a psychiatric diagnosis (ASD is actually defined as a neuro-developmental disorder). Any of the resources that are available are only available to children under the age of 18. The system typically cuts them off at that point. The system knows how to diagnose an adult, but will usually not offer much outpatient help for it. This is a terribly underfunded aspect of the economy. The money is there, but it is entirely out of the patients’ pockets.
4. So let’s assume that A) guns were too accessible, B) he was Autistic (among other diagnoses), and C) could not obtain any treatment for his diagnoses. Most adults in this situation don’t typically do what he did. There had to have been signs that he was upset about something… signs that point to a very blatant stimulus. We all but know he was Autistic. Perhaps he was bullied in school and didn’t know how to express his emotions until they exploded into a flurry of premeditated bullets. His classmates are now starting to come out to say that he was very anti-social throughout this time. I would be, too, if I was bullied to a certain extent. All it takes is some unheard emotions and some reminder to make a person under duress snap like that. This wasn’t a typical, spur-of-the-moment “Ima punch you until you apologize” snap. This was a rare, premeditated “I will make you sorry and I know how I’m gonna do it” snap. The latter snap tends to come from years of psychological torment. If his teachers and parents were aware of these signs, they could have worked with him better to work through them. Together.
So what is my point with all this rambling? We can now paint a picture of what happened inside his head and how it was allowed to happen outside of his head. It is a picture that is all too common. So, how do we prevent tragedies like this from happening again? Simple. The key lies in understanding others’ and their human intelligence and respecting each other. If you suspect that your child may present a danger to himself or herself or others, you need to talk to that child NOW. You simply cannot wait and hope this doesn’t happen to you. There is nothing that you cannot solve together with determination and respect. If you feel that your child is beyond your help, seek professional help. If that fails, there is always the option to institutionalize him or her. More often than not, the personnel will be able to point you in the right direction, even if it’s only a temporary solution. If it is temporary, then it just may be long enough to help prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook Elementary School.
To say that because this one particular shooter was Autistic, that must mean all puzzle pieces are capable of this is an enormous fallacy to the greatest extent imaginable. We need to take each individual case as they come. But first, we must take ourselves to be a factor.
Please, I implore you tonight, hug your children. Let them know as much as you feel they can handle. Let them know they will always be loved, no matter what. If they ask, let them know that this is still a wonderful world full of hope and potential. Bad things do happen to good people. It’s up to each and every one of us to do what it takes to prevent this from happening as much as possible. Sometimes, when bad things happen to good people, we all play a role in it somehow. And above all else, TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WOULD LIKE THEM TO TREAT YOU. This is the most basic principle we all learn from childhood. Let’s keep this principle alive.
I hope that we may all find peace with ourselves, within ourselves and hope that we may start healing as a nation sooner rather than later.
Hey, guys! I know I’ve been gone for a while. I have something really exciting to post about, but I’m waiting for some more concrete details to come through first. I’ll give you a hint:
It was briefly mentioned in my last post a month ago.
To those who figure out what I’m talking about, I’m still waiting to hear back. To those who have no clue what I’m talking about, you’ll find out as soon as I find out.
In the meantime…
I previously gave up trying to find a date. Well, I’m still at square one, but I may have posted that in sheer depression. It’s not that I don’t want a relationship, it’s that I just can’t seem to find anyone remotely interested in me. And that brings me down. A lot. My friends have started noticing this, and well, I guess I am a little down about that. Calling off the moratorium, but the prognosis is not too uplifting right now. It’ll happen when it happens. Even though I really want it to happen now. Now if you’ll excuse me for just a little bit, I’ll be sure to have more details when I get them.