In the news

Well tonight’s post I decided I’d talk about two things I read in the news.

The first is a quickie… Click here to read.  A video taken of NSW police beating up an unarmed woman.  Of course, she’s the one who is charged, not the police.  Which is a typical response of state police these days it would seem. Of course I wasn’t there, but video doesn’t lie and police often do lie.  Their claim of course is that she punched them, but of course they refuse to produce the evidence of their claims.  As I wasn’t there, I can’t be 100% sure, but it sounds like many other cases – someone calls the cops on a person/people they are disagreeing with, the cops side with the person who made the complaint without investigating what actually happened, they lash out at the accused and violently assault them, then afterwards make up claims that the person assaulted them and despite having no evidence of their claims and lots of evidence of their brutality, they are allowed to get away with it.

And the second piece of news I was reading about in the last 24 hours is Rudy Simone’s “coming out” that she no longer identifies as autistic and that diet “cured” her aspergers.  For those who don’t know, Rudy Simone is a very famous author in the area of women and girls with aspergers.  I’ve read several of her books and found them really helpful.

While I’m a firm believer that a healthy diet can help to varying degrees with just about anything with a psychological component (mental illness, stress, ADHD, aspergers etc), it is by no means a “cure” anymore than painkillers are a “cure” for a broken leg.  A good diet for aspergers, is exactly like painkillers for a broken leg – it won’t fix the underlying condition but it will help those who are suffering from unwanted symptoms (eg meltdowns, shutdowns, anxiety etc for ASD, and pain for a broken leg) to quieten the unwanted symptom while the underlying condition is treated.

I’m not even sure “treated” is a good description for autism as it is a huge spectrum.  The relative difference a healthy diet would make really depends on how severe a person’s negative traits are (as everyone with ASD has various degrees of positive and negative traits of it), as well as what particular traits a person has more of (eg whether social anxiety is a big trait for them, whether they are an introvert or extrovert as you can definitely get extroverted aspies, etc).  I can imagine someone who has only mild negative traits finds diet sufficient to quieten their traits enough to “no longer identify as an aspie”, but firstly I find it offensive because it’s basically saying being an aspie is a negative thing and if a person can pass as not being aspie, then that is somehow “good”, and secondly, it ignores the overwhelming majority of aspies who have different or more severe negative traits where the healthiest diet in the world will make little or no difference.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against healthy eating.  I think a healthy diet is a fantastic idea.  It wards off so many physical health problems, it can have a good mental health effect (again, the effect varies from person to person and a healthy diet won’t cure a mental illness but it may have at least some effect on making a mental illness easier to cope with) and for those with chronic health problems, it can prevent or slow down deterioration sometimes.  But a good diet isn’t some magical cure to every health problem known to mankind.

To be honest, I’m pretty disappointed in Rudy’s “coming out” that she no longer identifies as having aspergers.  Aspergers isn’t something that goes away.  And it implies that it is something negative that needs to be gotten rid of.  Ultimately aspergers is just a different way of thinking.  Like the apple versus PC analogy.  Different operating systems have their pros and cons.  Depending on what you’re looking for in a computer or a person, will influence on whether you see the pros more or the cons more.  If price is a big deal for you, apples are going to suck.  But there are things apple computers are better for than PCs – if money is no problem, than an apple would be better for some people.

When it comes to aspie versus neurotypical, again it comes down to what you’re looking for.  I much prefer aspies because they are brutally honest, no gameplaying, and they think outside the box and don’t just follow rules for the sake of following rules.  So if you like brutal honesty and creative solutions, an aspie is for you.  However, if you want warm fuzzies instead of honesty, if you want someone who will follow orders without question and who will do whatever the majority does to fit in, then you’re going to prefer someone who is neurotypical.  I hate comparing people to objects, but it’s about the right tool for the right job – a hammer isn’t going to help you fix a computer (although it might make you feel better to take a hammer to your computer lol).

Ultimately it’s what frustrates me about the people who want to cure or get rid of autistic spectrum disorders.  First up, it’s genetic (whether it’s inherited or develops in utero – or more likely both depending on the person).  A genetic disease cannot truly be “cured” short of eugenics – which sadly a lot of people seem to want to do, looking for a test in utero for ASD or just outright aborting boy babies because they have fallen for the myth that boys have a much incidence of ASD.  But secondly, if society got its collective heads out of its collective bums, and just simply accepted people who are different instead of forcing people to all be lemmings blindly following the dictates of the majority opinion, then the majority of problems that people with ASD would disappear.  Some problems would still exist, but the reality is every single human being has problems and issues.  People who don’t have ASD simply have a different set of problems, they don’t magically have no problems at all.

I am proud of who I am, aspergers and all.  Having aspergers is in many ways a blessing.  It gives me my creative edge. It gives me the desire to not want to blindly follow the masses.  It gives me the positive parts of being obsessive compulsive.  And yes there are negative – I am incredibly socially awkward, I constantly am saying the wrong thing, I can only handle being around people for limited periods of time and more.  But I wouldn’t trade all the positives simply to get rid of the negatives.

Anyway, that’s my thoughts on some of the things in the news I’ve read in the last 24 hours.  I don’t really have any personal news to talk about tonight.  Survived work the last two days.  Counting down to holidays now – have three shifts next week if I can survive them, then four weeks off!

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