Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

You're not safe either, dude

Hey, you.

Yeah, I'm talking to you, dude—the guy over there biting his fingernails and getting all stressed out about the devastating autism epidemic that's supposedly going to destroy life as we know it.

I just heard some interesting news. The psychiatrists who have been working on the DSM-V decided to add some new disorders. Not to upset you or anything, dude, but it looks like you might meet the diagnostic criteria for one of them, Apocalyptic Melodrama Disorder. Symptoms include high levels of anxiety, irrational fears of catastrophe, and significant impairment of the ability to think rationally about news reports.

You say there are no scientific research studies that would support giving anybody a label like that? So what? When has that ever stopped the psychs before?

Okay, you think I'm being absurd. You're sure nothing like that could ever happen. You believe you're completely safe because there's nothing wrong with you.

And you know what? That's exactly how I would have reacted if anyone had warned me, a decade ago, that I belonged to a group of people who soon would be shunned worldwide and treated like defective subhumans because of the newly created concept of an autism spectrum. If anyone had told me that my tax money would be used to fund eugenics research to "combat" the existence of people like me, I probably would've laughed in his face and asked him what the hell he'd been smoking.

Live and learn.

I'm sure you haven't paid any attention to a word I've said. You're too busy enjoying the comfort of your peaceful little bubble of social conformity, secure in the knowledge that you're just like everyone else. You're normal... at least for now.

Oh, by the way, it might be a good idea for you to go visit a manicurist and get something done with those nails you've been biting. After all, you wouldn't want anyone to think you were exhibiting a symptom of a mental disorder. That would be very bad for your career prospects and your civil rights in general, you know.

Dude, I'm just trying to be helpful.

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  • I'm curious about something. Where did you hear about this? I searched every database that Google makes public and the only reference to "Apocalyptic Melodrama Disorder" is yours. There also is nothing that I could find remotely like in in the clinical sense either.

    Additionally, the DSM-V isn't even being written yet and won't be published until at least 2011 and probably not until 2012.

    By Blogger Christopher Estep, at 2:06 AM  

  • Christopher: I made it up. This is a spoof post. Sorry about the confusion... my point is that if our society doesn't become more accepting of neurological differences, any "normal" person could wake up one morning and discover that he or she was now regarded as "disabled" and a devastating burden on society, just because of a change in diagnostic terminology.

    And frankly, it scares the hell out of me that we live in a society where a few psychologists can have that much power to warp our lives.

    By Blogger abfh, at 9:13 AM  

  • Quite catchy though! Five years of nail nibbling seems a mighty long time. Might need to find something else to occupy the time.Cheers

    By Blogger mcewen, at 10:11 AM  

  • But the fact is we really are different but not disabled. The autistic spectrum was not created or fabricated by quacks but discovered through scientific observation. However I agree that this label just makes it easier for us to be discrimated against. Any identifiable minority group WILL be discrimated against in some way by the majority. This is a sociological fact. The nazis made the jews were yellow stars for this purpose.

    You seem to be longing for "the good old days" but those days are gone forever. You wouldn't even be writing this blog if the spectrum had not been discovered. Whether or not this knowledge of autism will be an advancement for us remains to be seen. It could be a huge setback as you believe.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:49 PM  

  • "Different but not disabled" worries me. Just as many people in the disability rights movement seem overly focused on certain common physical injuries to the point of forgetting about people with other disabilities that can't be fully accomodated with a wheelchair ramp, many people with specific disabilities seem to be jumping ship, and declaring themselves "not disabled". Deaf people frequently make this claim, and I've heard it presented in neurodiversity forums before.

    The problem, for me (a plain, ordinary cripple) is that it seems to be accepting all the bad ideas about what being disabled actually means. The logic seems to be "well disabled means there's something wrong with you, and you're not really capable of functioning without accomodations and assistance. I can function perfectly well in modern society with a pair of crutches I buy with my own money and no need for ramps, elevators, special parking, Social Security, Medicare, accomodated testing, or a personal assistant, and yet if I denied I was not disabled on these grounds, I'd be laughed at. Declaring your difference is not a disability but mine is, suggests there's something bad about being someone like me that you don't want.

    I don't think the intent of that comment was to distance autistics from the disabled by implying that you're not defective like us, but that's an impression that came across. And that kind of message in a public forum can reinforce the idea that the disabled are truly defective, and anyone who isn't doesn't deserve to be subjected to the label.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:54 AM  

  • Anon 1: I agree with your point that scientific studies of autism can have positive outcomes. See my next post for more on that.

    Anon 2: As I mentioned on Zilari's blog recently, because disability is a sociological category, we don't get any choice in the matter, any more than we get to choose our race. Basically, we're disabled if society says we are, regardless of our actual abilities or circumstances.

    By Blogger abfh, at 9:03 PM  

  • LOL! Brilliant as always!

    By Blogger Attila The Mom, at 12:50 PM  

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