And I lack empathy?
I am frequently told I have no empathy.
In the 15 years since I was diagnosed, I increasingly am getting a negative and dim view, and low opinion of human nature and how human beings behave in last week and this year. It also confirms more and more, that thinking wise, I am pleased I am not a media sheep who doesn't have critical thinking abilities.
We have seen examples happen a very long time ago, when people sending death threats, bullets and razor blades in the post to the actor who played John Lindsay, in Coronation Street, who got Dierdre Rachid, played by the late Anne Kirkbride, sent to prison. Hundreds of people phoned the Granada switchboard up in tears over it. Rachid was freed after a week due to an appeal, in case you wondered. I considered making a placard saying "HANG DIERDRE RACHID".
Another example from many years ago was when the Sun newspaper and the now defunct NOTW whipped up an hate campaign against paedophiles. A paediatrician in Wales had her house attacked, there was a riot in Portsmouth and an innocent man was punched in the face three times because he looked like a paedophile.
Two months ago, 900,000 people in one week signed a petition demanding the reinstatement of a multi-millionaire Television presenter who was sacked for punching his producer full whack in the mouth. The producers crime was that he didn't make him a hot meal.
Hundreds of people sent the man who sacked the TV presenter death threats. Hundreds sent the victim who was punched in the mouth angry and threatening tweets on Twitter and then they sent a prospective female presenter of the show angry and abusive tweets.
That same multi-millionaire TV presenter, who lives in a Mansion in Chipping Norton, wouldn't lift a finger if they lost their jobs or were hit by cuts to services and provisions. He wouldn't give a shit. It wouldn't mean anything to him. He lives in a world a million miles away from the world they live in.
Last Thursday, the British public had the chance to get rid of David Cameron and his reactionary, awful and divisive Conservative government, responsible for benefit cuts, ATOS deaths and suicides of ill and disabled people, the cruel bedroom tax, where disabled people, including Autistic people, have had to move out of their house/home, where they have lived for many years, cuts to services, provisions, and who have targeted and demonised the vulnerable in society. Where rights to live in council houses are being taken away and Libraries are being closed..
They are demonised supposedly rational people, not realising or understanding that they are a pay cheque or step away from the dole queue themselves or joining them. The same supposedly rational people care more about a baby being born to a upper class couple in London and gush and say how wonderful it is, without caring about babies being cruelly hit by cuts elsewhere.
They say people on the spectrum have no empathy for other people. What about those who voted Conservative and back what Cameron and IDS are doing?
We have people having their benefits cut.
We have thousands of people on zero hour contracts.
We have an NHS which is under threat.
How do the masses react to this?
Largely with total and utter indifference or they say it isn't their problem so they couldn't care less. They refuse to sign petitions to stop all this.
Cameron and IDS will say when people are dying and starving and committing crimes or sanctioned or on workfare or wondering where their next meal is coming from "The people voted for it". And they did. Well I hope they fall on hard times. That would be karma.
The masses are wound up and have their views and emotions shaped by the media, such as lynch mobs wrecking the house of a paediatrician because the Sun whipped up an hate campaign against paedophiles, and a man was punched in the face three times because he looked like a paedophile even though he was completely innocent.
It just illustrates how self-centred, selfish, self-obsessed and narrow minded supposedly right thinking people are. Well if you think the last five years have been tough, I am warning you that they will have seemed like a picnic. You will almost look back on the last five years with some element of nostalgia by the year 2020. I have a very dim view on human nature and how so-called rationally minded people think and I am told I have no empathy and don't think right! Who has no empathy when they vote for a government like this one?.
Your rebellion is not my rebellion
In life, I am a bit of a rebel. Most people equate being rebellious with dying your hair blue or orange or purple, or some think it means arguing with your parents, contradicting them, telling your Teachers to F-ck off, being disruptive at school or having minor run-ins with the law or just being contrary or even nicking cars.
No. I am not like that.
My rebelliousness has been illustrated by showing differences with what I was brought up and rules which society insists that you conform to.
I was brought up to respect people older than me. That is horseshit. I respect people of all ages, whether they are older than me, my age or younger than me, but respect has to be earned not given.
If someone older than me is acting like an asshole or a prick, then I wouldn't want to know them, and I would not respect them, regardless of how old they were. I was brought up not to cheek people older than myself.
If someone older than my age is talking crap or says something I object to, then I might either tell them so to their face or cut them dead and blank them.
If I am talking horseshit and a 20-odd year old told me, I would say "That's your opinion" not "Watch who you are talking to".
Similarly if I was a kid and some older adult had sexually molested me, why should I have stood for that and let them do it?
I was brought up to give my seat up on a bus for someone older than me. If I was on a bus or train and I saw a person with Cerebral Palsy who is younger than me or has difficulties in walking, I would give my seat up for them automatically. I was walking the other day and this bus pulled up. I helped this woman, aged about 22, get on a bus with a pram. Not because I felt it looked good or was good for my image, but because I felt it was the right thing to do.
If I saw a sprightly or vigorous 70 year old get on a bus, I would refuse to give my seat up for them. If I saw someone who was 70 struggling to walk, I would give my seat up for them. I wouldn’t tell or demand a 16 year old to stand up for me just because I am older than they are.
The same applies that you shouldn't swear in front of women and kids. I have heard some foul-mouthed men. I have heard some foul-mouthed women and I have heard foul-mouthed children. Effing and blinding it constantly.
There is this idea that we should criticise kids and revere the elderly; I have met some nasty, unpleasant and spiteful old people and pleasant and well-behaved children and vice versa.
We are told we shouldn't speak ill of the dead. What if that dead person is a rapist or a paedophile or a serial killer or a total and utter bastard? What if you didn't like them? Why shouldn't you speak ill of them? That is total and utter hypocrisy.
That is my rebellion. Not stealing cars or telling teachers to fuck off or dying my hair.
My rebellion is not what many people call rebellion, or think of as being that, but it is to me.
Imagine if it had been the other way around
The Joshua Davies crime and incident finally was written about by Fiona Phillips, no relation to myself, in the Daily Mirror. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/aspergers-boy-paralysed-escaping-bullies-4172673
That however, was the exception, rather than the rule. There is still a general indifference and silence about it from the mainstream media. The local news where he lives probably have covered it in depth, but it is not the same as the national press. It won't have the same impact. Nor would it if there was a campaign on social media.
I saw this article from the Daily Mail newspaper, on Monday. A paper not usually known for its devotion to such matters, though they did launch a campaign to jail the killers of Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager murdered by a white racist gang in April 1993. Those responsible were finally put behind bars in January 2012.
Then there was this website:
I fully agree with these causes, but there should be something like this regarding hate crime in society, with celebrities and high profile figures backing it and speaking out against. The present position with hate crime is where we were with homophobia 30 years ago and racism 40 to 50 years ago.
The only reason I can think that the Lee Rigby incident and the 82 year old woman's murder last week both made national headlines for days on end, had pages and threads devoted to them on social media, columns written and generated national outrage, whereas the Joshua Davies incident has been virtually ignored by social commentators, columnists, the national media and social media, is due to three factors. Identification, fear/paranoia and manipulation of the public by the media.
Think about it. Most of the British population are NT's. The media is ran by NT's. Therefore, they see that the Joshua Davies incident as more or less irrelevant. They aren't Autistic. Many of their family isn't Autistic. So why should it bother or concern them, as they feel it is unlikely to happen to or affect their lives?
The public and masses have been, since the 9/11 trade center attack, been whipped up into a frenzy regarding terrorism. They see that the beheadings could happen to anybody at any time, and fear they might be next, when in reality you are about as likely to be run over by a bus. That is not to say that beheadings are acceptable by any means or that I am condoning them! Far from it. They are brutal, savage and horrid. You must have a deeply disturbed mind to even think about something like that, let alone doing it.
It is an hard fact though that bombings and beheadings don't, and aren't, thankfully, common. Yet many people are paranoid that they will be next to be blown up or beheaded, but on the other hand, treat the isolation, marginalisation or bullying of disabled/special needs people with indifference.
I have seen negativity and demonisation creeping in media coverage of Autism and Asperger's in recent years. Like what has happened with Schizophrenia and ADHD. You mention ADHD to people and often they ask why you aren't in prison or bouncing off walls or stealing cars. Once a stereotype gets formed in the public's mind, it takes a lot of hard work and education to change it.
There was a school shooting in the USA in December 2012 by somebody called Adam Lanza, and it understandably received intense and worldwide coverage, but so did the fact that Lanza allegedly had Asperger's. Earlier this year the media were at it again when somebody else, allegedly with the condition, went on a rampage in the USA and shot six people and injured 13 others before ending his own life.
I just wonder what coverage Joshua Davies would have received if he had done that, in the national media and social media, or if he had been responsible for an NT person falling from a bridge, breaking his spine in four places, and never walking again as a result?
This happens and the media just don't care
On the 17th August 2014 an 18 year old male with Asperger's, fell, broke his spine in four places, and will, as a result, never walk again.
You probably won't have heard about this in the media. It has hardly been mentioned. Not on social media forums, apart from ITV News on Facebook. It has hardly been mentioned on the national news.
He now will have to face and come to terms with a permanent and life changing, not to mention mentally and physically devastating disability, as well as his Asperger's, which presented challenges in its own right. This was compounded with society misunderstanding him, and ignorance and bigotry.
You might say that this is a tragic event or accident, and very sad for the young man, and his family, but, not really worth mentioning. Tragic and devastating accidents such as this do happen. There is one exception though. This wasn't an accident. It was caused because he was running away from bullies, whose hands Joshua had been suffering at for five years. Earlier this summer he refused to buy alcohol for local youths. For that, somebody jumped on his back, and started hitting him on the back of his head. Joshua retaliated and was charged for assault, making him scared to defend himself again.
South Wales Police said it dealt with three allegations of assault against Joshua between April 2011 and June 2014. This still happened. Such is life. Such is the law.
This incident has hardly been featured on the national news. No politicians or celebrities have spoke out against it. If they have, I haven't heard them. There's been no condemnation of it from Ed Miliband or David Cameron or Nick Clegg. There has been no national uproar or outrage. There have been no campaigns demanding that those responsible are brought to justice. Nobody has launched a "Justice for Josh" page on Facebook or Twitter. It hasn't made the front pages of hardly any national newspapers.
Yesterday an 82 year old woman was beheaded in a garden in North London. This was an horrific and barbaric murder. It also received gallons of media attention and publicity. Umpteen threads forums devoted and dedicated to it on social media. Pages and pages in the national newspapers. People demanding the shooting, hanging, and repatriation of all Muslims. It seems much of the public are enraged, just as they were, (rightly) over Lee Rigby's murder on 22nd May 2013, another horrible, brutal and savage crime.
The victim has been named as Palmira Silva. I send my condolences to Ms Silva's family. Her murderer, Muslim or not, is a brute, who has to be locked away for a very long time, if not for the rest of his natural life. If you can have such a disregard for human life, then you are a danger to the public and should not be mixing with them.
Why though, does one cruel and brutal crime receive wall to wall coverage and attention and the other almost indifference?
What has happened to Joshua is a hate crime, which is as much as a social evil as racism, but whilst the latter is now a stigma (Rightly so) in society, the former is hardly mentioned or recognised. If those responsible are caught, they should receive at least five years in prison, their parents should be prosecuted and they and their parents should pay for his care for the rest of his life.
If the media aren't talking about the beheading in North London, they are talking about the middle east situation, which was partly created by us invading Iraq illegally in 2003. Or they are talking about X-Factor and Big Brother.
It makes you want to weep.
I think a Facebook group should be set up in support and demanding the convictions of those responsible.
Imagine if they had done it to a black man or an OAP. Imagine the outrage that would be occurring instead of the almost indifference from the media and society we are currently getting.
The variations of being normal
People talk about "Normal" or why can't you be "Normal". For me that is a very subjective word. It also changes with time.
It is December 2013. In December 1913 if you committed child abuse or were a pedophile, the chances were you would almost certainly have got away with it, as that sort of thing was not discussed in society back then. Nowadays it is viewed with horror and if you commit either act you will be looking at a prison sentence and will have to be protected in prison to stop other inmates from getting at you.
If you were a homosexual back then and were caught in a relationship with another man, you would be sent to prison or at least to see a psychiatrist to be cured. As late as the early 70's homosexuality was seen as a mental illness. Nowadays the age for homosexual sex is the same as heterosexual sex in the Western World, and gay marriage is allowed. What was seen as odd in the past is seen as normal now. Abortion was banned until 1967. It is legalised now in the UK. Who would dream of banning abortion or criminalising homosexuality now or turning an eye to pedophilia?
The slave trade was once seen as normal and so was viewing the mentally ill as being possessed by the devil. Who believes either are now?
It changes where in the word you live. What is seen as "Normal" in one culture or in one part of the world isn't in another.
So what actually is this "Normal" that people talk about? Is it how you behave? How you dress? Your lifestyle? The music you like? Your political views? Your religious views? Your views on morality? Where you like to go for a holiday?
What can it be when it changes so much with time, geography, culture and interpretation?
Thinking Outside The Box
In life, we all have our own strengths and talents, that's what makes us individuals. For me what is termed as intelligence can be measured in numerous ways: Academic, Linguistic, Numerical, Practical, Sporting, Emotional, Common Sense, Ability to make money, Cunning even. I find that the "Academic" curriculum, or education system in the UK or that style of learning suits people who think inside the box. There is a certain kind of free-thinker who prospers in education, but you can find that people with AS, Autism and ADHD/ADD, and Dyslexia have problems because they think outside the box. Some even throw the box away! Unfortunately in mainstream education unless you fit neatly into that box you're can be branded thick or be held back, which is not a good start to life for any young person. Sadly, as a result, and I am talking about NT people as well as non-NT people now, due to this they can develop and grow up with low self-esteem, which can get worse and worse as the years pass by.
I can find it difficult to follow instructions.. particularly when they are spoken, due to processing problems or misunderstanding what I am told or what the person speaking to me is trying to say. Sometimes instructions can be not very clear or long-winded, and by which time I lose interest or miss pieces out. Sometimes they can be vague. If someone shows me how to do something practically, it's much easier for me to do it. I seem to always do well on my own instructions and thinking but not always on other people's. When I am interested in something I hyper-focus and can read through it quickly and I understand things very fast. When I am not, I have to read, and re-read it so the information goes in, and that means writing it down as I read. I often become tired if I am not interested when trying to concentrate, because my brain is having to work twice hard to process information. Of course I can do it, but it is harder. I always seem to learn and do better in life with smaller groups of people around me. Like I have said before, I can function fine socially when I have to mix and converse with up to about eight people at once. When it starts getting more than that I struggle. In large groups I am often nervous and anxious.
Never make the mistake in thinking lack of academic success is due to low or lack of intelligence. It can be, but more often than not, there are plenty of reasons why it occurs, and low or lack of intelligence is rarely one of them.
Naturals and Strugglers See Different Things
How many times have you heard it said that someone is a natural at doing something? Be it playing football or learning to drive or drawing or photography or anything else. I am not sure I subscribe to the "Naturals" theory anyway. There have been plenty of people described as "Naturals" when learning to drive, particularly when at the ages of 17 or 18, and have passed their driving test first time, only to crash their car in the first fortnight and totally write it off, whereas many other people have passed third and fourth time, and have drove for many years without a point or ticket to their name, or without being involved in any kind of accident or incident, so you have to ask who is the natural?
Communication, interacting and socialising, along with reading other people and their body language and processing what they say, is second nature to the vast majority of people who are not on the Autistic Spectrum. You could say they are naturals at it and that it is as natural to them as blinking is to me. They probably don't even think about doing it. As a result, when it comes to socialising, communicating, interacting and processing spoken information, I will refer to those not on the Autistic Spectrum as "Naturals".
Yet most people on the Autistic Spectrum have to work very hard at doing it and are often worn out mentally and emotionally by having to do it, particularly if they have to do it for too long or if there are too many people around. I know I am.
I have a theory on why I can see through people or am rarely taken in by them, despite struggling in social situations or not being able to read them very well, whereas a lot of naturals in social situations often are taken in by unsavoury characters or dishonest people or can't see bad in others. Perhaps is because I am too busy focusing on them, and weighing them up, and not on the conversation, whereas a lot of naturals focus on the conversation. Eye contact, taking turns and body language come to them like blinking does to me. In situations such as that, I think to myself "He's alright. I don't like him, and I will work him out the next time I see him", and do you know what, I am very rarely wrong in my judgement or assessment of people... I don't know if it is a vibe I get or a hunch I have or intuition when I study them. I can't explain it, but I can explain that I am very rarely wrong in my judgement and assessments of other people.
I can only conclude that in social situations, people who are naturals and those who struggle see and process different things.