Autism Acceptance Month Is Nerve-racking and Traumatizing

We’re enduring the worst Autism Acceptance Month ever as society rallies around the common cause of our abuse, control, and extinction, complete with celebrity extravaganzas. We can’t be online at all and not be faced with eugenics and behaviorism. It’s traumatizing.

My acceptance month blogging:

A passage to ponder:

We are marginalized canaries in a social coalmine and Rawlsian barometers of society’s morality. It is deeply subversive to live proudly despite being living embodiments of our culture’s long standing ethical failings.

Our non-compliance is not intended to be rebellious. We simply do not comply with things that harm us. But since a great number of things that harm us are not harmful to most neurotypicals, we are viewed as untamed and in need of straightening up.

If we were not threatening to the social order in some way, there would not be therapies designed to control how we move our bodies and communicate.

One of the best things that could come out of this is a wake-up call, because concepts like eugenics reassert themselves in every historical era-whether it’s Nazis talking about “life unworthy of life,” geneticists in Iceland talking about “eradicating” Down syndrome through selective abortion, a presidential candidate mocking a disabled reporter from the podium while bragging about his “good genes,” or autism charities framing autism as an economic burden on society. Resisting institutionalized violence requires perpetual vigilance.

Source: THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO AUTISM: On Hans Asperger, the Nazis, and Autism: A Conversation Across Neurologies

And community tweets to explore:

Unchosen Family

So many people around the world are not accepted by their parents or their family for who they are.

Source: Rina Sawayama: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert – YouTube

Here’s a heart-strumming rendition of “Chosen Family” from Rina Sawayama (starting at 8:29).

Tell me your story and I’ll tell you mine

I’m all ears, take your time, we’ve got all night

Show me the rivers crossed, the mountains scaled

Show me who made you walk all the way here

Our unchosen family are the rivers crossed and the mountains scaled. They are who made us not just walk, but trudge, all the way here. They chose bigotry and rejected moral autonomy, and us.

We collected chosen family along the way, better family by far.

We don’t need to be related to relate

We don’t need to share genes or a surname

You are, you are

My chosen, chosen family

So what if we don’t look the same?

We been going through the same pain, yeah

You are, you are

My chosen, chosen family

Source: Rina Sawayama – Chosen Family Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

To all those stuck with or cast out by unchosen family, wondering where they belong.

Previously,

Type Integrity: Falsification of Type, Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome, Minority Stress, Masking, and Burnout

Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome is what happens when someone pretends to be something they’re not on an everyday basis. It is exhausting and soul-eating. This greatly contributes to the high level of mental illness in the trans community or autistic burnout in the neurodiverse community.

Source: ysabetwordsmith | Poem: “Type Integrity”

Well said, and with interesting links I’ll quote from below.


For purposes of sharing her observations in a more formal manner, Taylor arrived at the acronym PASS, Prolonged Adaptive Stress Syndrome, to describe the eight commonly observed symptoms that may be present in varying degrees in individuals who have spent years living an energy-exhausting lifestyle.

  1. Fatigue
  2. Hypervigilance
  3. Immune System Suppression
  4. Reduced Function of the Frontal Lobes
  5. Altered Neurochemistry
  6. Memory Problems
  7. Discouragement or Depression
  8. Self-Esteem Problems

Source: Prolonged Adaptive Stress Syndrome (PASS) – Arlene R Taylor PhD, Realizations Inc

That wasn’t written specifically about autistic masking and burnout, but it sure does resonate.

Related:


we call “falsification of type” the development of some typological attitudes that allow the creation of an adaptive functional persona, through the repression of our “natural” gifts. This adaptive persona is developed for the sake of acceptance and adaptation to different environmental contexts.

Sometimes it is difficult to realize one’s natural gifts, due to an over-identification with an adaptive persona. And a person might be extremely good and skilled with “false gifts” since they were trained and developed over a long time.

The way to encountering the deeper Self and ones natural gifts is not necessarily thinking about what one is good at, but rather noticing what brings enjoyment, meaningfulness, abiding pleasure, ease and peace. Each of us knows, at a deep level, what brings those qualities, independent of how much space and time they have in our lives. They are qualities of being, not qualities born from living falsely.

Source: Falsification and the Un-lived Life – Giftcompass

Again, that wasn’t written specifically about autistic masking, but “over-identification with an adaptive persona” sounds like my life before learning about masking and burnout from other autistic people.


As we come to understand depression in the transgender community more accurately, it’s become clear that the major cause is what’s referred to as “minority stress;” that is, “stressors induced by a hostile, homophobic culture, which often results in a lifetime of harassment, maltreatment, discrimination and victimization.” The good news, then, is that as social relations and culture change over time, negative attitudes toward transgender people may be reduced, which will then reduce the stressors which trigger anxiety and depression.

Source: When Worlds Collide – Mental Illness Within the Trans Community — Lionheart

Related:

Why are there greater mental health stresses on autistic people from gender-minority groups? To quote from the research paper,

“The increased rates of mental health problems in these minority populations are often a consequence of the stigma and marginalisation attached to living outside mainstream sociocultural norms (Meyer 2003). This stigma can lead to what Meyer (2003) refers to as ‘minority stress’. This stress could come from external adverse events, which among other forms of victimization could include verbal abuse, acts of violence, sexual assault by a known or unknown person, reduced opportunities for employment and medical care, and harassment from persons in positions of authority (Sandfort et al. 2007).”

Source: Ann’s Autism Blog: Autism, Transgender and Avoiding Tragedy


I’ve experienced several moments of burnout in my life and career. Being something that I neurologically am not is exhausting. Wearing the mask of neurotypicality drains my batteries and melts my spoons. For a long time, for decades, I didn’t fully understand what was going on with me. I didn’t understand the root causes of my cycles of burnout. Finding the Actually Autistic community online woke me to the concept of autistic burnout. When I found the community writing excerpted below, I finally understood an important part of myself. Looking back on my life, I recognized those periods when coping mechanisms had stopped working and crumbled. I recognized my phases and changes as continuous fluid adaptation.

Source: Autistic Burnout: The Cost of Masking and Passing – Ryan Boren

Oh, hey, that’s me. 🙂

This sparks a future blog post idea: “Continuous fluid adaptation” and “over-identification with an adaptive persona”


Let’s conclude with a snippet from the poem that started this post and gave it its title.

So many others were encouraged

to throw off a false role and free

themselves from expectations,

empowering themselves

to find their own path.

Source: ysabetwordsmith | Poem: “Type Integrity”

Throwing off the false roles of adaptive personas “developed for the sake of acceptance” sure does feel good. I work toward a future where everyone is safe to do so.