20 July 2012

All I want to do is weep

It's hard to speak today, let alone write.

My chest feels empty, and when I breathe, I struggle not to start shaking and crying. I force myself to sound normal in conversation, will myself to write coherent sentences. I crave solitude and company all at once, time to process and time for comfort. It's easy to offer quick, sound-byte answers. It's easy to ask the rote questions every time something like this happens.

It's hard to just... think.

It's overwhelming. Overloading. Not the information. That I'll grab and absorb as much of as possible as quickly as possible.

It's the emotional assault. All of it, all at once, unrelenting, uninhibited, unfiltered, crashing over me and crushing me and pulling me downward and suffocating and smothering me. I can't process it. It's all of them -- the people dying, the people wounded, the people terrified, screaming, running, unable to will themselves to do anything, unsure what at all they could do, what they can do. It's the shooter. The responders. The shooter's family. The victims' families. The survivors' families. It's inescapable and unavoidable and mumbled and jumbled together; I'm terrified and disappointed and furious and lonely and grieving and resigned and shocked and waiting and desperate and sad and thankful and worried and anxious and aching allatonce. There's no logic to it. No cool, distanced objectivity. No capacity to make intellectualized arguments about the politics, the religion, the circumstances. There's only this untamed state of heart.

Language is far too inadequate a vehicle to fully describe this. But right now, it's all I have.

I'll throw myself into my writing.

If I keep myself busy, maybe I can forget.

This happens every time. The media uses the same words each time it happens. Senseless. Tragic. Horrific. Those words are so shallow now. They fail to convey even the smallest portion of what this is, what this means, how we feel. Language is too blunt and imprecise a tool.

There will be too many funerals next week, the week after, that should never have happened, shouldn't have to be planned, arranged, and paid for.

And I'm waiting. I'm waiting for it to happen. It hasn't happened yet, but I know it will.

Someone, somewhere is going to say that the killer was autistic. Or mentally ill. Or insane. Or sick in the head. His lawyers are going to take their cue from the media, from comments on the internet, from past cases, and they're going to put it into their arguments, whether or not there is any documentation about his disabilities or lack thereof.

When these things happen, there's always a second round of victims. And that's us, the neurodiverse. And we wait for it to happen because we know it will. It always does. Ableism is the inevitable byproduct of tragedy. And sometimes it comes from our own communities. I hear it from the mouths of some of my fellow Autistics, when they in the same breath reject the suggestion that a perpetrator is Autistic while declaring that he is just mentally ill. I hear it from parents, from journalists, from casual acquaintances. And every time, it cuts deeper, reopens the torrent of unidentifiable emotions mangled together in a bizarre and incomprehensible mezcla. It's a personal fitnah for me.

How can I begin to process that? I can't bring myself to read any more of the news because I dread seeing the accusation in print, in neat little quote marks where someone remarks callously, always so callously, that only someone who is mentally ill could do something so horrific and appalling.

No.

No. No. No. Your words hurt. Your words cut and damage and taint real people's lives, real people who suffer the indignities and consequences of your ableism, real people who are denied access to education and housing and employment and even relationships because your words hurt and people don't forget.

Don't use these times to perpetuate ableism. We already suffer enough for it.

It's coming. And there's absolutely nothing that I can do to stop it except wait for my emotional crucible to overflow again and pray for respite and focus. All I want to do is weep.

12 comments:

  1. [hugs-- I wish you strength and peace of mind]

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  2. Apparently, it was the Trekkies.
    http://gawker.com/5927731/

    I'm not trying to be cute, either. I'm thinking here in this idiot's mind, "Trekkie-like" may actually be a stand-in for the traditional ASD no-empathy line.

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  3. I understand, I understand all too well.

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  4. Lydia,

    A timely example today, of ableism, as one suggested as potentially diagnosable with the genetic associated disorder schizophrenia is referred to in the same paragraphs as sicko or crazy across the internet.

    Some people diagnosed with schizophrenia are evidenced as accomplished, and a few are highlighted because of acts that some potentially diagnosed with schizophrenia may have been associated with. But, schizophrenics are deserving of no less respect than those on the spectrum, regardless if that particular disorder is also technically referred to as mental illness, disease, or disorder, or historically associated with acts of violence among a small minority of those diagnosed.

    And then there are those usually at the rock bottom of the pecking order of functional disabling conditions of stigma, associated with the label still used by some, per psychopathy, among those evidenced born with the shallow ability to feel fear and pro-social emotion.

    Often referred to as monsters, but never the less human. Some evidenced as not harming anyone, stronger through cognitive effort, as opposed to motivation of the intrinsic reward of human connection that most humans find pleasure in. One can find that genetic association in combat or law enforcement, also at times associated with heroes, through the merits of their efforts in life.:)

    It feels good to be included, but it is evidenced as much harder to avoid excluding others, per the human element. At times it takes cognitive effort, at an almost heroic level:)

    A disadvantage of the general evidenced human predisposition of us vs them, as well as the desire to maintain order in one's world view.

    R/Kate

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    Replies
    1. Sure, especially since schizophrenia usually isn't correlated with any violence except suicide. Even disorders like ASPD (sociopathy) have low rates of violence as i understand it. Mental illness doesn't correlate with character. It's a shame that that fact isn't sensational enough for the media, or simple enough for ignorant people.

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  5. ((I know)). So much pain and more pain inflicted by our words. We must stand together and support each other, lean as we need to, speak up when we can.

    Here for you.

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  6. This is the only response I've found that doesn't make it worse. Thank you. If I didn't live on the other side of the world, I'd buy you a pint.

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  7. My comments, although brief, are here: http://paulacdurbinwestbyautisticblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/autism-aurora-shooter-and-actual-crime.html

    (I don't have comments turned on on my blog at this time as I have three work deadlines in the space of 1.5 weeks.)

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  8. You never cease to amaze me with your incredibly thoughtful, raw and eloquent posts. I am sorry that you were proven right about what would happen next...

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  9. A petition to sign:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/joe-scarborough-msnbc-retract-your-statements-about-autism-and-the-colorado-shooting

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  10. The petition for apology does not go far enough.

    Imagine Joe Scarborough has temporarily lost his sense of time and said something like:

    “As soon as I hear about this shooting, I knew who it was. I knew it was a young, BLACK male, probably from a GHETTO neighborhood, disconnected from society -- it happens time and time again…”.

    Joe would be fired on a spot by MSNBC in disgrace, because in our time it'd constitute a disgrace not pardonable by any reputable news organization.

    We should demand no less for what Joe said On Monday morning, July 23.

    The petition for apology does not go far enough. And the statement by ASAN expressing concern and disappointment regarding comments by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, is not what I would expect from “the leading national advocacy organization run by and for adults on the autism spectrum”.

    Joe Scarborough is apparently threatened by the prospect of Autistic People - “People that can walk around in society, they can function on college campuses -- they can even excel on college campuses”. He justifies and reinforces his claim of autistic “shooters” by his supposedly direct knowledge of the matter as a parent of his autistic son – a “frustrating, terrible challenge day in and day out” – thus making his claim more potent and bearing more weight. His apology is furthering the claim that Autistic people are a burden to society and must be remedied.

    We should demand that Mr. Scarborough is fired from his job in disgrace.

    Vorya Yarow.

    ReplyDelete

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