Thursday, 27 February 2014

Have you tried NOT having Aspergers?

To hell with your bullshit!
I have a magic bullshit-detecting eyebrow.  As soon as someone starts talking crap, it starts rising.

One thing that really makes it shoot up is skinny people who've never been fat talking about how easy it is to lose weight.

You know the ones: "Just eat less and move more!  Don't give me your tedious details about metabolism and insulin resistance and polycystic ovary syndrome and malfunctioning pituitary glands!  Ignore that awkward knowledge that most people who do lose weight gain it all back, plus more, within five years!  Stop using reality as an excuse and listen to my one-size-fits-all platitudes and accept that I know better than you because I've never been in your situation."

Excuse me while I retrieve my magic eyebrow from the ceiling.

The same sort of thing tends to happen when it comes to giving advice to people on the spectrum, particularly on matters of relationships.  I've had a fair bit of advice lately, whether I've asked for it or not.  And a lot of it boils down to "have you tried not having Aspergers?"

Seriously, "just talk to people" or "just be friendly" is not useful advice for someone who has an actual disability in that very area, any more than "have you tried breathing?" is a sensible thing to ask someone with airways disease.  Do you think it hasn't occurred to me to try that at some stage in the last 33 years?  What sort of chump do you think I am?  If I could just do it, I would.  The whole point is that I can't.

Bullshit 'advice' like this is a quick and easy way to prove you're either not listening, not thinking, or just don't know what you're talking about.

The other useless advice I've had lately has been of the simply impractical variety.  For instance, someone who knows I'm currently working full time tried their damnedest to get me along to a support group that meets midmorning on a weekday.  Even if I was interested, I simply don't have two free hours in the middle of a workday.  I don't know if it was naivete on their part - maybe in their job it doesn't matter if they disappear for several hours in the middle of a shift - or whether they assumed that because I'm on the spectrum, my job must be some inconsequential day-respite-in-disguise fluff where it doesn't matter whether I show up or not.  It isn't.

On Twitter the other day, someone was grumbling that after a decade with chronic insomnia, their doctor was still lecturing them on basic sleep hygiene like having a set bedtime.  It's the same situation here.  Advice is great, knowledge is power, and thank you for showing an interest, but if we've been living with this for years (or our whole lives) there's a pretty good chance just might have covered the 101 stuff already.

Don't make me get out my magic eyebrow.