Dealing with depression

I spend a lot of online time in communities of autistic people and, this being the holiday season, lately there have been a few people in crisis posting to the forums.  As an Aspergian I always hesitate to respond to someone depressed because…well, we’re known for being socially inappropriate, right? Every time we open our mouth, a friendship is on the line and that’s tough enough. But when it is someone’s mental state or their life on the line, the stakes are a bit higher and I become paralyzed with fear that I’ll say the wrong thing and make the situation worse.

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Michael asks: What brings you happiness in your life?

Well, it isn’t the number 42.  In the end it turns out, at least for me, to be what they always say it is – do what you love, in service to others.

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Killing autistic people A-OK with Facebook

Last night I posted a request to autistic friends and allies to report a Facebook page called “Exterminate all Autistics.”  Many did and by the next morning the page had been removed.  But earlier in the evening, one friend received the following email from Facebook:

We reviewed your report of Exterminate all Autistics. Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the Page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.

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Obesity, disability are not capital offenses

This is unbelievable.  The AP story as published here by ABC News begins with these words:

“Eric Garner was overweight and in poor health. He was a nuisance to shop owners who complained about him selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. When police came to arrest him, he resisted. And if he could repeatedly say, “I can’t breathe,” it means he could breathe.”

If we are going to give cops a free pass to kill people, let’s just say so.  Or if we are going bury their offenses in bullshit, can we at least try to be convincing?  Because the state of someone’s health or disability is supposed to be a factor that influences a person’s treatment at the hands of the police to help ensure their safe and fair treatment, not a factor contributing to or justifying their death at the hands of the police.  Disability is not a crime.

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When does intervention cross the line from helpful to harmful?

As most of you know, I’ve been asking people to boycott Autism Speaks and their major sponsors such as Home Depot and Toys ‘R’ Us.  But I want to know in such matters that I’m making the right stand. As a rule I try to always entertain the possibility that I’m wrong and listen to opposing views with an open mind. But on something like this I feel I need to do a bit more due diligence so in my spare time I’ve been reading through the Autism Speaks web site and materials. Tonight I downloaded a couple of their toolkits.  Sadly, I found nothing to dispel my negative views of that organization. To the contrary, the “toolkits” reveal the extent to which the organization’s bias is ingrained.  After reading, I’m even more concerned for the welfare of autistics under their treatment than I was before.

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How do we make people want to change? – Lynne Soraya

Over at her Psychology Today blog, Lynne Soraya asks “How do we make people want to change?” For me the answer is “we don’t”. One of the biggest problems I see today is this epidemic of worrying so much about how to make other people change that we forget to work on ourselves. If we find we can’t persuade people to act the way we want, then we try to use legislation to coerce the desired behavior under the weight of law. But none of us is so good that there’s no room for self-improvement. The one place where we can REALLY make a difference is to improve ourselves. Sure we can influence others but not nearly as efficiently for the same amount of effort.

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Form, function and authenticity – an essay on facial hair

GraveyardFallsHeadShotWhen I’m in the right frame of mind, Internet trolls are an endless source of amusement. Unfortunately, that isn’t often and the rest of the time they just make me fear for the future of the human race. I practice what I believe is a pretty tolerant position regarding comments on my online writing and try to leave everything up that isn’t outright spam. I can take some criticism. In fact, since I don’t plan to have to independently recreate all the wisdom that came before me, I more or less depend on criticism to fuel personal growth.

But there’s criticism and then there’s batshit crazy.  I’ll delete a batshit crazy comment in a heartbeat.

What I need to remember to do though is to let them sit in moderation a day or so before deleting them.  Case in point, one I deleted a few weeks back that I eventually came to believe was actually a teaching moment in disguise. I don’t have the original text anymore so I’ll paraphrase.

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