The Woman in Purple (rainbow_goddess) wrote,
The Woman in Purple
rainbow_goddess

Autism is not a mental illness, but you're not allowed to say that or it's ableist

I used to follow an "Asperger Syndrome Awareness" page on Facebook, but lately I've been getting more and more fed up with it. They posted a blurb from a parent who said that she wanted to "give hope" to other parents because her child is so bright and talented and going to a "normal" school and blah blah blah. I commented, "Is there some reason parents would not have hope?" Then there was a meme that showed people with weapons hunting something, and the caption was something about autism parents defending their children. I commented, "Wouldn't this be the case for most parents, not just parents of autistic kids?" I was told that I obviously don't understand. No, I don't understand why parents of non-autistic kids would defend their kids any differently from parents of autistic kids.

Then today there was a post promoting "Invisible illness and mental health awareness" that wants people to, on a certain day, paint little faces on their arms in different colours depending on what medical condition they have: fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, autism, etc. I commented that autism is neither an illness nor a mental health issue. That got people accusing me of being in denial and hating people with mental illness, people saying that if it affects the brain it's a mental health issue, and people saying that people SUFFER with autism so that makes it an illness.

I didn't want to get into a place where I was making it sound like being autistic is superior to having a mental illness, nor did I want to denigrate people with mental illness, so I went to an autism group I belong to (the one I complained about in an earlier post) and asked advice on how to clarify the difference between autism and a mental health condition. I got told off for using the word "condition" and told that we shouldn't distinguish between autism and mental illness but rather be "proud" to stand alongside people with schizophrenia and bipolar, etc. The reason I went to that group was that I couldn't find the group I actually did want to post to, and also because that group is, at least, good at telling people how to NOT use ableist language. I didn't know that "condition" was considered ableist! I've been trying to say "autism spectrum condition" instead of "disorder" because this group objects to the word "disorder," only to find out that I can't say "condition" either.

Unfortunately, Peter, a member of the autism group I run in "real" (offline) life, got into trouble for saying that he thinks mental illness should be treated and cured, and that is also against the rules of the group. I have long thought that Peter should not be a member of that group because he has a tendency to talk (or type) without really listening, and in that group you have to really police your words very carefully lest you use one of their forbidden words like "condition."

Personally, I thought that people generally wanted mental illnesses to be treated and cured. I'd love it if my depression and anxiety could be cured, or at the very least treated without having to endure the side effects of the various medications I've tried. But I guess there are people who don't want that. I was unaware of this. I just thought that autism shouldn't be treated like a mental illness because mental illness treatment is generally very different from autism treatment. In France autism is treated as a mental illness and treatment generally consists of psychoanalyzing the parents (sort of like Bettleheim's "refrigerator mothers") and the kids.
Tags: autism
Subscribe

  • Smelly cat!

    My Katniss Everdeen-no-longer-a-kitten has a terrible tendency to make massive stinks in the litter box. The stinks had been going on for months, but…

  • I hate this time of year

    I turned down work because I don't want to have to calculate the complicated formula they gave us to try to determine how much money I have to report…

  • The Force Awakens

    Having finally seen The Force Awakens, almost a month after the rest of the world, I have some thoughts. BB-8 is incredibly cute. I don't know…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

  • 10 comments

  • Smelly cat!

    My Katniss Everdeen-no-longer-a-kitten has a terrible tendency to make massive stinks in the litter box. The stinks had been going on for months, but…

  • I hate this time of year

    I turned down work because I don't want to have to calculate the complicated formula they gave us to try to determine how much money I have to report…

  • The Force Awakens

    Having finally seen The Force Awakens, almost a month after the rest of the world, I have some thoughts. BB-8 is incredibly cute. I don't know…