In an addendum to yesterday’s post despairing to know what, exactly, is wrong with my body and wrong with my brain, I mentioned that in some indeterminate number of decades a report on assisted-suicide in autistics very well could be about me.
Briefly, I wanted to return to that report just to reference some important things noted by Louise Kinross:
Many physician comments located the problem in the person, as opposed to asking why society couldn’t change to better accommodate them. “His intellectual disability and affective neglect in childhood had led to insufficient resilience to cope with suffering,” one wrote of a man in his 50s. “…the patient was unable to build a normal life,” explained a doctor of an autistic man in his 40s.
This sort of “blame the victim” mentality might go a long way to explaining why autistic people kill themselves, with or without assistance.
I’ve said before here that I’m not suicidal, although even then I included the disclaimer that I can’t say that in advance for future stages of my life. My therapist and I have talked about passive ideation “not because I’ve any active interest in actually not living but because I’ve some degree of difficulty comprehending the path forward.”
Anyway, if you were paying attention earlier today, you would have seen a lengthy post, since deleted, about whether or not the American Medical Association at last month’s annual meeting had adopted a proposed resolution disavowing Applied Behavioral Analysis. Having spent a good part of yesterday and then another hour or two today looking at the documentation on the AMA’s website, I concluded that there’s been a draft proposal, a committee amended it to water it down, and then it didn’t go anywhere anyway.
Back in my fandom days I’d been a self-avowed “enthusiasm crusher”. Any time my particular fandom got excited about something that seemed too good to be true, my (then unrecognized) autistic hyperfocus kicked in to methodically demonstrate that, in fact, it was not true. My track record was consistent.
The long and the short of it here is that somehow, over the course of two days, my brain was lying to me. Outright and repeatedly. No matter how many times—easily dozens—I read the documents in question. Despite the perplexing and unfathomable lack of media coverage by any autism-focused outlet, the AMA does appear to have changed its policy language.
(To be clear, even if this indeed is the case, the phrase “evidence-based treatment” remains in the policy and as we all know, that’s almost literally the marketing campaign for Applied Behavioral Analysis providers.)
What matters for my purposes here is that whatever obsessive storm had taken over, in the midst of what I’ve already reported as being diminished capacity and depleted resources, for two days I should not have been trusting what my brain was telling me my eyes were seeing. It didn’t matter how many times I looked at the same documents: they did not say what I said they said. Or, technically speaking, they said what I said they didn’t say.
This is where the wheels came off the wagon.
All of this says to me that I cannot trust my brain. At this level of diminished capacity, at this degree of depleted resources, I cannot trust my brain.
For the past two days, I’ve been little more than all the worst aspects of being autistic, on rampaging display and out of control.
And, of course, it’s only going to get worse.
I’m middle-aged. Faculties will only continue to degrade. Fatigue will only continue to worsen. No amount of rest or recovery seems capable of actually recouping any resources. At best I’ve plateaued. At worst the worst is still to come. Even in the unlikely event that I’m approved for disability benefits, I’d lose Medicaid, and there’s no financial path to sufficiency and continued independence.
As we headed into late evening and I geared myself toward getting in my daily walk (you know, the one I’ve been on consistently and whose routine limits disprove “deconditioning”), my thoughts lazily drifted to realizing that, if I got hit by a truck while strolling along because my lying brain, which has been lying to me, lied to me about there being no traffic, what difference would it make, really.
Of what importance what that have? Little to none. Any contributions of note I could have made to the world I’ve already made, long ago.
To be fair, I’m in a low-key passive ideation. I’m not sitting here thinking it would be better if I went to sleep tonight and didn’t wake up in the morning.
I just don’t think it would make much of a difference.
Everything is only going to get worse. My resources have a consistent limit, whatever the cause, and now I know with absolute clarity and absolute certainty something I’d never even thought to consider before.
My brain is lying to me.
My body is as healthy as it’s ever going to be, which isn’t saying much, and my brain, already, is giving up on being a trustworthy source. The world around me isn’t going to be of much, if any, real help.
I am not actively suicidal, but it’s all, everything, only downhill from here.