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Autism as separate from the self

Knower of nothing

Well-Known Member
I was talking with my counselor/assistance lady and at some point during the topic of how much I'd like people to be aware of the things I struggle with she asked me whether or not I can view a "me" as separate from the autism. And I hadn't really thought about it. I don't think it's very important, but it is interesting. While I gave the rather dull answer of "I think I'm just me", I did start to wonder if there were people out there with a distinct image of what parts of themselves are autistic and what parts are authentically them. Can you feel in yourself when you like something for a "you" reason or an autistic one?
 

Progster

Gone sideways to the sun
V.I.P Member
The autism shapes my personality and is an integral part of it, I don't think they could be separate entities. If I didn't have the autism, I'd be a completely different person; not this 'me', a different one.

I like to collect music and learn languages, this particular choice of interests is arguably part of my personality. Perhaps I might still have these as hobbies if I weren't autistic, but certainly not to the same intensity or to the extent that I would go and live in another country just to pursue my interest. I also think it was the autism that drew me to learn the languages and about other countries, as in childhood I had a deep sense of not belonging and being unhappy, and this interest was an escape for me. I doubt I would have had these feelings had I not been autistic.
 

Darkkin

Lioness of Spoons
V.I.P Member
ASD is the operating system through which we translate the input and context of the world, it doesn't define personality traits or abilities. Sensory input will have an effect on one's preferences.

e.g. light and sound sensitivity, motion, textures, a need for routine, etc.

The reason for the preferences, basic equilibrium within the nervous system.

Things like hobbies, interests, skill sets, intelligence, empathy, moral character, etc. (Literally the thing that make us human are not defined by ASD. It is part nature, part environmental factors (nurture)).

To try and pry one out of the other to say, 'Hey, this is me, not autism,' really doesn't seem logical. The system will have an impact on the translation and presentation and reaction of the input.

ASD is an inherent part of one's biology, but how often does one sit on a swing, enjoying the subtle rush and go, 'I only like to swing because I'm autistic!'

Autism is not a factor by which one should be defining one's self. It is a reason why we do certain things, react certain ways, for specific reasons (e.g. sensory seeking).

You can be neurotypical and love cars. Why does autism need to be used as a validation for loving cars or books?

There is a sad fault in the logic by using the neurotype as a divisive tool, rather than an accepted interface.

This is a key factor in why so many autistics struggle with the neurotype and not wanting to be defined by it. Acceptance of the inherent system is a critical step to making peace with one's self. Trying to actively pry the OS out to define the 'self' is like pulling the wiring out of a car and wondering why it won't start.

Such an analytical (literal) approach could often be interpreted as an 'autistic' trait by many mental health professionals, rather than the basic fundamental reason for said response.

The question is completely illogical given the neurological, biological, and psychological complexity of autistics. You cannot bleed it out into black and white, no matter how much one desires to.

Pose the question in neurotypical context and it is easy to see how vapid the question is.
 
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Nitro

Admin/Immoral Turpitude
Staff member
Admin
V.I.P Member
There is a sad fault in the logic by using the neurotype as a divisive tool, rather than an accepted interface.
I have always said that those who choose to live their lives with an us and them perspective will always be forced to look for it.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
I really like some autistic people, so l don't know what to say. I also seem to have a lot of bipolar connections. And l have gotten along with OCD people, these are just occurrences, and coincidences, l don't know.
 

Matthias

Well-Known Member
I think one of the worst aspects of autism is that it prevents people from being themselves.
 
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AprilR

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I always think the opposite, funnily. Me being autistic is my true self, my other self is a stranger i like to pose as sometimes. I used to hate my authentic self, and think it is a shadow, something that prevents me from being my best version.

But it is not up to me to determine what is my best version. How i am created is what is best for me.
 

Knower of nothing

Well-Known Member
ASD is the operating system through which we translate the input and context of the world, it doesn't define personality traits or abilities. Sensory input will have an effect on one's preferences.

e.g. light and sound sensitivity, motion, textures, a need for routine, etc.

The reason for the preferences, basic equilibrium within the nervous system.

Things like hobbies, interests, skill sets, intelligence, empathy, moral character, etc. (Literally the thing that make us human are not defined by ASD. It is part nature, part environmental factors (nurture)).

To try and pry one out of the other to say, 'Hey, this is me, not autism,' really doesn't seem logical. The system will have an impact on the translation and presentation and reaction of the input.

ASD is an inherent part of one's biology, but how often does one sit on a swing, enjoying the subtle rush and go, 'I only like to swing because I'm autistic!'

Autism is not a factor by which one should be defining one's self. It is a reason why we do certain things, react certain ways, for specific reasons (e.g. sensory seeking).

You can be neurotypical and love cars. Why does autism need to be used as a validation for loving cars or books?

There is a sad fault in the logic by using the neurotype as a divisive tool, rather than an accepted interface.

This is a key factor in why so many autistics struggle with the neurotype and not wanting to be defined by it. Acceptance of the inherent system is a critical step to making peace with one's self. Trying to actively pry the OS out to define the 'self' is like pulling the wiring out of a car and wondering why it won't start.

Such an analytical (literal) approach could often be interpreted as an 'autistic' trait by many mental health professionals, rather than the basic fundamental reason for said response.

The question is completely illogical given the neurological, biological, and psychological complexity of autistics. You cannot bleed it out into black and white, no matter how much one desires to.

Pose the question in neurotypical context and it is easy to see how vapid the question is.
I really wouldn't call it vapid. Not because it makes sense, but because it's interesting to ask despite it making no sense. And as seen from replies here, so far there's already been a nice range of stances on it.
I also now believe this is why the counselor asked me to begin with, to see if I was doing any such division. If I was trying to distance myself from autism, or on the other end, hide inside of it. I believe many people in the process of dealing with diagnosis may be at risk of such things, like you mentioned as well. Asking a question like this seems like good reflection. It is always more convincing to arrive at contradiction from within.
 

Darkkin

Lioness of Spoons
V.I.P Member
I really wouldn't call it vapid. Not because it makes sense, but because it's interesting to ask despite it making no sense. And as seen from replies here, so far there's already been a nice range of stances on it.
I also now believe this is why the counselor asked me to begin with, to see if I was doing any such divsion. If I was trying to distance myself from autism, or on the other end, hide inside of it. I believe many people in the process of dealing with diagnosis may be at risk of such things, like you mentioned as well. Asking a question like this seems like good reflection. It is always more convincing to arrive at contradiction from within.

Fair observation, but realistically speaking, how many people are going to work around to the inside-out logic of the impossibly of segregation of system and self merely for arbitrary definition?

A majority of folks, no matter the neurotype are going to answer the question in a very literal sense of the word, they will shred themselves and others for no discernable purpose and possibly reinforce preceived allocatory traits. You hand people the box and they will gladly shove themselves into it because it is the obvious or 'correct' answer.

Legitimately how many people truly reflect enough to question the logic of the question and reverse the framing the aforementioned seemingly reasonable question?

It is a very atypical, almost abstract tessellation of thought, something that is bound to catch a lot of people flat-footed and floundering for a reasonable reply, rather than promoting a multifaceted discussion.

(Truly an interesting topic, by the way.)

In context, was the question meant to be reflective, literal, or somewhere in between?
 
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Knower of nothing

Well-Known Member
Fair observation, but realistically speaking, how many people are going to work around to the inside-out logic of the impossibly of segregation of system and self merely for arbitrary definition?

A majority of folks, no matter the neurotype are going to answer the question in a very literal sense of the word, they will shred themselves and others for no discernable purpose and possibly reinforce preceived allocatory traits. You hand people the box and they will gladly shove themselves into it because it is the obvious or 'correct' answer.

Legitimately how many people truly reflect enough to question the logic of the question and reverse the framing the aforementioned seemingly reasonable question?
I would be interested in finding that out too. I don't think the question is pushing towards making you answer "yes" as much as you seem to think though.
 

Darkkin

Lioness of Spoons
V.I.P Member
I would be interested in finding that out too. I don't think the question is pushing towards making you answer "yes" as much as you seem to think though.

There is some basis of fact in the nuances of literal translation of things. The question out of context leaves the logic open to questioning, and paradoxically the rigid thinking of autistics is a very common trait, what isn't taken into account are the areas of rigidity.

Morally (one area of particular rigidity for me personally), I have to ask is the question truly fair as it is presented because it looks to take advantage of that same oft observed rigidity of thought so common among autistics.

As a neurotypical diagnostic tool, it can be used to make someone look insightful, but that same individual is exploiting stereotypes of a different neurotype to achieve that end.

Keep in mind what is extremely common among NDers, not just autistics, is near chronic correction. To many, such an interaction can be viewed as being wrong and adding yet another fault they now need to fix. And what should be an objective discussion becomes an emotional meltdown.

In certain respects it almost come across as a deliberate attempt to humilate or belittle the NDer, please note that 40 - 60% of autistics also have ADHD and Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria is a very real phenomenon with that particular divergence. It isn't reasonable or logical and can explode out of nowhere for very minimal reasons triggering a meltdown that results in further trauma.

As a diagnostic exercise how the question is presented is crucial to how it is received.

e.g. Is it fair or even plausible to separate 'autistic' traits from traits that define a person as their authentic self?

To someone who is driven by logic this specific phrasing is fair and concise, making it simple to maintain an objective discussion on.

Couch it as a question an NDer will get 'wrong' is not the best way to foster reflection.

Context is critical to the success of the discussion.
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I was talking with my counselor/assistance lady and at some point during the topic of how much I'd like people to be aware of the things I struggle with she asked me whether or not I can view a "me" as separate from the autism. And I hadn't really thought about it. I don't think it's very important, but it is interesting. While I gave the rather dull answer of "I think I'm just me", I did start to wonder if there were people out there with a distinct image of what parts of themselves are autistic and what parts are authentically them. Can you feel in yourself when you like something for a "you" reason or an autistic one?
It's that question, "Are you autistic or are you a person who has an autism?" One implies that you've incorporated autism as part of your identity,...the other implies you are a person first and happens to have an autism. For some,...this is an important distinction,...for others like myself, I can flip back and forth with these sorts of statements without giving it any thought at all, because it really doesn't matter to me. Same thing with the Asperger's, autism, and ASD-1 labels,...I flip back and forth and use them interchangeably to describe myself,...as it really doesn't matter to me. Some here though, don't like "Asperger's" for any number of reasons,...and it's important to them.

To each their own. I don't get wrapped up in any thought of "who I am", "my labels", or anything like that,...I've got a lot more going on in my life that I am more concerned with.
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
That question reminds me Temple Grandin books. She also tells autistic people to identify themselves with other things different that just autism. In her example she identifies herself strongly with her passion for animals and her work. Autism is part of her life but not the defining focus of her life.

I get the same feeling with some black people who specify that they are black when they introduce themselves to others, like being black was more defining than being engineers, good parents, great gamers or whatever other defining thing.

Some other people choose their religion to define them, or their nation, or their political party, or their profession.

"Hello, I am Atrapa Almas and I am an enginner"

"Hello, I am Atrapa Almas and I love gaming"

"Hello, I am Atrapa Almas and I am on the autism spectrum"

So I think that the question was an invitation to consider other things apart from autism that may be important parts of yourself so your self-image would be more diverse and not so autism-focused.

Thats how I would have understood the intention of your therapist behind the question.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I agree with @Darkkin that it makes up our sensory complex.
I see human brains as organic PLCs [see below] more than they are computers, and we are equipped with an "off-brand" version.
Well, if brains are PLCs, autism is Stuxnet (I think Seimens helped with its development). But, everybody assumes that neuron firing is all or nothing. That is only partially true. The threshold for firing is -55 mv and some inputs are less than this while others inhibit firing. So, because there are cumulative functions, neuronal firing is an analog process. Once the threshold is reached the neuron depolarizes, so by firing completely there is no signal attenuation
 

Darkkin

Lioness of Spoons
V.I.P Member
I can wield words with devastating impact, if and when, I need to. Even though I perfer to chase glass rabbits through spiraling nebulas to translate the stories of newborn constellations.

To the casual observer, I can mimic normal as well, and occasionally better than a 'normal' person. Just as the Monarch is mimicked by the Viceroy.

To wit in marvelous, illustrative allegory of masks:


My operating system is highly effective with certain skill sets and allows for seemingly improbable leaps of logic and creativity, but the process doesn't define, foster, or hinder my love of words.

And that identifying trait gives me an effective workaround for a number of the social deficits that ARE characteristic in the autistic neurotype. Written mediums in particular are a level playing field.

Think Garcia's open source Linux matrix on Criminal Minds. Atypical, but highly efficient.

To out 'expert' the 'experts' can be an entertaining endeavour.

All told, it isn't about being proven right or wrong. It is about being respected as a capable adult, knowing that people take your observations into account instead of defining you by your divergence, when you have never done so yourself.
 
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Crossbreed

Neur-D Missionary ☝️
V.I.P Member
Well, if brains are PLCs, autism is Stuxnet (I think Seimens helped with its development). But, everybody assumes that neuron firing is all or nothing. That is only partially true. The threshold for firing is -55 mv and some inputs are less than this while others inhibit firing. So, because there are cumulative functions, neuronal firing is an analog process. Once the threshold is reached the neuron depolarizes, so by firing completely there is no signal attenuation
(I was not familiar with their [PLC] specs, just how to program them...)
 

Fino

Alex
V.I.P Member
No, I think of myself as a different species. There is no regular human part of me.
 

Crossbreed

Neur-D Missionary ☝️
V.I.P Member
No, I think of myself as a different species. There is no regular human part of me.
Your GP would probably disagree...
full


One of the reasons ASD are so hard to detect in early childhood is because it has no telltale physiological features like
  • Downs Syndrome,
  • Fragile X Syndrome,
  • Rett Syndrome &
  • Williams Syndrome.
 
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