I have thought it over. The only rational explanation is:
not my Species.
In the ancient world a common greeting among travelers was, “Which gods do you worship?” Deities were compared, traded, and adopted in recognition that strangers had something of value to offer. Along with the accretion of ancestor gods into extensive pantheons, an exchange of earthly ideas and useful articles took place. Pantheons were insurance providers who covered women, children, tradesman, sailors and warriors – no matter how dangerous or risky their occupations; no matter how lowly. Multiple gods meant that everyone had a sympathetic listener, one that might increase a person’s chances for a favorable outcome to life’s ventures, large and small.
…the gods are manifestations of physical states; the rush of adrenalin, sexual arousal, and rage. For the Homeric male, these are the gods that must be obeyed. There is no power by which a man can override the impulse-to-action of these god forces. The gifts of the notorious killer Achilles originate in the divine sphere, but he is human like his comrades; consumed by self pity and emotionally erratic.
In Ancient Greek culture, consequences accompanied individual gifts. Achilles must choose an average life (adulthood) and obscurity, or death at Troy and an immortal name. Achilles sulks like a boy, but we know that he will submit to his fate, because fate is the body, and no matter how extraordinary that body is, the body must die. Immortality for Homeric Greeks did not mean supernatural avoidance of death. To live forever meant that one’s name and deeds were preserved by the attention and skill of the poet. In Ancient Greek culture it was the artist who had the power to confer immortality.
There was no apology for violence in Homeric time. The work of men was grim adventure. Raids on neighbors and distant places for slave women, for horses and gold, for anything of value, was a man’s occupation. The Iliad is packed with unrelenting gore, and yet we continue to this day to be mesmerized by men who hack each other to death. Mundane questions arise: were these Bronze Age individuals afflicted with post traumatic stress disorder? How could women and children, as well as warriors not be traumatized by a life of episodic brutality? If they were severely damaged mentally and emotionally, how did they create a legacy of poetry, art, science and philosophy? Did these human beings inhabit a mind space that deflected trauma as if it were a rain shower? Was their literal perception of reality a type of protection?
Women will forever be drawn to the essential physicality of Homeric man. He is the original sexual male; the man whose qualities can be witnessed in the flesh. His body was a true product of nature and habit. Disfiguring scars proved his value in battle. Robust genes may have been his only participation in fatherhood.
Time and culture have produced another type of man, a supernatural creature with no marked talent, one who can offer general, but not specific, loyalty. Domestic man, propertied man, unbearably dull man, emotionally-retarded man. In his company a woman shrivels to her aptitude for patience and endurance, for heating dinner in the microwave and folding laundry. Her fate is a life of starvation.
Noble Penelope reduced to a neurotypical nag.
Much has been made of MtDNA studies as a way to trace female lines of inheritance, but what do mutations in MtDna mean? These changes are random, and occur throughout time at a predictable rate: that’s all. If anything, MtDNA studies merely prove the prediction that changes in MtDNA occur at a predictable rate. It’s important to realize that MtDNA results are MATHEMATICAL models and do not attempt to reflect or match concrete reality. In principle, it’s like using radioactive decay rates to date objects. MtDNA maps are maps of these random mutations through time, like a log of a railroad journey that tracks train stations where a new passenger got on the train. This itinerary says nothing about the people on the train, except that they took the journey.
Another popular trend in the evolution sciences is the absolutism of genes as the basis for identification of species: Genes have become the objects of evolution, not whole individuals or groups of individuals. That is, you are not you; you are your genes. This is so obviously absurd that one wonders how scientists get away with such extreme reductionism that ignores the contributions that an individual makes to its own existence and to that of others; the effects of environment, including epigenetic changes, and also the effects of culture and social environment, factors that are especially important in humans. Many popular science and genealogy sites have jumped on the reductionist train to nowhere; customers pay large sums to have their fortunes cast in the search for a significant ancestral “blood line.” Genetic testing can screen for possible health risks, but to believe that one’s genes predict fame & fortune, or a slot somewhere near the top of the social pyramid, is magical thinking.
My favorite mind blower is the assertion that anyone who joined the latest ‘Exodus’ from Africa (approximately 50-70,000 years ago) was a modern human and that all other humans who existed at that time (regional variations on earlier migrations such as Homo erectus) simply fell over and died like the Dinosaurs to make room for a fabulous new creature, Homo sapiens. Or it may be that Homo sapiens cannibalized its way to world domination. This idea is silly.
For example, some humans have versions of immune system genes that are more closely related to chimpanzee versions of immune system genes than they are to other human versions. That’s just because these gene versions are extremely old and have six million years ago, not because the humans carrying those genes are more closely related to chimps than to other humans. In this case, the gene tree and species tree don’t match.
The “can of worms” – those questions about human childhood that bedevil so many ASD adults.
The specifics of “epilepsy” are new to me: I guess like most people I thought about epilepsy as a neurological condition in which the electrical system of the brain “misfires” (whatever that means), and that it used to be considered one of those “demon possession” superstitions, viewed through fear and prejudice, but mainly ignorance, which has today been overcome. That “treatments” are available.
Why today did my attention turn to epilepsy and autism? It’s due to one of those “odd prompts” of the unconscious-intuitive way of processing information.
I don’t have prolonged conversations with people very often these days. When I do, it’s with an old friend via the phone, or an impromptu encounter with a stranger at someplace like the grocery store, post office or hardware.
Yesterday, it was a new employee at the grocery, who has taken over much of product selection and orders, promising to “upgrade” the lousy quality and choice we are stuck with. We “gabbed” for probably 10-15 minutes.
I have been aware for some years that this type of extended conversation leaves me feeling exhausted, which seems to be a typical Asperger experience. This is true whether or not I enjoy the social exchange, either in person or over the phone. I prefer email and avoid the phone, for just this reason.
Sure enough, after I returned home yesterday, I felt exhausted, plus had a sore throat – which is also typical; I usually attribute the burning in my throat, which may last for 24 hours or more, to infrequent use of my vocal apparatus. But, it’s more than that. It’s as if I don’t know how to speak correctly and efficiently, or how to coordinate breathing and speaking in a way that doesn’t “wear me out”. I have no problem forming words – that is – constructing language, but speaking essentially “hurts”!
Is this somehow key to social interaction problems?
This speaking thing seems a trivial circumstance, and yet it isn’t; it does affect my desire to converse; to be in social situations. When I look back to working in advertising (extremely social-verbal environment) I did fully participate, but had to escape frequently to regain energy and to rest; otherwise “meltdown” might overwhelm me. The classic explanation for meltdowns is rather vague: sensory overload causes meltdowns; sensory information cannot be adequately “regulated” by “autistics”
But – this question came next: Are meltdowns a type of SEIZURE? Having experienced many childhood meltdowns, my description is this:
A sudden, overwhelming “loss of control” – an almost blinding pain – automatic paralysis of conscious process, as if every part of one’s body is “feeling” extreme primitive fear at a level of life and death severity. There was the actual event; then there was the terror that undergoing such an event produced. Adults swamped me with questions – which I could not answer. They wanted me to “account for” my behavior, but there was no “reason” for it that I could point to.
I did “grow out of” these experiences eventually, at least in severity, and-or they “changed into” sudden fits of temper – anger and frustration. The “social environment” (including our pediatrician) turned these episodes into “gross violations” of acceptable behavior – possibly THE WORST aspect of these episodes was the unilateral condemnation that I was “doing this on purpose” to get attention or to upset other people. “Fear of meltdowns” – both the experience, which was horrible – and the repercussions from having a meltdown (the shaming), dominated my childhood.
In fact attention became something very unwanted!
Is this one source of social aversion; the attempt to avoid whatever “triggered” these events? (I do believe it was some aspect of the environment, such as crowds and noise). This “fear of adverse behaviors” lingers to this day.
What this has to do with my “throat” is unknown, but I decided that I ought to pursue the subject of seizures.
In second grade, my friend Eric and I were well ahead of the class in arithmetic, so our teacher gave us our own class within a class at a table in the back of the room. As if this wasn’t enough to earn the scorn and derision of every other kid in school, Eric wore a set of “problem-solving antennae” that he made using aluminum foil and wire. Once he had secured the device atop his head, we both would lean forward across the table until our foreheads touched. This was so that I could also receive answers from the antennae.
It was wonderful. We were very happy.
Every one of your senses can be affected by anxiety in different ways. Anxiety can also cause more long term issues, where you start to experience unusual physical symptoms that don’t generally fall under the category of anxiety.
Rather than look over how anxiety affects the senses in a broader sense, let’s take a look at each of the five senses individually and discuss some of the most common anxiety symptoms that falls under these categories.
Sensory problems related to touch are common, although often the person suffering from them doesn’t realize that it’s a sensory problem. Anxiety can cause numbness and tingling, especially in the limbs, and some people experience burning sensations on their skin. These are often caused by hyperventilation, which makes people lose some feeling in these areas. Anxiety may also cause people to experience hot or cold, especially when they come into contact with things that differ in temperature.
Many people also develop a sensitivity to pain and discomfort, and others experience a positive touch in a negative way, such as when you hold hands with someone. In some cases this is caused by actual changes in your body related to touch. In others it may simply be caused by feeling frustrated and irritable as a result of anxiety.
Anxiety may also cause sensory problems related to hearing. There is some evidence that anxiety can cause auditory hallucinations, although these are fairly uncommon and are usually a loud pop more than anything.
However, anxiety can make harmless issues like tinnitus worse. It can also make it more difficult to pay attention to what’s going on around you, due primarily to distractions but also the way anxiety overwhelms the mind. It can also make the noises you hear more grating, although this is less physical and more mental.
Vision is often affected by anxiety. The adrenaline released by anxiety dilates the pupils, and when the pupils are dilated you may experience any number of symptoms:
There is also some evidence that anxiety can cause eye snow and double vision, though these haven’t yet been researched. Anxiety stresses the eyes considerably, so you may also experience visual symptoms caused by eye fatigue.
Taste can also be affected by anxiety, although it’s not clear how. There is some evidence that stress changes taste buds, so it’s likely that your mind is simply interpreting taste in strange ways.
Interestingly, some people report a metallic taste, others a salty taste, and others a lack of various types of tastes. It should also be noted that anxiety can cause excess salivation and acid reflux – both of which may also causes changes to your tastes. Anxiety may also cause you to become more sensitive to certain types of tastes.
Finally, there’s also the sense of smell. Anxiety isn’t necessarily known to change the way you smell – although it certainly might. However, anxiety can cause several issues that can lead to a change in the smells you’re noticing:
From a different article:
2. Stress-response hyperstimulation
When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. When stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically, however, the body has a more difficult time recovering, which can result in the body remaining in a semi-emergency readiness and stimulated state, since stress hormones are stimulants. A body that becomes stress-response hyperstimulated can exhibit super sensitive senses and nervous system hyper reactivity. Both factors can cause nervous system and sensory hypersensitivity.
Since the nervous system is THE system that is responsible for sending and receiving information, including sensory information, when the nervous system becomes hyperstimulated, it can become highly sensitive and reactive to stimulus, including sounds, movements, sensations, and smells.
Having a hyper reactive nervous system is a common consequence of stress-response hyperstimulation. As stimulation increases, so does the nervous system’s sensitivity and reactivity.
One of the “symptoms” of Asperger’s is supposedly the “crime” of being clumsy.
But, is this true? That is, if someone is diagnosed Asperger, does it follow that his or her clumsiness, if it exists, is related to being Asperger? How many people who are supposedly normal, are indeed clumsy? And what are the boundaries that define clumsiness? How many times must one trip and fall, drop a pen, spill a cup of coffee, or fumble with keys in a given span of time to be labeled clumsy?
And even if one is clumsy, what is the true cause? It would seem obvious that a neurological work up would be the first point of departure, not some unverified and highly subjective pronouncement that if you’re Asperger and clumsy, it’s automatically got to be an Asperger problem. What if one is simply clumsy like any individual neurotypical may be clumsy?
After all, the segment of humans who are physically coordinated and spatially talented are called athletes. If all neurotypicals were perfect physical specimens, there wouldn’t be a class of elite professional athletes.
I call myself clumsy, but I’m 66 years old, need reading glasses and took medication of various types for 30 years, with warning labels about motor skills, dizziness, drowsiness, or worse. I’m lucky to still be able to walk and talk and drive. Childhood clumsiness, like running into objects, was explained in 2nd grade when our school provided vision screenings – I was terribly near-sighted.
Looking back, I can see that being clumsy has been episodic, rather than a consistent complaint.
A big source of “being clumsy” “losing things” “being forgetful” is that those preoccupied with thinking just don’t pay attention to our bodies, the immediate area around our bodies, and objects within that perimeter. Often, that can include people.
An excellent video presentation of relative craniofacial development in humans, from birth to adulthood with comparison of male / female differences. From Beatrice Lau, University of Toronto. A basic demonstration of changes that are necessary to thinking about:
Neoteny: retention of juvenile traits in the adult animal due to some aspect of the physiological (or somatic) development of an animal being slowed or delayed. Neoteny is a factor in paedomorphosis.
Paedogenesis: reproduction by young or larval animals; the animal reaches sexual maturity while remaining otherwise immature.
Paedomorphosis: retention of juvenile characteristics in the adult animal. This includes behavior.
Heterochrony: (from the Greek hetero meaning “other” and chronos meaning “time”) describes a change in the timing of ontogenetic events between two taxa. These can be the result of relatively small genetic changes that may not even be alterations in DNA sequence, but in the timing of particular genes being expressed during development.
Examples in contemporary people: Note the developmental stages and differential growth to which these modern human faces-skulls correspond. The lower face – mandible growth lacks full adult development. The growing skull does not proceed to adult form. This is a simple visual observation of skull morphology which may indicate “feminization” of the human skull as evidence for “juvenalization- domestication” of humans during the period when we were “domesticating” specific wild animals as part of the change to agriculture; we also domesticated our species through sexual selection for tame behavior and “paedogenesis” – especially in females. It is possible that pedophilia, the pathology, is a “relic” of the selection for younger and younger, but sexually mature females.
Example below: The high domed forehead (egg-head in casual language) that has been misidentified as an indication of high (usually male) intelligence. The overall “baby-face” is common in contemporary people. “Big bulging foreheads” do not make modern humans smarter than our ancestors. Right: Neanderthal reconstruction as an example of “adult male”. Browridge, large nose and developed lower face (jaw) have nothing to do with “low, or lack of, intelligence” but a lot to do with climate, geography, diet, testosterone and lifestyle.
In western countries there is a trend toward “feminization” of males. This can occur as sexual selection by females, short-lived “fashion and fad”, or even “camouflage” of aggressive and hostile behavior. Predators in suits can play-down their criminal intent and atrocious behavior. Wall Street, The U.S. Congress, CEO’s and other political types do a great job of “hiding” their inner aggression and socio-psychopathic tendencies by looking like this:
If we were to consider the “adult” Homo sapiens skull to be presented by “archaic” forms, including Neanderthals and the AMH (anatomically modern humans) who were N’s contemporaries, (or even further back by Homo erectus!) the “developmental gap” between human varieties today and our ancestors is even more extreme.
This comment from a female responding to a post on an Asperger website, worries me. Would an Asperger female talk this way? As I skimmed through posts and comments, I noticed something: it was like reading one of those women’s magazines – Glamor, or Teen-Style composed of clips lifted from media sources; health and beauty product sources, giving girls advice on “being a popular girl”. Ostensibly “feminist” in an acceptable form; be strong, be fierce, be zany and cute, be “smart” in some female way, like devoting your life to charitable causes – but above all, wear the “right” clothing, make-up and perfect smile: click here to purchase instantly.
Targeting 8-year olds with “makeover” parties and mixed messages for preteen girls.
Am I being harsh? Could be, but with a new “awareness” of female Asperger’s, and the wide-spread notion that it’s “different” in girls, a fad-type phenomenon is probably inevitable in our attention-seeking, obsessed-with-novelty social media culture. The “wide open” new and expanding criteria for diagnosis of Asperger’s in females has become a torrent of “me-too” self-diagnosis, and diagnosis-for-status in a new “community” of self-help gurus; women who either believe they “have” Asperger’s or have been diagnosed (upgraded) from being plain-old Autistic – somewhere in the mix is the politics of which diagnosis garners the most “accommodations” in treatment, special education, and book sales.
A puke-pink ghetto for females…is this really “normal”?
Of course, there is the ever-present push to round up all these new “renegade” females and turn them into “normal” girls before they escape into self-determination. Co-opting and redefining the rebellious impulses of adolescents, minorities, and especially females of all ages, is something that society does all the time. One of the most obvious examples is the “re-packaging” of black music into pop-forms that feed a voracious industry entertainment and fashion industry. When “gangster” knock-off clothing surfaces at K-mart (and on grandma), it’s a sign that what was once “authentic” is now ” made in China”.
Miss Montana is first autistic contestant for Miss America: “I’ve learned to love dressing up if I like what I’m wearing,” Wineman said. “I only learned how to use a curling iron a few months ago – I only know how to do one hairstyle. It’s been really fun to dress up and look nice.” (in a bikini and high heels in front of millions of viewers) (See article in a later post)
We already confront the media mainstreaming of Autism, in token characters inserted into children’s programming; as lovable weirdos in family films, who only need a hug and an invitation to a birthday party in order to become “normal” and in make-over segments on daytime talk shows. “Look – we turned this totally dorky teenager into a real fake girl”. It’s insidious. Step by step, exotic alien cultures become fast-food franchises and fashion trends. The great American culture machine devours any original craft, art, literature, tradition, religion or “disease” and returns it as hollow novelty to the checkout shelves at Walmart.
Watch out Islam: The Great American media machine will devour you.
The neurotypical impulse to reduce all humanity to a collection of Barbie dolls, and male sociopaths and psychopaths, now includes co-opting the “definition” of female Asperger’s. We have become celebrities of a sort; imaginary beings that can be dressed up in sham fantasies. A collection of bad qualities can be given a marketable spin. Being “male-brained freaks” actually boosts our social status. And, we can be a “positive pathology” compared to other dreadful and patronizing “female disorders”.