Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The paradox of existence

A friend of mine pointed me to this post by Amanda Baggs. Her post got me thinking about how we can exist and not exist, for the very same reasons.

As a kid I was taken to white coats of various stripes to try to figure out what was wrong with me. At the time the diagnosis of Asperger's wasn't available. So the doctors didn't have a convenient label to explain my behaviors and things. The best the doctors could tell my parents was that I wasn't normal, but I wasn't abnormal. So to the doctors, I didn't exist.

In school those very same behaviors led to me being the target of bulling. “Hey look it's the stupid fat kid. Everyone grab your torches and pitchforks.” So in a twisted sort of way, I existed. Although I existed as the kid to be picked on and made fun of. Perhaps school would have gone more smoothly had I not existed.

As an adult, if people want to know about my disability and how it affects me, I exist. If I express my opinions on cures and treatments I don't exist because I don't have “real autism”.

If there is profit to be made, we exist. As long as we are lining the pockets of the doctors and pharmaceutical companies, we exist. If my parents are shelling out $100 an hour to my therapist, I exist.

When we cost money, we don't exist. When I applied for SSDI I was denied because I wasn't disabled prior to the age of 22. Even though I am on SSI for Asperger's, which you can't get as an adult.

So we can both exist and not exit, for the very same reasons.