Nothing about us without us is an autistic led initiative which aims to challenge misconceptions surrounding autism and provide information to any who may be looking for it. Much of the current conversation surrounding autism does not include or value the voices of autistic people. Our goal is to change this by promoting autistic voices above all others, as evidences in the community that is involved in the project We aim to be as intersectional and accessible as possible, including autistic people of marginalised identities in the creation process, and collecting testimonials from across the spectrum.
In keeping with the wishes of the autistic community, this project uses identity first language (autistic person). Additionally, we will never knowingly endorse Autism Speaks or any of its affiliates.
The project leader (Eli) is from the UK, therefore a lot of spellings will be British.
If you would like to contribute time or a testimony, please email Eli at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Friday (31st March) is Trans Day of Visibility
[This post refers to TDoV 2017; other years will have TDoV on a different day of the week]
It’s that time of year again! That awesome day where trans people share their selfies and stories. It’s one of the two largest trans advocacy days, the other being Trans Day of Remembrance (20th November). That day is dedicated to mourning and solemnity, while this day is a day to celebrate being alive! Like last year, I’m not sure of the absolute official hashtag, so I’m guessing there’ll be a variety in use, such as: #tdov #transdayofvisibility #trans day of visibility #trans visibility #trans pride #transresistance #trans resistance
This day has been recognised since 2009 and is increasing in popularity and support each year, but there’s still a long way to go in spreading the word. Visibility is something that the trans community often has to struggle for, so this is our time to step out of the shadows, take pride in who we are, and show the world that we exist and we’re here to stay.
If you are trans
This is your day. No matter your gender - whether you’re male, female, or any nonbinary gender - anyone who isn’t cis (ie. whose gender is different from the gender they were assigned at birth) can participate. This is a great opportunity to get involved in the community and be visible. If you’re comfortable, post a selfie. Share your story. This is your time to be proud of who you are! It can get hard and lonely sometimes, but there’s a whole community here who have your back.
If you are not trans
Please also get involved - don’t leave this day just up to us. Today is a day for you to support and listen to the trans community. Show us some love by reblogging some selfies and reading some stories, whether you browse through the tags listed above or stick to your mutuals. Now is a perfect opportunity to learn about our wonderful community and to look at some beautiful people. It’s a win-win, really.
Above all, I hope everyone has a fantastic TDoV! Have fun and keep it positive.
As tempting as it may be, mustering up our pride is not the answer to our culture’s vicious assault on women. We really can regain confidence without stirring up arrogance. Pride lives on the defense against anyone and anything that tries to subtract from its self-sustained worth. Confidence, on the other hand, is driven by the certainty of God-given identity and the conviction that nothing can take that identity away. That’s what you and I are after, not an outbreak of bloated ego.
It’s the International Women’s Day! Sharing love with something to chew on in wisdom from the book So Long, Insecurity.
God bless our hearts in our advocacies, may be found surrendered to the Lord Jesus, confident in His design without stirring up arrogance 💛
Spent my Women’s Day at the capitol learning about Policy making and helping the American Suicide Prevention Foundation to talk to California Assembly members about supporting a bill about suicide prevention education.
I also got a picture with the govener! Also I cheered on the rally outside the Capital to support the Women there!
Kevin Spacey on Capitol Hill during the Arts Advocacy Day Congressional Arts Kick-off. Kevin gave an inspirational speech to help support Americans for the Arts in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus. (This was before the slashing and burning of culture and science began under The Ministry of Propaganda and Lies during the reign of 45) April 5, 2011 (HQ)
Is it realistic to have a charachter with ptsd being always aggressive?
…. Is it realistic? Possibly.
Out of the… hundreds if not thousands of survivors I interacted with, talked to, and helped back in my advocacy days….. I can’t think of a single one.
And here’s why
Being aggressive is /exhausting/ for the most part in PTSD you see aggression as a side effect of hyper arousal and sometimes hyperarousal +hypervigilance.
I was an aggressive survivor. In college I wore wraps around my knuckles more often than not because I kept breaking them and busting them up by picking fights with brick walls. I snarky and I was angry. Professors accused me of being on uppers more than once. I wasn’t. That was just my body chemistry being completely out of control.
I also juggled around campus and stopped to play with little kids and had a reputation for balancing books on my head and dying my hair every few days.
In the beginning of my advocacy days… I was still snarky and angry. Half the reason my original peeps liked me was because all the other survivor material out there was soft and here I was cussing up a storm, unafraid to tell people with harmful stereotypes of survivors exactly where they could put their shit-
and also going ‘Hey yo, did you know that if you stick an orange in a fridge it can help with flashbacks’ ‘Having physical flashbacks? Introduce a contradictory sensation.’ ‘It’s cool if you can’t brush your teeth because of trauma- did you know there’s chewing sticks you can use instead?’ ‘yeah x isn’t a good coping mechanism but its better than dying and if thats what ya gotta do to stay alive… stay alive please’
Being aggressive all the time is exhausting. Being hyperaroused all the time is exhausting. I showed up to final exams with strep throat, an ear infection, a sinus infection, pink eye and something that looked like mono because my entire immune system crashed after being ON for about a month straight. I got a blood infection at another point that traced my body in angry red lines and wound up with me on the floor more than once.
I don’t… like the idea of a character who is aggressive all the time. At all. I don’t think it is particularly realistic.
I do think it is a reputation some survivors get that damages them. Because people take defensiveness or protectiveness as aggression and turn it into all we are. This is /especially/ true of survivors of color.
It’s a reputation that loses them access to resources and sometimes gets them killed.
I can’t stop you from writing it. But if you don’t include the consequences of what it does to the body and what it does to social status, I can tell you it is bad writing and terrible representation.
You can have a character who is sometimes aggressive. That isn’t the problem.
But be careful you aren’t dehumanizing them in the same breath.
“Hey! My name is Thea and I’m 12 years old. I am getting married! So, welcome to my blog. This will also be my wedding blog from now on <3” is how Norway’s first child bride has introduced her plans to marry her 37-year-old husband to be on October 11, 2014.
A closer look at the blog reveals that it is actually meant to draw awareness to a campaign against child marriage run by Plan International. The organization states, “We want to show how horrible the practice of child marriage is and put it in a context that is familiar and normally associated with love, happiness and hope for the future….for 39,000 young girls who get married every day, their wedding day is the worst day of their life.”
The hashtag #StopTheWedding has generated public outrage against the child’s marriage. Plan International also invites people to digitally attend the wedding via Facebook while tweeting or posting status updates about the campaign.
1/2 So: I have a character who experienced the loss of his parents, the end of the world, and then progressively came closer and closer to the brink after watching his little brother killed in front of him. His little brother always carried around a stuffed dinosaur given to him by their parents. Would it be reasonable for him to cling to this dinosaur like it's a lifeline, to the point that he risks his life for it, as well as being apathetic and having flashbacks? how could his boyfriend help?
2/2 He also has a younger sister, and I have no idea how she’d react to this (she’s 12, the brother who died is 4, and i struggled to find reliable about kids in trauma) The boyfriend is also dealing with much of the same stuff, but has more experience with trauma. Would it be reasonable for him to turn all of his attention to caring for his boyfriend and avoiding his own problems until it boils over? sorry that this is so long but I wanted to check my research with someone I trust
People struggling with grief do often cling to things that remind them of loved ones, and people dealing with trauma poorly…. can sometimes have a ‘life isn’t worth it if I can’t have ____________’ attitude. It isn’t a bratty attitude, but just a very black and white way of thinking. With that thing, they are coping and able to survive- without it, they do not. They must cope at whatever cost- and it is easier to place that on a thing, than it is to go through the process of learning more coping skills- especially in the beginning.
Which is to say, yes to the dinosaur.
Apathy is also a common symptom of trauma. Flashbacks as well. Reminder that flashbacks aren’t always this fully immersive experience. A lot of them are just… one or two senses +emotions and often times, a desire to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
I’m going to talk about myself in reference to the 12 thing. Major trigger warning for suicide in here.
As a traumatized 12 year old I lied a lot. I stretched the truth about the things that traumatized me or just… made up stories. This can be common. A lot of times it’s about trying to… have experiences like everyone else. At the time, I had never been molested by a guy my age- but that was an experience my friends knew. They didn’t know, or at least they didn’t talk about, being sexually abused at a very young age. I wrote a lot of angsty poetry. I wrote a lot of suicide notes. I thought of death a lot and I had no ability to not tell people this. It’s actually something I still struggle with because my brain doesn’t…. find the thoughts alarming. I didn’t have the word yet, but what I was experiencing was called suicidal ideation. Some people have intense panicked thoughts about killing themselves because being alive hurts so much or they can’t see a way out of their situation. I thought about death the way people think about vacation. I could survive anything with that promise… just had to… hang in a little longer.
I struggled with guilt. I blamed myself for things I had no control over and I self harmed and I hated myself. I thought I deserved to die for all these people that got hurt because I didn’t do something about it. But before I was allowed to die, I had to make up for that. I had to help people. I had to help enough people to make up for all the hurt I’d caused the world. My best friend and I made a suicide pact that was actually… intended to keep us alive. We promised one another that we would only hurt ourselves that way under very very specific circumstances- and rested easier knowing that because it wasn’t a certain kind of day our friend was safer at home. That we wouldn’t come in the next day to horrifying news.
I struggled with having normal emotions. I’d be in science class and have to leave because I’d burst out into hysterical laughter at nothing. During our lesson on the holocaust, I went completely catatonic. I didn’t move for hours.
I put all of my self worth on my intellect. I was a smart kid. College reading level by the second grade, read the thesaurus at home. I performed complex mental math- and I’ve since learned that was a coping mechanism, but I didn’t know that at the time. It was just something I did.
I obsessed over fringe cultures. Some of the ones I can remember now are like- the people for Voluntary Human Extinction (who believe people need to make the conscious decision to stop having children, and if you want children, to adopt. Not that like- we should kill ourselves.), the barefoot society, shoplifters (specifially of the anticapitalist variety), poly phasic sleep enthusiasts and minimalists. I think in these things I found community even if I wasn’t actually in the communities. Here were groups of people who believed very passionately. Here were people I could hide myself in.
I fractured my identity. I went by a separate name with my teachers/adults I needed to impress and with my friends in school and my friends out of school. I didn’t have DID but I did … intensely separate my behavior and I couldn’t… meld the personalities at that age. I had nightmares about the idea of having to be near friends from school and ones I knew out of school. I had no idea which one was the ‘real’ me and I was upset about this fact. About this lack of identity. About the fact that I found it so easy to be different people- but couldn’t make a me that wasn’t mentally ill.
I got angry at myself that I couldn’t. Clearly this meant I wanted to be mentally ill. That I wanted to suffer. I was the attention seeker everyone accused me of being.
I put a lot in being…. not a model student, I definitely wasn’t that. I slept in classes, if I could- I didn’t turn in my work. I made my eighth grade math teacher extremely angry because he had this workbook? and if you did pages of it- you got a specific amount of extra credit. He had an every day homework policy and basically you had to do two pages of the workbook to make up for every homework missed. I didn’t turn in homework for most of the semester and then turned in the workbook completely done the last week before grades were due.
By the time I got to highschool this manifested in me missing a lot of school. To the point of truancy letters every semester. I tallied it up one day- I missed about a 1/3rd of my highschool career. Now, some of that was because of what I’ve talked about before- when you’re traumatized and on high alert all the time, the immune system crashes. I got walking pneumonia most years. Other times I would get this cough, be forced to stay out of school for two weeks at a time because shockingly, the school system doesn’t like it when you cough up blood in their classrooms and my throat would be that raw. Some of it was because I was sent to the guidance counselor so often.
Now, I was an intensely traumatized kid. And not every trauma survivor is like me, but I can tell you that in the… very large number of survivors I talked with and helped back in the day- pieces of that story resonated strongly with a lot of people.
Some kids lash out. They get violent. They shop lift. They don’t do well in school on purpose. They don’t care to, nothing matters. Some obsess over a sport or hobby the way I did my intellect. Some isolate, some can’t stand the idea of being alone for five seconds with themselves, will do anything to be liked- whether in general or by one specific person. Some become sexual too early for that reason. I knew a girl who bedwet at that age still.
Onto the boyfriend:
During the height of my advocacy/activism days- I volunteered/worked 30-50… sometimes more, hours a week. Ontop of having a fulltime job at one point and at another, volunteering 3-4 days a week at an elementary school for full days.
I was avoiding my own trauma. Helping others was the only way I could connect with my trauma at all, but it was also a distraction. And a way I justified my continued existence.
A lot of trauma survivors have similar stories. Other people’s problems are easy to solve. Advice is easier to give than it is to follow. You might also want to look at codependency.
Remember that in general, it is likely that some of the boyfriend’s attempts to be helpful are going to backfire. It doesn’t have to be a lot of them, and he can learn from them (or not, and it be a continued conflict)- but having some of them fail is one way to avoid the whole ‘love fixes all.’
Basically the game in writing here is identifying a problem, and identifying solutions that the boyfriend might have access to.
Character A has problems sleeping.
Potential solutions: Maybe sleeping together helps. Maybe the boyfriend suggests different sleep hygiene things. Maybe they skype until one of them falls asleep because A finds his voice soothing.
Character A has issues remembering to eat.
Potential solutions: Boyfriend helps remind him. Suggests he sets an alarm. Brings him food. Helps come up with high calorie/good nutrient meal replacements.
Character A has flashbacks:
Potential solutions: Boyfriend soothes him down from it, reminds him what day and time it is- that he’s safe. Boyfriend suggests coping skills, like the 5-4-3-2-1 senses thing or strong smells or strong tastes.
The lists go on and on for possibilities and this post is already very very long. Try and give context to why boyfriend knows these things. Some are just popular beliefs- it’s okay if that’s why. Maybe he saw it in a movie. Maybe someone helped him through it. Maybe it’s something he found out for himself. But try and know why and where.
Fantastic and detailed advice from a high-level staffer for a Senator:
There are two things that all concerned citizens should be doing all the time right now, and they’re by far the most important things.
–> You should NOT be bothering with online petitions or emailing.
[RG note: there’s some disagreement on this re: emails/letters, but I think a key thing is that form letters and emails aren’t useful; personalize them! And petitions are 100% useless.]
1. The best thing you can do to be heard and get your congressperson to pay attention is to have face-to-face time - if they have townhalls, go to them. Go to their local offices. If you’re in DC, try to find a way to go to an event of theirs. Go to the “mobile offices” that their staff hold periodically (all these times are located on each congressperson’s website). When you go, ask questions. A lot of them. And push for answers. The louder and more vocal and present you can be at those the better.
2. But, those in-person events don’t happen every day. So, the absolute most important thing that people should be doing every day is calling. You should make 6 calls a day: 2 each (DC office and your local office) to your 2 Senators & your 1 Representative.
The staffer was very clear that any sort of online contact basically gets immediately ignored, and letters pretty much get thrown in the trash (unless you have a particularly strong emotional story - but even then it’s not worth the time it took you to craft that letter).
Calls are what all the congresspeople pay attention to. Every single day, the Senior Staff and the Senator get a report of the 3 most-called-about topics for that day at each of their offices (in DC and local offices), and exactly how many people said what about each of those topics. They’re also sorted by zip code and area code. She said that Republican callers generally outnumber Democrat callers 4-1, and when it’s a particular issue that single-issue-voters pay attention to (like gun control, or planned parenthood funding, etc…), it’s often closer to 11-1, and that’s recently pushed Republican congressmen on the fence to vote with the Republicans. In the last 8 years, Republicans have called, and Democrats haven’t.
So, when you call:
A) When calling the DC office, ask for the Staff member in charge of whatever you’re calling about (“Hi, I’d like to speak with the staffer in charge of Healthcare, please”) - local offices won’t always have specific ones, but they might. If you get transferred to that person, awesome. If you don’t, that’s ok - ask for their name, and then just keep talking to whoever answered the phone. Don’t leave a message (unless the office doesn’t pick up at all - then you can…but it’s better to talk to the staffer who first answered than leave a message for the specific staffer in charge of your topic).
B) Give them your zip code. They won’t always ask for it, but make sure you give it to them, so they can mark it down. Extra points if you live in a zip code that traditionally votes for them, since they’ll want to make sure they get/keep your vote.
C) If you can make it personal, make it personal. “I voted for you in the last election and I’m worried/happy/whatever” or “I’m a teacher, and I am appalled by Betsy DeVos,” or “as a single mother” or “as a white, middle class woman,” or whatever.
D) Pick 1-2 specific things per day to focus on. Don’t go down a whole list - they’re figuring out what 1-2 topics to mark you down for on their lists. So, focus on 1-2 per day. Ideally something that will be voted on/taken up in the next few days, but it doesn’t really matter - even if there’s not a vote coming up in the next week, call anyway. It’s important that they just keep getting calls.
E) Be clear on what you want - “I’m disappointed that the Senator…” or “I want to thank the Senator for their vote on…” or “I want the Senator to know that voting in _____ way is the wrong decision for our state because…” Don’t leave any ambiguity.
F) They may get to know your voice/get sick of you - it doesn’t matter. The people answering the phones generally turn over every 6 weeks anyway, so even if they’re really sick of you, they’ll be gone in 6 weeks.
From experience since the election: If you hate being on the phone & feel awkward (which is a lot of people) don’t worry about it - there are a bunch of scripts (Indivisible has some, there are lots of others floating around these day). After a few days of calling, it starts to feel a lot more natural. Put the 6 numbers in your phone (all under P – Politician. An example is Politician McCaskill DC, Politician Blunt MO, etc…) which makes it really easy to click down the list each day.
On March 1, 2016, the Winnipeg chapter of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network will hold a vigil in memory of the dozens of people will disabilities who have been killed by their parents or caregivers. It will be held at 7:00 PM in The Hive at the University of Winnipeg. All are welcome to attend.
[Image description: A poster advertising the event. It reads:
“Disability Day of Mourning 2016
Remembering People with Disabilities Murdered by Caregivers
Tuesday March 1
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: The Hive, University of Winnipeg
People with disabilities are twice as likely to be the victims of violent crime. Every year, dozens of people with disabilities are killed by family members or caregivers.
Too often, media coverage of these murders focus on sympathy for the murderer, because they had to live with or care for a person with a disability. The message to the public is that our lives – not our deaths – are the tragedy.
On March 1st, join the Autistic Self Advocacy Network in remembering people with disabilities who lost their lives at the hands of family members or caregivers. We will remember those we have lost and and remind the world that their lives – and ours – have value.”]
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner