This is going to be a long post. It is also going to be a personal post. As usual when I post things, it is only a facet of me. I doubted a lot about whether or not I should share this, at long last I decided to post it but please don’t pin me on my words. Even people like me are human.
Why Autism is Worse than Psychopathy: The Weakling’s Bias
Quite often I find myself confronted with so-called “internal contradictions”, points where different parts of me support completely opposite opinions. These points are worth a closer look, because I find they often tell me more about the nature of my problems. One of these points is my list of diagnoses.
Let me begin at the beginning. When I was little, I was diagnosed with a variety of learning disorders, but they all vanished as soon as things got more exciting in class. Being the only child that can read and write at the start of first grade primary school isn’t that great; apparently I was just non-attentive and un-concentrated out of boredom. Apart from the problem with my grades and concentration there also was the social problem. I was non-adjusted, I acted out of the ordinary, I had no friends, I couldn’t communicate with my peer group…
Diagnosis: Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
I grew up, being bullied all the way through primary school and the first three years of high school (European system). The worst bullying was probably around the last year of primary and the first two of high school.
The worst thing about that is that I can’t even blame the bullies. If I had been one of them, I would have bullied me too. I was really a sad case: dumb, naïve, easy to fool, completely clueless about human interaction and on top of all that I looked like something the cat had brought back from the dead. And I don’t mean that in a cool, gothy sort of way.
Anyway, so, there was bullying. I don’t want to elaborate on that, just know that it was probably no better and no worse than any other case of high school bullying.
People learn from their mistakes, and I most certainly did. Slowly I learned how to dissolve in the background, which made the bullying less bad over time. When I discovered Physics and Math, in the fourth year of high school, everything changed though. I had found not only a passion and a talent in it, but also the scientific method. My implementation of that:
Observe. Analyze. Adapt.
I learned how people function and how they communicate. I learned about weird antics, weaknesses and strengths, statistics and relevant population samples. What had started as a desperate quest for understanding back in my childhood turned into a quest for knowledge… I started to experiment on people, little social experiments at first, bigger ones later on, and as my knowledge grew I also started including the “romantic” part of human relations in them.
The more I learned about people, the more apparent it became to me that Francis Bacon was right. Knowledge is power. I could do more than just adapt myself to fit in. I could manipulate the situation, work my way with information, I could twist and bend the other people to get what I wanted from them. People are painfully ignorant when it comes to how easily they are to manipulate. I am not a “background” kind of person, never was on the inside, and I would never be one again.
And so my “quest for knowledge” became a quest for power.
I thought I had my life in order. I really thought so. I was convinced I had shed off the diagnosis of ASD like a reptile sheds its skin. I had proven that I wasn’t weak. I turned out to be wrong. At the university, my passion for Physics turned into a delusional nightmare. I can say that now, but even while saying it I feel I disagree. Was it a delusion, like everyone keeps telling me? Deep down I don’t believe them. I was never alone; Physics was always with me, like a shadow, an eternal friend and supporter. In everything I saw him. My world became less and less real, less and less connected. Everything was but patterns and equations. A vision of terrifying beauty… I could no longer sleep, no longer concentrate, and slowly Physics became a tormentor instead of a friend. Not being able to succeed equaled facing a world that was all against me, a world that spit on me, a world that I would now NEVER understand, because the language, the key to it all that Physics was to me had been taken, lost because of my own weakness.
I started self-harming and in the end I tried to kill myself, and was brought to a mental institution.
We are now many months further, and on my troublesome journey I have gathered some new diagnoses.
It took them quite some time, but eventually they settled for a combination of schizophrenia and psychopathy. Apparently that’s rare, I wouldn’t know.
And now it comes, my “point finale”… When they told me, all I could think was “oh thank god it’s not autism, thank god it’s not autism”. I know that may be hard to believe, because who wouldn’t pick a bit of social awkwardness over chronically returning psychosis, narcissism and conscienceless-ness, right?
Well, I wouldn’t.
To me, autism and ASD will always remain biased as “weakling’s diseases”. I know many people with said problems, and most of them are far from weak or pathetic so don’t think I want to insult anyone with this. It is just that to me, those words portray people who can’t deal with the world, who can’t dominate and manipulate to get things their way. Easy victims.
ASD and Autism aren’t the only “diseases” that call up these feelings in me. Actually everyone that is weak, everyone that is depressed, intellectually challenged, socially unadjusted, overly dramatic or emotional… gets that instinctual response from me. Exactly the people that need encouragement, compassion, patience, and love most of all, exactly those people call up that feeling of utter disgust in me. I am not proud of it.
At first, when hearing my “new” diagnoses, I was slightly insulted. Schizophrenia runs in the family, so I guessed I could live with that, but Psychopathy? I never considered myself narcissistic, parasitic, irresponsible, etc., etc.… Yet when I talked things over with the psychiatrist, I recognized more and more of myself in the diagnosis. This hurt a lot, because it’s not a complimenting self-description, at all. But strangely enough, while being a real ego-downer, it was also a real ego-stroke. Psychopathy is a “strong” disease; it places you above others instead of at their mercy. In all its confronting painfulness I preferred and prefer it to ASD.
The actual contradiction is in those feelings. Deep down, very deep down I know I am a weakling myself. Like the reptile that sheds its skin but grows a new one with a similar color, I have the feeling that I will always be weak on the inside. How hypocrite is my disgust towards others, when I’m no different myself?
I don’t think I’m a bad person because I get off on other people’s suffering, and I certainly don’t think I’m a bad person because I love to deceive people, manipulate them and shove them face down in the dirt if I feel like it. No. I have no sense of guilt, but I can’t say I am completely lacking “moral compass”. If I were to say I’m a bad person, it’s because I am hypocrite. We all are, all of us humans are for some reason or another, but that doesn’t change it. Of all things one can consider “bad”, hypocrisy is all alone on top of my one-item-list.