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Old Jun 04, 2023 at 05:56 PM
  #1
 
As an individual diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and with family members who share the same diagnosis, that autism is not something to be "succeeded" or conquered. Instead, it is a unique aspect of an individual's identity that should be embraced and understood.

In navigating this complex world, I have discovered challenges that far surpass my perceived difficulties. It was interesting finding out about any number of one of my many Ďconditionsí however it was far less of an issue before that process become a thing.

If I were to overcome anything of significance, it would be to disidentify with my prescribed labels that do more to limit myself as well as others like me. I understand and appreciate the support my children and grandchildren receive. However, I am acutely aware of the detrimental effects that labeling and categorization can have on individuals in a compartmentalized world.

The notion of achievement is frequently depicted in binary terms, but my viewpoint diverges significantly. I have faced criticism for being excessively intricate and amplifying trivial matters. Interestingly, these critiques tend to arise when I express my truth in a manner that challenges others' beliefs. It is in these moments that the predefined boundaries we have been placed within lose their comforting nature and instead become constrictive.

This insight might not be easy to grasp, but I still want to share it with you as a way to spark personal growth and fulfillment. It relates to individuals who are often misunderstood because of their unique perspectives, which can lead to them being marginalized. Furthermore, we live in an era where we find ourselves amidst industrialized mental health services that do more to depersonalize individuals through excessive labeling and the overutilization of services.

These dynamics create significant challenges in defining our own identities and selecting a path that aligns with our authentic selves. The existence of these challenges sheds light on my observations when considering the concept of success. It is not so much the label itself that needs to be overcome, but rather the societal pressures and expectations that seek to define and control us. Otherwise said, Itís less the label that is in need of overcoming, but more the world that seeks to prescribe and service us.
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Old Jun 05, 2023 at 05:16 PM
  #2
 
I wouldn't be true to myself if I left that complex introduction as a proposed story confined within the boundaries of a forum thread, especially within a Mental Health forum such as this. I understand that we all face challenges, regardless of the labels or narratives we carry. It begs the question: What is the true cost of success? How often do we find ourselves silenced when presenting uncomfortable truths in a world that obsessively emphasizes showcasing only the very best? How frequently does this path lead us to feeling like failures?

I mean not to suggest or influence with that line of query. I require no answers but merely question the questions we are so often presented with and or present to ourselves. Any point I may have made in the previous post stands well enough for me. This is just another take that contrasts a language that fails to register for many. All those very-best-of images used to sell this or that service with rose colored narratives that present less of the truth than does the reality of oneís experience.

The notion of being 'cured' is yet another fallacy that lacks resonance, instead casting a shadow and dismissing the individual at their very essence when promoted through campaigns that prioritize serving the agenda rather than validating their assertions.

If you find yourself getting lost in this text, I encourage you to revisit the previous paragraph, as each paragraph builds upon the other. It may seem self-explanatory, but many of us who are entangled in the shadows require such prompts. Iím undoubtedly casting my own shadows, which is why I take this moment to reflect not only on my doubts but also that of others.

Now is actually a good time for me to take pause before I flesh out my so-called story. Forgive me as I laugh out loud. Yet another fallacy, but hey, why not entertain another fantasy? Rhetorical Ö no need to answer. Iíll do that in my next post where Iíll end off with acceptance and that itís OK not to be cured, not to succeed; at least not in terms as itís commonly sold.

As a representative, I have had the opportunity to sit among many tables in multiple seminars. However, even in those settings, I have often found myself misunderstood. This adds another layer of context to the above and whatever I impart next.

This Ďstoryí is not one size fits all. None of them ever really are, although they do try hard to cater to one type of image ...

To be continued Ö

Last edited by Anonymous48010; Jun 05, 2023 at 05:35 PM..
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Old Jun 06, 2023 at 04:13 PM
  #3
 
With all that being said, I believe the industrialization of social services and the self-perpetuating marketplace adversely affects individuals who have been boxed and labeled, causing more harm than the intended diagnoses suggest. I started life with an array of learning difficulties within the confines of a 'story' that could sell well. However, considering the above, the only stories that truly matter are the ones filled with images that serve the interests of those publishing them, rather than empowering individuals to become the captains of their own ships.

My wife has coined a term for these images used to sell stories within the sector we find ourselves in: 'disability porn.' I find it to be an apt term, given the predisposition and tendencies of today's extremely narrow-minded services.

I challenge the notion that success lies solely in conforming to predefined narratives. Instead, I celebrate the courage and resilience it takes to navigate a world that seeks to define and control me. My story should be filled with authenticity, self-acceptance, and the freedom to create my own imageóa dynamic and evolving representation of myself. Not some eternal static, moreover plastic picture that is typically embedded within unsolicited and endless pop-ups.

My would-be success on any one of my would-be labels is not to buy into any ideals that do not resonate with me. I need no validation other than what I can give to myself. I don't need pretty pictures and bubbly feelings in order to climb a ladder that need not exist in order to be free. Such a world is a prison. It's to that order of magnitude that I reach out and connect with others like me. It's lonely as hell, but that's okay... What's important is that I feel free, to simply be me.

THE END ... or is it?
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