“An individual having unusual difficulties in coping with his environment struggles and kicks up the dust, as it were. I have used the figure of a fish caught on a hook; his gyrations must look peculiar to other fish that don’t understand his circumstances: but his splashes are not his affliction, they are an effort to get rid of his affliction and as every fisherman knows, these effects may succeed.”I view my depression & anxiety as afflictions, but they're the symptomatic reaction to how our society & its people handle people like myself or my mother. They're a response to knowing that no matter how sick I am, my non-disabled brother can't be bothered to drive Mom to the doctor, and that Mom's oldschool sexism makes her believe that it's totally normal for young men since "normal" men aren't nurturing.
– Karl Mennenger
The depression and anxiety, to veer more towards Estee's commentary, are from the nightmare of trying to seem "normal" throughout my first relationship, being mistreated without understanding what I was doing wrong. Dating a fellow autistic seemed like the perfect antidote -- but the emotional problems were only deepened tenfold, beacuse the autie had been trained harshly to fit in, and felt it was his job to 'helpfully' point out all of the tiny ways I didn't, to tell me what a freak his friends thought I was, and impress upon me how he didn't want to be unemployed as that would mean he's a worthless, useless "eater" undeserving of love.
Being autistic and having my physical disabilities aren't afflictions that I struggle to break free from... No, I was a very happy girl as I was, proud of being myself rather than trying to fit in, dedicated to honing the talents that I was also proud of. It wasn't until people I looked up to (or at least thought were worth listening to) started communicating their bigoted, hateful thoughts that I was afflicted with anything or started feeling like I was flailing ineffectually against an invisible monster determined to eat me alive. Hopefully we can find some way to keep future generations from being threatened similarly -- perhaps with some targeted "early intervention" of non-disabled kids & their parents, to make sure they don't become some other innocent's nightmare affliction.