Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Ordinary People

When ordinary people without overt disabilities fail to understand and treasure differences then they are the one afflicted with a true disability. When my sister and me were in a class we were interested in learning, wanted to achieve, and knew some nuance about something scientific as I was able to answer some question (I don’t even remember the question). In combination with not wearing fashion clothes and being a twin (sitting in the same class), several university teachers labelled us as having Aspergers syndrome. They had come to the wrong conclusion, regardless, even if they had been correct it would have been nicer if they slowed down on the labelling and had enough wits to understand that normality is in difference. They tried very hard to crush us emotionally and academically however we are blooming - blessed with good family and a PhD graduation just around the corner. Difference is what makes people truly unique and special. We are all special and have personal strength and abilities just waiting to be found. I hope you feel special and comfortable just being you.


  1. How awful that you experienced what you did at university. I'm surprised that you were stigmatized in this way in a university setting on the basis of suspected Asperger's. Did these lecturers not realize that people with Aspergers are often among the most gifted?

    I have many friends with what we categorize in our Western societies as mental illnesses and neurological conditions (including Asperger's). Should it matter that these people have these conditions to others? Of course not. 'Ordinary' is a category as well of course and people, including people with conditions, cannot be placed into clear categories. We are all far too complex.

    I know many gifted people. Published authors of textbooks and creative works of fiction and poetry, ground-breaking scientists, researchers and visual artists. Many also suffer from neurological conditions such as Aspergers and some from mental illnesses. Many have gone through severe distress caused by the condition itself, quite apart from stigma.

    I think for some, accepting a label can be good in that it leads to the possibility of treatment if one feels they need it. Sadly, however, many people will remain in denial for years or for their whole lives. Often the most vehement opponents of their own illness or condition are those with the most severe problems.

    But why do I think it is important for some people to come out of denial? Sadly, denial of mental illness in particular, such as with bipolar disorders, severe depressions and borderline personality disorder will mean the person will continue to experience symptoms. Suicidal ideation, psychosis, black and white thinking, emotional distress, paranoia, neurosis and other detrimental symptoms. In the long run, without treatment, some mental illness will also affect brain function negatively and lead to dementias.

    Yes, I believe one should accept oneself and be happy. Including people who may have a condition. If you have a friend who is symptomatic, in my opinion one should say something even if they reject that. In addition, I believe it is important for all of us to lovingly accpet all other people as they are. The many brilliant people, including those with 'conditions' and 'the ordinary' included.

  2. Thanks. It was definitely not nice what we experienced at uni, but it made us stronger. I think it definitely depends on the severity of conditions and whether these are mental illnesses, as well as the awareness of the effected individual, on how best to manage this.

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