Hello, and welcome back to The Autistic Writer. It’s good to have you back. I’ll come to the pirate stuff shortly, but first… As I write this (Friday evening), I’m feeling somewhat off-colour, and it’s because of something close to the collective heart of the autistic community… vaccines! Yes, on Thursday I had my covid booster jab…
I like autism jokes. I think it’s healthy to be able to laugh at oneself, especially if at the same time you can make fun of people who are willfully and dangerously stupid (anti-vaxxers, autism vaccine believers). Unfortunately, sometimes you can feel a little rough after a covid vaccine, and today, I’ve felt awful. I’d been planning on going to the gym, but although I’m starting to feel a bit better, I don’t feel up to a workout. So now, my inner critic is guilt-tripping me, calling me a wuss. I’ve got to be sensible and ignore him. It means playing catch-up at the gym next time I go, but that’s hardly the end of the world.
Talking of catching up, let me fill you in on what’s been happening this week. Starting with this:
Yes, I got invited to a social gathering. I cannot remember the last time that happened! And yes, I backed out. The invitation came from someone I have a lot of time for, and the gathering would have been attended by a lot of people I know and like. But to be honest, I don’t feel I have the mental strength to deal with the social pressure and sensory overload that would come with it. In the past, I would go out socialising quite a lot, but would require alcohol as a crutch – lots of alcohol – which is not a healthy way to live. This gathering would have been in a pub, too. I’m currently teetotal, after deciding a few months ago that I need to clean up my act and get healthy. I’m feeling so much better being off the booze that I might well make this a permanent deal. Coming off booze was part of a four-pronged attack intended to help me catch up on my health and fitness; no alcohol, a healthier diet, regular exercise, and some new meds. So many health niggles – and some serious problems – have held me back over recent years, but I’m moving forward again now.
On a different subject, let me tell you about an annoying email I received. It came from someone claiming to work for an “advocacy center” called the Birth Injury Center. She claimed to have seen some “helpful resources” I had shared on this blog, and wanted to know if I would like to add a new “resource”. The information she wanted me to share was an allegation that the drug Tylenol is “linked” to autism and ADHD. She explained that, according to research, use of the drug by pregnant women correlates with the incidence of autism and ADHD in the children they bear. Let’s have a look at what the Birth Injury Center’s website has to say…
Okay, listen carefully, and then repeat after me: CORRELATION DOES NOT MEAN CAUSATION. It’s true that diagnoses of autism have been rising in recent decades. It may well be true that there is a correlation between use of Tylenol (AKA paracetamol) and the incidence of autism, too. There are probably a gazillion things you could correlate with a rise in autism diagnoses, but Occam’s razor suggests what anyone with an ounce of common sense already knows… autism diagnoses are increasing because more people are being assessed, due to an increasing awareness and understanding of autism. It’s also reasonable to assume that as the population increases, the number of autistic people would rise correspondingly.
“But Darren,” I hear you gasp in astonishment, “you’re saying the studies are wrong? This is science!” Like no bad science has ever happened. We have to bear two things in mind, here. Firstly, the study of autism is a new field. There are people alive now who were born before the study of autism commenced. The short history of autism study has been littered with error, fraud, corruption, negligence and cruelty. Currently, autism is big business with charlatans hawking cures and therapies being just a part of a multi-billion-dollar worldwide industry. Researchers in the autism field who are looking for causes and treatments depend either directly or indirectly on public fear of autism for their careers. Once the general public truly understands and accepts autism and autistic people, there will be no more fear and no demand for research and cures. Money talks.
Secondly, I must repeat; correlation does not mean causation. All kinds of information can be combined to show correlation. For example, did you know that in the US, shark attacks on people show a direct correlation with ice cream sales? Or that the number of drownings in swimming pools has been steadily increasing directly in line with the production of nuclear energy? Or that the divorce rate in the state of Maine directly correlates with per capita consumption of margarine?
The fact that the nice lady from the Birth Injury Center thought she could rope me into this nonsense shows just how little attention she paid to the actual content of my blog. Autism is a naturally occurring genetic variation. It is not a birth injury. The whole myth of “environmental causes ” of autism is geared towards driving research and making money. The sooner society catches up with the truth about autistic people, the better for all of us. But as long as the autism establishment is allowed to perpetuate its autism is a disorder; autistic people are broken narrative, we have no hope of autistic people being accepted for who we are, sadly.
Now for something completely different. I started the blog with an autism joke; now I want to share some non-autistic jokes. (Or are they?) You might know that this coming Monday is World Speak Like A Pirate Day. Due to some other events occurring simultaneously, it will probably be overlooked in the UK, but nevertheless, here are some pirate jokes I made up…
Why don’t pirates join the Air Force? They prefer the ARRR-my!
How do pirates catch fish? They use an ‘ARRR-poon!
Why don’t pirates go to museums? They prefer ARRR-t galleries!
I’ll get my coat, shall I?
One last thing, which I hope will be of interest to anyone who enjoys reading a good thriller, and of particular interest to autistic readers. My latest novel, Aberrations, is available in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon, all over the world. Charlie Moses is a seemingly ordinary young man who is suddenly thrust into a terrifying confrontation with pure evil. The clock is ticking as he puts his life on the line. It’s well worth a read, if I do say so myself.
I will never put this blog behind a paywall. I want anyone, anywhere, to be able to access this content at any time. There are costs incurred running this website, however. So if you like what I’m trying to do here, please feel free to show your support with a small contribution via buymeacoffee.com.
That be all for this week, me hearties, arrr!. Until next time, beware the black spot, arrr!
You can find The Autistic Writer on all your favourite social media channels
Why Do I Write This Blog?
When I first found out I was autistic, I was a middle-aged adult and I knew nothing about autism. I quickly learned that there was a serious shortage of information and resources for adults in my situation. With this blog, I aim to inform about autism and autism-related issues as I learn, hopefully helping people who are on a similar journey of discovery. Like anyone who writes a blog, I want to reach as many readers as possible; if you like what I’m doing, please share it with your friends and followers. I will never hide this blog behind a paywall, but running the website does incur costs. If you would like to support, feel free to make a small contribution at BuyMeACoffee.Com.
You might also be interested in David Scothern’s blog, Mortgage Advisor on FIRE, which covers a range of topics including mental health issues and financial independence.