'Spergin November 29, 2007 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Asperger's shouldn't be thrown out as an explanation or excuse for any behavior unless one has been clinically diagnosed with it.
posted by pieoverdone to Etiquette/Policy at 1:27 PM (208 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Flag/move on.
posted by iamabot at 1:29 PM on November 29, 2007


What am I doing in here?
posted by dead_ at 1:30 PM on November 29, 2007


Asperger's is like Ron Paul. On the internet, everyone has it and everyone supports it.
posted by Stynxno at 1:32 PM on November 29, 2007 [42 favorites]


I say we revoke his metamedicalselfdiagnosislicense and suspend him from questions until next week.
posted by iamabot at 1:33 PM on November 29, 2007


NOBODY SAY WENDELL!
posted by ND¢ at 1:33 PM on November 29, 2007


Asperger's shouldn't be thrown out as an explanation or excuse for any behavior unless one has been clinically diagnosed with it.

Says who?
posted by Bookhouse at 1:33 PM on November 29, 2007


NOBODY SAY WENDELL!

OR TALK ABOUT TASING ANYONE'S ASS!
posted by dersins at 1:36 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


sorry.
posted by dersins at 1:37 PM on November 29, 2007


I haven't been clinically diagnosed with lactose intolerance, but whenever I ingest dairy, I get explosive diarrhea.
posted by emd3737 at 1:38 PM on November 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


OR TALK ABOUT TASING ANYONE'S ASS!

I thought that said tasting anyone's ass. Which is something that can't be talked about enough, if you ask me.
posted by iconomy at 1:39 PM on November 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


IAWBookhouse, overreacting/sometimes it's valid/live and let live. (plus it's grumblebee. not your typical self-diagnosis-for-attention candidate. he's cool, yo.)
posted by Phire at 1:40 PM on November 29, 2007


Just for the record, I would not support the tasering of someone's ass merely because they had self-diagnosed themselves with Asperger's.

. . . but if they were tasered, I could see why the taserer may have felt they were in danger.
posted by ND¢ at 1:41 PM on November 29, 2007


I thought that said tasting anyone's ass.

Sounds like you may have a case of Assburgers.
posted by brain_drain at 1:45 PM on November 29, 2007 [25 favorites]


For heaven's sake, why not?

How does this wreck your day, harsh your mellow, bunch your panties, or lick the red off of your candy?

Who is harmed if grumblebee cons a bunch of strangers into believing he may be Aspergers without a lick of clinical documentation to back him up?

Who died and made you the Vice-President for Clinical Accuracy of the Entire Internet?

Go back to your pie, I think it's burning.
posted by ottereroticist at 1:47 PM on November 29, 2007 [9 favorites]


he's cool, yo.

I thought being cool and having Asperberger's Syndrome were mutually exclusive.
posted by timeistight at 1:48 PM on November 29, 2007


LULZ aside, I think grumblebee did a decent job explaining why he uses Aspergers as a shorthand to describe what he's talking about w/r/t his own outlook. You may want to MeFiMail him and talk to him about it. Are you asking for the feedback from the MeFi community as to whether they agree with your assertion? People do this a lot with diagnoses here like ADD and OCD and while I think it's a sort of flip way of treating somethign that for some people is a real challenging malady, it seems like the best way to deal with that is to talk to them about it or mention it in-thread with some other helpful information. Maybe along the lines of "Gee grumblebee you know I have Asperger's and if you really had it, you would not be able to go to work every day with your coworker the way he is....

I have a schizophrenic cousin whose life is a living hell a lot of the time and I feel similarly when people toss around the term schizo [especially when they're referring to weird split personality stuff which isn't even what schizophrenia is] so I do empathize but I think constructively we need to think about the best way to stop that from happening, not just say "stop it"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:50 PM on November 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Turing test: let grumblebee convince us he has Aspergers.

Go!
posted by jouke at 1:51 PM on November 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sounds like you may have a case of Assburgers.

Is that an official diagnosis?
posted by iconomy at 2:00 PM on November 29, 2007


I do not endorse these sentiments.
posted by meehawl at 2:02 PM on November 29, 2007


Sounds like you may have a case of Assburgers.

Would you like a second opinion?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:02 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I use a spurious self-diagnosis of Tourette's to justify my urge to call you all fuck-knuckles.
posted by Abiezer at 2:05 PM on November 29, 2007 [15 favorites]


Yup, you can all fax your medical and psychological records to Matt as soon as possible. It will be incorporated into your Profile.

Seriously, I actually want to disagree with Jessamyn on this one (well, I don't want to -- don't ban me, bro!). While I appreciate that rampant self-diagnosis can be annoying and not helpful, I feel like this:

Maybe along the lines of "Gee grumblebee you know I have Asperger's and if you really had it, you would not be able to go to work every day with your coworker the way he is....

is a fairly inappropriate thing to say. These kinds of things are more like a continuum (I find) than a black-or-white, yes-or-no situation. Regardless of the severity of the condition, or even if a Doctor has given you an official diagnosis, one should be able to self-identify as they wish, without being questioned by the MeFi Mystery Machine.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:06 PM on November 29, 2007


I think "stop it" is a perfectly valid response. To me, this is kinda like the "lawyer" answers on ask.me - we've had entire threads about people dispensing bogus legal advice or advice that was poor because they are not a lawyer. Personally, I find the IANAL notation a good addition to those threads.

In the same way, if someone is going to self-dagnosis them, they should admit it. Grumblebee does in this instance but many people will claim to have a mental illness when they are not properely diagnosed.

I can understand why people with Asperger's or other mental illnesses would dislike to see people sprout out their self-diagnosis that tend to be wrong. It dimishes the affect of the term, it also encourage people who really do have those illnesses to not seek treatment, and it allows people to talk their mouths off about things they don't understand.
posted by Stynxno at 2:14 PM on November 29, 2007


Asperger's shouldn't be thrown out as an explanation or excuse for any behavior unless one has been clinically diagnosed with it.

neurologically typical people like you are SO predictable in their responses
posted by pyramid termite at 2:15 PM on November 29, 2007


If grumblebee were routinely a jerk to people here and excused it with a self-diagnosis of Aspergers I'd understand your unhappiness. Yet he is scrupulously careful and polite in his dealings with others here -- more than most. So what is your complaint? That someone you don't know, working in an office you don't work in, wants to find a solution for his hardship (accurately diagnosed or not) that does not inconvenience any of his coworkers, who are also strangers to you?

It all makes perfect sense! Then again, I tested out at "Are you sentient?" the last time there was a geography quiz posted to the front page, so you may want to take that with a grain of salt.
posted by melissa may at 2:17 PM on November 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


You want fries with that?
posted by Horken Bazooka at 2:17 PM on November 29, 2007


I've seen lazy/silly/insensitive trotting-out of undiagnosed medical conditions more than once around mefi, but I really don't see anything out of line with grumblebee's example here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:19 PM on November 29, 2007


These kinds of things are more like a continuum (I find) than a black-or-white, yes-or-no situation. Regardless of the severity of the condition, or even if a Doctor has given you an official diagnosis, one should be able to self-identify as they wish, without being questioned by the MeFi Mystery Machine.

It's actually a spectrum disorder.

This is one of those things I put in the life-problems-that-don't-really-involve-metafilter-but-show-up-on-metafilter.

In my opinion, it's bad form in life to say you definitely have a disorder if you haven't been diagnosed unless you preface it with something along the lines of "I haven't been diagnosed with x but the fact that I have the following symptoms makes me feel there's a good chance that I do."

That said, there's nothing we can do about it on Metafilter except message people when they self-diagnose or ignore them.
posted by drezdn at 2:19 PM on November 29, 2007


I thought that said tasting anyone's ass.

Smelly penny.

These pennies are smelly. Smell them.

~passes handful of pennies~
posted by exlotuseater at 2:21 PM on November 29, 2007


I can understand why people with Asperger's or other mental illnesses

people on the autistic spectrum are NOT mentally ill - they are different
posted by pyramid termite at 2:23 PM on November 29, 2007


If I can't self-diagnose, then the terrorists have already won.
posted by The Deej at 2:24 PM on November 29, 2007


this call-out is analogous to railing against porn by complaining about the nudes in the art gallery.
posted by edgeways at 2:27 PM on November 29, 2007


PT, and people with mental illness are NOT different?
posted by edgeways at 2:28 PM on November 29, 2007


I'm sorry. You must have started a new thread by mistake.

I think what you wanted was the complaining thread.
posted by god hates math at 2:28 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd be willing to bet that a lot of adults have undiagnosed conditions, especially at the lower ends of the spectrum, and I can't see a need to get upset about that.

Grumblebee doesn't disparage anyone with Asperger's or act as if he should receive some kind of special dispensation because he feels he is suffering from the condition, or in any way cast aspersions. He's just not that kind of guy. He's a sweet, compassionate man, looking for a way to alleviate the very real distress he is feeling without creating conflict between himself and a co-worker.
posted by misha at 2:29 PM on November 29, 2007


Are the answers to grumblebee's question any different depending on whether he has Asperger's or not? I doubt they are, in which case you can safely ignore the self-diagnosis in that thread as irrelevant information and answer away. (And even if there is a difference, then the correct, in-thread response is, "You need to find out for sure whether you have Asperger's or not. If you do, solution A. If not, solution B.")
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:30 PM on November 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


I've always gotten along swimmingly with grumblebee so this is not at all about him. But this MeTa reminded me of my first boyfriend who was a psych major, and coincidentally, apparently had every single condition listed in his textbooks. Well, if he didn't have it before, he developed it and noticed symptoms soon after.

Yeah, I remember when he got to the Tourette's chapter. Good times.

Anyhow, as for the drumming on the desk? I don't have Asperger's, and yet I'd be fighting the urge to break the guy's fingers off. So I'm not sure Aspergers really had all that much importance in regards to the question, really. I'm sensitive to noise and table drumming and knuckle cracking drive me bananas.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:32 PM on November 29, 2007


I'd pay good money to have a flag that simply said "stupid post."

Just sayin'.
posted by konolia at 2:36 PM on November 29, 2007


Grumblebee is out getting his ear sliced but I'm sure he'll respond when he gets home. We're pretty sure the ear problem is unrelated to Asperger's.
posted by Evangeline at 2:38 PM on November 29, 2007


Asking a question with a false premise is a fundamentally wrong thing to do in AskMeFi. It's disingenuous, and forces answers into a certain direction based on assumption that's been introduced as fact. I cannot believe that so many people in this thread are defending his use of a medical condition. "Well, he could have it, and he's a nice guy, so we'll let it slide."

Added to that is it, in ways, marginalizes those who actually have a condition. I've heard plenty of people say they're bi-polar because they have a couple of symptoms; but the disease itself is quite serious, and self-diagnosing and then putting that info. in public as fact is very rude.

I get the fact that people like him around here; in fact, I've received hate mail before the last time I said something negative about grumblebee. But being a nice guy doesn't absolve him of guilt. And he, and others, should know that bandying about self-diagnoses is, or should be, a no-no, especially in a place like AskMeFi.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:43 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


*Tasers, declaws, and circumcises wendell*

NOW this will wendell.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:44 PM on November 29, 2007


I recognize that "phobia" is torssed around for all kinds of aversions that are not, clinically speaking, phobias. I'm apiphobic/spheksophobic (which is why I referenced phobias in that thread) but not, you know, diagnosed by a psychologist. I have self-diagnosed, based on the meaning of the words "irrational" and "fear" and the self-observation that it is extremely difficult for me to control the impulse to hyperventilate while making the sort of high-pitched squeaking noises that would otherwise annoy the shit outta me.

Where's my callout?
posted by desuetude at 2:45 PM on November 29, 2007


Oh, and he's really not one to fixate on disorders. I know how easy it is to do that. Just type a couple of your symptoms into Google, and voila! - you have toe cancer.

IANAD, but given what I know about Asperger's, I think his self-diagnosis is spot on. He certainly doesn't have it to an extreme degree, but enough characteristics are there to convince me. I'm not sure if he mentioned this is his post, but his father is autistic. Marcus's mother is a psychologist, and this is her diagnosis, and anybody who met him would recognize it within about 2 minutes.

Out of curiosity, if an adult does get a diagnosis of Asperger's from a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, what then? Are drugs prescribed? Is behavioral therapy recommended?
posted by Evangeline at 2:45 PM on November 29, 2007


I cannot believe that so many people in this thread are defending his use of a medical condition. "Well, he could have it, and he's a nice guy, so we'll let it slide."

Tossing around the diagnoses usually bugs me too, but in this case, I say "meh." His claim of Aspergers wasn't exactly strident. It's not referenced in the title, it's not referenced in the above-the-fold question, and the relationship between grumblebee-specific noise sensitivity and Aspergers was qualified with a probably and a maybe and a guess.

And he, and others, should know that bandying about self-diagnoses is, or should be, a no-no, especially in a place like AskMeFi.


C'mon, would you apply this to all of the people who have discussed their struggles with un-formally-diagnosed depression in AskMe?
posted by desuetude at 2:52 PM on November 29, 2007


I thought that said tasting anyone's ass. Which is something that can't be talked about enough, if you ask me.

Don't taste me, bro!
posted by cashman at 2:54 PM on November 29, 2007


<img src="http://www.yourmom.com/mommy.jpg
posted by shmegegge at 2:55 PM on November 29, 2007


what a rip.
posted by shmegegge at 2:55 PM on November 29, 2007


Saying "I'm depressed" or "I suffer from symptoms of depression" is different than saying "I have clinical depression", and that distinction, IMHO, does change the premise of the situation.

Being "depressed" can be treated differently than a person who suffers from "clinical depression" in the same way that "I'm an alcoholic" is different from "I have the symptoms of alcoholism but could potentially stop anytime".

Any doctors want to correct me and tell me that they're "all the same thing", please do...I'm open to being wrong here.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:56 PM on November 29, 2007


Generally I like pie, but this one doesn't taste right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:56 PM on November 29, 2007


Asking a question with a false premise is a fundamentally wrong thing to do in AskMeFi.

Wait, what???

He doesn't mention the self-diagnosis until halfway through the thread - it's not like he wrote it up in the question as a plea for pity, or special dispensation. Until he mentioned it, I - and probably lots of other folks, none of whom seem to think it's all that weird - just assumed that he was particularly noise sensitive.

I suppose people'd be all mad if he was medically diagnosed with Asperger's and wanted to "use" it to make his boss (who sounds like a douche) comply with the ADA.

Geez!
posted by rtha at 2:57 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's in the question itself. Look again.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 3:00 PM on November 29, 2007


If grumblebee were routinely a jerk to people here and excused it with a self-diagnosis of Aspergers I'd understand your unhappiness. Yet he is scrupulously careful and polite in his dealings with others here

I don't think it's about politeness. It's just a question of assumptions. I am made a little uncomfortable with actual diagnoses of personality "disorders" or whatever you call them, since they're more of a collection of traits, and it's not entirely evident that the various individuals who belong to the category are restricted to the category anyway (ie, it's usually about tendencies not necessities or absolutes).

As I said here, I score pretty high on those kinds of tests myself, but I'd never say I had Asperger's because of it. What would the use of that be? The only reason to be "diagnosed" with something like Asperger's is if your life is actually being negatively affected by the way you deal with the world, and you need some form of treatment or therapy to adjust. Otherwise, it's just your freakin' personality.
posted by mdn at 3:03 PM on November 29, 2007


Crap callout. Just crap.

For the record, grumblebee's pretty good at communicating via MefiMail. You had much, much better ways to do this.
posted by koeselitz at 3:06 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


PT, and people with mental illness are NOT different?

that's not a logical response

------

I get the fact that people like him around here; in fact, I've received hate mail before the last time I said something negative about grumblebee. But being a nice guy doesn't absolve him of guilt.

and you are a strictly neutral observer, right?

And he, and others, should know that bandying about self-diagnoses is, or should be, a no-no, especially in a place like AskMeFi.

i've never understood why people are so fucking touchy about this particular issue - could it be that the thought that a person you took to be rather "normal" might have asperger's makes you doubt your own normality? what difference could it make to you?

and don't go on about how it "marginalizes" the people who have been dx'd - many of them have computers and typing skills and they didn't elect you to speak for them

it seems to me that your problem's more with grumblebee than what he actually said
posted by pyramid termite at 3:08 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's in the question itself. Look again.

D'oh! Totally missed it.

What's left of my point still stands, though. He's not asking for special treatment - he's looking for coping strategies. He's a hung the diagnosis on himself as a sort of shorthand, which seems useful enough.

FWIW, as a formerly-diagnosed-clinically-depressed person, I don't take umbrage at people who say they're depressed but haven't been officially diagnosed as such. I'm sure there are cases where self-diagnosis is rude or disrespectful or something, but this just doesn't seem to be it.
posted by rtha at 3:11 PM on November 29, 2007


Asperberger's on the internets seems like shorthand for "I am terribly awkward in social situations because I am a genius".
posted by xmutex at 3:12 PM on November 29, 2007 [14 favorites]


I think your username should be changed to beansoverdone.
posted by desjardins at 3:13 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Any doctors want to correct me and tell me that they're "all the same thing", please do...I'm open to being wrong here.

Oh, please. I didn't say "it's all the same thing." Just that we don't always need to see the paperwork to trust that the asker is coming from a basically honest place. Besides, grumblebee clarified when asked if he had a medical diagnosis, so what's the problem here?
posted by desuetude at 3:13 PM on November 29, 2007


This is why God invented professionals. Professionals know what they are talking about within the sphere of their profession. You do not. No, really. You don't. Yet for whatever reason, AskMe is full of lay people spouting off about what should only be expert opinions and frequently getting them wrong. Go figure.

Getting mad that this particular poser of the question may be imprecise in his terminology on this one condition seems a bit ridiculous. If we want sound and accurate advice on such things, then we would have to limit certain topics to professionals. I don't think that is anything like what Ask Metafilter is supposed to be.
posted by dios at 3:23 PM on November 29, 2007


Yet for whatever reason, AskMe is full of lay people spouting off about what should only be expert opinions and frequently getting them wrong.

Dude, this is the internet.
posted by xmutex at 3:24 PM on November 29, 2007


Yeah, xmutex. Hence the "go figure." I was being a tad sarcastic there.
posted by dios at 3:29 PM on November 29, 2007


It's actually pretty easy to get a diagnosis of Asperger's on the internet. Just watch this clip from this thread.
posted by BeerFilter at 3:29 PM on November 29, 2007


Am I too late to make the "ass burgers" quip?

OK then.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:30 PM on November 29, 2007


"Smelly penny.

These pennies are smelly. Smell them."


Ah, penny. Brown penny, brown penny.

I am looped in the loops of her hair.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:32 PM on November 29, 2007


This is why God invented professionals.

no, actually that was someone else who lives in a lot hotter place
posted by pyramid termite at 3:33 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's NOT LUPUS!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:34 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I totally see your point, mdn, and those of others here. I don't think casual self-diagnosis or worse, casually diagnosing others based on a few lines of text is such a hot idea, either. Yet it happens a lot, especially in AskMe, so singling out one poster -- and yes, a nice and helpful community member at that -- about something this personal is not exactly fair or likely to produce a global change to the practice.
posted by melissa may at 3:39 PM on November 29, 2007


Asking a question with a false premise is a fundamentally wrong thing to do in AskMeFi.

Jesus fucking Christ. The premise of the question is that he doesn't like the drumming and wants suggestions on how to deal with it. He mentions that he thinks he has Asperger's just as a possibly illuminating sidelight. There was nothing wrong with his question; there is, however, almost everything wrong with this callout. I thought I'd seen some lame MeTa posts lately, but this one takes the cake.

Seriously, have you no shame? Here, let me make a MeTa post about it:

Has pieoverdone no shame?

We'll see how you like being raked over the coals by the good folks at MetaTalk.
posted by languagehat at 3:43 PM on November 29, 2007 [8 favorites]


Yet it happens a lot, especially in AskMe, so singling out one poster -- and yes, a nice and helpful community member at that -- about something this personal is not exactly fair or likely to produce a global change to the practice.

Smartest thing said in this thread. I'm out of this.

On a side note, completely unrelated to what melissa just said, logic and reason are never any match against emotion. grumblebee, you're a lucky guy to have so many friends here.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 3:48 PM on November 29, 2007


could all members please supply matt with a medical certificate at signup ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:48 PM on November 29, 2007


sgt. serenity, we need to see your sergeant's uniform AND a professional diagnosis of serenity before you are allowed to speak here
posted by pyramid termite at 3:53 PM on November 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sir, without some form of ID establishing that you are, in fact, a termite with five vertices, I'm afraid we can't credit that assertion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:56 PM on November 29, 2007 [5 favorites]


Sez the man who's never offered one iota of proof that he is, indeed, the outer or superficial part of an organ or bodily structure.
posted by scody at 4:01 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


mr cortex, without being able to establish that you are more neurologically sophisticated than a brain stem, i see no need to show you my ID

(for example a pyramid termite is not a termite with five vertices, but a termite that likes to eat pyramids)
posted by pyramid termite at 4:02 PM on November 29, 2007


Let me also say that I have known many professionals in many diverse fields. Many of them know very much about their specialty, and are gifts unto our society. Others are dumber than a bag full of doorknobs, and their activities and duties are discharged with barely disguised malpractice and general cluelessness. Having (or not having) a professional diagnosis is no guarantee in my mind.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:04 PM on November 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


good callout|-----------------------------------------this--|lame callout
posted by Durin's Bane at 4:05 PM on November 29, 2007 [2 favorites]




Is "incredibly irritable" a medical condition? Is it contagious?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:10 PM on November 29, 2007


>l

I don't understand you. Type ? for help.

>look

You can't. It's dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

>get torch

Taken.

>look

It's dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

>turn on torch

Light fills the room in front of you, temporarily blinding you...

You're in MetaTalk thread #15368. There are many users here. Most of them seem vexed. They are carrying torches and pitchforks and bearing a golden idol in the shape of bunny with a pancake balanced on its head. The bunny appears to be wearing pants. There is a fish peeking out of the pants. Some of the users are bearing signs, but there is no cohesive message. Something about cat-bicycles and fat declawing.

There is a plate of beans here. They look a bit dried out and disused, but edible.

There is a plate of assburgers here. They do not appear to be edible.


>search

There is a plate of beans here. Suddenly, you feel hungry.

>search

There is a plate of beans here. You begin to feel faint, ravenous even. The beans look delicious.

>search

There is a plate of beans here with a fly buzzing around it slowly. You're starving. There's shoving and arguing all around the beans. You're growing weak. So hungry.

>search

You see the beans in a whole new light - the crispness of each bean in the unassuming tomato sauce, the fine crazing in the old but well-worn glazed plate, the pleasing mound-shape of the heap of beans - and for a brief, fleeting moment you feel as though you finally have come to understand the very meaning of the beans themselves.

Just before lapsing into a starvation-induced coma.

Shortly you are trampled to bits as a very energetic scuffle breaks out over whether or not the beans are indeed "valid within the given narrative" or rather if they are "entropically juxtaposed against the inescapable fatality of materialism".

You have died. Play again?


>_
posted by loquacious at 4:15 PM on November 29, 2007 [59 favorites]


This (to me) is a weird call-out reflecting a Cult of the Expert. Of which I am not a member. There is no reason why a reasonable, educated and non-dramatic person could not assess whether or not they have Aspergers. They may or may not be correct, but the same is true for a psychologist. There's no blood test.

I knew I had psoriasis because I live inside my damn skin, I know every one of my symptoms, and I read up on skin rashes. I went to the dermatologist and said I have psoriasis, take a look. They looked and looked, biopsied, and said, you have psoriasis. I said, yes, I know. (See lactose intolerance example, above.)

People generally know themselves and their bodies, mental health, mental processes better than any expert. This is particularly true with respect to day-to-day experiences like the topic of this AskMe (as opposed to the latest clinical trial or whatever).

There are people who self-diagnose in a ridiculous fashion. There are people who use diagnostic terms inappropriately. The AskMe at issue is not an example of either phenomenon.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 4:16 PM on November 29, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'm really glad this call out was made because I have a similar concern about unwarranted claims of otter paraphilia, but I already used up my weekly metatalk allowance on some other damn thread.
posted by roofus at 4:22 PM on November 29, 2007


RELAX!
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:25 PM on November 29, 2007


And I guess no one should consider themselves pregnant until the nipple latch, eh?
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:33 PM on November 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


DON'T DO IT!
posted by Horken Bazooka at 4:33 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


"There is no reason why a reasonable, educated and non-dramatic person could not assess whether or not they have Aspergers."

If a person reads up on some sort of disease/illness/disorder/anomaly, they are very likely to start thinking they have that disease/illness/disorder/anomaly. Introductory psychology text books have tons of warnings about being very careful to avoid any self-diagnosis. Everyone thinks they have brain tumors and schizophrenia and OCD. It's hard not to. Almost impossible. You are immersed in every single itch, quirk, twitch, and even slightest emotion every second of your life--the human brain is too good at finding patterns to be given a list of symptoms and then not find them.

It's not that ridiculous people self-diagnose in a ridiculous fashion, nor it is that all self-diagnoses are necessarily wrong. Instead, it is that the process of self-diagnosis is so fundamentally flawed that the results cannot and should not be trusted.

With that said, I couldn't care less about grumblebee's self-diagnosis. It's stupid to self-diagnose, but we probably all do it sooner or later (I have), and it certainly seems like grumblebee was cautious and careful about it. Furthermore, it didn't actually matter that he had done so. And it's not my place to judge him, and I don't mean to. I just felt like I should point this out as some sort of disclaimer.

I just.. You know... am a member of the Cult of the Expert. Or, more accurately, the Cult of the Good Expert When It Is Important To Consult An Expert Even Though, Yeah, Some Of Them Are Quacks.
posted by Ms. Saint at 4:43 PM on November 29, 2007 [5 favorites]


There are people who use self-diagnosis of Aspergers to behave like posterior head coverings.

This was not one of those times.

I, too, am a member of the Cult of the Good Expert When It Is Important To Consult An Expert Even Though, Yeah, Some Of Them Are Quacks!
posted by winna at 4:51 PM on November 29, 2007


If a person reads up on some sort of disease/illness/disorder/anomaly, they are very likely to start thinking they have that disease/illness/disorder/anomaly.

that's why i read about bubonic plague when i really want to feel miserable
posted by pyramid termite at 4:54 PM on November 29, 2007


I have some sympathy with this callout, and I understand (or hope) that my post was used as a way to bring up a general subject, even if my particulars don't fit the subject perfectly.

Before explaining my reasons for diagnosing myself, I'd like to say that I believe (a) a self-diagnosis is not necessarily worthless, (b) a professional diagnosis is not necessarily valuable, and (c) like it or not, we're going to see more and more of this kind of stuff.

Why? Because there are more ways for the layman to access medical info than ever before. Think something's wrong with you? Just google the symptoms and you'll find out more than you ever wanted to know.

I can understand why this might make people nervous, and I can see all sorts of problems with it, but -- to be honest -- most of the non-hysterical people I know have made pretty good self-diagnoses this way. By which I mean that they've done some research, figured out what was wrong with them, and then had their self-diagnosis confirmed by a doctor. Actually, it's pretty rare that I've heard someone say, "I did a ton of research on Google, and was SURE I had X, but to my surprise, the doctor said I had Y!"

There are computer programmers who never got a degree in CS; there are amateur astronomers who actually contribute to the science; Einstein was a patent clerk; Etc. That's not to say that doctors are worthless (though they are definitely fallible) or that there aren't dangers to diagnosing oneself -- especially if you do it casually -- but it does seem foolish to dismiss ALL self-diagnosis, especially in a world where doctors and laypeople have access to the same books.

As other people have stated here, my claim of having Aspergers was tangential to my post. If a doctor proved to me that I'm wrong, my question (about being annoyed at work) would still stand. I only included the Aspergers info in the hopes that someone would write, "I have Aspergers, too, and here's what worked for me." I figured such a solution -- even if my self-diagnosis isn't 100% sure to be right -- might be worth a try.

How did I come by my self-diagnosis? Well, I've done the googling and read the books; I've worked with Autistic children; my mother is a mental-health professional...

Here are some data-points:

-- I don't like being touched (unless I really trust someone), and this includes shaking hands and even just brushing against someone on the street. Such contact is sometimes physically painful to me.

-- It's hard for me to make eye-contact.

-- Though I'm introverted in general, I've always had my Rainman-like "main man." I generally bond to one person and one person only, and I'm completely devoted to (and maybe a bit obsessed with) that person. Currently, that person is my wife. I've learned how to have some other friends, though I don't get the concept of acquaintances. The way I have other friends is -- primarily -- through email. I have EXTREMELY close email friends, some of whom live in the same city with me, and I want them to stay email friends. That seems natural to me. Meeting them in person doesn't.

-- I am obsessive about anything that interests me. I don't understand casual hobbies or past-times. Once, I (seemingly randomly) hooked onto medieval history. I read one book on it and all the sudden "had" to go to Barnes and Noble and buy every other book on it. I spent about $500 on books that day.

-- I have a zillion rituals that I "have" to do. I don't mean celebrating Xmas. I mean eating all the meatballs out of the spaghetti before starting on the pasta. I don't do this because I especially like the meatballs; I do it because ... I have to. It upsets me to eat the pasta first or both together. It even upsets me if my wife takes some spaghetti from my plate before I've eaten all the meatballs.

-- I am extremely literal. It took me years to understand subtext or conversational nuance. I now do, but I had to learn how to do so, and I have to work to do it. Sometimes I forget how, and people have to explain things to me. I'm literal to the level that if someone writes "Be careful, roses have thorns," and they accidentally make the "r" in "roses" look like an "n," I won't be able to figure out the mistake via context. I'll stare and stare at the sentence, wondering why noses have thorns. My wife constantly has to explain stuff like this to me.

-- I am extremely bothered by loud noise, quiet noises, wind blowing on me, rumpled sheets, anything crooked and scraps of paper on the floor. If I'm trying to watch TV and there's a scrap of paper (or a shoe) on the floor between me and the TV, I can't concentrate. I think this is stupid, so I try to ignore the paper, but the more I try, the worse it gets. I finally feel like I'm going to explode if I don't move the paper. Ultimately, I have to get up and move it. I have the same trouble on the subway, when I'm trying to read. I've often mystified people by getting up and moving trash to another part of the floor. I'm not super-neat. I just can't read with the distraction.

-- I am a storehouse of arcane knowledge, and I have an insatiable need for more and more. Most has no utility. My dad, brother and grandfather are/were all like this, too.

All of this is to say that, though I've made a self-diagnosis, I haven't done it casually. I've made it via years of thought and research. All that stuff I've listed above fits book after article after website that I've read about Aspergers.

Why should I get a professional diagnosis? Maybe I should get one if I want to be "fixed" (though as-fas-as I know, Apergers isn't curable or even really treatable), but other than that, why? So that I can become certified as an official Aspie and gain the right to say I'm one in MeFi threads?

If I'm not allowed to say I have Aspergers, what can I say? I probably have it? Okay. I'm fine with that. I usually do say it that way.
posted by grumblebee at 4:56 PM on November 29, 2007 [18 favorites]


Oh, and whether my Aspergers is a figment of my imagination or real, I don't think it entitles me to anything.
posted by grumblebee at 4:59 PM on November 29, 2007


By the way, lame callout or not, I think this is a worthwhile discussion on a fascinating and important subject: everyone needs to work out his relationship to experts. Do you trust them or not? I doubt many people here 100% trust or distrust them. But if you trust them part of the time and mistrust them the other part, how do you decided when to do what?

And the same for laymen "experts". When do you take them seriously? When do you write them off?

Is there a good social reason to "trust" in experts whether they are right or wrong? In other words, is there social utility in a ritualized expert pronouncement, even if we don't need it in other ways?
posted by grumblebee at 5:08 PM on November 29, 2007


process of self-diagnosis is so fundamentally flawed that the results cannot and should not be trusted ... It's stupid to self-diagnose ... posted by Ms. Saint

I understand what you're saying, but respectfully disagree. I think it's perhaps just a different worldview.

On preview -- seconding grumblebee's comment that the subject of "our relationship with the expert" is a fascinating one (especially in this time and place).
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 5:10 PM on November 29, 2007


Think something's wrong with you? Just google the symptoms and you'll find out more than you ever wanted to know.

I have no dog in this hunt, being self-diagnosed myself and simultaneously skeptical about that diagnosis, but this book is simultaneously excellent bathroom reading and a wonderful Hanukkah/Xmas/Kwanzaa present for the overbearing mother in your family.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:13 PM on November 29, 2007


Grumblebee is out getting his ear sliced

This body-mod thing is getting out of control, yo.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on November 29, 2007


Oh, you'd love my new earring, jonmc. It looks amazingly like a big bandage!
posted by grumblebee at 5:17 PM on November 29, 2007


pieoverdone, your post makes me angry in a way that it's difficult to explain. In large part, I admit, it's due to my being in the same undiagnosed-but-OMG-it's-totally-obvious-I-have-Asperger's boat as grumblebee, but more than that it's that you've chosen someone vulnerable to be the object of your scorn in a way that seems completely antithetical to the goals of AskMe.

Who breaks a grumblebee on a wheel?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:26 PM on November 29, 2007


It's hawt.
posted by Evangeline at 5:26 PM on November 29, 2007


The earring, I mean.
posted by Evangeline at 5:29 PM on November 29, 2007


Amazing. I have several eyebrow barbells that look just like pimples.
posted by jonmc at 5:29 PM on November 29, 2007


Are you just touchy because the model with Asperger's got sent home last night on America's Next Top Model?
posted by klangklangston at 5:30 PM on November 29, 2007


Who breaks a grumblebee on a wheel?

Excellent Rolling Stones reference, as well as being a sentiment I completely share!
posted by languagehat at 5:31 PM on November 29, 2007


Are you just touchy because the model with Asperger's got sent home last night on America's Next Top Model?

We don't like to get touched. And we were watching Project Runway, anyway. So there. :P
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:33 PM on November 29, 2007


Are you just touchy because the model with Asperger's got sent home last night on America's Next Top Model?

I AM. I can't believe freakin' Tootie Carparts is still there, and freakin' gorgeous Heather got cut! I know, I know, she can't deal with people- BUT THEY KNEW THAT WHEN THEY CAST HER. Of course, that's Tyrant's style. Every season they cast a girl who's not quite plus sized, and then ditch her for not being big enough to be plus sized. Bah.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:39 PM on November 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


I still think there should be a reality show that consists of 10 people on a couch watching reality shows and blithering about it. Each week you could vote somebody of the couch.

This is provided a hole dosen't open up in the space-time continuum and swallow us all, of course.
posted by jonmc at 5:43 PM on November 29, 2007


Oh, you mean "Fake Fatty"?

And I'm now pulling for Penis Head, because Aspie really did deserve to be sent home (c'mon, one Go See?) even though she takes amazing photos. But I want someone to beat that shark-mouthed bitch Binaca, and I don't think sarcastic Methy can do it (though I did start rooting for her once Nigel looked so hurt that she dared poke fun at him).

Oh, and Chantal's a moron (and looks like Little Annie Fanny) so I can't root for her.

ps to Blazecock— Project Runway's on AFTER ANTM, and Kitchen Nightmares. Jeez.
posted by klangklangston at 5:44 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I still think there should be a reality show that consists of 10 people on a couch watching reality shows and blithering about it. Each week you could vote somebody of the couch."

Back in the day, Motorbooty magazine claimed a Real World: Kalamazoo had been made, which was all guys in a shitty house drinking cans of beer and watching reruns on TV. They claimed that MTV abandoned the show after all of the cast stopped wearing clothes to protest the end of Headbanger's Ball.
posted by klangklangston at 5:46 PM on November 29, 2007


Every season they cast a girl who's not quite plus sized, and then ditch her for not being big enough to be plus sized. Bah.

That brings back many not-so-fond memories of grad school. You had two choices: be skinny enough to play an ingenue or fat enough for character roles. Anything else just confused the faculty.
posted by Evangeline at 5:47 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have that issue, klang (seriously).

If you bring a case of beer and a bag of weed to my house, I'll let you touch it. And I'd like Headbanger's Ball reinstated as well.

Rikki Rachtman died for your sins. Or he bleached his hair and became Guy Fieri.
posted by jonmc at 5:48 PM on November 29, 2007


And I'm now pulling for Penis Head, because Aspie really did deserve to be sent home (c'mon, one Go See?) even though she takes amazing photos. But I want someone to beat that shark-mouthed bitch Binaca, and I don't think sarcastic Methy can do it (though I did start rooting for her once Nigel looked so hurt that she dared poke fun at him).

Booo. BOOOOO. Just ONCE I want the shark-mouthed bitch to win it. And Bianca's hot, even though she's a terror.

You had two choices: be skinny enough to play an ingenue or fat enough for character roles. Anything else just confused the faculty.

Isn't that still the general rule on the NY theatre scene?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:49 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why should I get a professional diagnosis?

It seems to me like the relatively modest investment it would take to get a professional opinion would easily be paid back by a lifetime of not having to deal with the extremely common (and not entirely unjustified) prejudice against self-diagnosers. Why not do it?
posted by teleskiving at 5:49 PM on November 29, 2007


Isn't that still the general rule on the NY theatre scene?

Yes, it is, and that is why I own my own theatre company. I get to play any part I want. Watch for me this winter as Anne Frank.
posted by Evangeline at 5:54 PM on November 29, 2007


Well, now that I'm spoiled for ANTM, which I was saving for tonight... (kidding! I already spoiled myself by reading TWoP today!):

I guess what bothers me most about this callout, pieoverdone, is similar to Horace Rumpole's response. I mean, you had a real string of tough times in the past couple of years, during which you received a lot of both good advice and real support via AskMe. When you posted at one point that you were "pretty bereft" with the state of your life (inadvertantly sparking fears of a serious meltdown or worse), it's not like anyone called you out in a similar brittle fashion to demand whether you'd actually been diagnosed with clinicial depression by a mental health professional.

So it just seems particularly... churlish to behave this way toward grumblebee, who -- like so many people on the green -- was only using it (in a perhaps imperfect way) as a medium to find new strategies for coping with the minor and major difficulties we all encounter (though that's not to compare his annoyance with his office percussionist with the degree of difficulties you were going through at the time).

Have a little heart, I guess is all I'm saying, in a world that is too often a little heartless. Perhaps to return the favor that was once shown you.
posted by scody at 5:55 PM on November 29, 2007


"I have that issue, klang (seriously)."

Haha. So does my dad.

"Booo. BOOOOO. Just ONCE I want the shark-mouthed bitch to win it. And Bianca's hot, even though she's a terror."

But the Columbian Death Squad girl won it last year! She was EVIL!
posted by klangklangston at 5:56 PM on November 29, 2007


Haha. So does my dad.

You must have one cool dad. On one level I envy a lot of my friends with cool dads (my dad's you're typical grumpy salesman type dad), but on another level it's kind of cool that I had something to rebel against.
posted by jonmc at 5:58 PM on November 29, 2007


Context, people!

I read the "I have Asperger's" as shorthand for "I tend to experience life in some or all of the following ways:

DIAGNOSTIC FEATURES

The essential features of Asperger's Disorder are:
Criterion A. Severe and sustained impairment in social interaction
Criterion B. The development of restricted, repetitive patterns of
behaviour, interests, and activities
Criterion C. The disturbance must cause clinically significant impairment
in social, occupational, or other important areas of
functioning.
Criterion D. In contrast to Autistic Disorder, there are no clinically
significant delays in language (eg: single words are used
by age 2 years, communicative phrases are used by age 3
years).
Criterion E. There are no clinically significant delays in cognitive
development or in the development of age-appropriate
self-help skills, adaptive behaviour (other than in social
interaction), and curiosity about the environment in
childhood.
Criterion F. The diagnosis is not given if the criteria are met
for any other specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or
for Schizophrenia.

ASSOCIATED FEATURES AND DISORDERS

Asperger's Disorder is sometimes observed in association with general medical conditions. Various nonspecific neurological symptoms or signs may be noted. Motor milestones may be delayed and motor clumsiness is often observed.
PREVALENCE

Information on the prevalence of Asperger's Disorder is limited, but it appears to be more common in males.
COURSE

Asperger's Disorder appears to have a somewhat later onset than Autistic Disorder, or at least to be recognised somewhat later. Motor delays or motor clumsiness may be noted in the preschool period. Difficulties in social interaction may become more apparent in the context of school. It is during this time that particular idiosyncratic or circumscribed interests (eg: a fascination with train schedules) may appear or be recognised as such. As adults, individuals with the condition may have problems with empathy and modulation of social interaction. This disorder apparently follows a continuous course and, in the vast majority of cases, the duration is lifelong.
FAMILIAL PATTERN

Although the available data are limited, there appears to be an increased frequency of Asperger's Disorder among family members of individuals who have the disorder.
DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

Asperger's Disorder is not diagnosed if criteria are met for another Pervasive Developmental Disorders or for Schizophrenia. Asperger's Disorder must also be distinguished from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Schizoid Personality Disorder. Asperger's Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder share repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour. In contrast to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Asperger's Disorder is characterised by a qualitative impairment in social interaction and a more restricted pattern of interests and activities. In contrast to Schizoid Personality Disorder, Asperger's Disorder is characterised by stereotyped behaviours and interests and by more severely impaired social interaction.
DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR ASPERGER'S DISORDER (DSM IV)


A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction,
as manifested by at least two of the following:

1) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviours such
as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures
to regulate social interaction;

2) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental
level;

3) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests or
achievments with other people (eg: by a lack of showing, bringing,
or pointing out objects of interest to other people);

4) lack of social or emotional reciprocity.

B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests,
and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

1) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and
restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity
or focus;

2) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines
or rituals;

3) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (eg: hand or finger
flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements);

4) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language
(eg: single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by
age 3 years).

E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in
the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behaviour
(other than social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in
childhood.

F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental
Disorder, or Schizophrenia.

DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR ASPERGER'S DISORDER (GILLBERG, 1991)


A. Severe impairment in reciprocal social interaction as manifested by at
least two of the following four:

1. Inability to interact with peers.

2. Lack of desire to interact with peers.

3. Lack of appreciation of social cues.

4. Socially and emotionally inappropriate behaviour.


B. All-absorbing narrow interest, as manifested by at least one of the following three: 1. Exclusion of other activities. 2. Repetitive adherence. 3. More rote than meaning.

C. Speech and language problems, as manifested by at least three of the following five: 1. Delayed development of language. 2. Superficially perfect expressive language. 3. Formal, pedantic language. 4. Odd prosody, peculiar voice characteristics. 5. Impairment of comprehension, including misinterpretations of literal/implied meanings.

D. Non-verbal communication problems, as manifested by at least one of the following five: 1. Limited use of gestures. 2. Clumsy/gauche body language. 3. Limited facial expression. 4. Inappropriate expression. 5. Peculiar, stiff gaze.

E. Motor clumsiness, as documented by poor performance on neurodevelopmental examination.
DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR ASPERGER'S DISORDER (SZATMARI, ET AL. 1989)

A. Solitary, as manifested by at least two of the following four: 1. No close friends. 2. Avoids others. 3. No interest in making friends. 4. A loner.

B. Impaired social interaction, as manifested by at least one of the following five: 1. Approaches others only to have own needs met. 2. A clumsy social approach. 3. One-sided responses to peers. 4. Difficulty sensing feelings of others. 5. Detached from feelings of others.

C. Impaired non-verbal communication, as manifested by at least one of the following seven: 1. Limited facial expression. 2. Unable to read emotion from facial expressions of child. 3. Unable to give messages with eyes. 4. Does not look at others. 5. Does not use hands to express oneself. 6. Gestures are large and clumsy. 7. Comes too close to others.

D. Odd speech, as manifested by at least two of the following six: 1. abnormalities in inflection. 2. talks too much. 3. talks too little. 4. lack of cohesion to conversation. 5. idiosyncratic use of words. 6. repetitive patterns of speech.

E. Does not meet criteria for Autistic Disorder.
DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR ASPERGER'S DISORDER (ICD-10, WHO, 1992)

A. A lack of any clinically significant general delay in language or cognitive development. Diagnosis requires that single words should have developed by two years of age and that communicative phrases be used by three years of age or earlier. Self-help skills, adaptive behaviour and curiosity about the environment during the first three years should be at a level consistent with normal intellectual development. Motor milestones may be somewhat delayed and motor clumsiness is usual (although not a necessary feature).

B. Qualitative impairment in reciprocal social interaction. (Criteria as for autism, see above).

C. Restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities. (Criteria as for autism, see above)."

Shit. Must we reference and footnote everything we say from now on?*

*The source of this hypothetical question source has been verified as coming from Kim's mind. IAMKIMIAM.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:58 PM on November 29, 2007


(The "Aspie" in me makes me want to steer this conversation back on topic, because as we all know, it's extremely disorienting and confusing when someone makes a rule and others deviate from it!)

Some here have claimed that self-diagnoses tend to be marred by confirmation biases. I agree, but -- sadly -- this is true of expert diagnoses, too.

Here are some times when I think it's wise to consult experts:

1) when a reasonable diagnosis can only be made by tools that you don't have and/or don't know how to use. I would NEVER self-diagnose a brain tumor, because I don't have access to a cat scan.

2) when it would be easier to rely on previously-done research than to do research yourself.

For instance, I've never studied linear algebra, but I'm pretty sure I could learn it if I wanted to. Say that for my job, I needed to solve a linear-algebra problem. It's likely that, given time, I could solve it as-well-as an expert. But I'd have to do a lot of work in order to do that. Unless I happen to be interested in the field, it's easier to just ask an expert.
posted by grumblebee at 5:58 PM on November 29, 2007


source
posted by iamkimiam at 5:59 PM on November 29, 2007


Yes, it is, and that is why I own my own theatre company. I get to play any part I want. Watch for me this winter as Anne Frank.

Yesssss. Perhaps I could play Mr. Frank? As long as we're going that way....
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:00 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Are you just touchy because the model with Asperger's got sent home last night on America's Next Top Model?

I AM.


GOD I did not know this. She is gorgeous, and she was very good. She has to get a contract somewhere. FFS, Kate Moss is a terrible spokesmodel, she barely opens her mouth because she's got a gob like a Croydon fishwife. I don't think Heather needs to win antm to be a model (I hope), and the requirements of antm are not necessarily those of a professional model.

...off to watch it
posted by goo at 6:01 PM on November 29, 2007


grumblebee, I'm not a shrink, and I've only met you a few times, but you don't seem to meet the criteria in iamkimiam's comment. (not being argumentative, just making an observation)

The 'ritual' stuff you mentioned sounds kind of like OCD, though (I am aman who can't leave the house without cheking every ashtray twice and checking each door lock at least 3 times, so I know of which I speak).
posted by jonmc at 6:04 PM on November 29, 2007


FFS, Kate Moss is a terrible spokesmodel, she barely opens her mouth because she's got a gob like a Croydon fishwife.

Yea, Tyrant is full of shit. There were stories going around about how fucked up Kate Moss used to be on set- so fucked up, people would have to hold her up, and then they'd photoshop them out of the picture later. Something you can get away with once you're the it girl, I guess. And girls get kicked off ANTM for not being able to reproduce a realistic Aussie accent on cue. RIDUNKULOUS!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:08 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


It seems to me like the relatively modest investment it would take to get a professional opinion would easily be paid back by a lifetime of not having to deal with the extremely common (and not entirely unjustified) prejudice against self-diagnosers. Why not do it?

because eventually some jerk online would claim that your doctor wasn't really qualified or good enough to dx you, or that said dx was just a conspiracy by the medical establishment to blahblahblah, or just a fashionable dx that doctors were indulging their patients in - (that last argument is something i've seen quite a lot of)

there's always someone who "knows" better than you (or your doctor) - and whatever the benefits of a dx, online cred isn't and shouldn't be one of them

has any of the people who doubt grumblebee actually met him? - if not, then how the hell do you get off making ANY kind of statement about what he is or isn't and what he should think about that?

why should anyone care what pieoverdone thinks to the point of paying hundreds of dollars for a dx? - there may be other good reasons to get one, but he ain't one of them
posted by pyramid termite at 6:09 PM on November 29, 2007


has any of the people who doubt grumblebee actually met him?

I've met him a few times. I have my doubts, but I'll conced that he knows himself better than I know him.
posted by jonmc at 6:11 PM on November 29, 2007


jonmc, I don't mean to speak on grumblebee's behalf, but I think it's fair to say that any highly functional Asperger's sufferer has become adept at simulating normal behavior so as to pass relatively undetected in routine interaction. (Unless you tell me he was gazing meaningfully into your eyes, in which case he's a dirty faker.)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:11 PM on November 29, 2007


Consider yourself cast, TPS. Hey, if Cate Blanchett can play Bob Dylan, then why not? Next fall we're doing "For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf". I'm playing all the parts.
posted by Evangeline at 6:14 PM on November 29, 2007


Birdwalking here...
I thought it was absolutely FASCINATING to watch Heather on ANTM. My mother, while undiagnosed, displays all of the criteria of Asperger's. I see soo many parallels between her behavior and Heather's on the show. I tend to watch reality tv programming from an analytical bent, always observing behavior and trying to understand human interaction/communication better, while being somewhat removed from it. I really enjoyed Heather on the show, and I think she is a wonderfully complex, talented, and interesting person.

There were times on the show where I could clearly see where Heather was misunderstood or struggling, likely due to her impairments in communication. I felt empathetic towards her, and I learned a lot about Asperger's and people in general, just by keeping my eyes open and paying attention.

Yay reality tv!
posted by iamkimiam at 6:14 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


well, jonmc, you at least were basing your opinion on actual observation rather than some knee jerk reaction from something you read on the net - at least you have something to base it on
posted by pyramid termite at 6:15 PM on November 29, 2007


I also think that experts have a social use. Expert Ed may or may not actually know what he's talking about. Or maybe he does know what he's talking about, but Mary, Jake and Shawn know just as much about Ed's subject, even though they're not considered experts.

If we all agree to think of Ed as an expert and abide by his decisions (in his field of expertise), then we can move on. In other words, if we're having a big argument about apples vs. oranges, Ed can say "apples" and that's it. Argument over.

There are some big problems with arbitrary "experts," but I also think there are some plusses. But plusses or minuses, I we tend to do this.

And it's sort of important that we don't admit we're doing this or dwell on it. The Expert won't have much emotional cache if we think of him as a mere ritual -- even if he is one.

I can understand why people think of doctors as experts. Medicine is complex, and so it takes years of study to get a grasp on it. That makes sense.

But people do the same thing with movie critics. "He's has a column in the NEWSPAPER, so his opinion MUST be worth something." Actually, he's a guy who has seen lots of movies, which is good, but many people have done that. He's also a guy who happened to get hired by a paper. That's probably because he has some writing skills (or it's nepotism or whatever) and just happens to be interested in movies.

Objectively, his opinion on "Titanic" is as important/unimportant as tons of other people's. But there seems to be social utility in dubbing SOMEONE expert. We can then say, "well, Rex Reed liked it" and move on. We can move on even if moving on means "he's a moron and I don't trust his opinion." Sometimes, the expert opinion means "the opinion that we all talk about." Not necessarily the opinion that's right.

I tend to be the sort of person who questions authority and mistrusts "expert" opinions unless I have a very good reason to believe they matter. So and so has a degree in X? So? From what school? What was his GPA? Who did he study with? Etc.

I think there's some merrit in my way, but I also think that people who feel like, "hey, he's got a degree in X, which is more than I do..." have an easier time. It's easier for them to move on. If, after they've moved on, the expert turns out to be wrong, they can deal with that then.
posted by grumblebee at 6:17 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Consider yourself cast, TPS.

YESSSSS. Could we do a musical? I've been dreaming FOR YEARS of an all female production of "1776".

has any of the people who doubt grumblebee actually met him?

How could any random person accurately judge another person's mental health? Mental health is on the inside. grumblebee is on his inside. I am not, and I'm also not a doctor. So, I trust him over me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:18 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


grumblebee, I'm not a shrink, and I've only met you a few times, but you don't seem to meet the criteria in iamkimiam's comment.

Thanks! That means the stuff I'm trying so hard to do is working. I spent years as a director and a teacher, and I've never been comfortable with the social role that seems natural to me, so I've worked VERY hard to be otherwise. And it's taken me years to do so.

You'd never know I have trouble looking people in the eyes, because I make it my business to look everyone in the eyes. I seem super-comfortable doing this, and I've been told that I'm a good listener, etc. I WORK HARD at it. And it's ALWAYS work.

Those meetups were we met: when I came home, I was utterly exhausted.
posted by grumblebee at 6:21 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Grumblebee has worked very hard at learning how to interact with others in situations that aren't necessarily comfortable for him. Even so, I still have to coach him sometimes. And sometimes I jump in when I know a situation is potentially tricky. For example, when we're at a restaurant, there's always this strange lag time between the time the waiter asks a question and Grumblebee responds. And if the waiter doesn't speak English, it's especially difficult. I have trouble understanding some accents, but I can divine a person's meaning through body gestures and facial expressions. He can't do that.
posted by Evangeline at 6:22 PM on November 29, 2007


Yea, Tyrant is full of shit. There were stories going around about how fucked up Kate Moss used to be on set- so fucked up, people would have to hold her up, and then they'd photoshop them out of the picture later. Something you can get away with once you're the it girl, I guess. And girls get kicked off ANTM for not being able to reproduce a realistic Aussie accent on cue. RIDUNKULOUS!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:08 PM on November 29 [+] [!] Other [4/4]: «≡·


Even though ANTM is public entertainment first and foremost, and may not have as much professional credibility as the straight and narrow path to supermodeldom, I like that they're committed to raising the standards for modeling by having challenges that require the contestants to master accents on the fly, become good spokeswomen and role models, not smoke, not be anorexic, etc. The show is pretty darn down-to-earth when you think about it, and Tyra is a great leader for these girls, and countless thousands of others who look up to her.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:23 PM on November 29, 2007


Oh, and reading that criteria is like looking at myself in the mirror. Though I do understand the confirmation-bias that makes all horoscopes seem like they describe you.

I am willing to entertain the notion that I'm not seeing myself correctly. But the fact that I don't behave like an Aspie at a party won't sway me. I'm too conscious of the role that I'm playing at parties and the years I've spent trying to get it right.

All the people who know me well, including my mom, the psychotherapist, feel that the shoe fits me.
posted by grumblebee at 6:25 PM on November 29, 2007


I like that they're committed to raising the standards for modeling

I don't think ANTM and real modeling are connected in any way, except that sometimes the girls who get kicked off the show go on to work as models. I do appreciate that Tyra Banks doesn't take herself too seriously, although I sometimes thinks she takes that too seriously.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:27 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


we're at a restaurant, there's always this strange lag time between the time the waiter asks a question and Grumblebee responds.

That made me laugh. It's so true. We play this out all the time: the waiter comes up and says something. I hear "canneyetaygyororder?" and am totally confused. I just stare.

Evangeline says, "He wants to know your ORDER!"

"Oh. Sorry. I'll have the burger. Thanks." And then, after the waiter leaves, I say, "I couldn't understand a word he said."

Evangeline says, "He's a WAITER. What else would he be saying?" And she's right. Why can't I figure it out via context? I've been to hundreds of restaurants and I know the routine.

It's not that I don't understand the idea of context or how to use it. In fact, if E had said, "given that he's a waiter and we're in a restaurant, what do you THINK he's saying?" I would have snapped out of bizarro world and figured it out.

My problem is that I get mesmerized on the fact that I can't understand him. My entire brain is filled with THAT and trying to understand his sounds, and I can't multitask and work on context -- or even remember that context exists -- at the smae time.
posted by grumblebee at 6:32 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is going to sound totally whack, but I'm going to say it anyway...

I feel like I relate to every single dingle Asperger's criteria when I'm stoned. I stopped doing because I couldn't effin' function. It was exhausting and not at all fun. If being stoned in a social situation is anything like Asperger's*, I have the utmost compassion for anybody with this disorder!

*YMMV
posted by iamkimiam at 6:35 PM on November 29, 2007


Has grumblee been kicked out of the Asperberger's club?
posted by xmutex at 6:35 PM on November 29, 2007


pieoverdone,
Why did you post this and then completely disappear? I'm glad to hear TPS opine on Tyra Banks, she makes a good point and I'm super-impressed with how Grumblebee has responded to this thread (and, as always, fascinated by people honestly relating how they see the world), but, as Scody says, you are being at the very least, rude. I wish you well, nonetheless.

Mefi would be well served by a ton less of this kind of bushwah though, I don't know if it's attention seeking or just early winter blues, but it's really getting silly, what the fuck is wrong with all of us?
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:41 PM on November 29, 2007


I don't know if it's attention seeking or just early winter blues...

I have the solution! Cookie Party!

I'm having a cookie party and you're all invited, but if you can't come, then just say the words "cookie party" out loud as often as possible. It's really fun! You'll feel better right away.
posted by Evangeline at 6:44 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I blame the writer's strike. I'd be happily be a pantywaste, sliding down my couch right now otherwise.

That came out wrong.

Gah!
posted by iamkimiam at 6:45 PM on November 29, 2007


I have the solution! Cookie Party!

Weird. I just smeared two teasponfuls of vanilla cream cheese frosting between two Pepperidge Farm Caramel cookies. It's good, especially washed down with Kill Ugly Radio ale.
posted by jonmc at 6:47 PM on November 29, 2007


That's interesting, iamkimiam. I find that alcohol doesn't affect me the way it affects most people. It doesn't loosen me up and make me more social. I think this is because being social is something I need to work at, and I need all my wits to do it. Sometimes one drink will help me get over some fears, but more than that will just make me quieter. If I have four or more drinks, I just get sleepy.

I bet you can't wait to invite me to your next party.
posted by grumblebee at 6:50 PM on November 29, 2007


That sounds delightful! I love those caramel cookies.

Have you tried putting Mallomars in the microwave? Just about seven seconds, and then they're all gooey, chocolate-y goodness.
posted by Evangeline at 6:51 PM on November 29, 2007


That sounds delightful! I love those caramel cookies.

You may need to scarpe yourself of the cieling afterwards.

*runs into the street to chase cars*

all gooey, chocolate-y goodness.


you need to try these. Steve Almond, author of Candyfreak gave me some.
posted by jonmc at 6:55 PM on November 29, 2007


I really liked Candyfreak, and I actually meant to order some Valomilks. I did get this after reading the book. It was... interesting.
posted by Evangeline at 7:01 PM on November 29, 2007


I ate tons of SkyBars growing up. They tasted better then for some reason. Twin Bings and Five Star bars, both live up to the hype Almond gives them. H e was really cool. I gave him a Hershey's S'mores bar and he thanked me and offered a critique of it. i told him about the world of Japanese snack foods and he seemed intrigued. he signed my book 'Jon, Don't let your nutmeats oxidize, Steve Almond.'
posted by jonmc at 7:08 PM on November 29, 2007


pieoverdone,
Why did you post this and then completely disappear?


Seconded. If you're going to post a shitty, unmerited callout, at least have the grace to show up and say something. Apology, explanation, defiance, hand-severing, whatever.
posted by languagehat at 7:09 PM on November 29, 2007


Don't let your nutmeats oxidize

ouch
posted by pyramid termite at 7:10 PM on November 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Languagehat,
Where are you on the difference in meaning between "having grace" and having "manners"? In my mind, there is an essential connection, but "grace" somehow deserves a higher regard in my estimation, someone shows "grace" and someone can at the very least be expected to have "manners".

I haven't been watching America's Next Top Model for the last couple cycles and I don't really care for sweets (the occasional key lime pie, proper Little Italy cannoli, fistfull of Halloween candy being the exception), but I'm still awake and I'm addicted to connotations, you know?
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:51 PM on November 29, 2007


I myself have bonded with Steve Almond over Cherry Mashes, another great Midwest candy. I make ice cream with chopped up ones. Give it a shot.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:54 PM on November 29, 2007


Cookie party cookie party COOKIE PARTY!

Oh, and I just told the cat (who is haranguing me about his dinner) that he has a gob like a Croydon fishwife.

And from now on, I am going to spell it "pantywaste," which rescues it from being a homophobic insult and instead means a person who is a complete waste of panties.
posted by ottereroticist at 7:57 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


People diagnose themselves of stuff all the time, and are right. Anyway it's their business.

Now, diagnosing other people, I can see bitching about that one.
posted by Listener at 8:03 PM on November 29, 2007


No real contribution to the topics here (which I perceive to be, uh, Asperger's, the diagnosis of same, why pieoverdone hates grumblebee, a reality show about models, and microwaving cookies? and possibly jonmc's nutmeats?)... but I'll confess I don't get this:

you at least were basing your opinion on actual observation rather than some knee jerk reaction from something you read on the net - at least you have something to base it on ~ pyramid termite

I mean, if the callout sucks, it sucks... but are you saying that the callout sucks strictly because the caller-outer hasn't met the call-outee in real life? Last I checked, 97% of what goes on at MetaFilter is people reading other people on the net and having reactions to it, kneejerk or otherwise. If we're gonna have to go around meeting people in person in order to have any credibility when interacting with them online, I'm going to have to quit the internet.

Because, I know you tossers is all CRAZY and I'm not going to be meeting you in real life. Even if there are cookies. So.
posted by pineapple at 8:34 PM on November 29, 2007


We're all on the autistic spectrum (yes, every human being, and babies are technically born autistic), with some have enough symptoms to warrant further evaluation. Aspberger's is increasingly being diagnosed relatively late, so hey, bring it up to at least rule it out.

/late to the party
//was busy putting everything in its right place
posted by moonbird at 8:34 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


And from now on, I am going to spell it "pantywaste," which rescues it from being a homophobic insult and instead means a person who is a complete waste of panties.

Hey, that's awesome. It'll be even awesomer if you say it out loud, and then you have to explain it, and then everyone says, "Hey, that's awesome!" and then someone buys you a beer.
posted by bluishorange at 8:35 PM on November 29, 2007


I totally should have previewed, just to go CHERRY MASHES ARE SO AWESOME WHAT UPPPPP,

and also to confess that I never knew there was a homo-anything connotation to "pantywaist." But verily, I have now Googled.
posted by pineapple at 8:37 PM on November 29, 2007


I am am straight not reading this whole circle jerk of a thread. not today. loquacious = xoxoxo, grumblebee=woot.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:37 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


The best kind of party is the kind where everyone brings a book and drapes themselves over furniture in comfy clothing to read in utter silence. With cookies, naturally.

Perhaps the name of these types of parties could formally become COOKIE PARTY.
posted by winna at 8:46 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


If I diagnose myself as having hypochondria, am I automatically right?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:54 PM on November 29, 2007


Wait. I'm totally confused. Pantywaste doesn't mean what I think it means? (I'm actually serious here)
posted by iamkimiam at 8:55 PM on November 29, 2007


I think my original comment was doomed on many levels anyways. Edit, undo! Edit, undo!
posted by iamkimiam at 8:56 PM on November 29, 2007


Pantywaste doesn't mean what I think it means?

Which would be...?
posted by ottereroticist at 8:59 PM on November 29, 2007


Which would be...?

Ewwwwwwwwww, I know!

...

...Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww!!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:04 PM on November 29, 2007


So then when she said "sliding down the couch," she meant...

...EWWWWWWWWWWWW!
posted by ottereroticist at 9:07 PM on November 29, 2007


I have some experience with self-diagnoses, so I've attempted over the last several years to figure out if I have any kind of OCD spectrum disorder. I know I have trichotillomania, albeit quite mildly, because well... I pull my hair out in a ritualistic fashion that I don't feel I can control. Not too complicated there- the requirements are not too strict and my behavior is very clearly not normal.

I hesitate, though, to attempt to define any of my other traits that might or might not place me under another diagnosis. I think that while (some) individuals are excellent at identifying whether they have a particular symptom of a mental disorder, identifying whether their pattern of those symptoms is classifiable as a diagnosable disorder is best left up to experts. It seems to me that in order for a mental disorder to be recognized and diagnosed, people must be aware of these things inside themselves (obviously some diseases' very nature disqualifies them from this possibility). Frequently, if I remember correctly, one of the standards for having versus not having a particular disorder is whether the disorder significantly interferes with the person's life. This is clearly best answered by the individual.

However, outside observation is necessary. I say this because obviously I might feel, for instance, that my obsessive-compulsive behaviors have a large impact on my life. However, when my experience is looked at in the context of what is generally considered to qualify as OCD, my experience is less significant.

That's sort of a difficult thing to accept- a diagnosis is a comfortable thing to have in some ways, and being told something that worries you isn't really that big of a deal is a deflating experience. I think this can make people ignore the evidence that they don't have the disease in question and emphasize the things that say they do; it's the same problem that causes confirmation bias and why peer review and outside verification is important in science. A doctor or other "expert" serves as this outside, theoretically impartial influence in this instance.

I don't think self-diagnosis isn't useful; having a disorder is rarely a black and white matter and the line between normal deviations from the norm, so to speak, and genuine pathology is slim. However, an expert opinion can help place your subjective experience in perspective.

Wow, that turned long. I also want to say that this is basically a brain dump of what I *think*, and is therefore my opinion and very probably wrong in every way. :P
posted by MadamM at 9:13 PM on November 29, 2007


I just lick light fixtures because I enjoy the flavor.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:50 PM on November 29, 2007


Is this thread something i'd have to have Asperger's to not understand?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:02 PM on November 29, 2007


This thread is the actual test for self-diagnosis of Asperger's. Do you understand?
posted by iamkimiam at 10:08 PM on November 29, 2007


iamkimiam. Not sure. Could you be a little more explicit?
posted by exlotuseater at 10:24 PM on November 29, 2007


How interesting, grumblebee, to hear your perspective. I worked with a guy - it was a retail job - a few years ago who wouldn't've driven me nearly as crazy if I'd known from the start that he had Asperger's. (I learned about it after we'd worked together for a number of months.) He'd get fixated on a particular task - cleaning something, talking with a customer who'd asked him a question, refilling something - and it was really hard to get him to switch to something else when he needed to. There was a bunch of other stuff he did that, once he told me he had Asperger's, made sense and made me go "Oh! Yeah!" And once I understood that he wasn't trying to be annoying, it made working with him much easier, if that makes any sense, and we got along much better. The only thing that had changed was my perspective, because of the knowledge I'd gained. Anyway, thanks for writing so clearly about your experiences, and for handling such a dumb callout so well.
posted by rtha at 10:24 PM on November 29, 2007


iamkimiam. Not sure. Could you be a little more explicit?

Increasing numbers of comments — and an audience for reading them — suggests a clinical, repetitive focus on the subject matter on behalf of its participants.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 PM on November 29, 2007


Excellent callout, but only because it inspired this.
posted by No Mutant Enemy at 12:44 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sure, the die-hards can argue that exposing Laura's killer had no impact on the show at large. The murder was just an excuse to bring us into the strange world and daily lives of the town's residents. But what if Mulder had unraveled the conspiracy in season 2? What if Dr. Fleischman had made his peace with Alaska a year after arriving? Sometimes a McGuffin needs to live on. Like Cooper, we were drawn to that fascinating world for a specific reason, despite how pleasant the rest of our stay was.
posted by Roman Graves at 1:23 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


C. Speech and language problems, as manifested by at least three of the following five: 1. Delayed development of language. 2. Superficially perfect expressive language. 3. Formal, pedantic language. 4. Odd prosody, peculiar voice characteristics. 5. Impairment of comprehension, including misinterpretations of literal/implied meanings.

I find it strangely wonderful that these are considered language problems. It would be hard to find a metafilter comment that doesn't fit in one of those categories.
posted by afu at 3:02 AM on November 30, 2007


but are you saying that the callout sucks strictly because the caller-outer hasn't met the call-outee in real life?

he's assuming things that he has no means of knowing about the other person
posted by pyramid termite at 3:10 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


he's assuming things that he has no means of knowing about the other person

Assuming that a person doesn't have Asperger's, do you mean? as compared to having met the person in real life and therefore having physically observed the behavioral tics and being able to confirm that he might actually have Asperger's, that the self-diagnosis is more legitimate, regardless of medical training or the extent of the interaction with the person?

If I am in fact understanding what you're saying, that just sounds crazy to me. As though we're saying that MeFites who have relationships with other MeFites in real life are somehow more credible or trustworthy or informed, just for the sake of having met other MeFites in real life.
posted by pineapple at 6:02 AM on November 30, 2007


He'd get fixated on a particular task - cleaning something, talking with a customer who'd asked him a question, refilling something - and it was really hard to get him to switch to something else when he needed to.

I used to work with a (diagnosed) Autistic kid. If he was in the middle of doing something -- playing with legos or whatever -- and you said, "Mark, it's time to put those away. Come on, We're eating lunch now," he'd freak out. He'd have a huge tantrum that would last twenty minutes. The only way to get him to switch tasks was to slowly transition him.

He'd be fine if you said, "Mark, in ten minutes I'm going to ask you to put the legos away.... Mark, in five minutes I'm going to ask you to put the legos away.... Mark, it's time to put the legos away." You just couldn't spring anything on him.

I've never been that extreme, but I have a small window into Mark's world (and I turned out to be a really good teacher for him, because I naturally give warnings transitions to people, because I need them myself). If I'm involved in a task -- even something really mundane, like making a sandwich -- it's like my entire mind is focused on that one thing. If you come up to me while I'm doing it and say, "Hey, look at what's on TV," I'll probably just stare at you blankly.

What's happening is that, because none of your words are "bread," "knife," "peanut butter" or "plate," I can't understand what you're talking about. "TV? How can a sandwich have TV in it?" I will eventually switch gears, but it will take me maybe twenty seconds. And before I can switch, I'll just stare at you dumbly.

On the other hand, had you come up to me and said, "Hey, stop making that sandwich for a second and look at the TV..." and then paused before commenting on the TV, I would have followed you just fine. Like Mark, I need transitions.

There's also always a moment of fear (and I suspect this is what made Mark have tantrums). For me, it just lasts for a micro-second, but I'm aware of it. When you say something in clear English, and I can't parse it, and I'm aware that I can't parse it, for a moment it's like I've gone insane. I'm smart enough to know that you're not going to talk gibberish to me, so WHY can't I understand you? For just a moment, my whole world -- all my assumptions about things making sense -- crumbles. This makes it hard to remain calm and just think hard about what you're saying.

I do very badly with jokes interspersed in serious conversations. I have a sense of humor, and I love to joke around, but I tend to be all serious or all jokey. If I'm in the middle of making a serious point, and you make a joke, I probably won't know how to parse the joke into the serious discussion. So I'll pause, get that deer-in-the-headlights-look, and then finally get it. I'll laugh, but then I'll have a hard time resuming the serious topic.

I'm exaggerating myself a little bit here. I'm spent twenty years working hard to not act this way, and if I'm not tired, I can play "normal" pretty damn well. So if you meet me, you may not get the see the person I've described, above. But at the very least, it's a good portrait of how I feel inside.

I have a theory that we're seeing more cases of Aspergers now because the syndrome doesn't mesh as well with the 21st Century as it did with the 20th. Nowadays, it's much more common to multitask. People are expected to multitask at work. You're supposed to work on a document while also monitoring your email and chat windows. That's relatively new. And it's showing up people who are bad at that sort of thing, whether the reason they're bad at is Aspergers or not.
posted by grumblebee at 7:13 AM on November 30, 2007 [17 favorites]


When you say something in clear English, and I can't parse it, and I'm aware that I can't parse it, for a moment it's like I've gone insane. I'm smart enough to know that you're not going to talk gibberish to me, so WHY can't I understand you? For just a moment, my whole world -- all my assumptions about things making sense -- crumbles. This makes it hard to remain calm and just think hard about what you're saying.

This is a great explanation for something that happens to me a lot that I haven't been able to put into words. It has no bearing on this thread at all except that when I try to explain this to people -- "I know that you're speaking English to me but while I'm doing this other thing and you talk to me I actually hear it as gibberish. That is a little scary to me because for a split second I am losing my mind and then my brain catches up and it's okay but it would help me significantly if you could not start in with whatever you want to talk to me about until you have my attention" -- but it's really confusing I think for other people to have me say that they're scaring me by talking to me when I'm doing something.

It's starting to sink in that the irritation that I get when this happens is the result of being scared and unscared in rapid succession. Huh.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:28 AM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm still stuck on pantywaists. I've always understood it to be the same as calling a man a wimp, implying that he still wears children's underwear (which is weird, now that I type it out). Does that make it homophobic? I use it because I thought it was mildly-but-funny-because-it's-so-out-of-date insulting, not stop-the-conversation-and-give-me-a-pamphlet insulting.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:06 AM on November 30, 2007


When you say something in clear English, and I can't parse it, and I'm aware that I can't parse it, for a moment it's like I've gone insane.

grumblebee, I'm just genuinely curious whether the same thing happens in text format, or only in spoken language. MeFi threads meander all over the place and you can't read a MeTa thread without tripping over a minefield of non-sequiturs. I wonder if this bothers/befuddles you as much as your sandwich/TV example.
posted by desjardins at 8:20 AM on November 30, 2007


I just don't understand how one gets from "discharge in panties" to "boy wimp".
posted by iamkimiam at 8:20 AM on November 30, 2007


grumblebee: That was one of the most enlightening comments I've read on the site. It was almost worth having the shitty callout (especially since it doesn't seem to have bothered you particularly) if it elicited such a lucid explanation of a hard-to-understand phenomenon. Thanks.
posted by languagehat at 8:25 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree, pantywaist is an out-of-date word that can be funny in context.

But it also conveys ideas about gender roles that are fundamentally sexist, and that have been used to insult and repress effeminate men.

Kind of like calling a woman a harridan or a virago.
posted by ottereroticist at 8:25 AM on November 30, 2007


I used to live with this guy who had this really coping mechanism for when people would jump right into conversation with him while he was doing something else. If I walked up to him and said "Where is my book?" He would automatically reply with the last word of the question you asked him, in a slow, drawn-out question form, as if you were unclear in your speech and he was clarifying that he heard you correctly. The thing was, it was automatic and he wasn't really in control of doing it. He just developed the mechanism to allow himself time for his brain to catch up in the conversation and not appear dumb or rude in the meantime.

Being the kind and unmocking person that I am, I capitalized on this by beating him to the punch. Our conversations used to go like this:

Me: Where is my book?
Him: Booook?
Me: Yeah, I said "book". I'm looking for my book.
Him: Oh! Yeah, book. I think it's over there...

Now they go like this:

Me: Where is my book?
Me again: Booook?
Him: Booook?
(I pause, while stifling giggles)
Him: Damnit!
posted by iamkimiam at 8:31 AM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


'cause "really coping mechanisms" are the best kind.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:32 AM on November 30, 2007


Yeah, jessamyn, there's something unique about being scared for a split-second. You're scared without really being conscious that you're scared. It's just ... jarring.

My guess is that lots of people experience something like this, even if they're not Aspies -- or don't consider themselves to be Aspies. As many people have pointed out, Aspergers is a continuum. It's possible to have it a little bit -- or to have parts of it in your personality, even if, in other ways, you're not an Aspie.

It's been fascinating watching the four men in my family, each of whom I suspect of having Aspergers, and the different ways they have dealt with it.

My grandfather was a very quiet man who married a gregarious woman, much as I have. My grandmother socialized for the two of them, while he stayed in her shadow. He was a brilliant artist and craftsman. He was the type of guy who, on your birthday, would surreptitiously slip a present into your hand and then dodge out of the way, avoiding eye contact. But when you looked at the present, it was something he made, and it was incredibly detailed and obsessive (in a good way). See http://metatalk.metafilter.com/13018/

My dad had a distinguished career as an academic, retiring as chairman of his department. He has a Rainman type of brain, and can pretty much remember every detail of what he's read and seen, going back to his early childhood. He has constant access to this all the time, and his mind is continually making connections. Some of the connections are meaningful, some are totally arbitrary. He speaks them all out loud.

If you watch a movie with him, and a piece of classical music is playing in the background, he'll blurt out, "Shostakovitch's Eighth String Quartet!" or if someone walks by a building, he'll say, "The Woolworth's Building." He loves puns and any kind of mental past-time that involves linking two things together. He also loves classifications and taxonomies and seems to NEED to put things in categories. He's really good at packing. I was amazed at how much stuff he managed to fit into my car when I left for college. Whenever I said, "there's no room for anything else," he said, "Yes there is," and he was right.

He's mind served him extremely well as a professor of Comparative Literature. He would write papers, comparing stuff that never would have occurred to me as having anything in common, such as H.G. Well's "The Time Machine" and "Beowulf." Sometimes, even when I can see the commonality, I don't get why it's important. To my dad, that's beside the point. The point is that you CAN compare them.

One of my dad's last big academic projects was writing a huge tome on Charlie Chaplin. For it, he watched all 80-something of Chaplin's films and cataloged all the gags: "C falls off ladder ten minutes and 47 seconds into reel two of film X."

Growing up before the web, my dad was my wikipedia. If I had a question about history, music, literature, etc., I would just use my dad as a search engine. He would invariably know the answer.

My brother is the most social of us all. He's extremely gregarious and has tons of friends. He's into all sorts of geeky pursuits and hangs around like-minded people. It doesn't matter to them if they make eye-contact or not. They can bond by quoting Monty Python to each other. He's inherited my Dad's ability to store and regurgitate endless information.

I'm the least comfortable in my Aspie skin. It's very important to me that I GET social interactions, understand psychological nuances, etc., so I'm unlike the other men in my family, I don't like the idea of finding a place for myself where my strong points shine and my weak ones can be ignored.

I forced myself to become a teacher. Not a lecturer like my dad, but -- originally -- a teacher of children. It was excruciatingly hard at first, but I made myself keep at it.

I can't imagine my brother, dad or grandfather being interested in this stuff, but I've spent several decades studying psychology, psychological novels, etc. I'm an "Anthropologist on Mars," but my Mars in planet Earth. They tend to prefer plot or theme-based movies; I like "chick flicks." If a movie is not exploring character and motivation, there's little in it for me. Yet I'm more comfortable with plot.

I've gotten really good with people (as-long-as it's one-on-one and not big groups) and, since I'm consciously looking for them, I often pick up conversational nuances that others miss. But I definitely have my lapses. I get too tired or I forget to consciously turn on the people-parsing module that I've developed, and all of the sudden I'm looking at the floor, instead of into your eyes.
posted by grumblebee at 8:35 AM on November 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


grumblebee, I'm just genuinely curious whether the same thing happens in text format, or only in spoken language.

It happens less with text, because I can take my time with it. If I'm feeling overwhelmed by tangents, I can either ignore them or read them at my own pace. But I've certainly experienced it with text.

We've been talking about quansar a lot lately. I have a really hard time understanding him. Given what I've written in this thread, you can probably guess why.

But text is WAY easier. I love email and would have done really well back in the day when people communicated via long letters.

My dad and brother both write great letters. Everything is crystal clear and extremely linear. All three of us are very good at writing simple instructions. One of my jobs is writing computer books and articles. I can write clear instructions in my sleep.
posted by grumblebee at 8:40 AM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I'm MUCH more comfortable on AskMe than here or MeFi. Because it's a more on-topic site.
posted by grumblebee at 8:41 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fascinating. Thanks for redeeming this thread.
posted by Mister_A at 8:49 AM on November 30, 2007


Seriously. I think the pie is indeed over and done. Grumblebee, thanks for reacting to this lame callout with interesting insight and discussion to enlighten us all. This thread is awesome.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:55 AM on November 30, 2007


Pantywaists weren't underwear for women -- they were underwear for boys.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:21 AM on November 30, 2007


By which I mean that they've done some research, figured out what was wrong with them, and then had their self-diagnosis confirmed by a doctor.

I can attest to this. My wife suffers from lupus, RA, as well as a some heart conditions. Her lupus was under control until her cardiologist (w/o checking her medical records, I would imagine) prescribed her some hydralazine, which is a medication used to treat high blood pressure. It's also one of the few meds which can trigger drug-induced lupus.

So once she started having a lupus episode again, I did some research on the internet, and came to the conclusioin that the new medication, hydralazine, was in fact triggering the lupus. When we went to her next rheumatology appointment I told her rheumy about what I'd discovered, and he fully agreed with my conclusion, and took her off the hydralazine. The lupus attacks stopped almost immediately after she discontinued the hydralazine.

In short, yes, grumblee speaks the truth.
posted by Devils Slide at 11:04 AM on November 30, 2007


This is why God invented professionals. Professionals know what they are talking about within the sphere of their profession. You do not. No, really. You don't. Yet for whatever reason, AskMe is full of lay people spouting off about what should only be expert opinions and frequently getting them wrong. Go figure.

About 100,000 people die every year due to medical error, so it isn't like "Professionals" always know what they're doing either.
posted by delmoi at 2:25 PM on November 30, 2007


This is why God invented professionals. Professionals know what they are talking about within the sphere of their profession. You do not. No, really. You don't.

About 100,000 people die every year due to medical error, so it isn't like "Professionals" always know what they're doing either.

This is absolutely true. I have tons of respect for medical experts (and have had an array of great doctors in my life to whom I am eternally grateful), but speaking as someone who spent several years living with thyroid cancer unncessarily because of a succession of medical experts who dismissed me as a hypochondriac, I can attest to A) their fallibility, and B) the fact that sometimes, yes, the layperson really does know more than the expert.

I mean, seriously: the growing tumor in my neck didn't even dissuade several doctors from their opinion that I was out of my liberal-arts-degree-having mind when I would state point blank, "I think I have thyroid cancer." I finally found a doctor who said, "I agree. Let's get you a surgical biopsy." When the results came in (follicular cell carcinoma, stage II), the first words out of his mouth were, "yep, you knew exactly what you were talking about."
posted by scody at 3:59 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


If I am in fact understanding what you're saying, that just sounds crazy to me. As though we're saying that MeFites who have relationships with other MeFites in real life are somehow more credible or trustworthy or informed, just for the sake of having met other MeFites in real life.

i'm utterly amazed that you think online conversation is as transparent, reliable, informative and conducive to understanding and judgment as actually meeting people

it isn't - and any one who questions a person's statement about their personality - or even questions whether that person has any reasonable ground to make a certain statement about their personality - is being ridiculously arrogant if they've never even met the person - after a long correspondence someone might be able to draw some conclusions - but this was not a long correspondence

such online opinions are worth every penny one pays for them - they're based on no information, no observation and little understanding of what is written - only fixed ideas and personal prejudices

and you still want to argue that my disregarding pieoverdone's opinion and at least granting respect to jonmc's is "crazy"?

i suggest you look more carefully at how people form their opinions and what information they have available to base those opinions upon - this is not "crazy" - it is rational

if you can't understand that, too bad
posted by pyramid termite at 5:08 PM on November 30, 2007


i'm utterly amazed that you think online conversation is as transparent, reliable, informative and conducive to understanding and judgment as actually meeting people

pyramid, that's a whole lot of words to put in my mouth. It seems like you're taking this personally, and I'm sorry about that. The crux of my argument is not that people who have met in real life don't receive more information about each other than people who have not; of course I grasp that, and it's one reason that I place top priority on the people with whom I'm friends in the real world.

It's that I don't think it's a good idea to make that the gold standard to which we default about who is most or least credible here at MetaFilter. You basically stated upthread that pieoverdone doesn't deserve to have an opinion about grumblebee, but jonmc can because he's met him in real life (despite the fact that jonmc's observation after meeting was that grumblebee doesn't display Asperger's symptoms. So clearly, meeting in real life doesn't automatically convey a magical "transparent, reliable, informative" insight either.).

This is MetaFilter. It's a website on the internet, with 60,000+ registered users, X thousand of those actually active. Members come from every corner of the world. We interact online and share our online opinions. We all come here and purposefully present ourselves in some way that leads other people to have assumptions about us. Sometimes what we present and what other people think will jibe; sometimes, they won't.

But to imply that MeFites who have met in real life are therefore more credible than all the other users does a real disservice to the rest of the community; the primary purpose of this site isn't to create real-life matches, so for better or worse, the people who use it that way are outliers. In fact, when I see a situation where Real-Life Partner / MeFite User A shares a bunch of insider information about Real-Life Partner / MeFite User B, I am almost inclined to disregard that, because it's outside the way the community is structured. Those people are operating with a different data set than the rest of us, and it's not always helpful to the conversation. And even casual Meet-Up-type meetings can create false positives, as we've seen.

My only point has ever been, if your argument is that the call-out was stupid on its own merit, that's fine -- but if your argument is that the call-out was stupid because some people have met grumblebee while others haven't, then you're going to be quite busy for the foreseeable future in Metatalk, because I'm going to take a stab that 99.5% of the people who make MeTa callouts haven't actually met the person they're calling out.

To paraphrase something you said earlier, "it seems to me that your problem's more with defending grumblebee at all costs than what I'm actually saying." Which is honorable and all, but let's call it what it is.
posted by pineapple at 9:47 AM on December 1, 2007


Pantywaists weren't underwear for women -- they were underwear for boys.
posted by The corpse in the library


I'm sure it's all very educational and innocent, but I refuse to click on a link when the text is "underwear for boys."
posted by The Deej at 11:05 AM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


In fact, when I see a situation where Real-Life Partner / MeFite User A shares a bunch of insider information about Real-Life Partner / MeFite User B, I am almost inclined to disregard that, because it's outside the way the community is structured. Those people are operating with a different data set than the rest of us, and it's not always helpful to the conversation.

Why not? All of us are operating with a "different data set". Grumblebee posts a question and mentions Asperger's. Some Mefites who respond may know somebody with Asperger's. Some Mefites may be psychologists who treat Asperger's. Maybe these people can provide insight that the others can't. None of us start from a neutral place.

Asperger's has observable symptoms. If someone has met Grumblebee in person, then yes, they probably are in a better position to make a judgment. In this one case, JonMc wasn't aware of the energy Grumblebee expends trying to mask those symptoms. But if Grumblebee had said, "I have a growth on my foreheard and I believe it may be a parasitic twin," then JonMc or anyone else who'd seen him in person would be better qualified to answer.

Now if Grumblebee had taken a picture of said growth and posted a link to it, we'd all be on a level playing field.

When it comes to questions that rely heavily on empirical visual observation, then someone who's actually met the asker is going to have a leg up. That doesn't mean that others should refrain from answering, of course, and I think those questions make up a fairly small percentage of posts.
posted by Evangeline at 11:12 AM on December 1, 2007


None of us start from a neutral place.

No, but 99% of us do start from "strangers on the internet, names on a screen." And at that point, we all carry the same burden of making our own decisions about the inherent value or validity of another person's contribution. If we change the MetaFilter taxonomy such that Those Who Have Met In Person have inherently superior perspectives to Those Who Have Not, then we are willfully ignoring the origin and purpose of the community, and devaluing the participation of the bulk of the users.

But if Grumblebee had said, "I have a growth on my foreheard and I believe it may be a parasitic twin," then JonMc or anyone else who'd seen him in person would be better qualified to answer.

...I think those questions make up a fairly small percentage of posts.


I agree; in fact, I believe this is statistically such a tiny sample of what goes on here that it isn't really a factor. Not the chance that any one person might have a parasitic twin erupting from one's forehead, and needs a visual confirmation on that (the incidence of which I pray is asymptotic to zero)... but the case where a question needs to "rely heavily on empirical visual observation" for a successful answer.

Simply put, a person with that type of question shouldn't be going to the internet for results.

Now, I'm not saying that I think Grumblebee's original question was that type, or that it shouldn't have been asked. Nor do I think that simply wanting to defend one MeFite at all cost makes another MeFite a bad person. pyramid termite can hate away on pieoverdone till the cows come home, for all I care.

I just don't care for the assertion that merely having met a particular MeFite makes another one somehow more credible. It's much more complex than that, and the nature of the physical interaction has to be considered before it would be reasonable to say, "Ah, well, since those two met in person, the entire position of a third party is invalidated."

Especially in the case of the sample we're witnessing here, where but for merely having met Grumblebee, pyramid termite thinks that jonmc is allowed to have an opinion but pieoverdone is not... even though jonmc didn't even come to the conclusion that he presumably should have after his own empirical visual observation.
posted by pineapple at 12:00 PM on December 1, 2007


Oh, so now you've got a problem with parasitic twins?
posted by Evangeline at 1:54 PM on December 1, 2007


Don't make me teratoma-roll y'all to gory biological-oddity photography where there's a tooth and an eyeball coming out of some lady's knee. Because I'll do it.

[NOT PARASITIC TWIN-IST]
posted by pineapple at 2:07 PM on December 1, 2007


It's that I don't think it's a good idea to make that the gold standard to which we default about who is most or least credible here at MetaFilter.

this isn't about metafilter - it's about the basic nature of the internet and the basic improbability that someone can know much about another person by reading a little text

you seem to be passing this by as if it's unimportant - actually, it's the one of the most significant facets of the net and causes many controversies

and yes, eyewitness accounts are more credible than what j random user types on the internet

But to imply that MeFites who have met in real life are therefore more credible than all the other users does a real disservice to the rest of the community

that's a lot like saying a preference for fucking does a real disservice to online nude pictures

but if your argument is that the call-out was stupid because some people have met grumblebee while others haven't

the callout is stupid because attempting to judge people from a few hundreds of words of text is a vain and arrogant excercise

any asshole can type any opinion they want to on the net about someone else and it means nothing unless we choose to give it creedence - pieoverdone's opinions here are contentless, have nothing to back them up and are so inconsequential that he couldn't even be bothered to defend them

if you want to believe anything any troll or idiot types simply because it appeals to you, be my guest

To paraphrase something you said earlier, "it seems to me that your problem's more with defending grumblebee at all costs than what I'm actually saying." Which is honorable and all, but let's call it what it is.

except that i'm not really defending grumblebee - if it was, wouldn't i have argued with jonmc that he was wrong, too?

your web browser is not a magical tool that enables people to make psychological evaluations or denials of such about perfect strangers - and it is rude and stupid to do so

i've had people do this shit to me - saying, for example, that my daughter can't be autistic because of x, or that i have no reason to believe that i might be somewhere on the spectrum, because i don't y

as far as i'm concerned, it's insensitive, loutish, unnecessary fuckheadedness and people need to keep their cheap knee jerk opinions to themselves - those of us who have a deep involvement in this issue are offended by this kind of offhanded, casual amateur webshrink crap and people like pieoverdone can just go find something else to give the third degree about

now do you believe me when i say it's not about grumblebee? it's about asshats who think having a internet connection and a keyboard qualifies them to make judgements on something they know nothing about - it's about morons who think that people being dx'd with autism and aspergers are being given "trendy diagnoses" (no one's said it here, but i've read it other times) - and it's about me having to read crap like that when i'm trying to raise a daughter who may never have an independent life on her own

yeah, i do take it personally - and i have a damned good reason to

telling someone that they couldn't have aspergers or that they can't have a good idea of whether they do by themselves is the kind of thing only close friends should say to one another and sensible people have no business saying it to random strangers they've never met - and if you think casual tossed off opinions like pieoverdone's should carry as much weight as those gathered from real life experience, then you can just continue jacking off with your shallow make believe "community" of typing monkeys like pieoverdone while i continue to deal with real life and real problems and online people who actually recognize that there is a difference between the two and one is more credible and important than the other
posted by pyramid termite at 4:04 PM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


those of us who have a deep involvement in this issue are offended by this kind of offhanded, casual amateur webshrink crap and people like pieoverdone can just go find something else to give the third degree about..

you can just continue jacking off with your shallow make believe "community" of typing monkeys like pieoverdone while i continue to deal with real life and real problems and online people...

yeah, i do take it personally...

now do you believe me when i say it's not about grumblebee?


Yep. I think everyone can tell pretty clearly now that your position really has very little to do with pieoverdone OR grumblebee.
posted by pineapple at 4:27 PM on December 1, 2007


It seems to me like the relatively modest investment it would take to get a professional opinion would easily be paid back by a lifetime of not having to deal with the extremely common (and not entirely unjustified) prejudice against self-diagnosers. Why not do it?

There's a reason why people don't. Self diagnosed Asperger's gets a pretty good amount of scorn on the internet. Enough to make one think that it is among the most common of self diagnosed conditions. Lots of people think they might have ADD or OCD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but they will talk about it for a bit and often, if they conclude it's a real possibility, they'll make an appointment and see what a doctor thinks. But that doesn't happen with adults who think they have Asperger's. It's because there are no treatment options that suddenly open up when you get a diagnosis. There's no incentive to spend the money. I'm seeing a guy for ADD, one of the conditions he regularly treats is youth with Asperger's. On one occasion I spoke to him about how I felt a number of symptoms matched up with Asperger's and that in my childhood the similarity was even more apparent. Well we talked about it and he mentioned that from the get-go I seemed Asperger's-like and that was pretty much that. There just isn't anywhere else to go (at least, not in terms of medicine - personally, I recommend reading advice columns, lots of them, all varieties). The vast majority of resources dedicated to Asperger's is focused on children and better ways of teaching them social skills. Perhaps for the most severe cases there is some benefit to seeking a diagnosis as an adult, but that's about it.
posted by BigSky at 12:00 PM on December 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, what BigSky said. I would go to the doctor in a heartbeat, if I thought he could help. But I'm not going to go the the doctor so that people on web forums don't give me a hard time. Or maybe I just haven't had a hard-enough time yet. I don't bring my (alleged) Aspergers up all that often, and when I do, I usually put "self diagnosed" in parenthesis. This is discussion is -- for me, anyway -- the exception, not the rule.

I'm sure things would be different if I said, "I'm an Aspie and therefor I should get special treatment," but I don't say that. And I wouldn't, even if I got an official diagnosis.

What I do know is that whatever I have -- call it X (which maybe just means an X personality) -- matches the symptoms of Aspergers to a T. And I find that if I follow advice given to Aspies, that advice usually works for me, too.
posted by grumblebee at 3:41 PM on December 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


it does seem foolish to dismiss ALL self-diagnosis, especially in a world where doctors and laypeople have access to the same books.

Medicine is not linear algebra (I say this as someone who once studied linear algebra, and is now studying medicine). Even assuming that you read all the same peer-reviewed journals and attend all the same symposia and receive all the same communications that a doctor within a particular field does, continually, part of the long training of how to be a doctor is learning to navigate and interpret the enormous amount of data (much of it contradictory, or in flux) and also how to apply it to real-world situations being mindful of iatrogenic effects, risk-reward probabilities, interactions, and with a goal to avoid futility. There are learned behavioural and clinical procedures that are as crucial as the knowledge. Yes, doctors/nurses/PAs/dentists/etc can get things wrong, just like everyone else. I saw a figure of "100,000" people being killed every year by faulty medicine or unintended effects. But I wonder what multiple of that number might be killed were everyone who'd read "the same books" (and Wikipedia, of course) was allowed to set up IVs, evaluate epidemiology, prescribe, create and run human trials, run chemo and radiation, and do surgery. I like my bridges to built by people I know have been certified to a certain standard of civil engineering, and I also prefer my body work to be done by people similarly rated according to some set, standardised certification.
posted by meehawl at 1:36 PM on December 4, 2007


too late for this to be of much value given the amount of effluvia that's gone by but:

self-diagnosis is pretty hopeless. Read the DSM III or IV or whatever and you can convince yourself you have multiple serious personality disorders. There's additional expertise involved in clinical diagnosis.

People have the right to identify themselves the way they want, even if they're wrong, as in the case of a self-misdiagnosis. You want to call yourself Asperger, fine. I also don't have a problem with people guessing about some public figure's mental condition if they make it clear that they are not a clinician/professional (if they it would be unethical to offer a diagnosis anyway).

Having dealt with people with Alzheimer's disease, I find it much more offensive when people who have momentary memory lapses jokingly say, "I'm coming down with Alzheimer's" or "that's my Alzheimer's again." Not funny.

IANAD or certified (or certifiable) professional.
posted by cogneuro at 2:24 AM on December 5, 2007


Read the DSM III or IV or whatever and you can convince yourself you have multiple serious personality disorders.

Yeah, I hear people do that. But I don't think they're reading very carefully. I don't have access to the DSM online, but looking at some stuff from Wikipedia...

In Bipolar I disorder, an individual has experienced one or more manic episodes with or without major depressive episodes. For a diagnosis of Bipolar I disorder according to the DSM-IV-TR, there requires one or more manic or mixed episodes...

Nope. I've never had a manic episode. ("Manic episode" is defined.)


Borderline personality disorder (DSM-IV Personality Disorders 301.83[1]) (BPD) is defined as a personality disorder primarily characterized by emotional dysregulation, extreme "black and white" thinking, or "splitting", and chaotic relationships. The general profile of the disorder also typically includes a pervasive instability in mood, interpersonal relationships, self-image, identity, and behavior, as well as a disturbance in the individual's sense of self. In extreme cases, this disturbance in the sense of self can lead to periods of dissociation.


Some of that fits ("black and white thinking"), but I've never dissociated, I don't have "chaotic relationships," "instability of mood," etc.

I guess people go wrong by reading one or two symptoms, saying "I have those!" and ignoring all the ones that don't fit. I'm sure some people do that, but that's just sloppy thinking.

But the DSM is actually pretty specific. When I read it's description of Aspergers, ALL of the criteria fits me. That's not true for any other syndrome.
posted by grumblebee at 7:20 AM on December 5, 2007


"given that he's a waiter and we're in a restaurant, what do you THINK he's saying?"

grumblebee, you can learn to ask yourself this kind of question by living in a foreign country where you barely speak the language. After a while the oh-jeez-I-can't-understand becomes routine, and the making-assumptions-based-on-context kicks in great.

There was a side effect for me, which is that I started noticing exactly how ritualized human interaction is, and paying conscious attention to it like never before. But I gather you've been paying more attention to that much longer, based on the number of times I see something you've posted about it and think, hot dang, he's right!

*hug* to everyone

posted by eritain at 9:05 PM on December 7, 2007


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