Bad Therapy & Good Gender Discussion

I remain convinced that people know what they need but are blocked from getting it. Whenever I try to discuss my lack of love life with health professionals, and often with others, they simply refuse to hear certain facts, they make false assumptions, they lay blame, they ignore facts and evidence, they suggest strategies they know have failed me, and they refuse to hear me when I repeatedly tell them exactly what I need: dating social skills for adults with autism. I sent my new therapist the CBC news clip about the UCLA training program. I explained all the relevant bits of my history I could get in and what I’ve seen on autism websites/in autism groups and what an exclusive match it is. He (I finally managed to get a male therapist, and there’s a male perspective that women just don’t get around straight dating) is still suggesting things I’ve already done, focusing on imagined issues I don’t have (e. g. shyness), suggested DBT–which is fine but hardly helps with dating, is trying to advise me about what to do on a date when the problem is that I can’t get one, is giving me insights I needed 20 years ago but already told him how I discovered myself (the long list of opportunities I would’ve availed myself of except that I had no idea at the time that they were staring me in the face), and acts like I know what to do but can’t or won’t do it. No matter how many times I come back to autism and the unwritten rules and non-verbal communication of NT culture and dating, he won’t address it. Nor will he argue against it. He just changes the subject away from it. He suggests there are different kinds of flirting, dismisses the seduction/pickup “artists” as if sex isn’t or shouldn’t be what I want (why not??), and talks about optimism and confidence–as if you just inject that from a tube you get at the store after a lifetime of being ignored, rejected, led on, abused, systematically crushed and traumatized.

Why do health professionals consistently behave this way? Ockham’s Razor rules out malice. In fact, the therapist said he thinks I’m a likeable guy and should be able to get a girlfriend (which pretty much all my therapists have said). I told him, as I have believed from observation for many, many years; that I’d make a better boyfriend than 90% of the ones out there. I constantly see women with awful men who mistreat them but fit the cultural mold better than I do. They act this way because they are totally clueless. This therapist admitted to me before that he really knew nothing about autism and would have to learn along with me. So of course he doesn’t know what the needs or available resources are–the latter because THERE ARE NO RESOURCES FOR US. But none of them want to admit this. That’s why he neither listens to me nor argues that autism isn’t the issue. They are afraid to say they don’t know and pretend the emperor wears beautiful robes (Kim Jung Un?). They are unwilling to follow the science and either say no one has figured out the answer for us, or that we have a good idea what it would be but don’t have it available. So the default plan is to waste a lot of time, money, effort, and emotional turmoil–for which the blame will all be put on the patient when it finally comes to a head–chasing whatever strategies or programs or resources they DO know about or have available, no matter how irrelevant. The idea there is to run out the clock stalling for time until something becomes available. I’m unable to go along with that.

Also today, I went to a Happiness Initiative event that turned out to be really great, and I wish I could’ve spent the whole day. There was a beautiful young woman there who said some things that positively thrilled me about the constraining, unhealthy gender roles men are forced into; the social, emotional, substance, criminal, and physical problems they cause; how both men and women feed each other to perpetuate patriarchy while both suffer from it; how it feeds rape culture; how men aren’t supposed to be or appear weak, sensitive, vulnerable, or emotional…and the woman whose presentation she was responding to had already said how men were really the key in feminism and gender equality (she’s focused on gender inequality in the home). I don’t think I’d heard women say these things since I was in college! For an amazing change of pace, I could sit back and agree instead of having to be the one issuing strategy and warnings that get me misunderstood and ostracized. (Why is there no feminist equivalent of the seduction/pickup community? How can you achieve equality between two groups of people if you don’t involve both, and how can you expect to appeal to men if you don’t also listen to and address their legitimate gender concerns?)

So this was a kind of small group training, and tomorrow is part of their conference, which I can also attend. I’m not sure whether to try to connect with this girl. 1) Chances are she’s significantly younger than I think, and 2) Basically every woman I pursue after meeting in real life turns out to be unavailable. Or 3) I get one of the standard online dating results: being ignored, rejected, or led on. But she’s on my mind as she was very pretty AND demonstrated a true understanding and fairness about gender.

UPDATE: This was a couple weeks ago. I gleaned the beautiful young feminist’s email from a group message we all got after the training. From that I quickly learned that she is about 26 and got married last year. And has cats. 🙂 Egged on by a couple friends, I replied all to the email and expressed my enthusiasm for what she and another woman had said. But contrary to my friends’ predictions, I never heard from her–in the group or individually. So it’s a good thing I didn’t try to flirt with or date her. She is still beautiful.


Crushing Psychological Pain

I’m in one of those phases where the psychological pain is so bad I’d rather hurt myself physically to distract from it. But I’ve been getting spasms on the right side of my brain ever since I did that the last time.

Therapist didn’t say anything about the four big scratches on my wrist. They’re from my cat, but usually they check to make sure.

DBT Misery, Part 2

There are other therapists at this DBT clinic, but they all seem to be women. Normally that’s fine; most of my therapists have been women. But I feel like this one personifies my observation from undergrad that all the wrong people major in psych. She’s very good at dressing, acting, and talking professional and “mature”. She’s into fitness, fashion, and jewelry, which I find superficial and pointless (I found her on Instagram). She has a PhD but no license yet. I feel like she’s a rich white girl with a charmed life who doesn’t really get someone like me or real suffering (people so often criticize me for pre-judging people this way, but I’m a better reader of people than most and usually end up being right). She asserts an optimism I find fake and unrealistic. Yet I feel like switching is punishment, maybe because I’m also very attracted to her. Yet jealous or resentful. There’s a lot of dating and sexuality that men just understand better since they share my (unfortunately) male perspective. She said she can tell I’m really upset (Duh) and wants to talk about it (is there any point?), but I’m sure none of these rules or restrictions will change. A well-connected Seattleite on Facebook demonstrated to me again today that wealth, race, mental health, and attractiveness matter more for success than knowledge, kindness, fairness, creativity, principle, or intellect. I wonder if I need a therapist who’s older than me, with more life experience to appreciate my situation. I’m not like most people at all (she asked why I think I have Asperger’s, so I have to go through that tired rigmarole again…) and life can’t be confined to one inadequate 50-minute session a week.

This is what passes for mental health care in America. Other people turn to sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking, or other vices to cope with life. Those aren’t available to me or don’t affect me.

DBT Misery

I always think it’s a bad sign when seeing your therapist makes you feel worse. She said she was humanist, but I really don’t see it. I feel rejected and pushed away. I’m not supposed to email her and she says contact outside of session is only for skills coaching, but she hasn’t taught me any skills. I need her to know me better but can’t make that happen. It’s not enough time, support, or attention. I’ve said that with no result. I don’t see how this can work. I am miserable. Seeing the diabetes nurse yesterday made me feel better–even good. It lasted 20 hours before the therapist made me feel worse.

Late Night Rant to Therapist

I’m sitting for a horribly behaved dog who won’t stop barking. It echoes loudly inside and out–I can hear him all the way down the block. Being autistic, my hearing is much more sensitive than most people. I have a headache and am almost afraid I’ll get so mad I’ll hurt the dog if I don’t leave. I definitely can’t get to sleep. I’ve tried everything I can think of to quiet him down. So I go out for a bar or restaurant. But nothing is open except a couple bars (I don’t drink, so I can’t really socialize) which are outrageously loud too. Because somehow America thinks nighttime has to mean extreme noise. And fun has to mean noise, alcohol, and superficial small talk. So I can’t go in any of those places. Not for a drink, not for food, not to socialize. No coffeeshops or bookstores or game venues are open at night. Nothing else is within walking distance since Seattle clings to sprawl, treating density as a devil, while giving lip service to environmentalism, walkability, and transit. Our culture is totally dominated by extroverts who couldn’t care less about introverts, let alone people with autism. Like majorities in every demographic category, they can’t even see the oppression and suffering they inflict on others. Nor are you allowed to seek fairness for it in any venue or manner. You’re just supposed to shut up and go away–they’d rather you just die. Like our social safety sieve. This country has no place for me. I don’t fit in here or belong here. I give my community so much, and I have more to offer the world than the vast majority of people, but it has absolutely nothing to offer me but ridicule and suffering. Masturbation confers few of the health benefits of partner sex, but we stigmatize anyone who “admits” their inability to find love or sex rather than make the slightest effort to help them. Or points out that this afflicts men a lot more than women, since we make women the supply and men the demand. Loneliness is as lethal as smoking, and fully 1/4 of adult men in this country have no close friends. No wonder we die sooner. But alas, prostitution is both illegal and puritanically stigmatized. And increasingly, relationships as well as sex come from hookups and one night stands that people with autism have no access to. There’s a reason why 40% of Aspies have never had a romantic relationship. Our social system is as broken and biased as our economic one. Both exclude millions of deserving people in need. Both give more to those who already have, while blocking those without from getting any of what they need. Both are sexist, capitalist, and dishonest. Both depend not on your choices, actions, or behaviors; but rather your luck. Both inflict gratuitous suffering on the have-nots so the haves can keep partying. No one cares or will listen, so there’s virtually nothing you can do about it. Moving to a better country takes money we poor don’t have. All you’re left with is drugs, booze, and death. We have no choice over if, when, where, or by whom we are created, yet we don’t allow people any choice over the circumstances of their death. We don’t even allow wrongful birth lawsuits like France does. We ignorantly pretend that all lives are worth living, because we want that to be true while refusing to admit that it’s clearly false. Again, we’d much rather make lots of people suffer indefinitely than give them any relief, all in service to a nonsensical, ancient, random moral belief from a religion I’ve never belonged to that says quality of life is irrelevant; only quantity matters. It’s time we prioritized quality of life at the expense of quantity. Valuing life means making it good and worthwhile; not maximizing human suffering. But I’m just some crazy 25th century socialist… I very obviously don’t matter to anyone or anything. Except to exploit and abuse me. Like Meg on Family Guy.

Diagnosis: No PTSD

So…apparently I have most of the *symptoms* of PTSD, but I don’t quite fit the DSM-V’s definition for it. (Seriously, the 5th edition is costing the DSM some real credibility) Possibly because of my meds and/or previous therapy. I can still be treated for the symptoms, though it will be a bit difficult or uncomfortable. I’m to relive or describe in maximum detail the worst child abuse events I can remember, and keep doing that until it upsets me less and is more manageable. It’s not gradual.

In other news, my therapist continues to be very attractive. 🙂 I noticed a ring on her ring finger, but I’m told that’s usually just for fashion when worn on the right hand (such customs make no sense to me).

Even with several errands done entirely on foot, my phone says I only walked 6200 steps today. We’re supposed to get 10,000 a day. My blood sugar hit a new low before bed last night–108! Before dinner it was 160. My meter says my total average is 189.

I finished watching Downton Abbey Season 4. 🙂 I’m going to start the Danish series Borgen after I watch Grand Budapest Hotel. The library’s movie selection is really good, and keeps me pretty entertained without having to pay for cable, Netflix, Hulu, etc. Libraries are great democratic institutions.

I need to get two yahrzeit candles to commemorate the lives of people who died in October 2000 and 2002. It’s a Jewish custom I follow. QFC didn’t have them, and temples don’t have the best hours or locations.

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada, Indigenous People’s Day in Seattle, and the great Lenny Bruce’s birthday. He was a martyr for the First Amendment. RIP.

Life Update/Thoughts on Our Rising Dollar

10628842_10152415917312507_8216021641307924469_o (1)Life has been very busy the last 7-10 days. Which creates a paradox where life in poverty is so hectic you don’t have time to document it, contributing to overall lack of understanding of what life in poverty is like. I’ve had a few dogsitting gigs that made me a little money. One generated another 5-star review online. I spent so much in September bus fare that a pass would’ve been cheaper, but dogsitting isn’t predictable enough to buy one early in the month. I volunteered to be in a TV ad for Pramila Jayapal‘s state Senate race. It should air on cable in Renton, where I don’t think I know anyone. But it was fun, and I met a very attractive woman who lives near my new home (I love Columbia City) and has been looking for a dogsitter. I’ve shifted my scant savings to financial institutions that pay higher interest. I got an iPhone 6, paid for by the trade-in value of my iPhone 4S. I decided to delay, again, buying a new laptop (this one is more than 8 years old and doesn’t support Chrome or Skype, for example, nor can it sync the calendar with my phone). So between that and the trade-in value they made available only if you ordered by 9/30, I figured I deserve a new toy. Which I like a lot so far. 🙂

I had an initial intake appointment at the private DBT clinic, and I actually feel hopeful about it so far. It seems like a better fit for me than the Harborview program. I got assigned to a therapist who has experience in PTSD, which I think is my top mental health issue right now. Also, she’s about my age and pretty. 😛 I also FINALLY got a blood glucose meter and test strips, and the insulin pen we fought 2 1/2 months for (I had to prod the pharmacy and bug my insurance). But now my nutritionist thinks my blood sugar levels are coming down enough that I may not need the pen. At least this is a good problem. If I can get my average bg under 150, I can resume an autism drug study in Bellevue that pays decent money.

I’m to be arraigned next week and have a trial set in December for my Failure to Comply arrest. I may have persuaded my parents to pay for a private defense lawyer, but I haven’t had time to get one yet. Only this week did I get the actual writeup of my supposed crime, in which the officer says I “argued” with the Federal Protective Service officers (to them, anything other than immediate, complete, unquestioning obedience equals refusal) and refused to leave by falling down. When other people had already seen me shaking badly because I was so nervous/worried. It got worse after that, and I lost the ability to walk or even stand for a while. The officers had to almost carry me, and offered to get an ambulance. The head pig, though, said I was faking. I’d tried to explain multiple times that I’m autistic and how that was affecting me, but I don’t think they gave a shit. Anyway, the idea that I refused to comply by falling down reminds me of the guy in Ferguson, MO who was wrongly shot by the police, who then also charged him with destroying government property because he bled on their uniform. This is the country we live in now. My lawyer and public defense friends think I’d likely be better off taking a guilty plea with community service or a suspended sentence, but I find this so ridiculous I want to see if it can be dismissed or I can win a jury trial. I can’t abide the idea of pleading guilty to something I didn’t do. Aspies are very strong on principle(s).

Finally, I wrote a very long email to my parents basically to promote myself (which is very difficult and unnatural for me) and convince them I’m worth helping financially. I shared it with a few close friends and relatives and got incredibly positive feedback. My psychologist aunt said I struck exactly the right tone and apologized that I’m stuck with the parents I got. I was amazed at my parents’ reply, which was nice and clarified some of their goals or hopes more clearly and explicitly than I ever knew. I nearly cried tears of joy. They say they’re very busy, which seems odd as they’re retired, and today sent a photo of their “new girls”–three sheep. I have absolutely no idea what that’s about, had no idea that was coming, or what the heck else they plan to do with their 10 acres in West Bumfuck, Oregon. They’ve lived their entire lives in suburbia and have never farmed or even gardened a thing. All I can think of is going there so they’d spend money on me (even just nice restaurant meals) and assembling a gorgeous, huge ham radio antenna array. I can’t wait to buy a $100 apartment antenna I found from MFJ and hopefully get back on the air once my friend and I move into our new house. I’m told there will be a class this winter for upgrading your license to the highest class (I have the middle of three basically), and I hope to take that and get my Extra class license even though the class is up in Snohomish County. I think accomplishing that will make me feel proud and hopefully generate some momentum for other positive things.

With that, I should get the heck out from behind a screen and hit the grocery. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook about a NYTimes article I read on the US dollar rising against other currencies:

My lightly informed opinion is that the dollar was too high for too long because that’s what Volcker and Greenspan did with interest rates. And given that recent history, we need a period of lower interest rates and a weaker dollar to sort of balance things out–give exporters, tourism, and beneficiaries of cross-border shopping a chance to do better. Sure, you generally want GDP to grow rather than shrink, but in this country that indicator, like unemployment, has become detached from what the economy is doing for most people. If CEO to worker pay were 25:1 instead of 350:1, and if GDP growth and productivity gains were broadly shared like they were 1945-70, I’d be more concerned with GDP. We’ve already seen that middle class and poor foreigners are doing better than their US counterparts. We also see Germany loosening immigration laws because it has a worker shortage. Spain, Portugal, and Greece aren’t Germany–economies vary within the EU. But I’m leery of the notion that Europe’s economy is really–objectively, broadly–doing worse than ours. They certainly don’t have our poverty and suffering at the bottom, and my sense is that they’re mostly more democratic. Austerity doesn’t work in recessions, but that seems more limited to the UK. We didn’t exactly get the Second New Deal we needed either. (though the stimulus program bought Seattle’s new LED streetlights that Bruce Harrell takes credit for)