The Hidden Village of Aspergers

March 8, 2014

Influenza

You treat me like an influenza
You think I’m an idiot cos I’m not in Mensa
You treat me like a tonsillitis
I’m a pain in the neck and I’m not quite right

Note: this post will be shorter than the other miniblogs as I’ve already blogged on the subject of ME.

We love our routines, we people with Aspergers Syndrome. We do not love it when we have to adjust to a whole new routine. When I got sick with swine flu in 2009 and had to take a month off work, and started feeling tired and drained and achey all the time and ended up discovering I had ME, my entire world came crashing down around me. My work cut down my hours and consequently, my salary. I had to blow off friends for gigs and nights out. I slept more and found going to the gym difficult. It was a bit of a shock, but gradually, I got used to it. At least my mum backed off a bit about me being overweight and my house not being very tidy. Even now, when I’m typing this, I have pains in my arms.

I also had to deal with a lot of stupid comments about the illness. People in the choir at synagogue told me that I was too young to be tired, and I hated being made to feel guilty for constantly missing choir practices and services due to being ill. Maybe this is the paranoia talking, but there were women three times my age in the choir and a woman with hip problems, and I wondered if the general feeling was ‘they can make it to synagogue, what’s your excuse?’ I got told to try running, jogging, Zumba, horse riding. I can’t run and I’m scared of horses, not to mention that riding lessons are not cheap. They thought exercise would make it better, but it’s one of those things where you have to be careful; one of my friends, who was far worse than me, had Graded Exercise Therapy and suffered major setbacks as a result, while I myself was in pain for days after a pole dancing session. That’s the problem with having an invisible illness. If you’re not visibly disabled, you are assumed to be a fraud, and it doesn’t help that the likes of Julie Burchill and Rod Liddell think we’re liars, scroungers and fakers.

How does it intersect with Aspergers? Not much, really, although stress can make me tired, and combined with a draining condition like ME, by the time I get home from work, I just want to sleep. Combine that with depression, and you have a two-headed beast. The more unhappy or stressed I am, the more tired I am. I feel pretty drained now, for instance, due to my team getting thrashed 4-1 by Arsenal, and having had a very hard week at work which began with a horrible, frightening meltdown which resulted in cuts on my arms and cheek, and sore wrists and hands. All I can do, really, is ride these periods out. I’m seeing We Are Scientists at the Ritz tomorrow, so I will be resting up in preparation. It’ll be my first gig of 2014, and I can’t wait.

 

March 2, 2014

Day of Mourning – Remembering People with Disabilities Murdered by Caregivers

This isn’t part of the Space miniblogs, but I’m going to post it anyway because it’s important. I just wish I’d known about it last night.

A virtual vigil has been organised for people with disabilities who were murdered by their caregivers. Links to texts being read during the vigil are here. As a disabled person living in a country where the disabled are victimised by the press and the government, I am so, so glad this is being done.

Just recently, Sheila Holt was deemed fit for work despite being in a coma.

Mark Wood, a man with Aspergers Syndrome and OCD, starved to death after having his benefits cut off.

Lewis Gill was sentenced to a frankly ridiculous four and a half years’ imprisonment for punching Andrew Young, another man with Aspergers Syndrome, to death in the street.

The people who victimised these three people were strangers.

Imagine how it must feel when a family member, someone who is supposed to love you and care for you, turns on you, and you cannot speak out, or you cannot fight back.

I am fortunate in that, besides being on the milder end of the spectrum, I have a loving and supportive family. However, these people were not so lucky. The murderers – let’s not mince our words here – get plenty of sympathy, but what about the victims? Who will speak out for them?

Here are the names of just some of the many, many people with disabilities who died at the hands of their carers, and be warned – it is very upsetting. The list of names in poster form is here.

Zichronam le’vracha. May their memories ever be a blessing.

  • Tracy Latimer, 12 years old, gassed by her father in 1993

  • Charles-Antoine Blais,  6 years old, drowned by his mother in November 1996

  • Casey Albury, 17 years old, strangled by her mother in 1997

  • Pierre Pasquiou, 10 years old, pushed into the sea by his mother in 1998

  • Jim Helm, 27 years old, killed by his mother in a murder-suicide in November 1998

  • Daniel Leubner, 13 years old, burned alive by his mother in September 1999

  • James Joseph Cummings Jr, 46 years old, stabbed to death by his father in the institution where he lived in November 1999

  • Justin Malphus, 5 years old, beaten and drowned by his mother in April 2000

  • Gabriel Britt,  6 years old, suffocated by his father in March 2001

  • Johnny Churchi, 13 years old, strangled by his mother in 2001

  • Mark Owen Young, 11 years old, poisoned and then pushed off a bridge by his mother in a murder-suicide, September 2001

  • Brahim Dukes, 18 years old, starved by his stepmother in December 2001

  • Lilian Leilani Gill, 4 years old, strangled by her adoptive mother in March 2002

  • Mitchell Dickson, 10 years old, slashed to death by his mother in June 2002

  • Dale Bartolome, 27 years old, killed by his father in a murder-suicide in July 2002

  • Jason Dawes, 10 years old, suffocated by his mother in August 2003

  • Maggie Caraballo, 38 years old, beaten to death by her sister in August 2003

  • Angelica Auriemma, 20 years old, drowned by her mother who first tried to electrocute her to death in 2003

  • Scott Olsen, 29 years old, starved to death by his sister in December 2003

  • Eric Bland, 38 years old, starved to death by his sister in March 2004

  • Scarlett Chen, 4 years old, drowned by her mother in July 2004

  • Patrick Markcrow, 36 years old, drugged and suffocated by his mother in March 2005

  • Tiffany Pinckney, 23 years old, locked in a basement and starved to death by her sister and brother-in-law in April 2005

  • Sarah Naylor, 27 years old, shot by her mother in a murder-suicide in September 2005

  • Ryan Davies, 12 years old, drowned after his mother caused him to fall off of a bridge in a murder-suicide

  • Christopher DeGroot, 19 years old, died of severe burns after he was locked in his parents’ apartment alone during a fire in May 2006

  • Katie McCarron, 3 years old, suffocated by her mother in May 2006

  • William Lash III, 12 years old, shot by his father in a murder-suicide in July 2006

  • Lakesha Victor, 10 years old, starved by her mother in August 2006

  • Marcus Fiesel, 4 years old, wrapped in heavy blankets by his foster parents and left in a closet to suffocate while they went out of town in August 2006

  • Ulysses Stable, 12 years old, throat slit by his father in November 2006

  • Brandon Williams, 5 years old, poisoned and beaten to death by his mother in March 2007

  • Criste Reimer, 47 years old, thrown from a balcony by her husband in 2007

  • Jared Greenwood, 26 years old, died of infected bed sores after being left in place and neglected by his mother in 2007

  • Francecca Hardwick, 18 years old, locked in a burning car with her mother in a murder-suicide in October 2007

  • Naomi Hill, 4 years old, drowned by her mother in November 2007

  • Shellay Ward, 7 years old, starved and neglected by her parents in November 2007

  • Maxwell Eyer, 2 years old, beaten to death by his father in December 2007

  • Xiao Fei, 20 years old, poisoned and suffocated by her mother in 2008

  • Calista Springer, 16 years old, chained to a bed and abandoned in a fire by her entire family in 2008

  • Courtney Wise, 17 years old, starved to death by her mother in February 2008

  • Ethan Scott Kirby, 3 years old, beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend in August 2008

  • Jacob Grabe, 13 years old, shot by his father in 2008

  • Tom Inglis, 22 years old, died after his mother administered an overdose of heroin to him in November 2008

  • Christian Clay Jenkins, 14 years old, given an overdose of oxycodone by his father in 2008

  • Kyle Dutter, 12 years old, shot by his father in a murder-suicide in 2008

  • Lexie Agyepong-Glover, 13 years old, left in a frigid creek by her mother and died of drowning and exposure in 2009

  • Terrell Stepney, 19 years old, poisoned by his grandmother in a murder-suicide in 2009

  • Jeremy Fraser, 9 years old, died of recurrent leukemia after his mother withheld the medication that would have saved his life in March 2009

  • Shylea Myza Thomas, 9 years old, starved to death by her aunt, who then hid her body in order to continue to collect money she received for Shylea’s care in April 2009

  • Pamela Camille Hall, 59 years old, stabbed by her son-in-law in April 2009

  • Lloyd Yarbrough, 62 years old, fed an overdose of prescription medication through his feeding tube by his wife in May 2009

  • Jeremy Bostick, 11 years old, gassed by his father in 2009

  • Peter Eitzen, 16, stabbed by his mother in July 2009

  • Tony Khor, 15 years old, strangled by his mother in October 2009

  • Betty Anne Gagnon, 48 years old, tortured to death by her sister and brother-in-law in November 2009

  • Walter Knox Hildebrand Jr, 20 years old, died of a seizure induced by his brother’s physical abuse in November 2009

  • Laura Cummings, 23 years old, raped and tortured to death by her mother and brother in January 2010

  • Jude Mirra, 8 years old, forced by his mother to overdose on prescription medications in February 2010

  • Ajit Singh, 12 years old, forced by his mother to drink bleach in February 2010

  • Gerren Isgrigg, 6 years old, died of exposure after his grandmother abandoned him in a remote area in April 2010

  • Leosha Barnett, 17 years old, starved to death by her mother and sister in May 2010

  • Glen Freaney, 11 years old, strangled by his mother in May 2010

  • Payton Ettinger, 4 years old, starved by his mother in May 2010

  • Christopher Melton, 18, gassed by his mother in a murder-suicide in June 2010

  • Rylan Rochester, 6 months old, suffocated by his mother in June 2010 because she believed him to be autistic

  • Kenneth Holmes, 12 years old, shot by his mother in a murder-suicide in July 2010

  • Zain Akhter, 5 years old, and Faryaal Akhter, 2 years old, strangled by their mother after she first tried to get them to drink bathroom cleaner in July 2010

  • Emily Belle Molin, 85 years old, hit and run over with a car by her son in August 2010

  • Rohit Singh, 7 years old, beaten to death by his father in September 2010

  • Zahra Baker, 10 years old, murdered and dismembered by her stepmother and perhaps her father in October 2010

  • Chase Ogden, 13 years old, shot by his mother in a murder-suicide in October 2010

  • Karandeep Arora, 18 years old, suffocated by his parents in October 2010

  • Donald Parojinog, 83 years old, starved by his daughter in January 2011

  • Chad Jackson, 25 years old, starved and neglected by his mother in July 2011

  • Julie Cirella, 8 years old, poisoned by her mother in July 2011

  • Joseph Conant, 11 years old, and Nacuma Conant, 33 years old, shot by their father/brother in July 2011

  • Noe Medina Jr, 7 months old, thrown 4 stories by his mother in August 2011

  • Benjamin Barnhard, 13 year old, shot by his mother in a murder-suicide in August 2011

  • Jori Lirette, 7 years old, decapitated by his father in August 2011

  • George Hodgins, 22 years old, shot by his mother in a murder-suicide in March 2012

  • Daniel Corby, 4 years old, drowned by his mother in March 2012

  • Malea Blakely-Berry, 16 years old, starved by her mother in June 2012

  • Matthew Graville, 27 years old, tortured and beaten to death by his half-brother in July 2012

  • Melissa Stoddard, 11 years old, suffocated in restraints that her father and step-mother routinely used in December 2012

  • Robert Gensiak, 32 years old, starved by his mother and sisters in March 2013

  • Alex Spourdalakis, 14 years old, poisoned and stabbed by his mother and godmother in June 2013

  • Matthew Hafer, 28 years old, poisoned by his mother in July 2013

  • Marian Roberts, 57 years old, shot by her father in a murder-suicide in August 2013

  • Jaelen Edge, 13 years old, poisoned by his mother along with his sister Faith in September 2013

  • Tamiyah Audain, 12 years old, starved, abused and neglected by her cousin in September 2013

  • Dameian “Luke” Gulley, 14 years old, strangled by his stepfather in November 2013

  • Randle Barrow, 8 years old, drowned by his mother in a murder-suicide in December 2013

  • Mickey Liposchok, 52 years old, shot by his father in a murder-suicide in December 2013

  • Damien Veraghen, 9 years old, poisoned and suffocated by his mother in a murder-suicide in January 2014

  • Vincent Phan, 24 years old, shot by his mother in a murder-suicide in January 2014

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