Bad TV Show Depiction of Ehlers Danlos

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I love the tv show House. This medical drama, based around the character of a doctor with Sherlock Holmes mystery solving abilities is often smart, informational, and amusingly ridiculous. The main character (House) is often a total asshole, but he is so lovably grumpy, enormously flawed, and irresistibly outrageous that I can’t help but like him.

Last night I finally caught their episode that features an Ehlers Danlos patient, an episode I had been looking forward to seeing for a while. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed with the portrayal. First off, very little of the episode actually had anything to do with the woman with Ehlers Danlos. It focused more upon her husband for the first half at least.

When she was finally introduced into the storyline, she was presented as someone with a horrible mental illness (hoarding), which a casual viewer could easily think was due to her forthcoming Ehlers Danlos diagnosis. The last thing those of us with EDS need is to be confused with mental illness conditions even more.

Also, the only symptoms that are even discussed to be related to EDS in the show (and thus lead to the official diagnosis) are the fact that the woman’s heart responded badly to some medication and she had suffered several miscarriages. That was it. Yes, EDS can contribute to miscarriages, but it is far from one of the hallmark symptoms of many EDS sufferers. Nothing was mentioned about hypermobility, chronic pain, dislocations, joint issues, gastrointestinal issues, autoimmune issues, bruising/scarring, loose skin, etc.

Overall, a very disappointing experience as a viewer and EDS patient.

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Rick and Morty Fan Art

Any Rick and Morty fans out there? I’ve watched the tv show whenever I happen to catch it on Cartoon Network and enjoy the weird sense of humor, goofy characters, and the alternate dimensions sci-fi feel of it. Not too long ago I was looking for something fun and simple to draw and decided to do my own abstract version of Rick:

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What do you guys think? Did I catch his vibe with the art or can you even tell it is supposed to be him? This drawing did already sell, so I guess someone liked it at least!

I Have Autism, and I Yearn to Feel I Belong

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This may be a post that is hard for neurotypicals to relate to – I’m honestly not sure. But, as someone who has high-functioning autism (Aspergers), I find that I have always had a deep internal yearning for something that I don’t know how to get or how to keep – and that is a true sense of belonging. I have had fleeting moments of feeling like I belong in a group. Lunches with friends at school, days at work where I laughed along with the others and felt like part of the gang, or even last year, when I was hospitalized and briefly came to feel at home among the other patients.

But none of these lasted. The very next day, or even the next hour, I could easily be feeling like an outsider again, like someone with their nose pressed to the window, watching the motion and activity inside with longing. Even among friends, it was often clear that I was “the weird one”, the one that was sometimes liked, but never completely understood. I often felt like I was an alien being in a foreign world, and sometimes I still feel that way.

Now, since I don’t have to attend work or school outside of my home, I am not forced into regular contact with others and the chances of feeling a part of a group are even less likely to occur. I can go out and seek groups, and sometimes do, but I never really end up feeling a part of them. I am not a cog in the gears of a greater machine, I am a spare part left on the table.

The best way I know to describe the yearning inside is to share the first few lines from the theme song to the old tv show, Cheers:

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
The troubles are all the same
You want to be where where everybody knows your name

That is what I want, but realistically, I could hang out at a bar EVERY SINGLE DAY and I’d be lucky if anyone learned my name…and I can’t help but feel that is my own fault. I’ve seen others who can walk into a place and in a few minutes, they are no longer a stranger to anyone. It is almost like a magical ability, and is clearly one I’ll never have.

New Year’s in The Twilight Zone

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I’m still struggling with this nasty cold I caught, so I am spending pretty much all day laying on the couch or in bed. Since it is New Year’s Eve, I am watching The Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy Channel, which has pretty much become a yearly ritual for me. I love this show and wish it was on more often.

Other than watching that all day, I don’t have much in the way of plans. I doubt I will even stay up to watch the ball drop tonight or anything like that. I’m not sure if it is just the illness or the depression, but I haven’t felt like doing anything this week and the weekend is pretty much proceeding the same way. I haven’t even been making art, which is kind of sad, especially considering all the cool new art supplies I got for Christmas. I am sharing an artwork I made right after Christmas while playing with some new acrylic pens I got. Hopefully I’ll be motivated to do more soon.

Things I’ve Learned Recently

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Hello everyone! This post is just a little check-in to say hi and let you all know what I’ve been up to. I figured I would make it more interesting by focusing on what I’ve learned recently from this unpredictable thing we call life.

  • After working on a book about nutrition for a freelance client, I’ve realized how much I DON’T know about what is really healthy and how much my own diet could use an overhaul. Unfortunately, I’m still a sucker for anything sweet, which throws a wrench into those plans!
  • I’ve learned how much traumatic experiences from childhood can affect our adult lives and our physical health. It is a fascinating subject, especially if you were put through a lot of crap growing up. I would recommend the book “Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal” (written by Donna Jackson Nakazawa) to anyone interested in such subjects.
  • I’ve learned that it is ridiculously expensive to treat a cat for diabetes 😦
  • I’ve realized that our current culture is engaged in a war on free speech and free expression in many ways. Both those from the extreme left and the extreme right often seem to want to silence dissenters. The same can be said of some companies and many governments. What I thought was once only an issue in communist, dictatorial or radical religious countries is proving to be a much broader problem.
  • YouTube is full of warped trolls (ok, I didn’t really just learn that one, but I’ve been reminded of it several times recently).
  • And lastly, if you are going to date naked, have some confidence!

“The Big Bang Theory” Debate – is Sheldon Cooper autistic?

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(Please note I am just giving my opinion. I do not speak for the entire autistic community.)

Recently I’ve really gotten into watching the tv show “The Big Bang Theory”. I’ve been told for a long time that I should watch it since I love nerdy humor, but I am the kind of person that doesn’t get into things just because people tell me I should. In fact, I am often unlikely to get into something until the popularity of it has died down a bit.

Anyhow, as I watched an episode of the series for the very first time, I could understand right away why many people say Sheldon Cooper is autistic. If he is autistic, it is obviously a high-functioning autism since his IQ is so high and he is able to live a somewhat “normal” life. It is easy to see many Asperger’s or high-functioning autistic traits in Sheldon’s character (although they are obviously exaggerated for comedic affect). He has definite social issues (especially in understanding sarcasm, carrying on a conversation that isn’t within his personal interests, understanding rudeness, showing appropriate emotion, etc.). He has overtly OCD issues where he has to have things the same all the time and struggles to handle even small changes or errors. He is definitely uncomfortable with physical touch or physical intimacy and not entirely due to a germ phobia, although that obviously contributes to the problems.

On the plus side, he has many positive Asperger’s traits as well. An exceptionally high IQ, an amazing gift for his special interests (especially physics), an incredible memory, a unique sense of humor, loyalty to those he cares about and a sweet kind of innocence that is endearing. He is also undoubtedly honest (perhaps brutally so) and dependable. If he does in fact have Asperger’s Syndrome or some other form of high-functioning autism, he is a character that others with the condition may relate to. He may even seem inspirational since he is successful in his career, does have some close relationships and has found a way to not only survive in the real world but thrive to an extent. I find myself wondering if Amy (Sheldon’s girlfriend in the show) may have Asperger’s as well. In many ways she fits the characteristics of high-functioning autism in females (which tend to be a little different than male autism symptoms, typically with higher social abilities).

Interestingly, I noticed that in interviews, Jim Parsons (the actor who plays Sheldon) has said that Sheldon does not officially have Asperger’s Syndrome. The writers and producers of the show say the same thing, although they did explain that the reason they didn’t want to “label” the character was because then they may face accusations that they are making fun of those with the same condition or not staying true to the condition as the character changes and grows over time. I can understand that, although to me personally it would be nice to be told for sure what Sheldon’s issues stem from.

I think it would be helpful in some ways for high-functioning autism to be represented more in media/entertainment in general (as long as it was done respectfully). I personally don’t find it offensive that Sheldon is thought to be funny because of some of his unique personality quirks. Sometimes those of us with autism can be unintentionally funny (even we see that in ourselves at times), but that doesn’t bother me so long as the humor towards us doesn’t turn cruel or mocking.

Either way, I will continue to watch and enjoy the tv show, feeling in my heart and mind that Sheldon is indeed one of us on the spectrum.