Being Different In a World that Demands Conformity

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I'm not much for the whole "content warnings on everything" culture, but to avoid that blasted criticism, I will tell you that what I'm writing here is not going to be pretty, so if you feel like you might be upset by discussions of topics such as suicide and suicide ideation, you can give this post a miss.

I have an online friend whose name is Richard. Richard has autism. At one point, he wrote a post which said he hears people say all the time that they support people with autism and would never bully or hurt anyone who is autistic. He followed this up with the statement that a lot of these people are probably unaware of the times when they have been interacting with someone who was autistic and decided that it was okay to bully or belittle that person because that person was "just weird."

I cannot write a first-hand account of what it means to be misjudged and treated poorly as a person with autism, because I don't have autism. My son does. However, members of my extended family like to tell me that he doesn't, because he's high-functioning. He doesn't show signs of being overstimulated when he's in public. In their words, he's "just shy," he "just needs to come out of his shell," he "just needs to put himself out there." "He's intelligent, it's about damn time he went back to school/found a job." "You baby him too much."

If I don't listen to what my son is saying and ignore the fact that he's becoming overstimulated, he shuts down on me and it's hard for me to open communication with him again. 

My son went to a school where people were taught to be understanding and accepting of one another's differences. My friend Richard wasn't so lucky. A lot of people are not.

A whole lot of years ago, I learned about a very unusual fellow by the name of Per Ohlin. If he were still alive, he would be 50 years old now. However, he died from a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the head when he was 22 years old.

There is a lot of misinformation about this unfortunate soul floating around. After reading a fair bit about him from people who actually knew him, such as his brother and the few real friends he had, I believe that he may have been autistic. Per's brother said that Per would become hyper-focused on whatever task he was working on and get very upset at being interrupted from what he was doing. Although highly intelligent, he performed very poorly in school.

Per's classmates in his early years accepted his idiosyncratic behaviors. However, when he was twelve, his parents divorced and he ended up going to a new school. His new classmates not only bullied him mercilessly, but they also ganged up on him and beat him so badly that he ended up being declared clinically dead. There was evidence after this beating of brain damage. None of the individuals involved were ever punished.

Per experienced high degrees of suicide ideation and engaged in self-harm. In his case, the suicide ideation ended up being completed. I am not sure that anything could have been done to save this tragic soul. 

However, people can prevent the likelihood of further such occurrences by educating themselves about neurological and psychological differences and by attempting to be a bit kinder to those who present with unusual personalities.

I do not have autism. I am not normal neurologically, which expresses itself in problems with balance as well as varying degrees of difficulty walking. I had a small stroke in early 2017, which is likely the culprit in this case.

What I do have is something I refer to as a trifecta of fuckery or a hot trifecta of mess. This is the Universe's Asshat Trick and it involves rapid-cycling type 2 bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Even though there are all too many people who love to use the term "bipolar" to mean "moody," and I do call people out when they do that and advise them to educate their ignorant selves and not use people's health conditions as insults, I'm going to talk about borderline personality disorder, because it is even more misunderstood than bipolar disorder.

I do not write anything that is normal because I am not normal. I use a lot of metaphors, and my characters are extremely fucked up. I am getting to the point with this, so bear with me. It's a bit difficult to put it out there.

The risky behavior has been toned down for many years. I can't drink alcohol and I don't do illegal drugs. I don't even like the way most drugs make me feel. I don't have any kind of sex, let alone unsafe sex, and I don't want to. Most of the time I am able to resist inflicting self-injury, but not always. I tend to keep my behaviors in check, but there are still things that bleed to the surface.

Having been treated poorly by people who claimed they loved me is something that has led to a strong inability to trust. I generally only form very superficial relationships with people because I don't want to get attached to them, even on a platonic level. I do not have strong bonds even with most of my family members. This is not because I am incapable of feeling. It is because I am capable of feeling too deeply.

When I have written about the consuming love/obsession I have felt in the past, there have been people who have expounded that this is the only way to love, and I am rather horrified. I honestly don't think that obsessive love is healthy. I have scars on my arms that will never go away because of an obsessive love for awful men who treated me like a used condom. I'm glad if you liked the poem, but, yanno, it wasn't meant to be a "how-to" guide. It was really more of a warning.

I had a person comment on a character in one of my stories, asking if the character was a "teenager," and, to be honest, I was a bit insulted by that insinuation. The character was an adult in his mid-twenties. Being insecure is not only the hallmark of teenagers. There are some teenagers who are quite self-assured (I can assure you that I was not one of them) and some adults who are extremely insecure. These feelings of insecurity are magnified many times over in a person who has a condition such as borderline personality disorder.

I personally don't "do" romance because I don't like having my every thought consumed by the fear that I am going to be abandoned, which is what happens when I do romance. I sure as hell don't do casual sex, because I don't like it. Since I really don't like sex much in the first place and would only engage in such an activity with someone I trusted, why the hell would I want to do it casually?

I am far from being a teenager, but borderline personality disorder ensures that I will be one of the most insecure and least trusting people I know until the day I die. It also means that I have a high degree of self-loathing. 

Writing is two things to me. First of all, it's catharsis. Second, I really don't know how to do anything else. 

I'm not sure if I'm a "good" writer, a "bad" writer, or something in between. I write a bunch of shit. If you like it, great. If you don't like it, whatever. I'm probably not going to stop doing it, even if the occasional bad review makes me hate myself for a few days and I might end up with some cuts or bruises. 

A lot of writing critics are looking for formulaic writing, for a type of "normal." I learned this while applying for ghostwriting jobs. I don't do formulaic writing, and I'm not normal. My brain doesn't work normally.

I often compare the way my brain works to the famous images of webs created by spiders on various types of drugs.

I say that my thoughts work a lot like the spiderwebs in the top row. They look normal at first glance, but on closer look, they are not. I can "pass for normal" enough that people who meet me in public don't notice anything particularly unusual about me. But I am actually quite fragile in spite of being rather a hulking figure physically.

So, I write the shit that I write and in the end, it will all amount to nothing. I will very likely die destitute and unwell. When I was young, I had myself fooled that I had something to offer the world. I no longer believe this is true. At this point, I'm just doing the shit that I do, and you can come along for the ride or not. It doesn't really matter that much to me one way or the other.


The ultimate borderline personality disorder anthem

Suicidal Tendencies - Nobody Hears

I talk through my eyes, the words pourin' down
Nobody hears
You ask me what's wrong, but what can I say
Nobody hears

I try to tell you
I try to show you
How else can I tell you?
How else can I show you?

I'm screaming inside, why can't you hear?
Nobody hears
You're looking right though me like I'm not here
Nobody hears

When the last tear falls down
Nothing gets washed away
Another plea put to rest
As nobody hears, nobody hears

So what did I do to you
That makes you run from me?
Now I'm sitting here screaming inside myself
Don't understand why nobody hears

You figured it and shaped it to your perfection
Nobody hears
Subtracted my feelings from this equation
Nobody hears

Is it all in my mind?
All in my mind
Then it would be easy to find
Easy to find

When the last tear falls down
Nothing gets washed away
Another plea put to rest
As nobody hears, nobody hears

So what did I do to you
That makes you run from me?
Now I'm sitting here screaming inside myself
Don't understand why nobody hears

So if it's all
If it's all in my mind
Then wouldn't it, wouldn't it
Wouldn't it be so easy to find?

When the last tear falls down
Nothing gets washed away
Another plea put to rest
As nobody hears, nobody hears

So what do I have to do
To make you comfort me?
Now I'm sitting here screaming inside myself
Don't understand why nobody hears

So I'm sitting here screaming inside myself
Well I'm sitting here crying inside myself
So I'm sitting here screaming to nobody else
Don't understand why nobody hears
And nobody nears, nobody hears, nobody hears, nobody hears

Songwriters: MUIR, ROCKY
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind


  1. Thank you. I have read this twice and will probably read it again.
    I talk to people with a range of issues on the crisis line. I try to give them space to express what they need, not what I think they need. And try to comply. A work in progress always.
    And some of those people I have talked to haunt my head and my heart. Damaged they might be, but equally valuable.
    Please, please let me know if any of my comments on your myriad posts insult you (even a little). NOT my intention.

    1. Thank you kindly. You've never said anything even remotely insulting. You're one of those rare people who knows how to talk to others, even weirdos like me.
      I know I've sometimes inadvertently said things that are harsh to other people, and it's usually an attempt to put up a wall so they don't have a chance to hurt me.
      Logically, I know that most people don't mean to be insulting, but I might be in a bad place. I woke up in a bad place today and the first comment I saw was a criticism of my recent work. Now, logically, there was some merit to this person's criticism, and I appreciate what I learned, but they also managed to hit an open nerve, and the downward spiral went full flush, straight to the psychological sewer.
      I've had a myriad of people tell me that I need to "just stop being so sensitive." Gee, I never in all my 54 years on this planet even once considered that! Thank you! My life will be golden from now on! Now, excuse me while I roll my eyes back into the proper position. At the moment, they've rolled so far back in my head that I'm looking at my brain, and that's one damn scary place!
      Even people who make dumb statements like that generally don't mean any harm, it just doesn't help.
      The best thing that people can do is try to educate themselves and be sympathetic. That tends to go a long way.

    2. Thank you.
      And as a PS (which I couldn't drag to the surface of my mind till a few minutes ago) weird is wired arranged differently. And differently wired is how I tend to see those categorised as the first. Since I am not an electrician in any sense of the word, I can only applaud the many different wirings which work (in their own very individual way).


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