After everything that went wrong in handling my autism came the consequences of such poor conditions. That would be the PTSD, anxiety, and depression that emerged from the inferno that was my childhood and adolescence. As I’ve said in earlier articles, I have no interest in feeling sorry for myself and I am scientifically describing the conditions and how they were handled badly by peers and authorities. Firstly, while I’ve never been arrested, I have had the police called on me or threatened to be called on multiple occasions where I was not dangerous. The police do not have psychological training and if confronted with something like an anxiety attack won’t do anything except satisfy the fears who whomever called them. In one of my earlier articles, a few of these episodes were mentioned but there are more.
The episode I’ll emphasize here actually has a lot to do directly with autism but also applies to the fear-based and depressive conditions since it involves a form of anxiety attack. I was at the Young Democrats Convention in Chicago in 2009 and the crowd had caused me sensory overload so I curled into a fetal position on the floor with my back upwards while everyone walked around me. Immediately, the yuppies dressed like it was the set of Gossip Girl who had never seen the inside of a Special Ed because their private schools didn’t have them panicked and clamored about how they needed to call the police. That, my friends, is among the worst things they could do. Sensory overload happens as much with emotional senses as physical and both for inherent and induced reasons, I am very sensitive to power dynamics. They were going to get people with guns in a city with among the highest crime rates in the country where one presumes they’re conditioned to gangs from the ghetto where they are the occupying force opposing the gangs.
The manicured preppies failed to grasp that those are the worst people to deal with anything like an anxiety attack. Unless, they were so egregiously white that they consider the police their security to “handle” undesirables when those undesirables trespass or loiter in their neighborhoods and seeing a crazy person on the floor looked like a hobo. Honestly, that’s probably not much of a hyperbole. It doesn’t matter if the police were good ones or not, the Chicago Police Department is trained to fight people like the Bloods and the Crips and getting them to code-switch is both unrealistic and unfair to expect. Most police departments are similar but it is less extreme. And a society where that is the instinctive reaction to someone having a psychological crisis is going to harm its weakest members. It’s going to send someone having a type of anxiety attack further into anxiety.
It does occur to me that if they spoke to me, now, that they would be aghast at how erudite and eloquent that crazy person they tried to get out of a convention of a party that’s supposed to represent the weakest members of society is. That when I needed love and empathy, they didn’t show me any. The primary reason I work for Democratic Candidates is because I believe the left is more compassionate and loving than the right. I dearly hope that is why they joined it and not because they believe that Keynesian economics is the best for the economy they have investments in and Mises and Friedman produce better short-term gains but worse long-term. That they have enough hippie heart and fire in them that they fight for the love of everybody and feel it when they do.
There have been many times since that I have been reported to authority after some fear or depressive-based incident where, instead of empathy, I got the threats of people whose horror-movie based stereotyped fears of someone looking anxious or shaky caused them to react in a way that made everything worse or, if they didn’t feel fear, were so reticent in their approach that they didn’t spare a droplet of compassion. Incidents where I was in a vulnerable state and where the actions of the people around me and of the people tasked with handling it exacerbated the trauma for months and years after the incident. There were a few who did react in a better way but were so outweighed by the ones that didn’t that the net effect on my mental health was very negative.
All of this calls for a much better education of the public and its institutions on how to handle the acute crises of its members. Suicides, jail time, wasted tuition payments in the tens of thousands due to failed classes, inability to keep a job due to increased anxiety, and many more horrible things could be greatly reduced in severity and number if we had protocols to handle anxious and other depressive and fear-based episodes. Unfortunately, while mental health first-aid information exists, it is very myopically distributed. That’s why I have included below this piece a pamphlet on how to handle anxiety and panic attacks. I have the same photo in the pamphlet as I do on the front page of the website, a frame from Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” for the reason that it’s a song about making people who would otherwise commit suicide not commit suicide and I couldn’t think of a more apt article of media for treating anxiety and depression.