There are certain blessings that come with being on the autism spectrum. The greatest of these blessings is probably extreme mental fortitude. Greta Thunberg is a great example of someone with extreme mental fortitude. Regardless of whether you agree with her views or not (I agree with most of them, but feel less agreement with her proposed solutions) she will do something that makes her feel extremely vulnerable, hated and humiliated, because she feels a moral obligation to do it. What allows her to do that? The same thing that makes society place a medical nametag on her personality type. I hope she can feel joy with the new friends she made and stop feeling an obligation to carry the world’s problems on her shoulders. I also hope her parents will better learn to recognize when too much is being asked of her.
Emily Bronte was probably another example, although it’s obviously impossible to make a conclusive statement about historical figures. When Emily was bitten by a dog with rabies, she cauterized the wound herself, down to the bone. She was unable to socially function when away from her family and appears to have harbored incestuous yearnings for her brother. Mrs Elizabeth Gaskell, a family friend of the Brontes, wrote about Emily: “She never showed regard to any human creature; all her love was reserved for animals.”
I personally believe that autism, particularly in its high functioning forms, is not 100% congenital. I think to some degree high functioning autism is a product of growing up in circumstances of extreme social pressure placed upon children by other people. There’s a huge overlap between symptoms of children considered “gifted” and children suffering high functioning autism. Apparently if you go to Mensa meetings, people there wear buttons that signal how comfortable they feel with being hugged. What do gifted children and children with high functioning autism/Asperger’s generally have in common? Parents who place large expectations on them and make them feel unable to live up to those expectations. I think autism is becoming increasingly more common in many societies, because we are placing increasingly higher expectations on children.
Of course there are also great struggles that come with high functioning autism. My intention today is to give an overview of things that I believe can help people. Below you will find a short list of things that seem to help me and some elaboration on how they help me. I have to make clear that I base my judgement entirely on my own personal experience with these substances and that I was never formally diagnosed myself, my mother kept me from being formally diagnosed as a teenager. Some of these substances are already used to help people with autism.
I can elaborate a bit more on the theoretical framework that leads me to these conclusions if people want me to, but I primarily base myself on personal experience. I have already explained the theoretical framework for some of them in earlier posts. It’s possible that some of these substances have effects on you that differ from the effects they have on me, but I think in general most of them will have similar effects on you as they do on me.
Almost all of these substances appear to have the effect of reducing inflammation in the brain. Almost all of these substances also seem to have in common that they generate new connections between neurons or strengthen existing ones, but the pattern of these connections and the parts of the brain where they carry this out seems to differ between the different substances. For this reason, I believe all of the above substances are subject to diminishing returns; experiences with a range of these substances can probably help people more than merely experiencing one of them on a constant basis.
Salvia: Helps you to feel adequate as a human being, rather than feeling inferior to other people.
Psilocin: Helps you interpret the world and the information you have been exposed to throughout your life in a more positive manner. It makes you more receptive to positive impulses and less receptive to negative impulses.
DMT + Harmalas: Help you to overcome traumatic memories that hold back your potential to contribute to society.
LSD: Helps you to intuitively understand what would be logical emotions for other human beings to experience in certain circumstances. Allows you to better understand people when they imply things to you, rather than explicitly stating them to you. You won’t be able to read their minds, but you’ll have a better functioning theory of mind. An insightful anecdotal experience can be found here.
MDMA: Helps you overcome the anxiety you feel when you take the initiative in expressing your intentions and desire for interaction with other people, particularly the opposite gender (assuming you’re attracted to the opposite gender).
Cannabinoids (particularly THC): Help you derive enjoyment from non-profound experiences. You’ll feel less obliged to carry the world’s problems on your shoulders.
Mescaline: Provides a number of the above effects. It delivers some of the effects of Salvia, Psilocin and MDMA. In addition, it makes you feel more physically comfortable in your own body.
My first hope is that scientists with the means to research these things will look at what I stated above and will try to (in)validate my beliefs.
My second hope is that if empirical evidence ends up validating my beliefs, children and teenagers with symptoms of autism will have the chance to experience these substances under safe circumstances, around experienced and empathic people who can help ensure that they have a positive experience, so that the amount of pain they will have to experience throughout their lives as a result of being different from other people is reduced, while still maintaining the ability to make use of their innate mental fortitude.
My third hope is that people who are not on the spectrum will take more effort to make sure that they do not make autistic people feel as if they are less worthy of love, dignity and respect. Please understand that autistic people’s mental fortitude can make them attracted to radical convictions that can be very taboo or intimidating for other people, Greta Thunberg’s convictions are a good example.