How to discuss those who struggle with mental illness and disabilities is ongoing. The modern approach is to say that someone with bipolar disorder, for example, has bipolar disorder instead of saying, “So and so is bipolar,” as has been the practice. I have fully supported the modern disconnecting of a person’s struggles from their personal identity. This blog post challenges that idea and practice.
I want to clear a couple of things up.
I don’t have autism. I am autistic. This is important to me. It also doesn’t mean that I “see myself as a disability first and a person second,” whatever that is supposed to mean. In my eyes, I’m Julia. Just Julia.
I cannot separate out which parts of me brain are wired because baby I was born this way and which parts of my brain should be marked off as AUTISM. Nor do I particularly care, to be honest. I am Julia, and a significant fraction of Julia is autism (and thus, via the transitive property, I am autism but that’s not the point). Am I a writer because I’m Julia, or because I’m autistic? My writing is good in its own right, I am told, and it’s also fundamentally shaped by my neurology–just like yours. I like
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