Naturalistic Neurodiversity

Exploring our differences through science.

Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #55

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Do you consider yourself to be a person with a disability?

Mental; working diagnosis dysthymic disorder.

Have you (or do you personally know someone who has) felt out-of-place or limited your involvement with an atheist community because of disability-related situations?

No.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Call out ableism where you see it. Encourage people who are disabled and are comfortable being public about it to be public. Apply skepticism to mental health claims (both SCAM stuff and “depressed people need to think more positively!”)

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

Rationality/skepticism are very important to me in fighting my mental illness. I had to learn to rigorously check claims like “everyone hates me” and not just take it on intuition or faith.

Response #55 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

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Written by The Nerd

June 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #40

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Do you consider yourself to be a person with a disability?

Mental:
Tourettes, Depression, OCD, ADD. We suspect ASD but don’t have a diagnosis.

Have you (or do you personally know someone who has) felt out-of-place or limited your involvement with an atheist community because of disability-related situations?

I frequently am bothered by the assertion that “religion is crazy” or “religion is a mental illness” As someone who actually has a mental illness

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Stop the fucking “religion is crazy” rhetoric. Focus on the cruelty, and fundamental incoherence of religion not attacking them by making ableist comments

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

It was literally my first encounter with atheism. I was an officer in the religious studies club giving a talk on Norse Paganism (my belief system before I became atheist) and literally the first comment out of the local Atheist club’s mouth was “How fucking crazy do you have to be to believe that shit.”

Response #40 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #29

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Do you consider yourself to be a person with a disability?

I have a degenerative disease which is sometimes disabling and will eventually always be disabling.

Physical; also, it tends to also cause depression and chronic fatigue on the side. The disorder is called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Type 3/Hypermobility.

Have you (or do you personally know someone who has) felt out-of-place or limited your involvement with an atheist community because of disability-related situations?

Physically I have a hard time getting out of the house, but that’s not really specifically related to atheism. I do feel very uncomfortable when atheists start talking about aborting children with disabilities or sterilizing people with disabilities, which has happened on multiple occasions.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

I would like to see a little more moderation on the aborting/sterilizing issue I mentioned earlier.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

In general, I wish it was an issue that atheist communities were more aware of.

The above has been response #29 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Normally I try to avoid adding to PWD‘s experiences, lest I end up talking over them. But  let me make one thing clear: when you talk about aborting/sterilizing PWDs, what you’re saying is that you don’t think there should be any of them around – in short, genocide (srsly, “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” is right there in the definition). And maybe you think what you’re saying is that you’re imagining a world in which nobody suffers, but realize when you say those things right in front of a PWD, what you’re saying is that you wish they weren’t around. No really, you are. And if you still don’t believe me, then maybe disability isn’t really the problem that needs to be eliminated in society. Maybe we should start with bigotry.

Written by The Nerd

May 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #10

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Do you consider yourself to be a person with a disability?

A combination of both [mental and physical]. Mentally,  I am diagnosed with Major Depressive disorder, Recurrent and Severe, Anxiety, and am likely to also have ADHD, but it is undiagnosed. Physically, I have Sleep Apnea, Morbid Obesity, COPD, Diabetes, and Arthritis in my hip.

Have you (or do you personally know someone who has) felt out-of-place or limited your involvement with an atheist community because of disability-related situations?

Yes. I live on Staten Island. NY City Atheists meet in various locations in Manhattan. It’s not so much of an issue of building access for me, it is time and distance to travel by public means, which is difficult for me.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

I’d like to see a Staten Island chapter, but know few Atheists on Staten Island. It also becomes a matter of viable locations and money, if usage fees occur.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

Online communities go a long way to inclusion, but lack personal interaction. Also, access is incumbent on one’s access to a computer and the internet.

I hope this was helpful.

Response #10 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #4

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Do you consider yourself to be a person with a disability?

Mental Health – Endogenous Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (apparently – I’m not convinced, I think diagnoses of Endogenous Depression are the go-to for a lot of GPs and psychiatrists – quick and easy, and they can dole out the drugs and move on to the next patient without being particularly thorough)

Have you (or do you personally know someone who has) felt out-of-place or limited your involvement with an atheist community because of disability-related situations?

When I’ve said that I have mental health issues in the past, a number of people I know in supposedly ‘rationalist’, atheist circles have taken that as a license to disregard anything I might say on any particular subject, but especially those pertaining to whether having children is justifiable in an already overpopulated world, the morality of suicide and assisted dying for the elderly and terminally ill, the evidence (or lack thereof) for homosexuality as an inborn genetic trait, the gay/lesbian marriage debate, the wisdom of ‘Draw Muhammad Day‘, and feminism/gender. It’s as if they’ll accept my agreement that the existence of a god or gods is highly unlikely, and that Christianity and Islam are irrational, but my depression excludes me from having opinions on anything else.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

The message really needs to be promulgated that a person’s sometimes poor mental health does not preclude them from having put a lot of thought into an issue or issues, more education is needed about issues of mental and emotional  health in general. However, I think the bigger issue is that there appears to be a real problem of ‘we’ll be nice and accepting if you agree with us/tow the party line’ in online atheist communities (I don’t know about in real life, my real-world community being quite religious), and the ‘party line’ appears to be set by whoever is most popular (The Amazing Atheist, Richard Coughlan, JT Eberhard, Thunderfoot, The Friendly Atheist) or most famous (Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens etc) — a bunch of white guys, basically, some of whom are complete tools.

Seriously, what’s with that? A lot of people in atheist communities don’t seem to be thinking for themselves yet, they’re just parroting the members of the community who get the most attention – and sadly, the people in atheist communities who get the most attention seem to be antagonistic Caucasian males. We need to celebrate the voices of atheist women and queer people, atheists from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and ‘racial groups’ and people of different levels of ability. The only way I can see this happening is if the dominance of arrogant, argumentative white guys is consciously challenged (speaking as a white guy myself).

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

There doesn’t appear to be much discussion about how we as a community can help the most vulnerable in the wider community – often those living with physical and mental disabilities – to replace reliance on religious beliefs and institutions with more helpful secular alternatives, or even discussion as to whether that is desirable and ethical. I’d like to see more of those sorts of discussions occurring,  my own mental health issues, it seems, are acceptable justification to ignore me when I try and have these sorts of conversations.

Response #4 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #3

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Do you consider yourself to be a person with a disability?

Psychological disability due to schizoaffective disorder (schizophrenia + major depressive disorder), Tourette’s, GAD, and OCD.

Have you (or do you personally know someone who has) felt out-of-place or limited your involvement with an atheist community because of disability-related situations?

No.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Make more educational videos, because I think a lot of people would rather watch a video than read a blog or article.  If there’s entertainment in it for them, they will be more receptive to the message.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

I have actually found that atheist/secular communities are far more inclusive to people with mental illnesses than religious communities, although I can’t really speak for how atheist/secular groups treat individuals with other disabilities, as my disabilities are “invisible.”

Response #3 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #2

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Do you consider yourself to be a person with a disability? If so, what?

Have you (or do you personally know someone who has) felt out-of-place or limited your involvement with an atheist community because of disability-related situations?

No.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Host a variety of events to cater to people of all needs.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

The misogyny problem is a lot harder for people struggling with PTSD to deal with and makes us want to avoid some functions to avoid being around a “boys club” or even in internet groups/communities.

Response #2 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Written by The Nerd

April 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm