Naturalistic Neurodiversity

Exploring our differences through science.

Archive for the ‘GAD’ Category

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #61

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

I struggle with anxiety disorders: Mental disorders, including anxiety issues, PTSD, 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?

I’ve friends with autism that feel uncomfortable when others find out, and others with anxiety issues that prevent them from public interaction.  My anxiety issues have kept me from attending several public events.  There are some older people especially with hearing problems that don’t go out because they cannot hear anything.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Ensure that some of the meetup environments are conducive to communicating when you have hearing issues.  Make sure there are different types of meetups for the variety of members your organization has- from outgoing to introverted, and create an active online community so people that are indisposed or anxious feel included.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

Thank you for this, it’s a great topic we need to approach, especially as religious people are shutting out the differently abled.

Response #61 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

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Written by The Nerd

July 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Ableism, Atheism, GAD, PTSD

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #13

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

Mental; Bi-Polar Disorder w/Severe Anxiety.

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?

My groups seem to self police pretty well.  It is still good to have policies put in place.  ADA compliance is good if their is a venue choice.  Since many meetups are at members homes or other social setting awareness of these problems can be addresses individually.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

Education is key.  Learning about the human condition helps us all.  For those of us with anxiety problems, event with a lower level of personal-interaction are good entry points (lectures for example).  Online chats or meetups might also be helpful.

Response #13 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Written by The Nerd

April 29, 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

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #1

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

ADHD

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, sometimes I know I can’t take extra sensory input or contentious discussions, so I stay home instead. Other times I employ the help of my partner to tell me if I’m being rude, or I bring something to crochet in order to calm my mind.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Try to host more events on the weekends as opposed to the week nights. It also helps if it’s earlier in the day too, as opposed to all night long. I’ve already used up my emotional/mental reserves by the end of the work day. This tends to result in me skipping events I was hoping to attend.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

I recognize that my requests might be at odds with what someone would need who works nights and weekends, for example. I suppose diversity in event planning is the best approach.

Response #1 from the Ableism in Atheism survey. This response is my own.

Written by The Nerd

April 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm