The Smiths and autism

All about The Smiths' music, gigs, stories, anything.

Postby Cracked Pleasures » Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:59 am

This is a post I made on the forum for Asperger sufferers where I post. I thought it was quite relevant maybe to copy it here as well. The post came out of a topic on songs that appeal to people in the autism spectrum.
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The Smiths to me is the ultimate aspie band. Songs like "How soon is now" are true Aspergian anthems, as the feelings are so recognisable to many Aspies. I also quote Morrissey very regularly in daily life, he just expresses many feelings I recognise in my own Aspieness.

I think How Soon Is Now is the ultimate Aspie song:

I am the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminal of others
I am the son and heir of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth, how can you say: I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does

I am the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminal of others
I am the son and heir of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth, how can you say: I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does

There's a club you would like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own
And you go home, and you cry and you want to die


When you say it's gonna happen NOW
when exactly do you mean?
See I've already waited too long, and all my hope is gone




That part about that club could be based on my life :shock:

However, more lines of Smiths songs that can be seen as Aspie-related:


Shyness is nice, shyness can stop you from saying all the things in life you'd like to

Take me out tonight, to where there's music and people and they're young and alive (reflects the desire of many of us Aspies to meet other people and to go out socialising, but then the inability to do so is explained in other Smiths songs such as How Soon Is Now)

And in the darkened underpass I thought: oh God my chance has come at last
But then a strange fear gripped me and I just couldn't ask

(expressing the inability to express one's feelings, something that I did notice with some of the Aspergians I have met)

And sorrow's native son, he will not smile for anyone

She wants it NOW and she will not wait
But she's too rough and I'm too delicate





Apart from that I get much moral support and energy from my all-time favourite band Echo & The Bunnymen, whose songs sometimes tackle the same feeling of isolation and being misunderstand, and whose songs tackle more OCD-related feelings and reflections sometimes.

Couldn't it be that us Aspies are more devotely into music and mainly into lyrics, because we tend to find strength and courage out of lyrics that reflect our own feelings? I mean, the majority of mainstream music expresses feelings and scenes that are very neurotypical and far from what we experience ourselves, whereas the more Aspie-reflecting music can give us the feeling of not being alone with our issues.

Maybe that's just me though, but I do experience that feeling. Music is very important to me, and I wouldn't classify it as just a hobby or interest. It's as essential as breathing and eating. I get my strength out of arts and writing poetry myself is a form of escapism. I couldn't do without it, and I do recognise that same devotion to arts in some of the other Aspergians I have come across.
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)

Capital punishment = murder

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Postby HandsomeDevil » Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:38 pm

Hate to be anal - but its actually .....of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:41 pm

Oops, what a typo :blink: I must have been miles away...
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)

Capital punishment = murder

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Postby Grim O'Grady » Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:13 pm

how do you get such a diagnosis? what are the symptoms, I think I could be one or at least on the spectrum somewhere? I thought it was just because I was a virgo why I have strange habits/feelings ffs!

on the bunnies, my mate Phill is off to see them tonight in Brum.

love

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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:31 pm

Explaining Aspergers is difficult because there is a whole range of symptoms, whereas you don't need to have every symptom to qualify. Every Aspie is different, there is no such thing as a standard like "everyone has this and that, and they're all exactly alike". Best thing is not to try self-diagnosis, but to ask a specialist. I was diagnosed by my therapist who I was already seeing for a long while, diagnosis was afterwards also confirmed by my new therapist in my new home country.

Some symptoms are:
- motoric clumsiness
- difficulties in eyecontact
- oversensitive senses (eg very sensitive to noise, light, touch, ...)
- not liking to be touched
- not understanding figure of speech, taking everything to its literate meaning
- high IQ to very high IQ (as in being gifted) while social skills are underdevelopped
- very limited number of interests, but extremely fanatic (obsessive) with the few interests
- not 'feeling' social interactions (such as making eyecontact, knowing when to speak, knowing when not to interrupt)
- not reading body language
- less need for social interaction than neurotypicals (note: not the case with every aspie, and those with limited social needs still socialise to a limited extend - very few are living completely reclusive)
- not coping with changing situations very well, seeking fixed rituals and habits to create feeling of comfort


These are the most common symptoms. There are more of course, but those above are most common. Very little Aspies have all of them, and it's best to let a professional judge if you have it or not. Self-diagnosing is little reliable unless you're an experienced person in the psychological field.

Some Aspergians are very social and have lot of friends, and most of us manage to still have a fulfilling social life because after a while you learn tricks to hide your discomfort or to overcome the difficulties. Obviously it takes a while to learn to socialise, as we don't have that social skills like most people do, we really have to learn them and train ourselves for a long time, and even then there'll always be some difficulties for most of us.

Internet forums are a very thankful tool. In real life, people don't like it when someone always talks in detail about the same subject, and especially when the person behaves a bit strangely and doesn't really 'feel' the conversation. Whereas online, forums bring you in touch with people who are just as obsessive/fanatic with your points of interest, and online discussions mean you don't have to care about body language, eye contact, etc. Long live the cyberworld!
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)

Capital punishment = murder

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Postby Bref » Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:26 pm

You seem really upfront and comfortable about this, which is cool ;)
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Postby chicken » Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:06 pm

Bref wrote:You seem really upfront and comfortable about this, which is cool ;)


it's more than cool. no offense bref, seriously.
CP, that was an absolutely amazing post. i have worked with just a handful of Aspergers and Autistics, unfortunately. my clinical specialties are different. BUT, those with whom i worked left a significant impression.

one thing i always wondered: could a therapist capitalize on the OCD element and help transfer that trait over to a coping mechanism? i know there are tons of qualifications per case, but for some cases i think that could be very adaptive/therapeutic.

and it surprises me not one bit that you are attracted to the interweb. research shows that mere introverts are attracted, thus an aspergian is of no surprise at all.


aspergers is the real deal.
i think what grim was talking about (which applies to me just as well, if not better) is along the lines of a personality disorder, though probably "sub-clinical."
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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:58 pm

Bref wrote:You seem really upfront and comfortable about this, which is cool ;)


I think I sound more self-assured and 'in total self-comfort' online than I am in real. I did learn some tricks to hide my discomfort and ever since I even started to socialise, or at least make attempts to do so. It can be a heavy weight to carry around sometimes, but it is who I am. OCD is a haunting presence inside of me, it's not really me. Aspergers is part of me and has always been, it made the person that I am right now. I didn't have any other choice but to accept that. At first after being diagnosed it felt different than it does now, but I embraced it and accepted it will always be there. I still suffer from a very low self-image sometimes though :unsure:

What can be really a pain is that we tend to experience emotions in an extreme way. When we experience joy it is a very intense joy, but also the negative emotions come up front in a very dominating way. The moodswings can be very tough to deal with, and the negative emotions can be quite difficult to conquer.

We can't tell our left from rights, but we know we love extremes
Getting to grips with the ups and downs, cause there is nothing in between


chicken wrote:<!--quoteo(post=28989:date=Jun 2 2006, 05:26 PM:name=Bref)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Bref @ Jun 2 2006, 05:26 PM) [snapback]28989[/snapback]</div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->
You seem really upfront and comfortable about this, which is cool ;)


it's more than cool. no offense bref, seriously.
CP, that was an absolutely amazing post. i have worked with just a handful of Aspergers and Autistics, unfortunately. my clinical specialties are different. BUT, those with whom i worked left a significant impression.

one thing i always wondered: could a therapist capitalize on the OCD element and help transfer that trait over to a coping mechanism? i know there are tons of qualifications per case, but for some cases i think that could be very adaptive/therapeutic.

and it surprises me not one bit that you are attracted to the interweb. research shows that mere introverts are attracted, thus an aspergian is of no surprise at all.


aspergers is the real deal.
i think what grim was talking about (which applies to me just as well, if not better) is along the lines of a personality disorder, though probably "sub-clinical."
<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Thanks for the kudos B)

As for the treatments of OCD... I hope I can ever get that OCD element to the background and switch to a more spontaneous way of coping. Now a lot of mental energy goes into silencing that neuroses' voices, and it can be very exhausting to do that day in day out.

Unfortunately I may always have it in some way. AS and OCD are no rare combination. AS does include a more obsessive side, combine that with an anxiety disorder and you go obsessing over your fears. As the AS will never disappear, I'll always have that obsessive side. Which means I am quite doomed if that anxiety disorder doesn't vanish some day soon... But how soon is now?


By the way, before I forget: my other musical obsession Echo & The Bunnymen (yes, we tend to obsess over music as well :) ) seem to get a good Aspie following. On the EATB forum a woman with an autistic son registered. Her son cannot speak and is very reclusive, but after some hard therapy improvement is visable. Then the woman heard the song All Because Of You Days, containing the line "maybe some day we'll say hi". That line gave her new hope that someday her son may be able to talk to her and express his own feelings of affection to her.
Ian McCulloch is the only true idol I have in life. His lyrics mean very much to me. He went through serious depression while working on the last album, but I hope he reads stories like that and realises how much his words mean to his fans and, yes, that his songs sometimes make the difference to some people's lives. Guess the same goes for Morrissey.
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)

Capital punishment = murder

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Postby Alex » Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 am

Oh fuck, I'm Aspergian <_<
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Postby Rodchenko » Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:19 am

Very educational in a way... It's nice that you "take a stand" for "aspies"!
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Postby madmancmonkey » Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:43 am

I KNEW i had it when I looked at the 'high IQ' bit! B)
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Postby Disco_dancer_in_a_coma » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:54 am

This thread makes SO much sense. This would, quite frankly, make for an EXCELLENT critical commentary/paper.
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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Sat Jul 08, 2006 6:49 pm

You guys are so flattering ;) I don't think it would make that much of a good paper, I just wrote down some feelings I have when listening to these songs, feelings in the songs that somehow to appeal to my autistic side and that I notice didn't go unnoticed neither with other autistics...

However, I have been asked to get involved in a project containing writings and poems by people with Asperger Syndrome. Purpose is to raise awareness for the issue and to show the outside world that below our autistic surface we have normal desires and feelings like everyone else. I am not too wild about publishing writings of my own, but for this project I think I will make an exception, I think I'm morally obliged towards all my fellow Aspies. I have experienced how hard it can be to grow up with AS while the people surrounding you know little or nothing about autism, so if I can help in raising awareness then I am happy to corporate in any such project.

By the way, there's more music than just Smiths which has an autistic undertone. I always found "With A Hip" by Echo & The Bunnymen a very autistic song somehow (some other songs of them then seem to somewhat refer to OCD: Crocodiles, The Back Of Love) and The Cure have some autistic-feeling songs as well (eg "sometimes I'm dreaming while all other people dance" - "Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself")
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)

Capital punishment = murder

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Postby WordsAsOldAsSin » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:34 am

well good for you mate :), its always good when we find something to relate to.
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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:31 pm

In the margins of this topic: a petition has been launched by the autistic rights movement ; the petition asks the UN for recognition as a cultural minority.

Although it is indeed up for debate if autistic spectrum can be seen as a cultural minority (after all we have no unified language nor a unified 'code') it can never do harm to have the autistic issue brought up. Awareness is important, and there's still some work to be done regarding defending the rights of us in the spectrum.

So to those interested in reading the statement (and maybe signing the petition): <a href="http://www.petitiononline.com/AFFDec/petition.html" target="_blank">http://www.petitiononline.com/AFFDec/petition.html</a>

I am not entirely sure if I would classify the autism spectrum as a 'culture', think it may be a bit exagerated to ask to be labeled entirely out of mainstream society. However, as I think bringing on the debate can help in order to raise awareness for autistic's rights, I will sign the petition I think.
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)

Capital punishment = murder

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