Monday, January 9, 2012

I Am Apparently An Indigo Child

I'm gonna have a lot of fun with this one.

I'm not sure what it is with the soft-headed left, but in a great many ways, they can be even more offensive and culturally insensitive than the right can be. I've criticized the whole notion of an "end of the world" in 2012 before, and I've gone after the plenty of backwards liberals who believe it - I know who you are. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Likewise, the whole anti-vaxx movement and "natural medicine" is very common among the left. I'm pretty sure this has nothing to do with them being on the right and more to do with them being sad, confused individuals who don't have a clue how science of any stripe works (or take a romantic view to the scientific method and automatically leap the assumption their aura drained the lightbulb and that's why it isn't working anymore). The remainder are con artists and liars.

My point is, the left is not immune to this. In fact, the left propagates bad science just as much as the right does. Any time you deny that modern medicine doesn't work, you might as well be denying evolution and anthropogenic climate change, too. Anytime you stand up and scream that vaccinations cause autism you might as well be telling me that that homosexuality is a damn choice, or that life begins at conception. Any time you start talking about "traditional medicine", you might as well be telling me that the Earth is flat and Intelligent Design is right. It's all the same bad science. You have no room to criticize one if you willingly believe the other. You cannot tell me that someone is wrong for not accepting climate change when you stand there and tell me that the MMR vaccine causes autism. It's the same piss-poor critical thinking all around.

Arguably, it's even worse. Creationism is a victimless crime. It destroys science education and critical thinking, sure, but at the end of the day, it doesn't kill people like the anti-vaxx movement does (now, you can't say the same thing for the "live beings at conception" crowd). And these people are supposed to be on my side!

A lot of this silly anti-science garbage finds its way back to the New Age movement. It's about high time I dealt with these people. New Agers - believers in the Age of Aquarius - take the same irrational approach to objective reality that their counterparts in the Creationist and Intelligent Design community take, with the exception that New Agers try to couch it in a faux-sense of "moral relativity" that consists of stealing ideas from other cultures and then twisting those ideas to your liking. This is called "cultural appropriation", if you've never heard the term before. Sometimes, you get a blend of cultural appropriation that leads to something offensive - for instance, this notion that individuals like me, who have AD/HD, aren't really sick. No, we're "indigo children."

*spits*

Before I go any further, I should outline my experience with AD/HD, because it's not pleasant. For those who aren't familiar, take every portrayal of AD/HD that you've ever seen in fiction (certain examples not-withstanding) and throw them out, because they're all wrong (gasp). Only the most severe cases have you unable to focus on something for less than 2 seconds and running off chasing butterflies. This is incredibly offensive itself, because people look at that and think that that's what it's like to have AD/HD. It's not, so disabuse yourself of that notion right now, if you haven't already.

When you have AD/HD, focusing is ridiculously difficult, and your mind tends to wander if there's not a lot of stimulation. Or if there's too much stimulation. Disorganization is one of the biggest problems that I experienced when I had AD/HD; loosing something trivial is one thing. Loosing a student's paper without having put the grade into the grade book because you forgot to is not - even after someone told you to minutes before. Or losing a ticket because you didn't count right the first time so a student didn't get to go on the field trip is not. And that's another thing, this "forgetting". Oh, sure, you're listening. In fact, I would get very pissed off at people who suggested I wasn't listening, because I knew damn well I was. Except for the fact that, you know, I wasn't. My parents billed it "selective hearing," which is arguably insensitive, because it suggests you control it. You'd hear, but you didn't listen - I guess that's the best way to describe it, but even then, it wasn't your fault. It was almost like "in one ear and out the other". It didn't stick. I would even forget things that I had just said.

And don't get me started on setting still. Just don't. To this day I still bounce my foot or leg when I'm sitting still, out of habit. And then there's all the anxious tics that come along with it - skin-picking and nail-biting being two that I still deal with to this day. Teeth grinding is another healthy tic. Social situations are extremely difficult, because you just don't have the patience to let other people finish. You've got a thought in your head and the impulse is there - it doesn't matter whether another person is talking or not, you blurt out. While I've gotten a lot better about listening to people, I managed to drive away a lot of my friends.

The biggest give away that anyone has AD/HD is the fact that stimulants will help calm them down. Not a day went by as a student teacher where I didn't have a 20oz in hand. I would knock back a 20oz a day. I still do - I've got a horrible caffeine habit that I have not been able to shake. I don't know if I ever will, but it's done wonderful things for my teeth, let me tell you (I actually have nice teeth. But the enamel on the back ones is almost gone. and the front ones, too). Caffeine would help wind me down; coffee threatened to put me to sleep. There would be nights that I would lie awake and toss and turn and not be able to sleep even when I had to be up at 6 the next morning. My mind would not turn off. It wouldn't shut down. It was always going, always moving, and it was always keeping me awake.

And then there's the people telling you that you don't have a real problem at all, and that it's just a lack of self-control. It's a character flaw.

So don't you fucking come to me and tell me this is somehow a positive thing.

Oh, sure, there's a correlation between AD/HD and being intelligent. If the people around me are to be believed, I've displayed a very remarkable intelligence from the minute that I set foot in school. I learned things quickly, I eventually picked up writing as a hobby and with it, a desire to learn more so I could make sure that by books were very accurate. I have a very good memory despite the fact that I would forget discussions, orders, or what I was doing. But you know what? There's a correlation between the decrease in the number of pirates and the increase in the global temperature. Unless you're a pastafarian, you'd be treated like a fool if you suggested that the decrease in pirates (stereotypical pirates) was to blame for global temperature increase. And yet, that's exactly what happens. Just because you have AD/HD doesn't mean you're going to be the next Einstein. It's true that having a mental illness requires you to adopt new and unusual ways of thinking; especially if you've lived with it for 25 years. You learn to cope, even if that coping isn't the best way to do it. But it no sooner means that you're going to be intelligent - at least, not until further data appears - than being neurotypical does.

I am not a case study. I am not a sample population. I am, however, entitled to my opinion when someone comes along and starts portraying AD/HD like it's a desirable thing, like it's positive, or like children with AD/HD are somehow more special than the average child.

That's what this indigo child nonsense is all about. It's about telling me, as an AD/HD suffer, that I'm more special than the average person. Setting me aside and singling me out, moreso than the label already does. Thus, this sort of stuff always gets under my skin:

Kids diagnosed as autistic, ADD or children having trouble with school or peers may be intuitive or highly sensitive people with indigo or crystal colored life auras.
Indigo and crystal children have been a hot topic of discussion since the 1980’s, when they were first mentioned in Nancy Ann Tappe’s Understanding Your Life Through Colour (1982). New age groups introduced the concept of indigo and crystal life colors to parents, therapists and educators with mixed results. Are indigo children really here to heal the world? Do they all have ADD? Are they psychic? How can I know if I am an indigo? Read on for answers to these questions and more.

[...]

Indigo children usher in a new energy that is transforming the planet around us. They are groundbreakers, creative rebels and independent thinkers, people who will go their own route and leave people and things around them changed.
For many, however, it is not an easy path to walk. Indigos are usually interested in healing and spiritual traditions in their search for tools to empower and heal themselves. They are sensitive, intuitive and expressive. Some have psychic abilities while others, whose indigo nature is suppressed, may have violent episodes. Many are troubled by allergies, attention deficit disorder, and emotional problems thanks to physical and energetic pollutants to which they are exposed.
No, I don't have psychic powers. Current evidence suggest that no such things exists. I am troubled by AD/HD and emotional instability (comes with the bipolar territory), but that's got nothing to do with "physical and energetic pollutants." There may be an environmental aspect to the diseases, it's true, but there's also a genetic component as well. My family, I've learned - especially my dad's side - as along history of depression and bipolar. A very long history. However, they come from a different age; they come from a backwards time when me were supposed to be stoic and emotional pain was something that men didn't experience. So it's no small wonder, then, nothing was ever said about it. I'm convinced there's a genetic component to it, and it's not nothing to do with spiritualistic "indigo children" garbage.

And that's before we get into this sort of stuff, said about autistic children:
The crystal child has superior mental abilities and may sometimes not feel the need to communicate with words and language, and instead rely on telepathy. Modern medical science may misdiagnose some crystal children to be autistic, as they are selective about who they talk to and prefer people that have an open heart
If your child has been diagnosed as being autistic by a medical professional, author Doreen Virtue, in her audio recording, Indigo, Crystal and Rainbow Children, suggests seeking a second opinion from a qualified person who may also be familiar with indigo and crystal children.
Crystal children are peace loving individuals who simply avoid situations involving conflict. Parents of crystal children should embrace and celebrate their crystal child's unique talents and abilities to ensure a happy childhood for the crystal child.
This is absolute horseshit. Absolute, 110% pure horseshit. There's so much horseshit there you can fertilize a field from here to Timbuktu (which, mind you, is in Mali, West Africa. It was also the seat of a very large and wealthy empire that ruled that region around 900 AD named the Songhai).

I can't speak for autistic populations. AD/HD and Autism are said to be on the same spectrum, and I can't say either way where I stand on the issue. I'm of the belief that BPD and Bipolar are on the same spectrum, though, so I don't see any reason why AD/HD and Autism wouldn't be. I'm every bit the creature of habit that an autistic child is, but I didn't have any problem socializing beyond "Oh, I got something to say and I don't care if you're talking I'll say it anyway". It's not necessarily the same thing.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
Descriptions of indigo children include the belief that they are empathetic, curious, strong-willed, independent, and often perceived by friends and family as being strange; possess a clear sense of self-definition and purpose; and also exhibit a strong inclination towards spiritual matters from early childhood. Indigo children have also been described as having a strong feeling of entitlement, or "deserving to be here." Other alleged traits include a high intelligence quotient, an inherent intuitive ability, and resistance to authority. According to Tober and Carroll, indigo children function poorly in conventional schools due to their rejection of authority, being smarter than their teachers, and a lack of response to guilt-, fear- or manipulation-based discipline.

[...]

Many children labeled indigo by their parents are diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tober and Carroll's book The Indigo Children linked the concept with diagnosis of ADHD. Their book argues that the children are a new stage of evolution rather than children with a medical diagnosis, and that they require special treatment rather than medications.Robert Todd Carroll points out that labeling a child an indigo is an alternative to a diagnosis that implies imperfection, damage or mental illness, which may appeal to many parents, a belief echoed by academic psychologists.He also points out that many of the commentators on the indigo phenomenon are of varying qualifications and expertise. Linking the concept of indigo children with the distaste for the use of Ritalin to control ADHD, Carroll states "The hype and near-hysteria surrounding the use of Ritalin has contributed to an atmosphere that makes it possible for a book like Indigo Children to be taken seriously. Given the choice, who wouldn't rather believe their children are special and chosen for some high mission rather than that they have a brain disorder?"
Stephen Hinshaw, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, states that concerns regarding the overmedicalization of children are legitimate but even gifted children with ADHD learn better with more structure rather than less, even if the structure initially causes difficulties. Many labeled as indigo children are or have been home schooled.
At first glance, that sounds a lot like me. Except, of course, the fact that it doesn't. What you see in that first part is the PT Barnum effect - if you stick a little in there for everyone, it'll ring true for someone. This imprecise language is how psychics and fortune tellers make their way in life.

That second one really gets me. Rather than try to actually help the kid, and help them treat their problems, so they can function in greater society, parents instead chose to believe that they're "ancient souls" come to save the goddamn world. You know what? That sounds exactly like the anti-vaxx movement. And you know who gets hurt in both cases?

If you guessed the children, you're absolutely right.

Rather than treating them and teaching them how to live with the fact that they have a disorder, they're instead taught that they're special and chosen for a "higher purpose." Nobody likes to bold there's something wrong with them. But parent's don't tell their children "The Divine Conscious Braham (my apologizes to any Hindu readers, but you've probably see what White Americans have done to your religion and spirituality, and that's what I'm mocking here) has selected you for a greater purpose" when they've got fucking cancer. Why - Why - should a mental illness be any different? Rather than address the fact that their child has a problem that needs to be dealt with, these people will act like my parents did and stick their head in the sand and pretend it's not happening.

I'm not angry with my parents. I'm not upset - I've long since moved beyond that and forgiven them for it. It's not much to get worked up over, anyway, when you look at it from the perspective a parent. Especially a mother, who's driven by society to be absolutely 110% perfect without any flaws otherwise she's a horrible human being who should be thrown in jail. I perfectly understand why some parents would take this approach.

It's the thugs promoting the books - these lying pseudoscientists who promote "feel-good magic" and "psychic crystal child" garbage that hurt people. They mislead the parents, who hurt their children, and they make a profit. Leeches serve a greater purpose than some of the people writing these books.

This whole "indigo child/crystal child/rainbow child" psychic garbage is nothing more than Ableist privilege given a new face. Drive away the fact that these children have disorders that can cripple them in real life if they're not treated - 37% of whom will not get a High School diploma, with only 5% of them (I'm among that 5%) achieving a college degree. They're at a greater risk for automobile crashes (I can vouch. I've been in two), injury and higher medical expenses, and teenage pregnancy. They also suffer from decreased workplace productivity (for which I can, again, attest - I got fired from my first job because my boss said "I thought too much" - really, it was a mix of workplace drama and the AD/HD, but the AD/HD really hurt my performance on the job because focus was important and, hey, guess what? I didn't have it) and when they grow up to be adults (like me, regardless what this blog will sometimes suggest), it costs billions in lost income. Billions. With a 'b'.

But hey, the Greater Divine Conscious Brahman sent you on a Holy Quest because you're the chosen one that will bring balance back to the force, or some shit like that. It'll only cost you a gross income loss and reduce your productivity in the work force and likely get you fired. I'm sure your boss will understand.

Don't mistake any of the above for justifying throwing someone off the job because they have AD/HD. Society needs to be more accommodating towards non-neurotypical individuals in general; that's where part of the ableist privilege comes from. The fact that society is adjusted towards neurotypical people, and they expect individuals who are programmed different to try and keep up when we physically cannot.

And this quackery about "indigo children" and them being "psychic" is just more ableist privilege. And I, as a suffer of AD/HD who knows how extremely unpleasant it can be, find it incredibly offensive for people to stand there and try to present this like it's anything other than what it is - a psychological impediment I have to overcome on a daily basis.

5 comments:

  1. Children with crystal-color aura is a crystal children and indigo aura are known as indigo children.Crystal children are known to be calm, solved, and peaceful.indigo children have rather varying behavior with increased spirituality, psychic abilities, etc For more detsils refer http://www.whatisall.com/miscellaneous/what-are-rystal-children-and-indigo-children.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Most of what you say I can agree with, some of what you say I find ridiculous. Such as vaccinations are not immunisations, merely an attempt to immunise. Like most parents I am not willing to put my children in harms way. If there was the same possibility that a child vaccinated for Measles developed a wide range of learning associated difficulties as children who were allowed to catch Measles, then I would have no problem having my children vaccinated. Unfortunately that is not the case. Children who are vaccinated MAY develop intellectual impairment as a result, whereas children allowed to develop Measles have no chance of developing intellectual impairment. And or course children who are vaccinated are not immunised but children who naturally catch Measles are immunised.

    Of course I can have a different opinion for other people's children, especially children raised in impoverished conditions where raising their standard of living is a way off in the future pipe dream. In that situation making vaccination available for the entire population is warranted. Even though I know some of those children will suffer intellectual impairment as a result of vaccination, it is better that some are impaired or die so that the majority can live. Yes I have different standards for different situations, without apology.

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  3. *Buzzt*

    Wrong. While certain vaccines are only effective at certain percentages, the concept of herd immunity helps make up for it. By taking away from herd immunity, you are personally endangering everyone around you.

    Also, way to show your privilege. Damn. I wasn't aware that having a learning disability was the worst thing that could happen to you - especially since Whooping Cough KILLS children and polio can cripple them for life. It's better to DIE than it is to have a learning disability? On behalf of everyone who's learned to live with a learning disability, take your neurotypical privilege and SHOVE IT.

    And I'm glad you've got that different standards, and I'm glad you're unapologetic about it. Why even bother vaccinating them at all, unless you know it works? You're a leech. You rely on everyone around you to get vaccinated while getting a free ride on everyone else's back. If you couldn't take the vaccine that's one thing, but willfully not doing and then expecting "poor people" to make the difference because "it's better poor people have these disabilities than my kid" reeks of classism, too.

    You learned nothing. You're a typical anti-vaxxer; you reek of privilege inside and out and I have zero patience for you and your kind. If I could, I'd charge all of you with involuntary manslaughter every time a child dies because of your anti-science idiocy.

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