Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Co-morbids: How dare you have more than one condition!


There are bigots and purists who can’t cope someone having autism and co-occurring mental health issues. I am diagnosed with autism AND Dissociative Identity Disorder. Anyone who lives with someone with autism will know that most people with autism dissociate (cut off, shutdown) more commonly than most, yet somehow tell people you have a dissociative disorder along the spectrum of dissociative disorders AND that you are a person diagnosed with autism, well, seems for some people, their head falls off.
As one of the most well known people with autism in the world this has lead to a striking division between those who accept that one can have more than one co-occuring condition and those who can’t, who believe that having one, by necessity counters the validity of having the other. Some feel that the inclusion of those with both autism and co-morbid (co-occuring) mental health issues somehow ‘dirties’ their ‘pride’ in their autism, they fear the public might presume that all people with autism then have co-morbids so feel they can solve it by vigorously ghetto-fying those that do as outside of the realm of the ‘pure’ autistics.

I am more than my autism, I am more than my DID, I’m also more than my primary immune deficiencies or my sensory perceptual disorders. But all of these things are part of my daily life and I have a right to be openly all that I am, including being an artist, being female, being Australian. There’s particularly some on the spectrum who can’t bear the idea that their autism is a fruit salad, detest me for suggesting so, discredit me on the basis that I am also dx’d with DID, claiming therefore I’m mentally ill = invalid/pitiable… anyway, their vitriol is so narcissistic they feel they are doing me a favor having sympathy for me.

This is because of reductionist versus holistic (non reductionist) thinking. Saying someone ONLY has a developmental OR a dissociative OR a compulsive OR a mood OR an anxiety OR a personality disorder is like saying one can ONLY have diabetes OR gout OR dermatitis OR like saying one can only be blond OR gay OR tall OR 51 OR have piercings. Purists and bigots can go to their own ghetto even if they imagine it is some unquestionable purist nirvana. I’m happy with the glorious untidy box that I am.

Kimberly Mahurin
Once again Donna, you make me smile big. You go girl!! Set those boundaries! If they are narcissistic they are fighting you because they see every view that another may have of them as a criticism not because they think they are better than others but because they suffer the lowest chronic form of low self-worth and self esteem. They appear to sometimes act better than others by their actions, but if they put down others they don’t have to face the underlying feelings they are really having. Their biggest fear is rejection so they fight to keep whatever image they have been able to find to survive. So, if you go at them with labels they shut down rational ideas of the sort as a mental defense mechanism. Of course this is still no excuse for bad behavior. Also the internet is the worst place for these people because it’s an addiction of which they have a play ground to run around and vent frustrations on others as they are viewed as objects. They will say things they never would in public and take frustrations out more.

LaDonna Kirkaldie Shuckahosee
One of the group! Add spina bifida, tbi, anxiety disorder and learning disabilities!

Cat Taylor
are people getting precious about their labels again? blimey

Rachel Vivace
me and autism, bipolar I (rapid cycling), borderline personality disorder, ptsd, and somaticism

Donna Bunch
well said hun 🙂 i have more than one condition too!!

Devlyn Rhys Young
well said, donna et al., and besides, with 6 billion people on this planet..there are no “pure” anythings!…we live in a human spectrum of interconnectedness… so ‘purists’ are deluding themselves… and adding to the divisiveness, which serves no higher purpose i can discern… i’m with you…100%

Lisa Marie Beddell
i’m disconnected too so bigots got something to say to me too come on my chat show and say you cant accept somebody who’s different and ill bar you. I’ve had idiots on my chat page too get these kinds on all pages they r.a waste o space. everybodies different its what makes us all unique and special if we were all the same the world would be a very boring place. Yeah there are some on my show on the spectrum who are like this too they believe that a therapist is trying to change them as a person & take away there autism I was trying to explain that a therapist is trying to help us learn us the warning signs so we don’t get hurt in the world but it seems they didn’t understand I just don’t get why sum ppl on the spectrum believe they have only 1 condition & that the ppl that are trying to make there lives easier they won’t acknowledge I don’t get it I probably have more than one condition too but I haven’t been tested for others I think I have mutism & social phobia too. How can somebody on the spectrum criticize somebody else on the spectrum its ridiculous its like me being a grey pan saying to a grey pan you are grey but I’ve got a spout too and you haven’t its silly if we have autism we have autism we are all equal and deserve respect for who we are. I have possibly 4 other things as well as autism I just haven’t been assessed for more I think I have selective mutism social phobia emotional difficulties DID & savantism but they won’t test me for these things so ill probably never know if I have more than one but who cares if we have one or 51 we still all in the same ‘boat’ as they say we still all got it. It does all this talk of purists sounds nazi.

Libby Board What?
There are seriously people put there who don’t like people to have more then one condition? What on earth would they say? Seems to me that they would be the ones with um…a few ‘conditions’ themselves. in my experience it is also psychologists and health professions that have a hard time with multiple issues in the one client. I have had psychologists ‘dump’ me before. and each one i’ve been to says i’ve got a different label….and only that label. Or if they do realise that you have separate issues….they want you to make a separate appointment for each and every issue! And they call ME single focused!

Marla Wise Miller
Even ‘a-typical’ types can have more than one condition.

Carmel Anne Jones
They often make up their mind that I just have one thing and disregard when I tell them of other symptoms.

Alyson Bradley AsPlanet
The “fruit salad” is the good bit which has helped shape the creative, intriguing individual that you are. Any chance of having a permanent session ticket, I will try and behave, but no promises as no idea where my mind may take me next 🙂 At times I feel others would like to stick labels on me like plasters, and put me in a sub group so they can ignore, some kind of get lost trying to hard to conform and forget the brilliant diversity that surrounds us all, myself I can only be the individual I am and we all are!

Katja Gottschewski
Donna – tell those people they can’t have autism AND purism!

Reswobian Dreaming
The labels only describe some of our behaviours so some other people can understand us. They are arbitrary categorizations of human diversity. Human categorise reality to make sense of it but the problem is that most people take the categories as fact. I generally keep the label to myself unless I can tell they have a certain level of intelligence. It generally scares most people. People shouldn’t be judging other people anyway, whether they have labels plastered all over them or not. We are all living beings and deserving of the same respect. I must have a relatively uncomplicated life. I only have Asperger’s Disorder and mild depression. I think I have other things lurking in the background but they are mild enough for people to just sweep it under the carpet. That actually reminds me about Australian Aboriginals. Some people seem to be arguing about who is really Aboriginal or not. If we argue about who is “purely”autistic and belongs in the group and who is not, we will all be split asunder. How can we support each other?

Carmel Anne Jones
I just want to be believed when I say I have Asperger’s. Too many people say “oh yeah” but then they expect me to do stuff I really can’t. For example, today I was talking to a co-worker about how I thought it was a shame the last lot of temp workers we had weren’t introduced to us and vice versa. The result was tension and mistrust between the two groups of workers. She said I should just introduce myself. I said, “I couldn’t do that”. She replied, just go up to them and say “Hi, my name is …..”. Yes well, that is something I could never do.

Lynda Phillips
I’ve lost count of my co morbids 🙂

Sondra Williams
the only co morbids of me is of anxiety , depression, PTSD . I to have things that co inside with my autism such as CAPD, SID, SIB, syntax dysfunctions, health wise I to have of fibromyalgia, sjogrens, asthma, allergies, andis of suspect of mitochondrial disease

Kim Bailey
My son has Autism, epilepsy, tourettes & asthma, it would be wonderful in a fantasy world to have one condition only….but sadly we have to live in the real world so have to face reality

Melody Rain
wow. that is crazy. its funny how many of us fight to be accepted as those who have autism or Aspergers and want so badly to be accepted and there are those who have autism/aspergers who can not accept others??? just because you have more than one condition does not make you any less of a person with autism just like having autism does not make you any less of a person. who cares what other disorders that we have that may accompany autism? if you have autism you have autism. all this purity stuff sounds nazi to me.

Isabelle Monod
these “bigots” & “purists” are in fact “REDUCTORS” so afraid to look outside their uncomfortable “comfort zone” ! i meant people who are reducing, their views, their knowledge to what as been approved ! if you don’t fit the mold, they are not going to look for a larger one…you ‘ll get reduced to their own belief ! diversity is what makes each of us a unique rainbow ! Narrow minded people stay in the grey areas, they sometime try to connect with the colorful ones for the wrong reasons: not to understand & embrace their colors but really to bring them to their own level,where they feed themselves the pre-digested foods of their own contentment !!!!!keep your colors shining Donna ! you are an inspiration also for not letting the greys influence your rainbow !!!!!!

Love Sanchez-Suarez
i think a first part of respect is to have the imagination to believe a person about their own reality.

Diana Paige Sheeks
My daughter has autism and OCD and anxiety disorder. MY son has autism and adhd. I think I can handle it. When we put ourselves out in the world wide web, we open ourselves up to good and bad. People feel safer saying on the internet or in an email what they would never say to someone’s face, as if the keyboard gives them some reassurance or bravery.

Jane Waterman
These purists aren’t doctors are they? *rolls eyes*

Michelle Leatherbury
I have Co-morbid conditions, Bipolar, ADHD and Aspergers. You accept someone for the whole person, not just part of a person, that wouldn’t be accepting them completely. No problems here. ♥ (((hugs))) ♥

Karen Simmons
We love you Donna for who you are….as you are 🙂

Ryan McReynolds
I hear you on that Donna, I remember when I told some idiot I am autistic he said wouldn’t you not talk, and he had it in his head that autistic means you can’t talk or be on the PC, but I know I am able to talk, sing and type and all that….I ended up blocking the idiot

Linda Wheeler
early night for me, i am suffering from knackereditis lol.

Vanessa Sullivan
I have someone in my family who had DID and she’s wonderful and so are you lovey, screw what others think, You just gotta be you besides which everyone else is taken, so it makes sense to be yourself…:D

Sandra Sea
I completely understand. Yes, you can have more than one diagnosis. Imagine that. One diagnosis does not fit all. You can have co-occurrence. Stay strong….

Jessi Michaels
reminds me of a psychiatrist I met during a hospitalization; he told me he couldn’t understand how I could be smiling and laughing while suffering from depression and feeling suicidal. He said it was not possible to have two conflicting emotions at one time….hmmmm….scares me to think about all the people in the world who are secretly hiding behind a laugh and a smirk while they are so sad they can’t figure out how to continue living. Oh yeah…we’re in trouble

Donna Williams
Hey Jessi, well with DID its like that… the presenting part can be having a relaxed seemingly pleasant day and another part inside is screaming, another crying, another singing, another laughing at wisecracks it’s making. At first all this was deemed my ‘bipolar’ (yes, as a co-morbid with my autism)… and bipolar is listed as a common co-morbid with autism… so given one of the most common dx’s of those dx’d later with DID is bipolar, there’s bound to be some crossover in those who have also experienced trauma.

Maria ‘Ria’ Strong
I’ve heard it talked about as “the difference slot” – you can only deviate from “normal” in so many ways (ie one or two) before most people can’t mentally deal with it. I once went to Pride with a sign saying Mad Crip Wog Queer Grrl With Attitude. In rainbow colors. Got a lot of attention. Hope I made a point 🙂 Dragonsani Renteria wrote a poem called “Rejection”:

Society rejects me for being Deaf.
The Deaf community reject me for being a Lesbian.
The Lesbian community reject me for not being able to hear them.
The Deaf-Lesbian community reject me for being into S&M.
The S&M community reject me for being Deaf.
Society rejects me for being Chicana.
The Hispanic community reject me for being a Lesbian.
Patriarchal society rejects me for being a woman.
I am rejected and oppressed,
Even by those who cry out readily
Against rejection, oppression, and discrimination.
When will it end?