In my “On Labelling” post, I explained why I thought it would be good if one considers a label to be a diagnosis. Isn’t more information better? Ironically, more information may prove otherwise.
Many of my interpersonal catastrophes have an element of – what shall I call it? — excessive data collection (EDC)— as a root cause. Will I blame my autistic brain? Yes, yes I will.
However, as there is not enough time to go through this EDC process for every encounter with every person in every situation, perhaps a label for many people is a way to avoid thinking about something too much– just put a label on it! For me, it’s more of a certificate, proof that through excessive data collection, analysis, and verification, that this, indeed, is the correct term, word, phrase, or diagnosis – or, label – to use.
If the label says, “Avocado from Mexico,” it better not be a pear from Oregon. But, do I have time to run scientific tests to prove this is an avocado and not some avocado-shaped fruit? WAIT?!? Is an avocado a fruit or vegetable? I better get this analogy correct – that’s the entire point of all this, to get the label right.
An avocado is . . . a berry? What. The. Hell? They don’t have them in the berry section in the grocery stores. Should I tell them that? Why are we misinforming the children? Just because I didn’t know it was a berry doesn’t mean the experts at the grocery store should not. I wonder if these berries are even from Mexico.
Wait! Again! OMG, there are cities in the USA named Mexico! Hold on, I need to check the hardiness zone chart. (I have to get this analogy correct! Stay on . . . target . . . label . . . focus.) OK . . . Here we go. There are cities in the USA named Mexico, but they are all too cold to grow avocados . . . except . . . Oh, no, there is a city named Mexico Beach in Florida where it is warm enough for avocados. But, the label doesn’t say avocados from Mexico Beach, so I think it means Mexico. Unless . . . the label had to be a certain size, and they couldn’t fit the word “Beach” on it, or virtually everyone else in the world knows that Mexico is short for Mexico Beach. That seems unlikely, but I’ve been the last to figure things like that out before.
Here is a good and useful label: I’m autistic. If you are not OK with that, there are some labels I can give you quickly, and no, those are not diagnosable conditions. However, I don’t always have time to do the research on what those words actually mean before I put them to use, though I don’t think you literally are an idiot. (After all, your IQ is clearly higher than 30, so don’t take it personally I didn’t label you correctly. I probably heard someone else say it, and I thought it fit this occasion. Don’t blame me that nobody gave me the instructions to go with the warning on how, when, and where to use that word.) And, I’ll keep working on my end to speak your language if you will at least acknowledge how difficult that is for me.
Finally, in referencing my original post, a diagnosis is, I believe, usually good, as long as the person and people around them both accept it and make proper use of it. Otherwise, you might as well just call me an avocado from Mexico or a pear from Oregon. And, in the short time since I’ve had my diagnosis, I’ve felt more like a discarded berry than a person with a diagnosable condition, and that’s made me want to label plenty of people, excessive data collection be damned.