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Dr-David-Banner

THE DISTORTION OF ASPERGER'S

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Dr-David-Banner

The carnival of souls has been described by one critic I found as connected to unreality. It was first shown as a low budget drive-in movie and made little impact. In time though it found a cult following. The inspiration for the movie was a derelict pavillion in Utah Salt Lake City. The main star is a woman who survives a car crash into the water but then decides to take a job as an organist. She lodges in a house where a very sleazy tenant in the room opposite seeks to chat her up. The woman starts to have more problems where she seems to phase out of reality and disappear from peoples' radar. I stated before I often find people may be unaware of my presence as if I give off very low energy. More so if there's a conversation going on. They don't notice so this is why the film really made an impact. My favourite bit is when she's driving a car and you can see the 1961 car radio (I now rebuild these). When the radio stops working she then hears organ music as pavillion dance music and reality shifts for her. In the film too she loses her job as church organist due to her playing the strange dance music in the church. The pastor accuses her of total insensitivity to the feelings and values of the congregation. Later, another incident of derealisation causes a doctor to take her to his surgery to discuss her episodes. Then comes the bit that really made an impact as she tells the doctor she experiences no sense of sharing experiences with other people. As if there is a gap between herself and others. My question was how could a very regular script writer like Harvey sense all of this? Had he met someone who shared these feelings? Had there been some experience? 

 

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nichii
13 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

The question here, Nichii, is the one that first needs to be solved: Are Asperger Syndrome and Autism (high-functioning) the same? You see, my point all along here has been too many psychologists and neurologists are simply not agreeing. In science this is not possible. To move ahead to understanding, each step along the way needs to be "pinned". The way that helps me is to first of all try and determine what autism is. I have an advantage here compared to psychologists as I "am" autistic and I know what it feels like to be in that situation. I see autism as divided into two aspects:

It's difficult to know the answer to that question because there just isn't enough evidence to suggest what the cause may be, and the biological differences between HFA and LFA. Autism may differ in the severity of possible brain abnormalities. For example, schizophrenia is also on a spectrum like autism. It's now believed that there's brain shrinkage in people with schizophrenia, grey matter loss, as well as brain inflammation. Those with mild schizophrenia may have more grey matter as well as less or no brain inflammation than those with severe schizophrenia. This may apply to autism too. There isn't a lot of information on the cause of autism, but it's possible that brain abnormalities such as brain inflammation may be more severe in people with LFA and less severe in those with HFA. Of course, this is just a theory of mine and I don't have evidence to back it up. There could be a lot of different reasons why people with HFA and LFA differ. There just isn't enough evidence to say for sure what the difference is biologically. 

4 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

The pastor accuses her of total insensitivity to the feelings and values of the congregation. Later, another incident of derealisation causes a doctor to take her to his surgery to discuss her episodes. Then comes the bit that really made an impact as she tells the doctor she experiences no sense of sharing experiences with other people. As if there is a gap between herself and others. My question was how could a very regular script writer like Harvey sense all of this? Had he met someone who shared these feelings? Had there been some experience? 

It's possible that Harvey knew someone who was like this or consulted a psychologist, so he could understand better what derealization is like. It's also possible that he himself had derealization and understood exactly what it's like. It's pretty common for movie directors to consult an expert when they're portraying something that they don't know enough about, so that could also be the reason.

Edited by nichii

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Sanctuary
On 10/04/2018 at 9:08 AM, nichii said:

That's certainly true. If someone were asked to write a list of ASD symptoms, I imagine most people would barely know any. What people know about ASD can come from media like TV shows. An example of this is The Big Bang Theory. As far as I know, the producers have never stated that the character Sheldon has ASD, but many fans think he does. If people only know about ASD through the media, then people may associate Sheldon's character as what ASD is like. Someone who is quirky and has an interesting personality, and that's not a good representation of what ASD is like. Unless someone knows someone on the spectrum, then I think most people are ignorant about what ASD is really like. I believe ASD is more accepted than it used to be, but it's still stigmatized. People with ASD can be looked down upon because they're different and don't fit in. 

 

Maybe that was a poor choice of words on my part. ASD isn't necessarily seen as cool, but I think some people find it interesting. Unfortunately because of the ignorance surrounding ASD, a lot of people may not know what ASD is really like. Like all the problems that come with ASD that can make a person on the spectrum feel depressed, anxious, isolated, and withdrawn. There's good things about ASD as well, but the struggles people with ASD face aren't acknowledged enough in my opinion. This is why I believe schools need a required mental health class, so kids can learn about what disorders like ASD are really like and perhaps it will lessen the stigma of ASD.

It was David rather than yourself who referred to AS being seen by some as a "cool" even desirable condition. I think that very few people have such an idea but if they do it is because - as you say - they wrongly associate it with a "quirky" personality (or wrongly believe it gives someone incredible "gifts", e.g. brilliance in science and maths). I also agree that they don't think about all the other issues that come with AS such as social and communication difficulties. They may also be the sorts of people who find an AS character in a TV show or film interesting and entertaining but - if they meet one in real life - are much less positive. This is often the way in life that people can engage with a media stereotype of a personality but find the reality much less to their liking and that is when we see the negative attitudes emerging.

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Dr-David-Banner

Here is a clip from Carnival Of Souls. You find that such clips get hardly any comments on sites like YouTube. It's an old movie, of course, and older movies contained far more psychological content and deeper plots than modern films. In this clip Mary opens up to her psychologist. I recall when I first saw this scene, all I could think was, "Wow, that's just how I feel!". Notice, though, when the psychologist turns around at the end of the scene, reality suddenly shifts again and Mary turns out to be in her car.
The guy who scripted the movie was Herk Harvey and I tried reading all I could about his personal history and artistic interest. I really found nothing to indicate to suggest he had any connection to either psychology or any signs of personal symptoms of A.S.

"He grew up in Waverly, Illinois and in Fort Collins and was a graduate of Fort Collins High School before serving in the U.S. Navy as a Quartermaster, 3rd Class, during World War II, during which time he was studying chemical engineering. 'But when I got out," Harvey has said, "I decided that wasn't for me and so I went into the theater.'"
 

 

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Dr-David-Banner

Now, below is an interesting pic. One critic pointed to the door in this scene as representing a divide between Mr. Linden, the creepy guy who has his room opposite on the staircase. So, it's like his world (the real of world of going to work and trying to make it with girls) and her world (the world of not belonging, not relating and feeling invisible). To me it sort of suggests like the door is one she can pop her head through some of the time but, during the derealisation experiences, it closes fully and she realises she just can't "belong". And although Mr Linden recognises Mary is actually quite easy on the eye, once he finds out she has all these very weird issues, he runs a mile.

divide.jpg

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Dr-David-Banner

I stumbled upon the website of Candice Hilligoss which is here:

http://www.candacehilligoss.com/

This turns out to be quite an interesting site for me as it features interviews with the cast and director. There is also an on-site location tour of the movie site. The funny thing is this was Candice Hilligoss's only big on screen role and she never became an established actress.

I always had a kind of interest in actors who appeared in older movies.

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nichii
On 4/11/2018 at 12:16 PM, Dr-David-Banner said:

To me it sort of suggests like the door is one she can pop her head through some of the time but, during the derealisation experiences, it closes fully and she realises she just can't "belong".

Not belonging is a pretty common thing for people who experience derealization. Since a person with DR feels disconnected from the world and their surroundings, it's not surprising that they would also feel like they don't belong. I know this feeling well back when my DPDR was severe. 

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Dr-David-Banner

I found something interesting. On Candice Hiligoss's site there is featured a short interview with Herk Harvey. Well, it gets really interesting here. Harvey had apparently taken a trip to Salt Lake City and stopped off to take a look at the old, abandoned pavilion. He says he was standing there taking it all in and suddenly experienced a very weird, eerie feeling of being completely disconnected and unreal. The pavilion somehow affected him and made a huge impression. At that point, he decided to make the film Carnival Of Souls.

I have very rarely had this sort of atmosphere-related experience of derealisation, seemingly triggered by buildings or scenes or locations. On the very rare occasions I experienced it, it felt a bit like a shift in time as if you suddenly sense all the history of a location. This particular experience is very different to the type of derealisation where I will feel disconnected from people so I think it is the former that Harvey experienced. And yet, the movie goes on to address the latter.

When the film was released it originally flopped. It was screened at drive-in movies as a kind of cheap, low-budget chiller movie. The sort of movie a guy would drive into with his girlfriend and a cone of popcorn. Basically it wasn't understood whatsoever and was too deep for the movie fans. Then, it turned out, as time passed by, more and more people started to catch onto the film and it went "underground".

Not only does the movie interest me in a way I can directly relate to the concept of being "invisible", "disconnected", "estranged", "deeply troubled" but it also interests me in regard to its actual filming and the director's aspect of it. I highly recommend you watch it on YouTube or try to get a copy on DVD. I mean, check out all those huge early sixties, gas-guzzling cars. The way the women dressed as well.

The scene that I found amusing was when the troubled Mary first meets her really lecherous, creepy co-tenant Mr Linden. This guy struck me as a failure in his approach to get girlfriends. I mean, wow, I would never just push myself into a woman's room as soon as she opens the door (without first being invited). Of course, the kicker is that this woman has major, serious issues and Mr Linden finally exits the movie with the words, "That's all I need. To get mixed up with a woman who's off her rocker!!"

Turns out some of the scenes were shot in Kansas but the pavilion itself in Utah was destroyed once in a fire and then again after it was rebuilt. The second time was through a huge storm.



 

Edited by Dr-David-Banner

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nichii
On 4/13/2018 at 12:42 PM, Dr-David-Banner said:

Harvey had apparently taken a trip to Salt Lake City and stopped off to take a look at the old, abandoned pavilion. He says he was standing there taking it all in and suddenly experienced a very weird, eerie feeling of being completely disconnected and unreal. The pavilion somehow affected him and made a huge impression.

I've never heard of an experience like this before. It does seem a bit different from derealization because derealization is triggered by either trauma or a drug reaction. It's not a well understood disorder. It's interesting that something like this can happen. There's a lot science doesn't understand. This may be one of those things. Aphantasia is a fairly common condition that only recently was discovered and given a name. It's been around for god knows how long and people have lived their lives without realizing that anything was wrong. This experience Harvey had is possibly something that science hasn't been able to explain or something that science doesn't even know about. I tried looking for any information about this and the only thing that comes up is derealization. It may be related to derealization, but has an unusual trigger. 

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Dr-David-Banner

I had two experiences similar to that of Harvey but it's not derealisation. To me it felt paranormal. The point is though the film then goes on to address derealisation and the experiences of not belonging. What struck me was the scenes where people can't see Mary as in the clothes shop. I often find if three people are talking already, they never seem to react to my arrival. It comes across as very rude but also very strange. 

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