Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Boundaries, Attachment & Connection

I have been saying this for years, the holistic psychologist puts it across with such clarity. People view this as being “hard”, “selfish” when it isn’t.

Unhealthy Attachment

– Parents aren’t your friends they are your caregivers.

– Children aren’t responsible for your caregivers/parents unresolved issues.

– Lack of autonomy creates poor self-esteem and attachment issues around friendships & relationships.

False expectations of what people can and can’t offer.

Here’s what this could look like in a more balanced presentation.

Healthy Attachment

– Friendships & relationships are built on genuine trust (not fear, control or emotional manipulation).

– Friendship and relationships are about respecting autonomy and developmental journeys.

– True connection is about seeing failure and/or mistakes as normal, taking ownership and moving forward.

– Boundaries are understood & welcomed.

– Being vulnerable without fear of vilification, judgement, and firm honesty.

– By being able to allow yourself and others to be their authentic self.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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There Is No “Pure” Autism

An advocate felt it was old fashioned that autism and brain injury can coexist. They can present in some people’s developmental trajectory.

The problem with not being objective around the different trajectories in autism is that people’s potential realities get lost in rhetoric and the need to be popular and/or relevant.

Toxic Militants

This toxic militant form of advocacy I suggest newbies stay away from as it isn’t about making a difference it’s about filling a bullshit sandwich and making it look edible.

My Developmental Trajectory

So here’s the low down. I was born a month premature and the birthing complications which included placental abruption, fetal distress and c- section. The condition is called cerebral hypoxia.

I have always been open about this in my speeches and presentations over the years of being a speaker, trainer and consultant.

Signs of the nervous system being impacted were I was sleepy baby, photographic evidence in my early months such as fisted hands, the toes pointing upwards. This is called decoritcate posture.

Further neurological challenges such as language processing, visual perception and hemiplegia and gertsmann syndrome.

The Problem With Super Power Narratives

By suggesting that this cannot happen and always proclaiming that autism is a “super power” not only lacks objective reasoning, but also suggests that people do not have disabilities with their autism “fruit salads” in their own right.

Think Laterally About Autisms

For some it’s

Social emotional agnosia and social perception
Simultagnosia and Visual Fragmentation
Dyspraxia and Overload
Challenges in Mentalising
Challenges in Mental Health
Exposure Anxiety
Attachment, Personality & Identity


It’s multi-faceted. This also includes links with autoimmune disorders, collagen (ehlers danlos syndrome) and seizure disorders.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Autism, Anxiety & Resilience

It is difficult for autistic individuals to embrace failure or take risks. Instead, patients see themselves as confined in a drama dominated by shadow archetypes, mystery, and chaos. This engenders an unpleasant emotion; one caused in anticipation of danger. Indeed, anxiety is the biggest source of stress for those in the autism spectrum. For many, it is their constant companion. Anxiety thus establishes an intimate relationship with a person only to be interrupted by occasional bouts of intense fear or even panic.

Manuel Casanova 2021

I have written over the years about my own experiences with anxiety and mood disorders from a personal perspective

The dualism of having visual perception challenges (simultagnosia, semantic agnosia) rendering me object and meaning blind was both freeing, tangible, emotive and enriching in one sense but could be the opposite – coping strategies from an early age were dissociation, assigned characters and secondary to exposure anxiety.

My first memorable episode was being meaning deaf not able to decipher the interpretive frameworks of language in early infancy.

Strategies Built Over Time

I value the past, I was undiagnosed until my early twenties so I lived in a sink or swim environment, lacking concrete conscientiousness as a “primary option meant I was adaptive in art, fantasy and later creative writing.

This became a much more leisurely venture, however I still use it as a way of bridging my emotional world through my works

Conclusion

I wanted to know whyI was like I was” this included my attributes, my vices & my personhood (I refrain from lacking objectivity in autism making the condition akin to a “superpower” I would much rather look at reality and all that comes with it).

This I suppose is grounding as you can like people for social binding qualities.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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The Lessons I Learned Through Being Bullied

Lessons I have learnt through the years are plundered with and deep with seemingly no end.

Narrowing them down is quite easy as you garner what is the most prominent and impactful.

Being Thankful & Objective

Being thankful starts with my earliest treads and saunter movements through my village at a young age, the trees, the smells, the wildlife and rolling fields. In infancy I was meaning blind, object blind, context blind, pain dead and body disconnected – I experienced the world through my body.

Thanking Their Actions

I was bullied in my neighbourhood in early infancy, I was functionally non-verbal and echolalic, thanking them is necessary they taught me the foundations of misunderstanding, fear and intolerance.

Understanding People’s Motivations

They are also human beings and anger is not a feeling that shrouds me. They have hopefully reflected, moved on and made pastures of meaningful living. I can only wish them well in these ventures.

I didn’t expect them to understand nor would they, because befriending me out of obligation rather than true connection would have been futile.

Projection Of Inner Challenges?

I was kicked, punched, spat at, pushed, and had verbal insults thrown my way as well as being forcefully locked in a makeshift cage for over an hour. Think of the unhappy and saddened minds that would do this? I cannot help reflecting on how much they potentially needed kindly support themselves.

But why be thankful for such events? Because these were my tempered experiences they built.

Foundations and I had to slowly make sense of wishful, seeking alternative realities weren’t an option.

My resilience was unconsciously built through movement, language, and the system of sensing in which the merged frequencies of people, objects, and my external environment.

Conclusion

This included the twinkling of water, the carpet fabric, blades of grass, barks of trees, the smearing of shaving foam and bubble bath liquid on the bathroom tiles, the fragmented stranger in the mirror for over ten years and the observation of fragmented phonic laden beings.

I wouldn’t change these events, nor do I resent through the illusions of solace, I lived a human life and that is fine.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Not Changing The Past But Your Perception Of It

I was speaking at Thomley Families about my life last month, It’s not a difficult subject to broach as I have been talking about in the context of autism for well over a decade.

If I had been diagnosed with autism in early infancy it would have been of “classic” or “severe” autism.

I was functionally non- verbal, due to oral apraxia and aphasia, meaning deaf, meaning blind and object blind due to visual agnosias, pain dead, body disconnected due to hemiplegia and body agnosias and retained the system of sensing before the interpretation and associated frameworks of the external world.

However, I was a happy child despite the challenges, the bullying in education, the village in which I lived and through the many years of employment.

I would not have changed a thing because such is life, the sink or swim process taught me resilience and autonomy, my parents not seeing my whole personhood as “the condition” meant failure was normal, co-dependency was not on the cards and accountability was a necessary skill.

I wasn’t pandered so I was allowed to live, breathe and experience life.

Being thankful is healthy taking acknowledgment of your life and seeing experiences as learned lessons for the pastures of the future. I live a human life which is balanced.

Resentment causes bitterness and a narled sense of “otherness” It’s saddened that people think this way.

Much of how I look and my neurological makeup was and is out of my control.

Autism just “is” demonisation and glamourisation don’t tell an authentic tale just a projection of what people want to hear.

I wonder what the little person below is thinking? Or maybe he is just being and that was enough for him.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Depression & The Power Of Self Ownership

Note – This is from personal, observational & professional perspective

Things to take into account when someone is managing depression, now a basic overview of the condition is the primary impact on mood, perception and metabolism.

There are some hard truths about this that people overlook or deem as being emotionally hard or distant. We live in a boundary erosive world in which there is too much breathing space to temper one’s own emotional management.

One must seek balance in their own way.

– Seeking meaningful change will be down to you.

– Strategies to improve and/manage your mood will be down to you.

– Off loading is a temporary measure and again it’s down to you to take (or not) the advice given.

– Any therapy will be down to you, the decision to go must be a connected one.

– Any support by friends and family members is fine but it has to be balanced in which one isn’t becoming co-dependent.

There is nothing fundamental in error for looking for help, yearning for depthful meanderings of surly support in times of clouded mindscapes.

However the quest for autonomy and self ownership should not be hastened by the notion of crystal hardened phonic laden wordlings that gush.

Conclusion

See the power of you for you, for the flesh cage you are in is the one that circles until the end.

Make it a comfortable place to reside – external gratification only chinks the surface allows a more deeper understanding of yourself.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Autism & Anxiety? What Are The Correlations?

Often people may ask what is anxiety? People have different thresholds, strategies, internal somatic experiences, and interpretations of what words mean to them.

Some when breaking down the different types of anxiety we can explore the different potential experiences that are going on.

Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder – in which a person may be avoidant of social activities and/or deeply analyse their perceived faults.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – in which a person repeats actions (movements, songs, checking) to “feel safe” this experience is usually temporary and short term.

Exposure Anxiety – in which person’s nervous system is triggered by awareness of self that leads to compulsive reactive retaliation responses.

Analysis Paralysis – in which a person may overthink multiple strands of information and not come to a decision and/or look at too many variables.

Phobias – in which a person through core beliefs, early childhood associated trauma, perception and associated patterns has specific conscious and/or unconscious phobias secondary to anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Trauma – in which the from context of autism sensory integration, sensory perception, social perception, alexithymia, language processing and other information processing challenges that are secondary to a person’s environment cause a negative pattern of nervous system responses.

Conclusion

So, when we look at autism and anxiety, we must take time understand what type of anxiety is present, what triggers the person’s nervous system and taking into account their information processing, language processing, mentalising and learning styles when supplying information to them.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Autism? I Am Neither Proud Of Have Shame – What I Aim For Is Balance

When I was diagnosed in 2010, my parents wisely said to me that I am still “Paul” (whatever that entailed at that point in time).

Not everything about someone is “Autistic” and I am no exception to this rule in the wider scheme of things.

I respectfully do not see autism as identity because that is something that has consciously created, made and I feel we must be more lateral about what autism means for people beyond our own experiences.

Personality types that are within me that could present more AUT-istic are the fact that I am solitary, serious and idiosyncratic however people internally are not straight lines as I am mercurial and self-sacrificing.

Extend this to educational systems, employment services hospitals and beyond what are people trying to say about autism? If we share objectivity then maybe fertile ground can be sown for other experiences too.

As an infant I was functionally non-verbal, I was meaning deaf, blind, context blind, body disconnected, pain dead and lived primarily in the system of sensing. What I valued was that my parents saw me as a person first regardless and that has stayed with me well into adulthood.

I value my personhood it keeps me grounded, objective and sane in many ways. I am made up of many things autism is a part of the mix not the centre of because no one person in the world is one word.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Do I Still Have Challenges?

Autism is neither here nor there, it shouldn’t be glorified or glamoured and in the same light should not be demonised either.

If achievements should be sought then maybe they should be looked upon with healthy objectivity, meaningful connectivity and be socially binding.

I often wonder if people understand my challenges? It is a healthy question to ponder sometimes and maybe there is solitude with such meandering in the infinite mindscapes.

Without my tints there is visual distortion, fragmentation, challenges in depth perception, recognition of objects, faces, people and places.

As a child I would use my side vision, would lick, sniff, tap run and use my body to map my surroundings. As an adult I pattern out routes through movement.

So faceblind I thought my reflection was a separate person until my mid teens, that seeing objects was “dead”, that any focus on one thing meant I lost everything else. I didn’t see with coherent reasoning until the age of 26.

I associate mentalise and learn through touch primarily, secondary to phonics and sound, however having auditory agnosia meant me bridging the gaps between a sound and it’s origin takes time.

That the art of interpretation in terms of language came late – for words were akin to my mind like confetti blowing in the wind. I appeared deaf, words were sounds with no origin. The mechanisms of my speech organs to not always allow for such words to flow and when they did it was feel speak.

A shared sense of social in which I couldn’t do “self and other” in real time meant that I either spoke or listened without making the shared connections, the first time I experienced this was when I was in my mid 20s. I can now do this for up to four to six hours.

That exposure anxiety at its most chronic meant that any direct notion of self awareness from others was met with compulsive self sabotage, now as an adult it is more residual but still has an impact on my ability to share information as I am naturally solitary.

That hemiplegia means I live in half a world and with the extension of body disconnection and pain agnosia meant I learnt to bathe with mixing taps at 14 because of scolding my body and I still struggle with mechanical aspects of shaving, brushing, personal care and oral hygiene, so maybe persistence is my friend?

Alexithymia means that I don’t always know how I feel about myself or what someone has said on a conscious level, however ask me to type something and I will be surprised what I thought or knew, emotional introspection and extensions of creativity leans more than logical or linear structures of learning.

I am thankful for life however a lesson can be retrieved from my writings above that even with all the knowledge, words and experience I still have these challenges.

That is where I find peace and solace knowing for I am a person a part of the world around me.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Autism, Neurology & Information Processing & Making Connections

Connections

I think this to me that people on and off the spectrum may have things in common as well as significant differences.

For those “differences” non- autistic people can have which can make an AUT-istic presentation.

– Let’s look at the first point about facial expressions – a higher number of people in the spectrum have social emotional agnosia (not seeing facial expression, body language or hearing tone of voice). Others may have simultagnosia and have visual fragmentation and/or faceblindness.

– High reactivity could but with exposure anxiety and compulsive retaliation, diversion responses, emotional dysregulation (60 percent cross over with autism), challenges with shared sense of social, core beliefs/internalising and mentalising challenges as an extension of agnosias, aphasias and potentially alexithymia.

– Fawning and poor boundaries could be to do with environmental factors, core beliefs – and extension could be borderline personality disorders/dependant personality disorders in which person has a poor sense of self, dissociation (reaction to information processing as well as environment) and attachment.

– Difficult conversations – challenges with self and other and a shared sense of social (All self NO other/ALL other NO self), social emotional agnosia, alexithymia language processing (aphasias/verbal agnosias), communication challenges (oral/body apraxia).

– Personalising strangers reactions – personality sensitivities, emotional regulation and filtering, social perception related to agnosias and/or language processing. *some people may not take responses on the personal.

– Not understanding when one is in danger this could to do with mono – processing, agnosias (related to social perception), body agnosias/body disconnection, aphasias, alexithymia and not knowing how you consciously feel about the situation and dissociation. *some people may live in system of “sensing* in which they unconsciously filter danger.

Paul Isaacs 2022