This is from my Personal Perspective of Autism, Dissociation & Exposure Anxiety
Autism & Processing
During my younger years I was in mainstream education despite having obvious early signs of Autism speech and language delay. receptive and expressive language processing issues my Autism wasn’t recognised until adulthood.
Primary School & Emotional Triggers
During my Primary School years after I gained functional speech between the ages 7/8 years old so this was between 1993 and 1994 (I had the expressive language of a 3 year old and poor receptive language) I was subjected to heavy bouts of criticism and bullying – I now understand that was done in a unprofessional and unproductive manner the headteacher at school had one to one meetings with me during this time (with no mentor or advocate) telling me all my faults, mishaps, wrong behaviours and problems with me.
Dissociation and Exposure Anxiety at Primary School
For me this was too much exposure of self (something Donna Williams talks about Exposure Anxiety) I had a lack of awareness of “self” and “other” so I dissociated creating a “persona” to deal and cope with the barrage of information this “persona” would deal with this conflict because “I” couldn’t. This went on up until the last year of school different teachers comment either to me or to my parents about my “odd” behaviour.
When I was referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in 1996 during my last year of school I was suffering from a “nervous throat” and childhood depression in the meetings I was to explain about why a particular teacher was bullying me this caused me to created another “persona” to deal with situation the exposure of self and the the information processing was too much however I tried my best to give her the information.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sexual Abuse at Secondary School
Until very recently I have to process and come to terms with PTSD with regards to an incident that happened at secondary school which resulted in sexual abuse through flashbacks and intrusive nightmares (this is all I can disclose because of personal reasons), I have know doubt this has subconsciously had an affect on my self-worth, identity but I have come through this rather well and will continue to not be seen as an “object” or “thing”.
Criticism – It Is Needed
Now we come full circle I know that my negative exposure to extreme criticism during my educational years has had an affect on what I subconsciously associate with what criticism is
In my head I like and want to be challenged criticised as it is needed for all human beings it is about
- Give and take
- Other peoples views (not just you own)
- Validity for all
- Equality for all
- Fairness for all
Dissociation & Negative Association
However “my body, face and mouth” don’t seem to connect with my “head” and I dissociate quickly with the “persona ” that created over ten years ago to deal with the perceived attack (PTSD). My Mum says my face changes so do my eyes. This doesn’t however mean I’m not challenged this would be a great problem the reality of this is needed for all people really.
How I cope With This – Positivity
Firstly recognising where it comes from and for me personally and staying true what is my “head” is saying I like and want to be challenged criticised as it is needed for all human beings it is about give and take, other peoples views (not just you own), validity, equality and fairness and in turn dealing with therapy on how to cope with dissociation and what my body is doing and feeling like my consciousness is taking step backwards. By understanding this I can move and take a step forwards in a positive and productive manner. 🙂
Everybody voice deserves to heard 🙂 Everybody deserves to challenged in a productive manner too. 🙂
Paul Isaacs Adult with Autism 2014