Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Autism, Alexithymia, Body Disconnection, Mental Health & Loss

Tulips

 

Note – This is from a personal perspective

In short space of time two people dear to me had sadly passed away my Gramp Gilbert Harpwood and my friend Donna Williams (Polly Samuel).

I knew that because of alexithymia I would find this process lag and that I wouldn’t be “emotionally connected” straight away this led me to going day to day with no sort of emotional context at all despite showing on the surface seemingly “connective” emotions they were not connecting with me on the inside.

Alexithymia /ˌlɛksəˈθmiə/ is a personality construct characterized by the subclinical inability to identify and describe emotions in the self.[1] The core characteristics of alexithymia are marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment, and interpersonal relating.[2

Expression Of Grief

After the month and half since my Gramp’s loss and not long after Polly’s I started getting pains in my arm, stabbing and throbbing like a vice was clamped on my left arm. I quickly ruled out tetanus (which is serious bacterial infection) this then progressed into neuropathic – like  pain which was shooting from my neck, jaw, arms, legs, feet and groin “settling” in places for minutes and hours with a “warm”, “tingling” feeling as it moved.

I know this based on having a family history of mood, compulsive and anxiety disorders many things came into place as well as somatisation disorder which is a pseudo pain diversion.

Anxiety and Somatic Disorder

Somatic symptom disorder occurs when a person feels extreme anxiety about physical symptoms such as pain or fatigue. The person has intense thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the symptoms that interfere with daily life.

Anxiety Neuropathic-like Symptoms

Anxiety doesn’t actually create peripheral neuropathy. While anxiety and stress have been thrown around as possible issues that lead to neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy is about nerve damage, not nerve symptoms, and since anxiety is unlikely to cause nerve damage, it can’t technically be peripheral neuropathy.

Dermatillomania (skin picking disorder)

Dermatillomania may be a reflection of a mental health problem. Psychological and behavioural theories suggest that skin picking may be a way of relieving stress or anxiety.

A Dolly Mixture Of Mental Health Conditions

I  know that I have mixture of differing overlapping co-conditions going with my mood disorder being an understandable and normal reaction to grief, skin picking and impulse control disorder which has resulted in my hair being riddled with scabs which is my sub-concious at work, to having excess adrenaline  that is being “stuck” in my body from time to time.

Externalising To Process My Own Emotional States

The alexithymia and associated problems that go with such as body disconnectivty (body agnosias and hemiplegia)  leaving me detached from my own emotional states leaves me also waiting for the emotions to come at a frantic, unprocessed rate leaving me to pick up the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. I have created my own strategies such as writing, poetry and art which help me externalise and thus connect with my own emotional states, thoughts and feelings.

Visual Perceptual Disorders and Mentalising

Another aspect is the visual perceptual disorders which includes simultagnosia (object blindness) assoicated with prosopagnosia (face blindness) and semantic agnosia (meaning blindness) which I have that means my memory isn’t “visual-assoicative ” and I have no “pictures” of “emotional association” so my “meta-reality” (which all people have) has to be externalised.

Remembering

I know that with the slow realisation of my internal states will aid me in the this journey which is a normal journey for human beings, remembering people fondly, the good times, the laughs, the smiles and interactions.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Autism, Emotions, Attachment and Borderline Personality Disorder

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Borderline Personality Disorder can be a difficult condition to live you may struggle to be “in your own skin”, have issues with “identity” and purpose in life, with other people and may flip-flop between different aspects of what you perceive your identity to be. Your emotional input-output may well disruptive and hindered.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can cause a wide range of symptoms, which can be broadly grouped into four main areas.

The four areas are:

  • emotional instability – the psychological term for this is ‘affective dysregulation’
  • disturbed patterns of thinking or perception – ‘cognitive distortions’ or ‘perceptual distortions’
  • impulsive behaviour
  • intense but unstable relationships with others

Emotional Dysregulation 

These four main areas may well vary from person to person and emotional instability and modulation may make you vulnerable to teasing and bullying in your early years as the reactions may well be more extreme and unpredictable in nature, you may push people away without realising or cling on to friendships that aren’t there. This can lead to internal problems with modulating one’s own emotions.

Cognitive Distortions, Dissociation & Psychosis

Cognitive distortions can come in many forms and affect how you deal with in particular negative emotions you may “lock them away”, project them through self-harming, other aspects that can distort reasoning are episodes of psychosis and a breakdown of internal and external reality this may be accompanied by episodes of dissociation.

Impulsivity & Challenges In Friendships & Relationships 

The person may want these aspects of life but maintenance for both you and the person you are friends with could be hindered by the symptoms above the changing winds of emotions, a lack of grounded identity and purpose, disruptive and sometimes paranoid thinking and firm and often “black and white” sense of what relationships and friends “should and shouldn’t be”, fear and loss and may have issues with attachment with people around them.

Coming Out The Other End?

I have documented my mental health issues over the years which includes having Borderline Personality Disorder and how that interacts with  the overall package within my “autism” and this is how of have dealt with these negative and sometimes behaviours.

  • People have their own thoughts, feelings and identities and one must respect a person’s autonomy.
  • Grounded sense of “self” I am a whole person with the ability to change.
  • Emotions are human and therefore not “abnormal” and are part of the human existence and managing them is crucial for healthy relationships.
  • All friendships and relationships are unique in their creation some last a lifetime others don’t and one must accept this.
  • I can help and empower people but not overbear them or smother them.
  • Seeking balance has a positive impact in your overall life and existence.

 

Darth Vader shows the key features of BPD 

  • He fears loss of people he is closest too. The Death of his Mother and not having a Father figure
  • He has intense and unstable relationships with the people he loves. His love for Padme and his and Father-figure friend Obi-Wan
  • He suffers from emotional dysregulation and has feelings of intense fear, rage, sadness and sorrow.  “I Hate You!”,  “Where is Padme? Is she safe is she alright?” 
  • He displays impulsivity and cognitive distortions through manipulation of Chancellor Palpatine. “In your Anger you Killed her (Padme)”
  • He has problems with self identity switching from “Anakin” to “Vader”. 

 

I have documented that when dealing with autism you must look at the rounded view that personality types and thus personality disorders can be a part of the package and if this is the case maybe we should looking a little deeper into what that means when managing a person on the autism spectrum who is in emotional crisis and the services that can be provided in the future.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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The Importance of Recognising Personality Types In Autism

Note this is from a personal perspective

Personality types are just as relevant to in which a person behaviours and responds to the environment around them, this includes interaction, communication, lifestyle choices, interpersonal choices etc.

Personality Types A Mix & Match

We can break down these personality types into their basic forms. In example I will use three different personality variants (people can have to 4 to 6) however this will simplify the point in question.

Personality Types in Autism 2017 Image

Personality Types Are Valid 

People on the autism spectrum will have personality types within their “autism fruit salad” like all other human beings people have overlapping personality types which can be fluid or concrete, complex or refined, narrow or lengthy which will be dictated by genetics and the environment they are in. They can also spill over into “disordered” extremes.

Is “Autism” All Of A Person? 

 I think that the main factor that gets missed in the overall ensemble when looking at ASD is personality traits/types. To define one’s whole neurology as one’s “self” ego-syntonic were as I see my neurology in terms of autism as part of “self” not the overall picture “ego-dystonic”.

This would surely help professionals, parents, guardians and people on the autism spectrum? To know that part of being a human is to do with the development of these aspects to?

“Autism” It Is Apart Of The Mix Not The Defining Factor 

To put in honestly that fact that I am face-blind isn’t “me” it is just how I processing faces, the fact that have simultagnosia as see in pieces isn’t “me” but is how I process visual information, the fact that I am aphasic and meaning deaf and struggle at times process the words being spoken to me isn’t “me” but is how I deal with receptive language they are part of the package, the fact that I struggle to do simultaneous “self and other” isn’t “me” but it means I need time to gauge and internalise information is again part of the package .

They come along for the ride and my personality types will dictate how I cope, manage and productively find an outcome for these different processing issues I have. If someone isn’t seen as person first then what are they?

Paul Isaacs 2017


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“Autism” what does it mean?

Note this is froDad and I Dancingm a personal perspective

When I was diagnosed with autism in 2010 one of the first things that I was told is that was still a “person” even if I didn’t the mechanics and/or “pieces” of my autism that nevertheless was a sage piece of advice that has stayed with me on a personal and professional level.

“Autism” is different for each person so here is a breakdown of the “mechanics”

  • Emotional perception (alexithymia) problems with recognising and verbalising emotional states.
  • Visual perception (visual agnosias) problems with perceiving faces, objects, reading words, colour and “sorting out my visual field into a “whole”.
  • Language processing (receptive aphasia) problems with processing and interpreting “meaning” and “significance” from language.
  • Auditory processing (auditory agnosias) problems with organising the origins of sounds.
  • Body perception (body agnosias and hemiplegia) problems with processing and perception on the right side of my body which affects coordination, problems with recognising pain, hunger and thirst.
  • Body and Movement (visuospatial dysgnosia) left-right disorientation.
  • Light Sensitivity (sensory integration disorder and related learning difficulties) problems with light creating distortions as well as dyslexia and dyscalculia.
  • “self” and “other” processing simultaneous information which requires this can be difficult.
  • Mental health and personality disorders.

 

PERSONALITY TYPES

I have four main personality types which intermingle with each these are human in terms of presentation but will differ form person to person – human beings under stress may develop “disordered” versions of these types affecting social and personal perception, mood management and interpersonal relationships and friendships.

  1. Idiosyncratic
  2. Mercurial
  3. Self-Sacrificing
  4. Serious  

 

NOT RELATING TO “AUTISTIC IDENTITY/IDENTITY-FIRST LANGUAGE 

I do not see my whole being as “autism” nor define myself by it. I see it apart of me, in my case the pieces are emotional perception, visual perception, language perception, auditory perception,
body perception, light sensitivity, information processing and learning difficulties
 with associated mood disorders, exposure anxiety, somatisation disorder, dissociation and personality disorders but they are not a total nor finite definition of my being. I can only speak from my perspective and that is all.

I am “Paul” first with the all the positives and negatives that come with it the likes, dislikes, regrets, dreams and the sense of just “being”. I shall never adhere to the “club” there is to much militancy, over-investing and politics. I see myself as apart of the human race – no more, no less, no more worthy, no less worthy just a person like one of the billions of people on the planet everyone has a story to tell don’t they.  😉

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Autism, Bullying & Mental Health – Personal Perspectives

This from a personal perspective on Autism and Mental Health 

SITUATIONAL & ENVIRONMENTAL 

From as long as I can remember I was bullied – this came in many forms verbal, physical, emotional/psychological and one instance sexual.

It started at around 5 Years old this point I wasn’t functionally verbal it ranged from instances of verbal humiliation from the local place were I lived, taunts, swearing and so forth to more confrontational approaches such as throwing objects at me, taunting me with nails wrapped in a someone fist (this happened during an altercation at a “kissing gate” which is a gate in a field), threats of harm and death/being killed were even on the cards as well as my family being included as well.

This sort of abuse went on for many years on my local area – it also happened on the way to school via public transport taunts and set-ups were a way of getting my attention but of course it was much more than that.

Family Photo Early 90s 2SCHOOL – PRIMARY EDUCATION 

At Primary School when functionally verbal speech (in year 4) came I was subjected to humiliation by teachers this would include having one to one meetings with the then headteacher. This is were my dissociative disorders started as a way of “self protection” with no parental support (as they were not told of these meetings), being told to walk in “a line”  in a class of silent observant children as this would help with my “walking” and learnt with my first experiences of talking that is was to protect not that is was a way of having a interaction that was balanced nor “normal”.

The last year of Primary School was when I was being bullied by a teacher this cased severe mental disturbances such as anxiety and mood disorders, continued dissociative disorders, depression, somatisation, psychosis (imagining my body “was melting”)  (bad tummies,  stomach cramps, headaches, jaw-ache, toothache) these were perceived to be real by me but they were result at this point of over 7 years of bullying from different places people and origins some I dread to thing where they came from. This lead to me being in mental health services for the first time.

Holiday Early 2000s1SECONDARY EDUCATION 

In the first two weeks bullying started and this took a different turn it would be about my appearance (weight, looks, face, teeth, nose etc) so this lead my down the path of eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphia, emotional dysfunction due to alexithymia and bouts of mutism (due also to information processing and exposure anxiety) and further dissociative episodes  – it also came in the guise of two teachers commenting about me becoming upset and going to the reception in tears. Two teachers used humiliation tactics in front of my classmates with regards to this behaviour of course this was to with emotional processing and went on for approximately a year.

SEXUAL ABUSE

About two years I started having flashbacks (fragmented visions), night terrors and panic attacks what came to a head was an incident of a sexual nature when I was in my mid-teens a form of PTSD emerged with the “false memory”  being “unpicked”. I have no doubt this has had an sub-concious affect on how I view myself, my gender, my sexuality and the way in which I view sex but thankfully I through in this in both coming to terms with it and moving on.

Me Early 20s 1WORKPLACE

From the years of fifteen onwards I had been bullied in the workplace this came in the forms of name-calling, taunts, covert tactics, not being listened too, diversion tactics, gas-lighting to just plain insincerity and nastiness. This can have a dramatic affect how one perceives relationships both personal and professional. This has a dramatic affect on the way in which I viewed work and people in adulthood. I wrote a suicide letter wanting to the end the seemingly endless pain of existing this happened in the late 2000s. And was in adult mental health services.

DAMAGED “GOODS” TO BEING “AFFECTED”

Along with my Autism profile I have had sadly a string of negative situations. I no doubt that it has damaged me, it seems for the last 25 years I have had a torrent of negative behaviours that have affect my perception and my self worth but I live in hope that I can and will get through this and also learn from these situations. I want it to go from damaged to affected. I have the drive to do so.

BE BALANCED & FRIENDSHIP

I value being balanced the clarity in which it brings and the positively that it brings, agreement, disagreement and having a transparent and fluid view on lift – I still wear “my heart on my sleeve” which means I am open and honest about things sadly this can be a problem in certain situations of trust and can has has been used against me but it again goes back to my point of being balanced and regaining connections and perceptions of what true friendships and connections are something that I didn’t have in my early years.

A VICTIM OF NARCISSISM?

I have been from the perspective of being  honest and truthful – an reverse tactics (the “victim” of the circumstance becomes the “nuisance” & “enemy” and must be stopped at all costs! – however how that can be depends on the person in question it can overt to covert and passive-aggressive (via gossiping, mixing lies with the truth and blatant lies) such as avoidance by others or the person’s themselves, getting people “on side”, spying and gossiping and “getting information” this can also lead to the person who is in “right” by character to slowly become the person who is “wrong”.

This blog I can relate to this and the a blog about this entitled Are you being used as a flying monkey for a narcissist? There have been many a time were I have entrusted personal information to people who I thought I could trust only for it to be used against and spun.

Balanced and empathic people will not seek to to do this they will want transparency, fluidised connections and an openness.

CREATIVITY & POSITIVITY 

Through my poems, pictures and writings it has fuelled this aspect of my being and has been both my friend and confidant in all sorts of emotional tides. I am by no means perfect, I want no pity and I am  not a victim through this is what I have learnt the importance of trust, healthy relationships and friendships, failure, truth, being, living and having a laugh at yourself those things to me are important. 🙂

Toyah – It’s A Mystery 

Paul Isaacs 2015