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Autism from the inside


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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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Looking At What “Autism Is” Is That The Future?

I have been is the autism “world” as a speaker, trainer and consultant for well over seven years, I do not pretend to know all the answers nor I do project or promote that I have them all I can only speak from first hand experience of myself and the others that have been involved in professional capacity.

A 3D Diagnosis For The Future?

I what would like to offer a foundation of empowerment not because I know best but to give people the opportunity to find out about their “autism” what is made up of and the “mechanics” that go with it. I have wrote and documented my autism the fact that is made of being brain injured at birth, speech and language delays, sensory agnosias, aphasia, apraxia the fact that I have dealt with mood, impulsive and anxiety disorders also.

The fact that being borderline made me emotionally unstable, struggled with boundaries and also being schizotypal made me odd, aloof and detached from people and at times society. These “elements” are all about of my “mix” and words not only for these “pieces” empower not only the person in question but the services they come into contact with also family and friends.

Fruit Salad 2017

 

Looking Deeper, Looking Forward, Education & Empowerment

I went through my autism “fruit salad” at an event recently and asked if the diagnosis had pointed out the specific pieces how would they have felt? Also would this model benefit them it was a conclusion yes because understanding autism on thing but understanding the pieces of their children’s autism was felt to be very important, helpful, empowering and overall was a beneficiary to the services that they would come in contact with. Giving them not just the word “autism” but what it meant for them specifically.

My Autism Fruit Salad 1 Updated 2017

Autism Fruit Salad 2 2017

Autism Fruit Salad 3 2017

Conclusion

“Autism” is not “one thing” it is specific to each person also people do not have an “autistic personality” exclusive although personality types like solitary, idiosyncratic and conscientious would look more “autistic” but are smaller elements in the overall mix. I do believe that a person’s autism is everything about them because human beings are made up much than one element.

You can get  “non-autistic” personality types the people that challenge the stereotypes who could be equally adventurous and mercurial in their ways. For 2017 lets look at this from a broader perspective and empower people with knowledge that is worthy of making a difference.

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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Colour Me With A Personality – Autism, Personality Types and “Disordered Extremes”

Malice Mizer Bara No Seidou 20004All human beings have personality types they are part of what makes “soul” along with are senses, information processing, reactions, life experiences, our friends, family members and cherished ones.

Many  a disagreement has been  made about me bringing up about personality types in the context of autism people have quite rightfully misunderstood my intentions or misunderstood the point of points I was trying to make so  lets look at this a bit more.

Of the 16 common personality traits identified by Oldham, all of us will have around 4-6 of these which tend to be our main personality traits, what collectively presents to others as ‘who we are’, our ‘self’, ‘personhood’, ‘identity’, ‘soul’. When these are not overdeveloped, they present merely as ‘traits’.  However, a particular personality trait or traits can become overdeveloped or stay at such a ‘volume’ that the person is functioning and presenting in the personality disorder range for that trait.  If they don’t break free of this they will progressively so identity with their own personality disorder they will take it as their ‘normal’.  Donna Williams (Polly Samuel)

NOT EVERYTHING IS THE “AUTISM” 

It is not restrictive or silly to point out that personality types do exist within human beings and in context of this segment with people with autism. Human being not only have 4 – 6 main personality types (no we are not machines we “encoding”) and you can also have what is called “secondaries” (mine I would say are conscientious and adventurous) that come along for the ride and they may well clash “internally” with the main traits themselves.

This is fluid and normal there is of course genetic factor to these traits maybe you can see “yourself” in another family member certain behaviours you can relate to and/or acknowledge, just like you can have personality clashes at work because you cannot relate to how some operates this is normal.

Some of the most common personality disorders in people in the autism spectrum include Obsessive-Compulsive, Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders and Avoidant and Dependent personality disorders.  Those with dissociative disorders may more commonly experience AvoidantSelf Defeating, Schizotypal, Borderline or Passive-Aggressive personality disorders.  Some personality disorders are commonly misdiagnosed as mood or anxiety disorders but unlike mood or anxiety disorders, personality disorders generally fail to respond significantly to medication.  Donna Williams (Polly Samuel) 

EGO- SYNTONIC & SEEING THE PERSONALITY DISORDER AS “THE AUTISM”

Ego- Syntonic Meaning Consistent with one’s sense of self, as opposed to ego-alien or dystonic (foreign to one’s sense of self). Ego-syntonic traits typify patients with personality disorders.

If a person or people around the person “sees” their “autism” as everything about them (including dictating their personality) then hypothetically if they acquired a personality disorder would they see it just apart of of their autism? Not needing to be changed? Or modified?

What if it is having an impact on the person but they just can not unpick or see that it is an issue and it is having an overall impact on their functioning? Their judgements? Their reactions? Their interpersonal skills? Their daily living skills? What then? This is food for thought from both a practical sense and how specialists can diagnose and treat those with personality disorders on the autism spectrum.

MY FOUR MAIN PERSONALITY TYPES WITH THE DISORDER VARIANTS

As you can see on the left I have my personality types and on the right I have the “disordered” variants of those types the explained in the middle is clear these “stresses” can cause the “normal” personality types to expand and “grow” the person themselves may well be observed by others as being “different” quick to temper, quick to cry for example their reactions are heightened to an extreme.

For more info on personality types look at www.ptypes.com

2007 PERSONALITY DISORDERS A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

In 2007 I suffered a nervous breakdown my parents had noticed a change in “me” looking through my medical records two words sprung out at me “borderline” and “schziotypal”.

 These had an effect on these five main areas of functioning

  • Personal Judgement
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Personal Skills
  • Professional Skills
  • Daily Living Skills

Borderline Personality Disorder

It is characterized as:

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, as well as marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse,reckless driving). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

It is characterized as:

A disorder characterized by eccentric behaviour and anomalies of thinking and affect which resemble those seen in schizophrenia, though no definite and characteristic schizophrenic anomalies have occurred at any stage. There is no dominant or typical disturbance, but any of the following may be present:
  • Inappropriate or constricted affect (the individual appears cold and aloof);
  • Behaviour or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar;
  • Poor rapport with others and a tendency to social withdrawal;
  • Odd beliefs or magical thinking, influencing behaviour and inconsistent with subcultural norms;
  • Suspiciousness or paranoid ideas;
  • Obsessive ruminations without inner resistance, often with dysmorphophobic, sexual or aggressive contents;
  • Unusual perceptual experiences including somatosensory (bodily) or other illusions, depersonalization or derealization;
  • Vague, circumstantial, metaphorical, overelaborate, or stereotyped thinking, manifested by odd speech or in other ways, without gross incoherence;
  • Occasional transient quasi-psychotic episodes with intense illusions, auditory or other hallucinations, and delusion-like ideas, usually occurring without external provocation.

PEOPLE WITH AUTISM DO HAVE PERSONALITIES

These had a great impact on my overall functioning and it took over two years to bring the “volume” down on these aspects of my personality to levels of “normality”.

The first issue I want to address is within the autism community? I want to healthily challenge people who do not think (or acknowledged) that firstly personality types exist with people on the spectrum and secondly if they do what are they? And thirdly do you think you have ever had any personality disorders either yourself? Or in a loved on? If so what helped?

COLOUR MY PERSONALITY 

To acknowledge personality types is not constricting it is in fact the opposite the world is an can be a colourful place and differing personality types are part of the package for everybody.

Paul Isaacs 2016


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I am not a “Label” I am A Human Being First

Baby Pictures High ChairI don’t know about you but when I was born I was born a person, lets ditch the rhetorics and start listening to other peoples realities and opinions (regardless of were they come from) and accept that disagreement will come but everybody as their own things to say. Lets not be restricted by a “box” or the what is “in crowd” I thank the people who have said their realities with conviction, honesty, rawness and carrying on their lives as best they can be the example and don’t just claim it. I am not “autism” if doesn’t “define” my being it rides along life it not a “definition of my life”. I acknowledge those on  and off the spectrum who are honest about the realities lets start listening and going from there keep going even if you don’t do not feel listened to, no popular do not worry at the very least (or most you have been true you and have not be influenced by the dominant wave.) 

Fanciful fable a baby in a cradle
New life and new wonders able
A hand from “in crowd” does beckon
I walk in feel more lonely I reckon

I’m not those things you said “we” all are
I am not a part of a redundant single star
You say things as fact, straight lines so subjective
When all I want to be is “me” more reflective

A puppet on a string I cut them off and look around
The strings a still attached with words and the same sound
I got back to the “real world” so eagerly with open arms
It may not be perfect but honesty has its ethereal charms

I am part of the humanity no label defines me I shall deface
Of flesh and blood and gleefully I move from place to place
The words are rubbed away sounding through the sky
I now what I am from life to death a smile and a sigh

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Autism & Personality Disorders – A Personal Perspective

Compasition Photos17Note: this is from a personal perspective and doesn’t represent all people on autism spectrum

Personality Disorders & Autism

Yes they can co-occur and yes it does happen, personality disorders and autism these are types/trait which are “extreme” and “disordered” versions of “normal” personality type this can happen for variety of different reasons an environmental trigger, isolation and alienation, victimisation or genetic predisposition to having such extremes but is idiopathic in nature. (these can happen to ANYONE).

I Have “Been There”

I am a person who has “been there” in terms of personality disorders and it was during my early 2os, at this time I was being bullied at my workplace and into between hanging on there and leaving (which I did soon enough) it was a mixture of additional mental health conditions, unipolar depression, mood disorder (low mood dysthoria), self harming and suicidal ideation.

1. Schizotypal Personality Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (American Psychiatric Association, 1994, pg. 645) describes Schizotypal Personality Disorder as a pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for, close relationships as well as by cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  • ideas of reference (excluding delusions of reference);
  • odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behavior and is inconsistent with subcultural norms (e.g., superstitiousness, belief in clairvoyance, telepathy, or “sixth sense”; in children and adolescents, bizarre fantasies or preoccupations);
  • unusual perceptual experiences, including bodily illusions;
  • odd thinking and speech (e.g., vague, circumstantial, metaphorical, overelaborate, or stereotyped);
  • suspiciousness or paranoid ideation;
  • inappropriate or constricted affect;
  • behavior or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar;
  • lack of close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives;
  • excessive social anxiety that does not diminish with familiarity and tends to be associated with paranoid fears rather than negative judgments about self.

2. Borderline Personality Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (American Psychiatric Association, 1994, pg. 654) describes Borderline Personality Disorder as a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  • frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment;
  • a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation;
  • identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self;
  • impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating);
  • recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior;
  • affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days);
  • chronic feelings of emptiness;
  • inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights);
  • transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

What Are YOUR Personality Types?

When you look at these two sets of personality disorders from a person perspective they at both ends of the spectrum with one being marked by non-conformity and the other a sub-conscious wanting  how did I get through this ? Firstly knowledge – understanding my autism “fruit salad” meant looking at the whole package and that included personality types of which I have 4 these two above in there “normal” variants are 1. idiosyncratic and 2. mercurial balanced and have bettered my functioning along with my tinted lenses for visual perceptual disorders for example.

It Can Be Apart Of The “Bigger Picture”

By picking these aspects of functioning I think is important when looking at an autism diagnosis could be that undiagnosed or unrecognised personality disorders could hinder functioning of a person but could be just be thought as “the autism”. For me dissociation, suicidal ideation, interpersonal issues (compacted by the pds), auditory hallucinations and psychosis were the tip of the iceberg not only in my “autism fruit” salad at the point but also the development of my identity and personality as a whole.

Trying Introspection

I have learnt over time to take control and autonomy of my emotions despite having problems with mentalising and alexithymia, I have learnt to not be too intense with people I like and if sense that I am back away and “turn the volume down”, I have learnt the importance of autonomy and not fearing aloneness chronically, I have learnt and accepted that dissociation and being “borderline” gives my problems with “self identity” along with other issues such as “self and other” processing, alexithymia, visual perception, I have learnt that being “odd” means that something is up and I need focus of getting grounded again. I have learnt that overall with all the interacting pieces I know of that balance is the place to be that is message of hope.

Last Question

I challenge politely people on autism spectrum who think that autism is “all of them” with so many interwoven personality types in human beings would it really make sense for autism to be “all of the person?” considering autism is made up of pre-existing conditions anyway? I wonder in the future will they diagnose or recognise personality types in people on the autism spectrum? I certainly think that would beneficial.

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Autism & When “Special Interests” Go Wrong

There are many inconclusive stereotypes around the autism spectrum and one of them is a the all people on the autism spectrum have an “intense special interest” I have been working in the field of autism for over six years and I have met many folks who do not have a “special interest” of acute intensity nor want to.

“Special Interests”

If one can conceive a special interest then may be we could be looking at accompanying personality traits and types that would make someone have such a hyper-focus. The first is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder in which the person  has a intense devotion to work, perfectionism and rigidity. They could be also have that as a secondary to Schizoid Personality disorder in which the person is apathetic, secretive and distant.

Personality Types & Differing Profiles

To deny that “disordered extremes” of personality types can co-exist and interact with an “autism” or “asperger’s” profile is not helpful, it firstly  doesn’t benefit the person in question and secondly the premise should not be that “oh that’s the autism”.

Therefore giving the interest a green light and thus scapegoating that such behaviour is acceptable to demonstrate and carry out with such an intensity that may well have a negative impact on themselves and other they come into contact with.

No It Isn’t Just The “Autism”

So when can their “special interests” go wrong from a personal experience I can tell you, when someone you once did trust downloads information to you about satanism, the occult and the disturbing rituals that go with for over an hour, and you have to process what you have just heard (which for me is a significant delay), when my emotional perception has reached its emotional peak years after the incident, when people dismissed and didn’t acknowledge my trauma, depression, nightmares and suicidal ideatation and saw the incident as just someone’s “autism” and I should “get over it”. Then I question this on a personal an professional level.

Paul Isaacs 2016