Note – This is from a personal perspective
In secondary school their was an isolated incident of sexual abuse which I was subjected to, this happened in the changing rooms and I have documented about how I had to get closure on this incident myself.
Alexithymia and dissociative reactions are two strategies that have been put forward as coping mechanisms to alleviate painful emotions. Adult studies reveal an association between alexithymia and dissociation. In line with the coping hypothesis, it was predicted that the relationship between alexithymia and dissociative tendencies would be partly mediated by current levels of stress and past traumatic experiences. Dissociation may also be related to enhanced fantasizing, although alexithymia has traditionally been associated with an incapacity to fantasize
Alexithymia has a common overlap with some people on the autism spectrum, in which the person has problems identifying, wording and extracting inner emotional states, having a language processing disorder no doubt hindered my ability to express (word finding and word losing), visual agnosias of varying kinds and degrees which hindered my to get gestalt perception and mentalise and thus extract the information and process it accordingly.
But imagine that as an autie you get tolerated in a mainstream school of bullying, exclusion etc…. so you try your butt off to pass as ‘non autistic’ or at least mirror others…. but on your own out comes your autie self… and over YEARS the ‘acting normal’ self becomes an ‘alter’ and has its own abilities, its preferences, its dislikes, the things its invested in, the things its disinterested in (like all the ‘autistic’ stuff… because it would attract more bullying, exclusion, etc)….
Donna Williams 2012
Coming to terms with my dissociation is to understand where it came from so here is the a list of events that interacted and caused dissociation and dissociative personas which then in tern effect the association of the “core self” which then in turn had an impact on my psychological and emotional development.
- I was traumatised by children and teachers using functional speech and language at primary school because I could not keep up with it on an interpretive level (this wasn’t done on purpose nor was this anyone’s fault or intention).
- I was put into adult situations at primary school with no advocate or caregiver present (teachers arranging meetings about “negative” behaviour prior and after functional speech so dissociation, personas and exposure anxiety were triggered).
- Having body and pain agnosias meant without clothes on and/or pressure points meant I could detach and dissociate quicker.
- Having prosopagnosia secondary to simultagnosia meant I bonded with the “person in the mirror” in toilets and washrooms.
- Secondary school involved the use of three personas all with splintering personality types, learning and communication styles and “tasks” both motivational and/or otherwise to “protect” on a subconscious level the “core self”.
- Only became self aware of being “different” at 16 and later was using word “autism/autistic” at 18, however lacked a self-awareness of my challenges to others and didn’t consciously change and/or suffer from avoidant and/or social anxiety/phobia.
- PTSD in adulthood and repressed memories of sexual abuse came in later adulthood through nightmares and flashbacks in a distorted and fragmented fashion due to visual perceptual and language processing disorders.
- Outlets for Alexithymia and emotional regulation came up more prominently in adulthood through art, poetry and creative writing and aided my ability to mentalise.
- Being Mercurial and Idiosyncratic meant I could create novel, inventive and “odd” ways of distancing myself from emotional difficulties and pain.
- Being in the “system of sensing” for far longer and still retaining aspects of it meant I valued the world and would sense the energies around me beyond their set interpretive “meaning”.
Accepting What “Brought me to the Dance”
I have no doubt that I have been coloured by my experiences, they mold people, influence, guide them, help them and sadly sometimes destroy them.
I have come to realise the value in experiences regardless of these being positive or negative I still learn from them.
They’re my teachers my reflectors and I refuse to live a half life in which my destiny is to be defined by things that were out of my control and contextual to the knowledge (or lack of) at the time.
Paul Isaacs 2020