Note – This is from a personal perspective of my autism profile, identity and ethos
I have never seen the day of was diagnosed as “autism” being all of “me” and since then I have come to understand why. The day I was diagnosed my parents were present through the process and on the way back to the car my Mum said to me you are still “Paul”.
Autistic Identity Vs. Human Selfhood
She was right in so many ways and that is why I didn’t fall down the hole of the “autistic identity” phenomena with all its trappings of rhetoric (idolisation and recycled stereotypes), confirmation bias (lacking objective reasoning), group think (cliques and separatism) which regardless of intent cause confusion and sometimes overriding opinion over factual information sharing.
Information Processing Challenges Aren’t Unique To Autism
Understanding my own personal information processing challenges took time firstly what the are and where they came from. I had brain injury at birth and no information processing challenge in its own right is “autism” not one what what makes and aut-is-tic presentation is if you have many – for me it was being faceblind, object blind, meaning blind as an extension of visual perceptual challenges, body agnosic, hemiplegia and pain agnosia as an extension of body disconnectivity, language processing challenges which meant I was meaning deaf, didn’t get a shared sense of social until later in adulthood and I was tactile kinesthetic in my style of learning, context, bonding and mentalising.
Mental Health Conditions Aren’t “The Autism”
My mental health co-conditions are not the autism (but can and did temper surface presentation at the time) they do however come along for the ride such as mood disorders in mid infancy infancy, dissociation due being meaning deaf in later infancy, obsessive compulsive disorder by my early teens and exposure anxiety which came about prior to gaining functional speech between the ages 7/8 years old.
Autism, Personality Types, Disordered Extremes & Its Broader Context
When it came to my early adulthood I was diagnosed with borderline and schziotypal personality disorders these were in my case not a misdiagnosis (this also included auditory hallucinations and psychosis). So what can we learn from this in the broader context? That people on the autism spectrum have personalities too and the traits like all other human beings the common being devoted/dependant. conscientious/obsessive compulsive, idiosyncratic/schziotypal, solitary/schizoid. This suggests to me that non-autistic folk can also present as “autistic” because they could have “autistic presented” personality types with certain attachment styles and sensitives. This means that what people are again calling the autism is it that really accurate and in a broader sense helpful? I am solitary, mercurial, serious, self-sacrificing and idiosyncratic. I am also asexual and asocial.
I Am A Happy Human Being? Or Happy Being Human?
Now I can only speak from my own experiences and I can say that I am neither proud, ashamed or otherwise with regards to my diagnosis it just is – this doesn’t come from apathetic dismissal nor does it come from non acceptance. I see myself as a person first not because of shame but because all people are patchwork quilted, layered, multi-faceted – autism is part of who I am not the centre nor is its bulking up my selfhood.
I am happy being a human not a lot people get that chance.
Paul Isaacs 2022