Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Most Common “Pieces” in People’s Autism “Fruit Salad”

Autism Most Common Image

Donna Williams’ (Polly Samuel) set a legacy in what the adjective “autism” meant it was like a bowl of fruit and different pieces of fruit mean different things in this overview she covered in the image above the most common aspects of someone autism “fruit salad.”

 

 

Social Emotional Agnosia – Not perceiving body language, tone of voice and facial experiences means that person only “sees” and “hears” facts that means that the person maybe socially anxious and may need information shared to them (including emotional supply) in factual/pragmatic way.

Faceblindness – A person who doesn’t recognise people by their faces this means the person may connect more with the what the person is wearing, hairstyles, jewellery, voice patterns, walking gait. context is also an issue such as meeting people and/or getting used to seeing someone one context may not translate to another. You may need to ask them is they struggle with faces.

Simultagnosia – (Object Blindness) – A person who only see’s pieces of a their visual field and not wholes this could mean that the person finds certain environments difficult to navigate, people, places, objects may be hard to track causing anxiety, overload and on the opposite end euphoria and “sensory highs” that is person who is addicted to their own “chemical highs”. Lightening, colours, patterns, colours, stairs (surface changes), shadows will all have an impact on perception.

Alexithymia – A person who does not process and/or perceive their emotions in “real-time” this can cause a reactionary delay meaning the person is always “trailing behind” to some degree and may give surface “responses” rather than “connected” responses. Give the person time to respond.

Dyspraxia & Overload – A person is struggles to motor-ordination issues, the movement of their body and limbs in and around their environment being prone to overload could be due to the brain and bodies movement not being in tandem causing/triggering chemical imbalances.

Lack of Simultaneous – Self and Other – A person who can do either “all self no other” and/or “all other no self” this means the a shared sense of “social” may be delayed and the mono-tracked way of conversing may have to be adapted to allow time between “switching”.

Language Processing Disorder – A language processing disorder can come in many forms and presentations the ability to find words (anomia), the ability to construct sentences (pragmatics) and the ability to receive and express meaning with interpretation some people may be “meaning deaf” (aphasia, verbal auditory agnosia) and need for example object of references gesture and tone and other who are literal in their perception and have atonia may need facts and to limit body language.

Communication Disorders – Some people may get tongue tied, stammer, are “tone-deaf”, have tourette’s, have verbal agnosia and talk through echolalia (TV shows, Jingles, DVDs and TV shows), some people have oral apraxia (the ability to use their tongue and facial muscles) having visual perceptual issues and associated personality types which in turn have an impact on style and/presentation.

Exposure Anxiety – A person who is triggered by direct communication and “exposure” triggering compulsive, avoidance, retaliation and diversion responses meaning that “direct communication” you may need to use a “indirectly confrontational response” such as focusing on the object, situation not the person, humanising objects.

Lack Of Mentalising – The inability to “juggle” information with a level of coherence this could be to do with information processing delays, sensory perceptual disorders, social perception and/or language processing this means that you need to work out the person’s “system” of integrating information with associated meaning.

Personality, Identity and Attachment – This is how the person sees themselves, differing personality types will colour a person’s interpersonal wants and needs and communication styles, sexuality and gender

Mental Health – These associated conditions will have an impact on presentation such as mood, impulse control, anxiety, dissociation and attachment disorders.

Physical Issues – They may have auto-immune disorders, disorders of metabolism, dietary disabilities, genetic anomalies which have an impact on overall functioning.

Paul Isaacs 2018

 


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The Problem with Somatisation Disorder

Image result for Somatization disorder

Note this is from a personal perspective

Certain personality types (such as mercurial/borderline) are more akin to having somatisation type disorders in which person feels they are becoming increasingly ill and/or have serious and multiple symptoms that indicated a serious illness and/disease.

“The main features are multiple, recurrent and frequently changing physical symptoms of at least two years duration. Most patients have a long and complicated history of contact with both primary and specialist medical care services, during which many negative investigations or fruitless exploratory operations may have been carried out. Symptoms may be referred to any part or system of the body. The course of the disorder is chronic and fluctuating, and is often associated with disruption of social, interpersonal, and family behaviour.”

Awareness of Emotional States and Somatic Pain

The persistence is the pain and the feeling that invokes, having alexithymia means that I have problems identifying what my inner states are leading to often painful and chronic psychosomatic symptoms which in my life time have included as follows

  • Nausea
  • Tension Headaches
  • Toothaches
  • Jaw aches
  • Lower back Pain
  • Arm and Shoulder Pain
  • Pins and Needles in Legs and Feet

The recent bout is having a pulsating tinnitus in my left ear which is anxiety/stress related and is not due cardiovascular disorder and or stroke related symptoms but never the less is persistent at the moment. Age and awareness in my case have helped with these areas of anxiety and “getting on with it” as means to move on and look towards the psychological/developmental aspects they have on me in terms and working from there.

Paul Isaacs 2018

 


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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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Mental Health: Reflections Of Moving On From Negative Environments

ShortsNote: This is from a personal perspective

Negative environments

Negative environments can leave “hidden difficulties” that become about to the mix of things that may not of been there when the person entered them. Mental health is tempestuous subject in itself but looking after one’s own mental health and being aware of the “warning signs” of mental health issues can be a very difficult one to acknowledge and accept that is happening.

Slow escalation of events

Sometimes events can slowly build up from behaviours of others, this may have a slow gradient like effect that initially may seem quite “mild” in the sense that the overall impact is small and may well be just secluded to the event which happened and the person is able to get on with their day with no trouble at all.

Sometimes “resolve” doesn’t come in the form you expect

What if that situation lacks resolve but you yourself want a resolve? What is the situation is being mishandled? And you yourself want it to be handled correctly?

With a moral compass for feelings to not only be acknowledged but to withhold a balanced and healthy level of objectivity.

If those basic foundations aren’t in place for whatever reason and you feel trapped and/or obliged to keep going, there is going to be a tipping point and decision making that needs to be addressed, surely for the benefit of the parties involved.

Let go of the situation and the people within it

My reflections are only from a personal perspective on whence they happened but I believe that one of the primary mistakes that were made by me was to keep staying for the long term – I know why I did. It was primary because I didn’t want to leave; it made me feel uncomfortable for the future and what that meant in the long term.

Positivity and new experiences are valued

When I left the situation my mental health improved gradually to a point where my mental health was on an even keel and was not impacted by mood disorders, emotional regulation problems, clinical depression, and personality disorders. The “invisible chains” that had shackled me where gone I had gained a level of control, autonomy, roundedness with the ability to look back not in shame, self-pity but that a lesson was learned.

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Alexithymia, Somatisation Disorder, Emotional Regulation & the Loss of a Dog

Sometimes words cannot express in times the grief those thoughts, feelings and wants that you had for a loved one once they have passed on. This is from a personal perspective.

Emotions within “the self”

Being aware that such an emotion exists within at all can be difficult to decode and grasp in the end interpret within the context of its own reality and within its own significance one can witness and event that was seen to happening and not “connect” with it in a way which feels that is “correct” , “just” and “suitable” to me that is fine I understand why this happens within my “internal” self this is a road that I cross with not being able to “filter” or “interpret” my emotional states in “real time” or course one would expect a level of delay in such circumstances – but over many years I have noticed patterns my own behaviour that manifest during these times of grief.

Alexithymia and “emotional perception”

In my first book I document times of emotional perceptual difficulty either displaying an emotion and not connecting its own context or significance (such as crying from an emotive reason for example but not “naming” the reason or reasons behind it) or having delayed emotional perception which means a situation could be happening on a constant basis and it could take me years to filter how “I” felt about it like a wave of raw emotion hitting me all at once, in my teenager years I feel as if being “attacked” by my own emotions hitting my arms and legs, tensing my face and knuckling the temples of my head.

Emotional regulation

Regulating ones mood I have found to be difficult because the “origin” or “starting point “may take to time to be seen, understood and processed within the significance of the “self” and then the “other” (if other specific parties are involved) this loop once stared may well be overwhelming so the filtering starts on a difficult level now understanding and significance come into play.

Somatisation disorder

DSM-IV-TR
The DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria are:
• A history of somatic complaints over several years, starting prior to the age of 30.
• Such symptoms cannot be fully explained by a general medical condition or substance use OR, when there is an associated medical condition, the impairments due to the somatic symptoms are more severe than generally expected.
• Complaints are not feigned as in malingering or factitious disorder.

This has manifested itself in many different forms over the years it could be a headache, stomach ache, back pain, limb tenderness the list goes on but it seems to have running theme within my “decoding of emotions” with the death of my dog recently I started to have what I perceived as a toothache this pain last for well over three months (have problems with perceiving pain and trauma) I recently went to the dentist for a check-up and low and behold the wisdom tooth which I thought was “decayed” was healthy and no problems persisted.

Days after the dentist appointment the “pain” disappeared – I believe there is a connection between personality types, my emotional perception, and mood management and somatisation disorder and how I deal with grief and deep emotional states.

Emotions are human

Human beings are emotional beings and there are many different ways in which a person shall decode, evaluate, self-reference, and acknowledge and ultimately “deal” with their own emotional states is seems there are many emotional roads to Rome.

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


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What I Have Observed In The Autism World – It Needs To Change

The Beginning 

Author ImageI was diagnosed with Autism in 2010 at the age of 24 years old that same year I started a new career venture as a public speaker and later a trainer and consultant. After the diagnosis as my parents and I were walking towards car my Mum gently directed and reaffirmed to me that I was person first and both she and my Dad had always seen me (and would continue to do so) as “Paul”.

Culture Shock – Part 1

In my own naivety I was unaware that autism had a pre-existing “culture” that was in place I was slowly being introduced to words that I wasn’t either comfortable with or didn’t understand their significance in the ways of the world. To me in 2011 is where these internalised struggles started people were in directly and later directly saying that autism defines every part of them, what they do how they think and feel. I wanted to know the mechanics of my autism to empower others that was all. I also was on   a quest for my sense of personhood that I valued and still do first and foremost.

Autism Isn’t “One Thing”

Over the many years as a speaker, trainer and consultant it is only fair that Autism should  not be seen as a mass of traits that  affect the people who are diagnosed in the same way but as clustering of pre- existing elements that create one’s own unique profile. In 2010 I was introduced to Donna Williams’ Fruit Salad model of Autism which has helped understand the mechanics of me but a clear and firm realisation that seeing myself as a person first isn’t a negative thing but a positive thing.

Culture Shock – Part 2

As an advocate on the Autism spectrum I feel I have a personal and professional responsibility to not project the tired stereotypes and that the only perspective I can speak from is my own. Sadly, what I have seen is a very negative side of this culture which includes “neurotypical” being used as reversed prejudiced attack – I dislike this word as it creates more barriers and in my view isn’t the correct word to use. I have witnessed “them” and “us” language, separatism, militancy, bullying, death threats and character assassinations.

This in the last two years has been a real concern for me regardless of if you are on the spectrum or not this is no excuse for such behaviours. We should all learn to respect each other’s views regardless of disagreement. Personally I don’t see Autism as culture but as a disability where  a culture has been built around it. It is a set of ideas.

Mental Health – A Personal Perspective 

Because of these issues and others this has taken a toll on my mental health I have seen to much and it has made me question a lot things over the last year or so. I lost myself through over investment and low self-esteem and self worth. This is partly because my views were not seen on par with the status quo and partly the way in which I was told either through silence or attacks, I know I am worth more.

Equalism

I worry about the people on the autism spectrum who are functionally non-verbal, those who have autism with a learning disability and  parents and guardians are not getting their voices, opinions and realities heard and acknowledged.

Everyone is equal so therefore realities are equal (even if in reality it doesn’t happen) so if that is the case then the whole spectrum should be included? Surely?

Personhood First? Why is this Important? 

I was born a person and I will not shackled into thinking  that every aspect of me is my autism – for the reasons stated above I am going to explore other ventures such as art, poetry, fashion and so forth.

I am still an advocate, I will present speeches, present training, write and blog but with a different mindset to the world which I was eagerly presented to. I shall not miss this aspect of it – it is damaging and misleading and in my opinion needs to change before others get treated the same way.

Beyond The Label (Pastures Green)

Ever the thoughtless fable to define someone by a label

To glamourise or demonise is the answer listen to your call

Can you really speak for all? A court Jestor or fool?

Beyond the label is before loving the person for themselves

Out of the confines you shed a smile. It has been a while?

I look at the rolling fields and trees, the splender of the grass

The waving flowers and the earth, watching the world pass

The plodding dog eager to please, always up for a tease

I have no regrets my body is fluid it doesn’t stall to freeze

I sup on tea and live in moment -I want to please.

 

Paul Isaacs 2015