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Autism from the inside


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A Tall Tail Of Somotisation Disorder

The Beginning

I started getting symptoms of this in late infancy around 11 years old this was related to mitigating factors both to do with neurological processing such as aphasia, alexithymia and visual agnosias, environmental factors bullying and emotional triggering.

Psycho-Somatic Trauma Based Response to Negative Environment Experiences?

I would get sensations of my body “melting”, headaches, stomachaches, tingling in limbs, face and lips and by the time secondary school came and chronic bullying persisted in the first two weeks the pain would start again as stated above.

In particular, the pattern of shrinking was observed in two parts of the brain called the putamen and the caudate, a change oddly reminiscent of adults who have experienced early life stress, such as childhood maltreatment.

These sensations would cause me to have intestinal discomfort ranging from chronic constipation to nausea.

I would go to the school reception during lunch break sometimes on a almost daily basis saying either about a stomachache and/or headache. I would sit in floods of tears wanting to go home this went on for approximately 18 months as my nervous system was also being pushed as panic attacks usually followed before and/or after an episode of pain.

This meant that obsessive-compulsive disorder manifested in persistent hand-washing, counting, checking and reassurance around illness and disease began which last from the ages of 12 to 15.

Psychological Pain Presenting as Physical Pain?

What is Somatic Symptom Disorder

People with somatic symptom disorder experience real physical symptoms — they are not imagined. These symptoms can vary in intensity from mild to severe and often include breathlessness, exhaustion, or weakness, though pain is the most commonly reported symptom.ย Doctors may be unable to pinpoint a medical reason, or there may be a clear and diagnosable medical cause. However, people with somatic symptom disorder are likely to experience the symptoms of their illness more severely than is common.

 

Fast forward to this year and very recently I woke up in tremendous pain it started with an “itching” sensation in my lower arms and legs, then they felt like they were on fire, I got up and moved my legs persistently for 40 mins trying to “release” the sensation

I went to the GP this week who confirmed somatisation disorder secondary to an anxiety disorder, PTSD, depression and hypercondriasis which makes sense.

Pain would be triggered by talking about illness in any context,so for example people on the bus sat behind me and in the GP waiting room for example the described pain would migrate and move from my lower back, to my upper back from upper limbs to my lower limbs my body would begin to shake and adrenaline fired through my body, my stomach muscles would cramp up and it would gurgle.

I went for a walk two nights ago and my feet went “numb” this caused great distress and panic as I walked home however bursting into tears was a great release for me.

Conclusion

Now most of pain has subsided but what does psycho-somatic pain represent? For me I feel it is unprocessed emotions, recent environmental distress and need for my body and brain to calm down.

Paul Isaacs 2019


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Autism, Dissociation, Exposure Anxiety & Understanding Criticism

Paul Long Crendon1

Overview

This is from my Personal Perspective of Autism, Dissociation & Exposure Anxiety

Autism And Information Processing

During my younger years I was in mainstream education despite having obvious early signs of Autism speech and language delay. receptive, expressive language processing challenges and visual perceptual disorders. My Autism wasn’t recognised until adulthood.

Primary School And Emotional Triggers

During my Primary School years after I gained functional speech between the ages 7/8 years old so this was between 1993 and 1994 (I had the expressive language of a 3 year old and poor receptive language).

I was subjected to heavy bouts of criticism and bullying – I now understand that was done in a unprofessional and unproductive manner the headteacher at school had one to one meetings with me during this time (with no mentor or advocate). Telling me all my faults, mishaps, wrong behaviours and problems with me.

Due to problems integrating and managing incoming information I was unable to take such comments on the personal.

Also one has to note that the teachers frame of refrence is all they could got by.

Dissociation, Exposure Anxiety And Primary School

For me this was too much exposure of self (something Donna Williams talks about Exposure Anxiety) I had a lack of awareness of “self” and “other” so I dissociated creating a “persona” to deal and cope with the barrage of information this “persona” would deal with this conflict because “I” couldn’t.

This went on up until the last year of school different teachers comment either to me or to my parents about my “odd” behaviour.

When I was referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in 1996 during my last year of school I was suffering from a “nervous throat” and childhood depression in the meetings.

I was to explain about why a particular teacher was bullying me this caused me to created another “persona” to deal with situation the exposure of self and the the information processing was too much however I tried my best to give her the information required.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder And Sexual Abuse At Secondary School

Until very recently I have to process and come to terms with PTSD with regards to an incident that happened at secondary school which resulted in sexual abuse through flashbacks and intrusive nightmares (this is all I can disclose because of personal reasons).

I have know doubt this has subconsciously had an affect on my self-worth, identity but I have come through this rather well and will continue to not be seen as an “object” or “thing”.

Criticism – It Is Needed

Now we come full circle I know that my negative exposure to extreme criticism during my educational years has had an affect on what I subconsciously associate with what criticism is.

In my head I like and want to be challenged criticised as it is needed for all human beings it is about

  • Give and take
  • Other peoples views (not just you own)
  • Validity for all
  • Equality for all
  • Fairness for all

Dissociation & Negative Associations

However “my body, face and mouth” don’t seem to connect with my “head” and I would dissociate quickly with the “persona ” that wascreated over ten years ago to deal with the perceived attack (PTSD).

My Mum has observed my face changes as do my eyes. This doesn’t however mean I’m not challenged although externally that would seem to be the case.

How I Cope With This

Firstly recognising where it comes from and for me personally and staying true what is my “head” is saying I like and want to be challenged criticised as it is needed for all human beings.

It is about give and take, other people’s views (not just you own), validity, equality and fairness and in turn dealing with therapy on how to cope with dissociation and what my body is doing and feeling like when my consciousness is taking step backwards.

By understanding this I can move and take a step forwards in a positive and productive manner. ๐Ÿ™‚

AUTISM & DISSOCIATION PAGE

DONNA WILLIAMS’ DISSOCIATION PAGE

AUTISM & DISSOCIATION BLOG

PTSD

THOUSAND YARD STARE

Everybody voice deserves to heard ๐Ÿ™‚ Everybody deserves to challenged in a productive manner too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Paul Isaacs 2014