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Autism from the inside


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Autism, Alexithymia, Body Disconnection, Mental Health & Loss

Tulips

 

Note – This is from a personal perspective

In short space of time two people dear to me had sadly passed away my Gramp Gilbert Harpwood and my friend Donna Williams (Polly Samuel).

I knew that because of alexithymia I would find this process lag and that I wouldn’t be “emotionally connected” straight away this led me to going day to day with no sort of emotional context at all despite showing on the surface seemingly “connective” emotions they were not connecting with me on the inside.

Alexithymia /ˌlɛksəˈθmiə/ is a personality construct characterized by the subclinical inability to identify and describe emotions in the self.[1] The core characteristics of alexithymia are marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment, and interpersonal relating.[2

Expression Of Grief

After the month and half since my Gramp’s loss and not long after Polly’s I started getting pains in my arm, stabbing and throbbing like a vice was clamped on my left arm. I quickly ruled out tetanus (which is serious bacterial infection) this then progressed into neuropathic – like  pain which was shooting from my neck, jaw, arms, legs, feet and groin “settling” in places for minutes and hours with a “warm”, “tingling” feeling as it moved.

I know this based on having a family history of mood, compulsive and anxiety disorders many things came into place as well as somatisation disorder which is a pseudo pain diversion.

Anxiety and Somatic Disorder

Somatic symptom disorder occurs when a person feels extreme anxiety about physical symptoms such as pain or fatigue. The person has intense thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the symptoms that interfere with daily life.

Anxiety Neuropathic-like Symptoms

Anxiety doesn’t actually create peripheral neuropathy. While anxiety and stress have been thrown around as possible issues that lead to neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy is about nerve damage, not nerve symptoms, and since anxiety is unlikely to cause nerve damage, it can’t technically be peripheral neuropathy.

Dermatillomania (skin picking disorder)

Dermatillomania may be a reflection of a mental health problem. Psychological and behavioural theories suggest that skin picking may be a way of relieving stress or anxiety.

A Dolly Mixture Of Mental Health Conditions

I  know that I have mixture of differing overlapping co-conditions going with my mood disorder being an understandable and normal reaction to grief, skin picking and impulse control disorder which has resulted in my hair being riddled with scabs which is my sub-concious at work, to having excess adrenaline  that is being “stuck” in my body from time to time.

Externalising To Process My Own Emotional States

The alexithymia and associated problems that go with such as body disconnectivty (body agnosias and hemiplegia)  leaving me detached from my own emotional states leaves me also waiting for the emotions to come at a frantic, unprocessed rate leaving me to pick up the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. I have created my own strategies such as writing, poetry and art which help me externalise and thus connect with my own emotional states, thoughts and feelings.

Visual Perceptual Disorders and Mentalising

Another aspect is the visual perceptual disorders which includes simultagnosia (object blindness) assoicated with prosopagnosia (face blindness) and semantic agnosia (meaning blindness) which I have that means my memory isn’t “visual-assoicative ” and I have no “pictures” of “emotional association” so my “meta-reality” (which all people have) has to be externalised.

Remembering

I know that with the slow realisation of my internal states will aid me in the this journey which is a normal journey for human beings, remembering people fondly, the good times, the laughs, the smiles and interactions.

Paul Isaacs 2017

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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