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Autism from the inside


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Autism, Childhood Trauma Core Beliefs & Moving On

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Note – This is from a personal perspective 

Unpicking Trauma & Distortion Of Core Beliefs 

Defining Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is subtle – it comes in various guises and because there are no visible wounds or scars it is difficult to detect. Emotional abuse damages children’s self-concept, and leaves them believing that they are unworthy of love and affection. Emotional abuse is invariably present in all types of abuse, and the long-term harm from emotional abuse can be equally, if not more damaging, than other forms of abuse.

Childhood Trauma, Negative Core Beliefs,
Perfectionism And Self-Injury (2012) by Jan Sutton

Talking with my CBT therapist yesterday she described that young children are vulnerable to the projection and distortion of “core beliefs” if they are exposed to them from an early age, this no doubt can run into the sub-conscious mind and the person can then act out (with out knowing) these belief systems.

The memory came from when I was around the ages of 7 I was functionally non-verbal and I was told to have a meeting with the headteacher in her office at around lunchtime.

I was in this office for an hour, my parents had not been notified of the meeting, I was not fed or watered that day as a result. I shall bullet point the overall presentation of what she projected to me, during the meeting I had largely dissociated.

  • You do not walk properly
  • You do not talk properly
  • You cannot learn properly
  • You do not learn in the same way as the other children
  • You cannot tie your shoelaces
  • You walk around alone in the playground

This took due to visual-verbal processing and mentalising challenges not only a long time to sink in what she said, but also a level of self-awareness that this had an impact on my self-perception, development and functioning. Through out education my perspectives were often maligned, discarded, ignored or not acted upon in an objective, rationale manner. In 1996 I was sent for therapy at the Park Hill Hospital in Oxford.

The specialist in question had little understanding of my presentation or how I felt about the current situation, it was heavily implied towards the end of the assessment that my parents were abusing me and thus I was attachment disordered.

Sexual Abuse As Teenager

What to Expect After a Teen Is Sexually Abused

Being a teen is already a stressful and confusing time. Experiencing sexual abuse makes life even more confusing. Teens often act as if the abuse did not happen. The pain is too much at times so they work hard to avoid the pain. You may notice in your teen feelings of sadness, nervousness, guilt, and fear; changes in behavior such as withdrawing from friends and family, a drop in school performance, or trouble sleeping; avoiding reminders of the abuse such as people, places, or things; or engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as running away, substance abuse, self-mutilation, or suicidal ideation.

Melissa Reilly, LCSWBrian H. Williams, MD

I was around 15 at the time is came as repressed memory many years later in 2011 (night terrors) and I pursued counselling in 2013 I was made to believe that the repression was not real.

This not being believed and listened (by a professional) then lead me to make my own way to the place where it happened at get closure, I looked at the door for which seemed like forever and I walked silently away.

The incident itself was of anal penetration by a person older than me that was confined in the boys changing rooms and that is all I can remember on the subject, however I can piece to together problems it presented –

Perceived Self & Actual Self?

I am thankful for all my experiences that have happened in my life, positive and negative, good and bad, right or wrong. One has to thank people whom bestowed things onto you it has given me perspective, opened up the pursuit of a balanced self and objective happiness, the promotion of healthy boundaries and ethics has furthered my ability to be connected with myself as person as opposed to a false projection.

Paul Isaacs 2020

 

 

 


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Autism, Unpicking Trauma, Dissociation & Getting A Sense Of Actual Self

Note This from a personal perspective

Language Processing Disorder & Dissociation

It is normal for children to dissociate from their environments to up the to ages of 5 years, old and what I found interesting is that people with a higher level of language processing disorder may be more prone to going in and out of dissociative states. I was subjected to unintentional trauma through language and being spoken to directly this was secondary to exposure anxiety.

This meant there were pockets of both derealisation which is to separate from the environment around YOU and derealisation in which you separate from SELF.

This happened before I gained functional speech which again would on some developmental level have an impact my association with speech (echolalia was more fluid in phonics) and trying to speak on a “interpretative level” was stilted and laboured.

Dissociative Disorder Nos & Creating “Characters “

A dissociate disorder NOS (not otherwise specified) is a disorder that includes a dissociative symptom (i.e., a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment) that does not meet the criteria for any specific dissociative disorder. “Not otherwise specified” disorders are those that don’t fit into any existing diagnostic categories and are generally rare.

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Belinda- The Strong Assertive Persona

This female persona came about and was “born” through the judgement and ignorance of others where I lived, although my verbal skills weren’t very good and people where blaming my parents for my behaviour on their behaviour as parents, and the school was very concerned about me.

When my skills persisted and progressed the first word weren’t be me, but her she was directive, to the point and would fight for me she was on my side, in world where nobody was on my side nor my parents. I often refer to Belinda as the Guardian Persona or The Keeper of the Gates“.

She is strong and assertive, she gets things done, she like problems resolved and also likes to help others in need, some of these traits are from the “core self”, but the person she is based on is my Mum hence the picture to your left. (she is wearing a tweed jacket which is multi-coloured she looks strong and confident).

Peter- The Passive Introverted Persona

This male persona was based very much on the passivity of both my Grandfather and Father both whom have had issues with dealing and managing issues in a similar ways. It was at this time at CAMHS, this alter was evading and would not be able to accept help with issues and would presume, respond and act like everything was OK.

This alter is shy and retreating doesn’t open up to people easily (as opposed to the confidence and drive “Belinda”), this would cause problems with understanding on both sides during my time at CAMHS in late childhood, they didn’t recognise the Autism nor were they recognising that as coping mechanism for the situations that I was dissociating.

The picture on the left is of my Grandfather in late childhood (sepia toned picture, my Gramp with a worried grin on his face), he is about 10 years old. Many of the personality traits of “Peter” come from him and how he dealt with problems.

Mr.G – The “Child/Elfin” Persona

“Mr G” is a child/elfin persona which was created very early through observations and just looking at my surroundings during the time between early and late childhood.

“Mr G” became very prominent as a coping mechanism for the bullying in the workplace during my first job at the age of 16. He has many traits which are to do with being free and expressive, he likes to copy in an echolalic and echopraxic fashion and enjoys “silly” humour and have fun. He is an expression of many things. The other two personas do have very strong characteristics but perhaps “Mr.G’s” sense of being and why is the most poignant.

Personality Types Across The Characters

As you can see by all three descriptions all three “characters” have a function in terms of personalty types, traits, and functions. The female character fits the idiosyncratic personality type, the male character fits the serious and self sacrificing personality type, the child character fits the mercurial personality type.

ADDICTION TO TRAUMA

Some traumatized people remain preoccupied with the trauma at the expense of other life experiences137,141 and continue to re-create it in some form for themselves or for others. War veterans may enlist as mercenaries,128 victims of incest may become prostitutes,47,120,125 and victims of childhood physical abuse seemingly provoke subsequent abuse in foster families53 or become self-mutilators143a Still others identify with the aggressor and do to others what was done to them.21,39 Clinically, these people are observed to have a vague sense of apprehension, emptiness, boredom, and anxiety when not involved in activities reminiscent of the trauma. There is no evidence to support Freud’s idea that repetition eventually leads to mastery and resolution. In fact, reliving the trauma repeatedly in psychotherapy may serve to re-enforce the preoccupation and fixation.

http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/vanderkolk/

Sexual Abuse , Night Terrors & Trauma

An isolated incident of sexual abuse happened to me when I was teenager, this went and was buried deep in my unconscious mind until I developed nightmares in 2013.

Prior to this I was repeating the act on my body for during my late teens with no connection to why. I used to cry in overwhelm as my body and mind (conscious and unconscious) were in disconnect other information processing challenges such as a lack of internal mentalising, visual perceptual disorders, alexithymia and body agnosias aided in this problem with making this important connection.

I was referred to mental health services and dismissed these “nightmares” as anything “real” this meant that closure had to be done on my own terms. I decided to go to the place in which it happened, stood there for some time head bowed in reflection then I walked away and slowly felt a sense of validation and closure.

I have not doubt that this incident has had an impact on the way I view my identity and sexuality, because in many ways it has and to come to terms with that is very difficult but is was a necessary effect on my part to come to a point of complete closure.

Conclusion

The positive news is that I feel more “connected” these days it has taken me well over ten years, since I was in my early twenties to understand and be introspective to myself and gain a greater understanding of not just how I work but most importantly why I work the way I do (imperfections and all). I would not change a thing as life is teacher and I took the time to learn from it.

“Remember be the person you ARE, not the person you were TOLD to BE.

Paul Isaacs 2020


Is Bullying “Normal”?

Here is an interesting observation, many people who bullied me at school and during my time in education I have heard have always said they “observed” the acts never instigated implying overtly they were witness’ not people to take part in the act.

Let’s be frank you did on a daily basis commenting on my appearance.

  1. How I talked
  2. How I walked
  3. My weight
  4. My lack of friends
  5. My lack of intelligence
  6. My emotions
  7. My parents, my grandparents
  8. My social status.

This would happen at class, during breaks/lunchtime, waiting for transport home/during transport and at the place were I live from the ages of 5 to 16 years old.

This also included parents and teachers.

However just because I have made conscious and dedicated effort to see and take the good out of your actions, to not let them define me, to not be bitter or hold on to reductive actions of revenge or futile bitterness of the past that doesn’t not mean your acts were correct.

I can be objective and say it was your homelife, your sense of unfulfilment socially and/or academically, clashing of personality, the chemical imbalances that come with teenagehood, the peer pressure etc.

To which is true, however in terms of projection and hurt you flung on me was vile, cruel and cowardly you made me feel worthless and at multiple times I wanted to not live.

Bullying isn’t a “normal” part of growing up, it isn’t a right of passage, it isn’t a phase and the word itself trivialises the actions which is, psychological and/or physical abuse and projected trauma onto another human being.

I thank you for bestowing these actions on me because you gave me a framework how not to treat people, I understand a lot of you have families and children.

I hope you have matured and changed as you have grown and I sincerely wish your young one’s do not go through what I went through.

I refuse to be a victim of the past, for I do not want it to live in my future.

Paul Isaacs 2020


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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. 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, 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