‘Living through the haze’ with Paul Isaacs
“My name is Paul Isaacs and I have been an advocate for over eleven years. I was diagnosed with autism and OCD at the age of 25 in 2010 and later diagnosed with visual perceptual disorders and learning difficulties in 2012.
I was born in 1986 – a month premature and it was a difficult birth, fetal distress, placental abruption and brain injury. My mother thought I was deaf and blind at 6 months old and noticed delays in speech, language and motor development. I went through mainstream education and being meaning deaf, meaning blind child I could not in internalise words, I saw people, places and objects in bits and pieces and would try to understand the world around me through my body – licking, sniffing, tapping and rubbing to externalise and gain association.
I didn’t gain functional speech between the ages of 7/8 years old old it was at that point expressively of a three year old, before that my language was based around things I had watched on the television at home I was echolalic and had an idiosyncratic pattern, theme and feel way of adopting my own “language” (non-interpretive but but had an inner relevance reality) vs. the interpretive language or the world/environment around me.
Exposure Anxiety (a form of anxiety termed by the late Donna Williams) has been a great battle throughout my infancy, teens and early adulthood in which I would have compulsive retaliation, diversion responses when “self awareness and awareness of self e.g. my existence” I was made aware of. This would come out as echolalic litaines, mutism and dissociation.
The switching between the unconscious world of “sensing” in which merged with people to a more interpretive framework was a great trail for me.
In my education I was bullied and also in employment in which I was diagnosed in 2007 with personality disorders, psychosis and auditory hallucinations – this was no doubt a stress response and my nervous system trying to get a rest and cool down. It is a fact that up 70 percent of people on the autism spectrum have mental health co-conditions.
Now as an adult I have learnt to let go and rationalise the past as lessons to be learned, lessons to be shared and lessons to be reflected upon, I strive for knowledge, egalitarianism, realness and autonomy. In my free time I enjoy connecting with friends, creating artwork, poetry and introspective writings”.