Let’s talk about my Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder for a second…

Just Perfect…

Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is characterized by perfectionism, excessive attention to detail, and working excessively. This can cause problems at work or school since the individual might refuse to participate in certain activities or arguments over trivial things. While they may seem like nitpicking, people with OCPD are actually highly stressed out themselves.

Ouch?!

They have a hard time with relationships, since they tend to be very harsh on themselves and others. This may cause social problems because the individual might not understand what is socially acceptable. They are also generally intolerant of people who do not share their views or work ethic. Lastly, they are known for being stubborn when it comes to accepting criticism.

Mmm…

If social problems are not already prevalent enough, individuals with OCPD will often create them. They may be too critical of others and their behaviors or talk back when they don’t get what they want; this leads to arguments and confrontations. The disorder’s name is derived from the word “obsessive,” since the individual might be obsessed with staying clean or doing certain tasks in a specific way. They could wash their hands for hours if they are afraid of germs, for example.

Phew!

You should not confuse OCPD with OCD, since obsessive compulsive disorder is different from this personality disorder. People who have OCD actually experience intrusive thoughts that could disturb them immensely, whereas people with OCPD simply do certain things repeatedly to an excessive degree. Since OCPD is not considered a health problem, the two are often confused with each other.

I never knew

People with obsessive compulsive personality disorder might not even realize they have it, because their behavior is so regular to them. They may only seek treatment when someone tells them that there are issues in their life or issues that concern other people around them. If you think someone might have OCPD, just remind yourself of the signs and symptoms we mentioned above and take note of how they behave in different situations.

So Cool!

So cool to me that I have high-functioning Autistic Savant syndrome with co-morbid ADHD and OCPD. Unstoppable!

Autism with a side-order of ADHD

I always felt like I have a strong urge to discover things, you know. Like a pioneer! Venturing out into the unknown to explore and experience the chaos first-hand. Apparently my ADHD was not welcome in this modern world, and it is described as a ‘disorder’. Well, to me I make sense…

Let’s take a closer look at ADHD

ADHD is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents.
It affects 8%-9% of all children, which means nearly everyone has either known someone with ADHD or knows someone who does. ADHD is marked by age-inappropriate levels of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.

While many factors may contribute to the development of ADHD, recent studies have pinpointed a likely cause: prenatal exposure to heavy metals.

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In the past decade, scientists have found significant associations between elevated levels of lead and other heavy metals in utero and an increased risk for developing ADHD later in life.
These findings suggest that it may be possible to diagnose children with ADHD before they ever show symptoms through prenatal lead screening, significantly cutting down on the number of missed diagnoses and letting doctors begin treating patients earlier.

Prenatal exposure to heavy metals has been widely studied in recent years. Pregnant women are routinely screened for exposure to substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and certain illegal drugs, but there was no screening process for exposure to heavy metals until recently.
An August 2017 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that prenatal exposure to lead was significantly associated with ADHD, even at levels below what is currently considered “safe” by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While scientists are still working to understand precisely how elevated metal levels lead to ADHD, there are several possible explanations. The most obvious is that metals disrupt the brain’s ability to function correctly by interfering with neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for attention span. That interference can occur even before birth if a mother has elevated levels of heavy metals in her system during pregnancy or if she absorbs them through her diet (exposure to certain types of fish has been linked to increased mental levels).

Maternal intake of certain metals during pregnancy has also affected the baby’s metabolism, including lead. Children exposed to lead before birth are at greater risk for lower IQs and developmental problems later in life. Other possible explanations include oxidative stress (a condition where the body can’t correctly detoxify itself) and disruptions in thyroid hormones.

The study found that children with prenatal lead exposure had more than twice as many ADHD symptoms, including hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. While this doesn’t mean that all ADHD cases are caused by exposure to heavy metals (only 8%-9% of all cases fall into this category), it does mean that children with ADHD should be routinely screened for exposure to heavy metals.

The discovery has enormous implications for both immediate and long-term treatment of ADHD, as doctors can identify and begin treating patients much earlier than previously possible. This reduces the need for expensive follow-up treatments like therapy or medication and lessens the number of misdiagnoses or incorrect medication prescriptions.
It’s important to remember that heavy metal exposure is only one possible cause of ADHD, so it should never be used as a stand-alone diagnosis. Screening can allow physicians to catch confounding factors, allowing them to determine the most effective course of treatment for patients.

In the longer run, new technology may also be developed based on these findings. Scientists may design neuroprotective drugs that can help mitigate some of ADHD’s worst symptoms with a precise understanding of how metal levels affect metabolic pathways in the brain.

Although research is still ongoing into exactly how metals affect the brain and their further implications for neurological health, scientists have shown that greater prenatal exposure to lead is significantly correlated with increased ADHD symptoms in children. This discovery could prove instrumental in allowing physicians to diagnose and treat mental illness more accurately.

Well, that was interesting

If you’ll excuse me, I’m taking my autism and my ADHD and my OCPD and I’m stepping outside to explore…

Autism and Music: sounds interesting!

**Update 18.10.2021: Thank to all for the beautiful and terrible comments from both Neurodivergent and Neurotypical folk. I have been misunderstood my entire life so it just makes me feel that I will probably be misunderstood my entire life.

For people not diagnosed with Autism, it may seem difficult to understand how someone diagnosed with Autism feels and thinks since most people cannot experience what it’s like to have friends or family members who cannot recognize specific signals or signs that can help guide them through their everyday tasks. However, society must understand what autistic friends and family members go through as this is the only way to help them manage their struggle with Autism.

Specific instruments

A typical example of this struggle is how those who have Autism often take music differently than others. For most neurotypical (i.e., non-autistic) people, it’s often the first thing that comes to mind when describing emotion and mood. However, most autistics are less affected by music because they don’t view things the same way others do. Rather than associating songs with emotions or memories, it’s more likely for an autistic person to associate specific instruments with different types of mood instead of just one kind of mood or emotion. However, this means that songs without the proper instruments cannot invoke the same feelings in autistic people. This is why music therapists need to note which instruments each autistic person responds best when using as a form of treatment.

Sensitive to volume

This also correlates with how autistics are more sensitive to volume than neurotypicals because they process noise differently. Since most neurotypical people enjoy loud noises, they tend to turn up their stereos higher than someone might be capable of handling since they can endure more harsh sounds. In contrast, an autistic person exposed to louder volumes would likely negatively affect their health or wellness even though they can’t comprehend why loud noises bother them so much. Hence, this is why music therapy on autistics must note the volume levels they use to produce the instruments and what types of effects specific volumes have on them during treatment sessions.

Different forms of Autism

In addition to that, there are three main types of Autism – classic Autism, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder – each with its unique signs and symptoms. Since every autistic person has a different way of thinking than a neurotypical person, music therapists need to focus more on individualized treatment based upon each patient rather than basing it off one piece or method since some may not work out properly for those who suffer from different forms of Autism.          

Music therapy

Overall, music therapy can help autistic people better cope with their emotions and can even act as a method of communication. However, music therapists need to note that not all autistics will respond the same way to music that neurotypicals usually do. Because every autistic person has different tastes in instruments and ways of thinking, they need to focus on these details when dealing with patients who have been diagnosed with Autism.

Autism and Sarcasm, ugh…

Autism is a disorder present from birth, characterized by problems with social interaction and communication and unusually restrictive and repetitive interests and behavior. While these features can make it difficult for autistic people to participate in the world around them, even those who do not meet the criteria for diagnosis can struggle with their struggles’ impact on how they interact with others. One such common complication is the difficulty many autistic people have with understanding and interpreting sarcasm.

Understanding Sarcasm

As most people know it, sarcasm implies or directly states something that does mean what it literally says; its intention is usually to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning. The simplest example: someone criticizes you for being late to work by saying, “Well done.” In this case, the criticism is literal and sincere, while the praise is sarcastic.

Conveying sarcasm can be a problem even for those without autism. Depending on intonation and other nonverbal cues, it’s easy to confuse a statement that means its opposite with a statement that is its opposite. People communicating sarcasm often use exaggerated voice tone, volume, and speed to convey their intent clearly. But these features can be complicated for autistic people to interpret; even those who do not meet the criteria for the disorder may have difficulty understanding tone of voice or recognizing nonverbal cues.

It’s important to note that a person who doesn’t understand sarcasm may not automatically pick up on every kind of indirect communication. A nonfiction article from the National Autistic Society suggests that people without autism have trouble understanding all types of “indirect reference,” including devices such as metaphor, understatement, and implication — none of which necessarily involve sarcasm or exaggeration.

Understanding Sarcasm in ASD

People on the autism spectrum may have particular problems detecting sarcasm, especially if they are high-functioning and verbal. It’s hard to know exactly what goes on in their minds when someone uses phrases like “got it” or “I see,” which are often utilized sarcastically by neurotypical people who are aware of the problems autistic people have with interpreting this kind of language.

An article from Autism Speaks cites a study where researchers asked participants to describe how they felt about video clips containing both literal and sarcastic interpretations of such phrases. While neurotypical participants often said they found the literal interpretation more convincing, some high-functioning autistic participants said they found the sarcastic interpretation more convincing.

Cultural Differences

Some researchers have suggested that a “lack of understanding” of nonverbal cues may be a bigger problem for autistic people than literal comprehension. Still, it’s important to note that sarcasm is only one type of indirect communication. There are also implications, which don’t involve exaggeration or mockery but are just as hard for some people to understand.

The difficulty that many autistic people have in understanding sarcasm is also often attributed to neurological differences. A theory called the “theory of mind deficit” suggests that autism is characterized by deficits in cognitive processes necessary for understanding others’ thoughts and feelings — including their intentions, both positive and negative.

A more recent theory suggests that autistic people have trouble inferring what others are thinking — not because they lack cognitive processes, but because they have difficulty processing the information in a way that makes it useful to them.

An article from Autism-Europe indicates that this deficit isn’t universal among all people with autism; some researchers believe that the ability to understand sarcasm may develop naturally in some people with autism while staying consistently underdeveloped in others.

Sarcasm and ASD: What About Kids?

The question of whether or not autistic children can learn to recognize sarcasm is controversial among researchers, who say that there’s no clear consensus on how it should be defined. Some believe that understanding sarcasm is a learned social skill that can be taught to children with autism. Others say that understanding sarcasm involves a complex mix of cognitive and social skills, which would make these kinds of skills difficult, if not impossible, for people with certain forms of autism to pick up on.

While there’s no way to be sure whether or not an autistic child can understand sarcasm, possible clues include the ability to identify emotions in others correctly and a well-developed sense of humor.

Autism and exceptional memory: Is there a link?

Did your friend mention to you how they could remember so many dates and facts from school while you struggled even with remembering what you did yesterday? If so, it could be because they are an Autistic Savant.

Well, that’s Me?! I am that guy!

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disability that can lead to autistic savants, people who have autism but also have an ability that stands out above their disability. Some autistic savants can memorize dates and facts with ease, while others may be able to remember even the most minor details about what they saw decades ago.

The savant syndrome is a rare phenomenon that occurs in less than one percent of the population, and only ten percent of savants are autistic. While many savants have extraordinary abilities, some can also overcome their disabilities to lead everyday lives.

However, there is no evidence of a link between autism and an exceptional memory, many people with autism claim to have superior memories. However, there exist accounts of autistic people who display no signs of more extraordinary powers yet have memories so sharp it seems as if they have a photographic memory.

Autistic children are more likely to use rehearsal strategies or repeat facts or information repeatedly in their minds, which can help them remember just about anything. It is currently unknown why autistic children use this method more than others, but studies show that it is an effective way to recall information.

Savants are often extraordinary memorizers; however, because of their autism, they may lack social skills. This could mean that autistic savants may not be able to put their exceptional memory to good use. One notable example is an autistic savant named Leslie Lemke, who possessed a photographic memory yet only used it to play the piano.
In addition, studies have been done on college students with autism and their memory abilities. In these studies, scientists found that students with autism did better in short-term spatial memories but were worse at verbal learning. Scientists believe that because these students spent less time processing words, they were better at memorizing and recalling images and spatial patterns.

Autism is a lifelong condition, and it can affect anyone, whether they develop extraordinary abilities or not. Parents of autistic children should not be discouraged by autism but instead seek help from professionals to improve their child’s quality of life.

Parents should also remember that while there is no evidence suggesting an autistic person’s memory may be superior, it does not mean they are less capable than others. Autistic children are more likely to have exceptional visual skills but can also improve their verbal skills so they can lead better lives!

Dear Diary

One of the most interesting concepts among Neurotypical people is that some of them keep a diary. It has always fascinated me, you see, I remember almost everything, vividly. Well, except for my black-out drinking session the 5 years before my failed suicide…

Anyway, it is one of my best qualities, the fact that I have an exceptional memory, but also one of my worst…

Autism and negative memory

All of us are forgetful at times, but for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), forgetting things is a much more common occurrence. There are various reasons for this, one being that individuals with ASD often form stronger memories associated with negative events than in the general population.

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Researchers from the University of Warwick in England conducted experiments in which they played a recording of a story for children with and without ASD. They were then tested on their memories of the story after varying periods of time. Their results showed that those who had ASD formed stronger negative associations than those without, but not necessarily more positive ones.

“The idea is that we all need to know what’s good and bad, what’s better and worse, what to approach and what to avoid. Memory helps us do that by giving us information about the consequences of past experiences,” said Dr Catherine Sebastian from the Department of Psychology at Warwick University. “If a memory is bad then we want to remember it so that we know how best not to behave in future. If a memory is of something good then we want to remember it so that we know what to look out for again. For individuals with autism, their memories are skewed towards the negative, which means they may miss opportunities to learn positive social behavior.”

This suggests that on top of struggling with basic memory formation due to impaired executive functions (such as long-term planning), people with ASD also have difficulties forming positive memories. This is just one of the many reasons that the disorder, which affects 1 in 68 children , continues to be a topic of much interest among scientists.

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“We’d like to gain an improved understanding of what kinds of interventions might help improve learning and memory for people with autism spectrum disorders,” said Dr Sebastian. “For example, we want to look at whether giving more time between learning something and being tested on it could help someone with autism better remember positive information.”

So while ASD individuals may not recall positive memories as well as those without, it’s equally important to remember that their brains can still be taught to form positive associations. The difficulty is only in the training; once trained, their memory for both negative and positive information becomes indistinguishable from others.

Clearly, more research is needed to determine the best method for treating memory problems in ASD individuals, but this study represents an important step forward.

Autism – How My Diet Changed

When I was diagnosed with autism, the nutritionist recommended I start eating more whole grains.  This helped me feel less foggy-brained and prevented me from having meltdowns when my food didn’t agree with me.  Contrary to what most people believe, autism is not a disease or mental illness, therefore there is no medicinal cure.  However, we do have dietary restrictions and allergies which can be debilitating for us.

Lactose

These dietary restrictions and allergies to common food items such as wheat or dairy products, like casein and whey respectively, can cause severe behaviour problems and gastrointestinal distress (which may result in meltdowns.)  A 2013 study showed that children with autism are more likely to be lactose intolerant, which can make it challenging to find delicious and nutritious snacks.  Grilled cheese sandwiches are a staple for most children at lunch, but if the bread contains dairy then this cannot be guacamole or hummus.

Zucchini

If you’re looking for something tasty to replace bread with at lunchtime, look no further.  Zucchini makes a surprisingly good replacement for bread and can be used in a variety of healthy recipes including zoodles (zucchini noodles)!  

If you’re looking for something more nutritious to replace bread with, consider collard greens.  Collards are part of the same family as kale, broccoli, and cabbage.  They are also high in calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), and manganese. They also contain high concentrations of L-theanine, which is an amino acid that promotes relaxation.  

Fancy a Cup?

L-theanine can be found in black tea, green tea, and fermented soybeans.  The amino acid is often used to promote mental alertness without causing sleepiness.  Many people will drink tea before bedtime to promote relaxation and better sleep quality, which is why you may have seen lavender or chamomile tea recommended for people with autism.

Autism and Sport

Body Awareness

My first recollection of my own body is a memory of when I was 4 years old riding a plastic motorcycle. I can clearly recall the thrill of moving at an incredible speed down a hill with the wind blowing through my hair. I can also recall the blood forming on my knee after I fell and how it fascinated me, the red liquid forming droplets on my grazed skin. Pain? Nope, not really… Little did I know that my tolerance of pain would serve me well and be my own worst enemy for the next 3 decades…

Body as a vessel

Growing up in a religious family has been strange since I was told from a young age that my body is merely a vessel for my soul. I only have it temporarily until I die and my soul goes to heaven where I would get a new body. This caused me to feel extremely detached from my own body. For the first 20 years of my life I always believed that my body was not part of me…

Martial Arts

When I was 21 I was fortunate to start training with a Chinese Kung Fu Instructor. He taught me Shaolin Longfist Kung Fu. He taught me the following:

  • My mind and spirit and body is one.
  • My mind can be strong.
  • My body can be trusted.
  • My mind can instruct my body to do what I want it to do.
  • I am one.
  • I am one with nature.
  • If I take care of nature, it will take care of me.
  • Rather be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.

I owe him so much…

He didn’t know that I was on the spectrum and neither did I, yet he had the insight to teach me magic!

Thank you, Master…

If I have to give advice to Neurodivergent people, try Tai Chi to get your mind and body to work in harmony.

Take care

Autism and High School

What Teachers Got Wrong

I grew up in a small town where we only had a Primary School. Inadvertently I was booked into a hostel when I had to attend High School in a neighboring town.

I remember how difficult it was for me to understand why Teachers did not like my approach to answering questions. In my mind, when a Teacher asked a question the following sequence of events unfolded in my brain:

  1. Teacher asks question.
  2. My mind started extrapolating relevant information from all the knowledge ‘files’ already present in my mind.
  3. My mouth spoke the answer even before my hand was raised.
  4. I felt a sense of achievement for being able to repsond so quickly and accurately and was ready for the next question.

Apparently, the Teachers did not find my method that amusing. They explained to me time and time again that I had to:

  1. Raise my hand first.
  2. Wait for the Teacher to acknowledge me.
  3. Speak slowly and succinctly.
  4. Allow other pupils to also answer the questions without immediately pointing out when they were wrong.

The effect

This had an effect on me which would alter my recall ability significantly for the next 2 to 3 decades. This caused me to start keeping my answers to myself. I was reprimanded for knowing all the answers, but I couldn’t help myself, it was just there in my mind.

I got more reclusive and started to engage less in class. My marks took a tumble and where I had a 98% average in school when I was 13, I ended up with a 60% average when I finished school at 18. I just wasn’t interested in playing their game anymore. I never studied and wrote all my exams on general knowledge. I also did not answer all the questions because according to one Teacher, it made the other students ‘look bad’.

It is a pity now that I did not have a mentor who could see that I was on the spectrum, and could guide me through my academic life phase.

To the Teachers

Perhaps read up on Neurodivergent pupils and how to include them. Try to see their potential and help them develop their unique self instead of trying to make them fit in with other Neurotypicals.

Today

Today, for fun, I dabble in science, math, engineering, biology, psychology, geography, writing and martial arts…

At least now I do not keep quiet and I am my authentic self. Finally…

Autism and Money Management

I have made a lot of money in my younger years but spent it all on stupid things because I had no idea what money actually is. Only now do I manage my finances better after using a basic spreadsheet and keeping track of my income and expenditure.

The following article is very interesting:

Financial Resources For Adults With Autism

To venture out into the world as an independent adult is daunting for anyone at first. However, for individuals with autism, they face unique challenges that aren’t generally a concern for those without this developmental disorder. Although there are a number of areas to consider, such as employment, financial planning is a key area of focus for many friends and family members aiming to support their loved one with autism.

Whether your loved one is planning on moving out or has already made this transition, financial issues may continue to appear, leaving you concerned and overwhelmed.

Understanding Issues Surrounding Autism and Saving Money

Money management is an area of concern for millions across the United States and the globe. There’s no denying that money management and financial planning are skills. However, for individuals with autism, these skills are often much harder to learn than they are for the general population — and it’s not due to a lack of understanding.

As reported in one key study, after interviewing youth with autism (aged 16-25), it was found that the majority not only recognized that financial understanding is an essential component of being an independent adult, but that they also felt frustrated with their money management skillset. Another study found that money is a significant barrier and source of anxiety among individuals with autism.

Although each case is unique, many people with autism tend to spend money on things they want, like video games, movies, or anything else that they enjoy collecting. If they are comfortable, they may also spend a lot of money eating out, leaving little money for important things, like rent and bills.

When it comes to budgeting, bank accounts, and saving, it can all be a bit overwhelming — especially if someone with autism gets into debt. That is why it’s imperative that financial support for adults with autism is available.

Money Management Isn’t Typically a Priority for Children with Autism — Which Can Have Lasting Effects

Depending on where a child with autism falls on the spectrum, therapy in the early years can be highly specific. For years, children attend therapy in order to improve reading and verbal literacy, strengthen social skills, and work on problematic behaviors. For the majority of children, money isn’t a topic of conversation that’s ever mentioned.

By the time an individual transitions to young adulthood, and begins planning for their independence, this is an area that tends to be underdeveloped. Banking, for instance, can be incredibly confusing and overwhelming. However, there are now some autism-friendly branches that aim to make this experience easier and less chaotic for those in need.

To Better Prepare for Independence, Adults with Autism Require a Plan and Support

A lack of financial understanding can cause a significant gap, creating a barrier in terms of becoming independent. For those with autism, they often require a plan and your ongoing support, as well as tools they can leverage. The goal is to start as soon as possible.

The following suggestions are great financial resources for adults with autism and help guide you and your loved one along your unique journey. Be sure to adapt key steps based on personal needs, preferences, skill sets, and behaviors.

Step one: Start now

Whether your loved one with autism is twelve or thirty, now is the time to start discussing the role that money plays. Whenever possible, put this into practice. For example, if you need to run an errand, encourage your loved one to pay for small amounts at the grocery store or gas station.

To do so, choose stores where your loved one feels comfortable and has already met the cashier. When you visit stores, remain mindful of what triggers your loved one from a sensory perspective.

Tip: An allowance in exchange for paid chores is often a benefit. Once your loved one has saved enough money from their chores, you can set up a bank account for them to become familiar with in terms of the process and financial terminology.

Step two: Discuss peer pressure

Many adults with autism are desperate to please others and fit in socially. In some cases, they may be manipulated into lending someone money or spending more than they can afford while out with someone who is willing to take advantage of them. The same is true when it comes to salespeople. Their main objective is to sell, which, unfortunately, may lead to untrustworthy misinterpretations.

Read more: Social Skills Activities for Adults with Autism: What’s It All About?

Tip: If you’re concerned that someone has taken advantage of your loved one, you may want to track and review receipts to better understand their purchases. This will be a good time to discuss the monetary value of items and how important budgeting is.

Step three: Make a monthly budget and use visuals

Each month, create a budget in the form of a checklist. Once a high-priority transaction has been made, check it off. Once spending is complete for that month, compare the planned amount vs what was actually spent. For example, you may have budgeted $50 for groceries during week one, but the actual amount spent was $67. Complete this step for each item on your checklist to see if there are any problem areas that really stand out.

Tip: If possible, use visuals to better communicate. For example, pie charts can be helpful. A budget can also be created using a pyramid with different layers (i.e. essential items like rent, food, transportation may be one layer, whereas non-essential items like eating out can be represented as another.

Additional Financial Resources for Adults with Autism

Money management isn’t a skill that anyone learns overnight. It will be important to remain patient and adapt to your unique situation. Also, be sure to leverage as many beneficial resources and support systems as possible. While there are certainly great resources in your local community, here are some tools to help get you started.

Do you require further support? If so, please check out the services offered by the Adult Autism Center of Lifetime Learning. Do not hesitate to reach out regarding any questions or concerns you may have — contact us today!

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