(Mis)perceptions of reality: Autism, psychosis, and my quest for objective truth

For as long as I can remember, I have been preoccupied with the difference between truth, and mistruth. Long before my psychosis began, I wanted to know how the things we held to be true could be proven as objectively true; it seemed to me that truth was in the eye of the beholder.

Six months after my 18th birthday, I discovered that my reality was a shifting and changing experience.

The problem with psychosis is that you don’t know it is happening. You literally experience an alternative reality. What this taught me was that things I held to be true were entirely subjective, which brought me to the realisation that everyone’s interpretation of truth was subjective.

Consider the boundary between truth and mistruth. It is abstract, a non-entity. Said boundary is entirely built from the collective experience of humanity, an experience which is in itself subjective.

Where those experiences intersect and agree, we label it objective truth. How then can we construct truth from a mind such as mine? One in which reality is a malleable and fluid thing. My Autistic Self has been preoccupied with this for many years, and truthfully I am still searching for answers.

Perhaps, then, it is reasonable to argue objective truth in terms of Descartes? “I think, therefore I am”. Of course this is made more complicated by the after-the-fact functioning of consciousness; and yet, I have often found myself drawn to a sort of solipsism during times of crisis.

Thus, we are left with the only thing I can hold to be objectively true from moment to moment. That my sense of identity, my experience of Self, at any given moment, is the only thing I can hold to be true. An identity that itself is constructed from interactions with my (mis)perceived reality.

So, when I argue the importance of community-connectedness, I am going beyond minority stress models, and beyond social reciprocity. For me, the communities I interact with, and the individuals that I speak with, are directly constructing my truth.

That is why the Autistic community is so vital to me. They have built the only thing that I know to be true.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an Autistic consultant and trainer, educating on the topics of Autistic experience, mental health, and drug and alcohol use. He has several years experience in this area as well as personal lived experience. You can find out more about his consultancy services at www.dghneurodivergentconsultancy.co.uk

3 thoughts on “(Mis)perceptions of reality: Autism, psychosis, and my quest for objective truth

  1. I too have always been a seeker after Truth, on every level. But have now concluded that objective truth really does not exist. I think too that as individuals we are not a fixed point – there is no one ‘us’ although I do believe that there is some essence of each one of us that is always present and always unchanged. Your blog made me think of a story I read once about a young autistic boy who didn’t like to spend time in his garden at home. He told his mother that this was because ‘the clack clack of butterflies’ wings’ disturbed him, he didn’t like the noise. Neurodivergent people experience the world in such different ways to non neurodivergent people. That doesn’t make those experiences untrue.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: