Believe it or not I suffer from alexithymia. I have taught myself to check in and figure out how I feel but I don’t do it naturally or automatically.
Before I started writing I never knew how I felt. I had feelings, but to me I was good or bad on a sliding scale. Most of the time, unless I check in or are on one extreme or the other I don’t know how I feel.
Mindfulness has been very helpful to me, constantly scanning my body and reminding myself to pay attention and be in touch with what is happening inside. Awareness was only half the battle for me.
Being aware of my feelings and putting things into words are two very separate skills.
I’ve been writing for years. As a child I wrote rich fiction, always imaging myself as the main character, playing out social situations through my stories.
The older I get the more I crave facts than fiction. My wiring has also changed. Personal journalism has always been helpful to me.
I don’t think that my thoughts naturally flow into words unless I am writing, so when I have a lot on my mind I write often. Sometimes I write things in my head, over and over again.
When I get to the page the concept erupts revealing pieces of myself that I wasn’t even aware of. I surprise myself every day.