Autistic Confessions – My Own Feelings Are a Mystery to Me (If I Don’t Write)

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.

 

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10 thoughts on “Autistic Confessions – My Own Feelings Are a Mystery to Me (If I Don’t Write)”

  1. In my view, virtually all emotions have to be defined or put into words or symbols to exist for any significant length of time. This explains why most “normal” emotions and emotional responses tend to be culturally determined more than individually determined. If you have a unique emotion based more on your individuality than your culture, it can be very hard to communicate it to others, even impossible. Part of what defines an emotion is its resonance and connection to other systems in the brain and body—memories, associations, comparison, and so on. The more conscious this process is, the more aware we become. Great post. Thanks!

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  2. I too find it easier to know what I’m feeling when I stop and try to write it down. That said I think I only have 5 different feelings – happy, sad, angry, calm or frightened/anxious. When you said ” I don’t think that my thoughts naturally flow into words unless I am writing” I really understand that. I think 100% in pictures. For me words are always a translation into a language that is foreign. I sometimes think that with autism it’s is language itself that is foreign. Pictures and math are much better for me. Really interesting post – keep them coming!

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  3. Strangely enough, writing has helped a lot with my insomnia (though it hasn’t cured it). I’ve discovered that my brain is like a wild maelstrom of wordless ideas swirling around, often making it impossible to simply relax, but turning those ideas and feelings into words on a page allows me to not have to think about them, at least for a while.
    You say you used to create stories with you as the main character so you could play out social situations in your mind. Did you encounter the same problem I always had, namely that people in the real world never responded the way they did in your stories?

    Liked by 1 person

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