Topic: Do you have trouble identifying other physical sensations?

English Alexithymia Forum > Questions and Answers

Do you have trouble identifying other physical sensations?
13.08.2018 by sary

like an itch, or cut in your skin. Do you have to pay attention to internal sensations to feel them, or do you notice them without effort?
how many words can you use to describe pain?
are you aware of when you're feeling hungry, or when you're full, tired,or hot, cold or thirsty, when you have an upset stomach or when you have other internal sensations?
Are there moments when you notice those sensations without thinking about them, alternated by moments when you don't feel them at all?

Você me fez refletir
14.08.2018 by rosilande

Nunca havia pensado sobre esse assunto, mas lendo o seu post e refletindo sobre os questionamentos não tenho certeza se tenho real conhecimento sobre estas questões.
Eu sempre achei estranho o fato de eu não precisar do "sentir forme" para comer.
Eu sinto dor mas consigo lidar bem com ela, explicando melhor, eu não dou a importância a dor como eu vejo as outras pessoas falarem sobre sentir dor.
Você me fez refletir.

Internal sensory processing problems
10.10.2018 by CV

Yes. For those who are autistic, this can coincide with an internal sensory processing problem. I have this issue. If there is a sensation, I don't automatically understand what it is, what it means, or what I'm supposed to do about it. A tiresome triage ensues of going through all the possibilities - eat or drink to see if that ceases the sensation, alter temperature to see if that rectifies it, pinpoint any physical damage such as cuts or strained muscles, take painkillers or antacids and see if that fixes it, etc.
This is particularly a problem with pain and thirst. If I am in hospital they have closer monitoring on me as there may be something hideous happening which causes pain a neurotypical person would instinctively respond to, and I may not realize. I can also get badly dehydrated because my brain will not understand that this sensation is thirst, and to fix this you must drink something, as normal. It's really impossible to accurately describe the difference to another person, especially if that person does not have a sensory processing difference.

Yes & No
11.10.2018 by Jute

I am aware when I'm thirsty or hungry, as I have diabetes and if I don't eat or drink when I need to do so the consequences can be quite alarming. I'm not as aware of pain though as I frequently find bruises and scratches on my body when I undress for bed without any idea of how they came to be there, as I obviously hadn't felt whatever caused them at the time they happened. I have a very limited vocabulary when it comes to describing pain, as it's something that I rarely think about and speak about even less frequently. I frequently confuse sensations like cold, numb and wet. I experience physical symptoms when I experience strong emotions but I generally have no idea what the emotions are. Likewise I don't know whether I'm anxious, annoyed, angry or frustrated. Maybe it's sometimes a combination of them all or none of them at all? I have no idea. I don't lose sleep over it. It is what it is.

14.02.2019 by User76076D72

I don’t really ever feel hunger unless I’ve gone days without eating. I normally don’t realize I need to eat and drink until I start almost passing out when I stand up or get a migraine from dehydration.
Pain is something I can feel but sometimes there’s a delayed response. Like I’ve fallen and scraped up my face on gravel and not felt anything until I saw the blood or I’ll run into something and not feel the pain at all and wonder where bruises came from.
On the other hand, I feel hot and cold almost immediately but what I consider to be hot and cold are considered by others extreme. Anything below 60 degree F is cold. It doesn’t start to get hot to me until the 90 degree F.

22.02.2019 by Will1234

I’m autistic and with my sensory “issues” I can’t deal with small cuts or any type of light touch, though have a massively high pain tolerance. I also have wired bodily sensations like mini spasms and mini seizures multiple times a week. I keep being told I don’t drink enough, don’t know if it’s related to alexithymia or not.

22.02.2019 by Jute

I had sometimes violent, but brief spasms, seizures or whatever they were called that were far more frequent when I was a boy but which have thankfully become less frequent as I got older. Most commonly they occurred when I was in bed and on the verge of dropping off to sleep, then I'd suddenly jerk fully awake, with muscles rigid, because I felt as though someone had touched a high voltage electricity cable to the back of my head. I could sometimes even smell a sort of scorched odor. I assume now that it must have been due to some form of undiagnosed epilepsy. It was undiagnosed because I never told anybody about being struck by 'invisible lightning' while I was in bed.

22.02.2019 by Will1234

I also get the bed situation, I’ll be close to sleep and I will randomly throw a limb and hit something then jump up and wonder what just happened

23.02.2019 by Jute

Yeah that's happened to me, it's like an involuntary jerk of my arms, I've knocked beside lamps over and banged my knuckles hard against the wall, completely unintentionally.

02.03.2019 by Will1234

When I sleep the temperature outside of the bed must be cold and the pillow must be cold. I fucking love a hot water bootle, I hate sleeping in summer but love sleeping in winter. I can’t wear any clothes in bed accept from sports shorts so I just sleep in boxers.

03.03.2019 by Jute

I always use a hot water bottle in winter too. Like you I'm only really comfortable when I'm warm in bed but my room is chilly, so I never have any heating in it and I generally sleep with my window open, unless it's really icy or it's blowing a gale. I stopped wearing anything in bed when I reached twelve years old because then I started wanking like there was no tomorrow and clothing simply got in the way.

03.03.2019 by Will1234

Yeh I can’t open when trying to sleep because of the noise outside and I just won’t get to sleep.

I also started wanking around that age but I cut down around a year after I became a serial wanker.

03.03.2019 by Jute

Even though I live within seven miles of Liverpool it's relatively quiet when I go to bed. That's usually around 2:00 am. Then I read for maybe an hour before going to sleep. So generally noise isn't a problem at that time. If there is noise coming from somewhere outside I'll leave my window shut, unless it's thunder or something natural, then I can just ignore it.

Once I started wanking I pretty much didn't stop until I developed diabetes around six years ago and I got put on Metformin. One of the side effects of that is that it can pretty much kill someone's sex drive. So I went from wanking multiple times a day to doing it once or twice a week and even less at some times of the year (winter). Nowadays I just never seem to think about it, whereas when I was a teenager I hardly thought about anything else :)

03.03.2019 by Will1234

I can’t sleep with any noise at all like none at all, dead silence.

I cut down on wanks through a bit of self reflection and realising that it has no benefits and I got addicted to watching autistic videos on YouTube specifically
Runaway germ.

I don’t know if this happens to anyone else but once I was heavily intoxicated with alcohol cause I love WKD and vodka straight. I’m not good at explaining things any way but while drunk I shut down, it took me 20 odd minutes to describe what a WKD was with Bacardi in it when someone asked why I look like shit.

03.03.2019 by Jute

Your experience with Vodka and WKD is pretty typical, alcohol really slows down reaction times and concentration levels, so it's easy to forget what you were talking about and take forever to say it. I was seriously into very, very heavy drinking, when I was at university. I actually started to worry that I was becoming an alcoholic but that didn't stop me doing it until I simply ran out of money. Thankfully I wasn't an alcoholic but it wasn't a nice experience going from being almost permanently pissed to being stone cold sober. Nowadays I hardly ever drink at all and when I do I just drink to be social, I never get pissed.

Wanking does have benefits. It's a really good way to relieve stress, seriously people who wank frequently are calmer than those who don't. It's free, you can't catch any STD's, at least not when you do it alone, and it's actually good cardio-thoracic exercise. Plus it's fun, it passes the time and it feels good.

03.03.2019 by Will1234

Well I’m not sure wanking has been mentioned in a conversation this much ever but I see what you mean but all of those feelings and benefits I can get in more productive ways but you’re right it feels good. I used to love getting pins and needles due to the feeling of it.

I know the effects of alcohol and the reaction time stuff but it shouldn’t take me 20 mins to describe what a drink is no matter how pissed I was.

I went through a bit of an addiction to nutmeg as it is a halocagen and makes you see stuff you don’t want to. I suppose I did it at first to try and feel emotions like fear but it didn’t work. I then just carried on doing it for a month or 2.

It only works with the full, fresh nut or whatever you call it and that was the best thing about going to my nans as she had loads.

I stopped shortly after I heard if you had too much you can die from the drug.

04.03.2019 by Jute

I tried ingesting nutmeg as a young teen, smoking banana skins and I also did magic mushroom, LSD and several other drugs. Most of them simply don't mix well with autism and I simply had bad trips and got paranoid.

My grammar school was a Catholic all boys one and when we had a Sex Ed lesson one of the lads asked if masturbation was wrong. The teacher said that according to the church 'Yes, it was wrong' but that from a practical and medical view it was a perfectly healthy activity. He said that 95% of men and boys admitted to doing it and the other 5% were liars. He told us not to worry and that we wouldn't go blind, mad or grow hairs on the palms of our hands and that we 'wouldn't run out of sperm.' Then he added, 'So if you want to do it, go ahead but just because you can do something it doesn't mean that you have to do it. So if you don't want to do it, then don't, it's not compulsory.

04.03.2019 by Will1234

Is wanking one of your special interests?

We had the same kind of lesson on alcohol abuse and the teacher was an African man who interviewed us on what we’d drunk and he encouraged us to drink more.

05.03.2019 by Will1234

I had a horrible experience in paintball once. I got shot on the helmet but the part the you breath through so for the rest of the game I constantly had paint entering my mouth and every breath was full of paint fumes.

05.03.2019 by Jute

Nope, due to diabetes and the medication that I take for it these days I have a very low sex drive and I rarely even think about wanking. I have no idea how it entered the topic. I've just looked at the previous posts and it was down to sleepwear, or the lack of it. I have no interest in sex in general, including porn or stuff like that either.

Your African teacher sounds amusing. Encouraging pupils to drink more alcohol is probably not part of any school curriculum, anywhere.

I've never tried paintball but what you describe sounds pretty unpleasant. I didn't realise that the paints/dyes had any solvent in them, I'd assumed that they were water based, so that they'd wash off easily and be non toxic.

06.03.2019 by Will1234

The African dude used to be my German teacher before it was cut from curriculum, he was funny.

Those paintballs tasted awful.

I chose to to media instead as German was cut, I think I chose it cause it’s based on pictures and I (along with many autistics) am a visual learner (as well as kinaesthetic).

06.03.2019 by Jute

I'm not a visual thinker as I have aphantasia, so when I close my eyes I just see black. I can see images when my eyes are open or when I'm asleep and dreaming but if I close my eyes when I'm awake I can't 'picture' anything and I don't daydream.

06.03.2019 by Will1234

I can picture stuff like a pistol in my mind if I close my eyes and think really hard and press my head. I look like some kind of telecanetic guy with powers.

07.03.2019 by Jute

I didn't even realise that other people really could see pictures inside their minds until about two years ago when I read about Aphantasia. Then I discovered that over 90% of people really can see things inside their minds. I'd always assumed that it was just a poetic metaphor, when people said things like 'picture this' or talked about 'day dreaming,' I never realised that they were referring to real things.

07.03.2019 by Will1234

I must have some kind of processing problem as at certain times I see red or coloured dots around my surroundings or a map wherever I look in the corner of my eye.

I also often see things as if they are further away than they are.

08.03.2019 by Jute

It might be a physical problem with your eyes.

08.03.2019 by Will1234

I don’t always see it though and it would be to do it with the brain not the eyes.

08.03.2019 by Will1234

I also get a terrible sensory awareness period almost in situations that are uncomfortable or difficult. Take parent-teacher night for example, whenever I had one of those all of the sounds built up in my ears, I didn’t know where to look, do I look at the teacher or the background into there eyes or at there lips or at there nose. Bright lights also. All those things triggered this, every one would look much further away than they are and every object closer i don’t know what this is or why it is caused by all those things.

09.03.2019 by Jute

It sounds like a sensory overload, your brain is simply trying to deal with too many stimuli at the same time.

09.03.2019 by Will1234

That’s the word, that’s the phrase that I was looking for. It may not describe what it feels like but it gives a reason for the feeling.

What way do you look in an interview, I don’t know where to look.

09.03.2019 by Jute

I don't work because of health conditions, so I haven't had an interview for a fair while. It's best to appear confident and eager, so look people in the eyes but don't stare at them.

09.03.2019 by Will1234

My eyes blur around everywhere when in an interview, I’ll look everywhere and I mean everywhere because I can’t look them in the eyes for more than 1 second

10.03.2019 by Jute

Look at their eyebrows, nose, ears or something, just look at them.

10.03.2019 by Will1234

Yeh but I’ll look at all of those and my eyes will dance around there face and then I’ll get a wierd feeling and try to look at the background.


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Alexithymia - emotional blindness - is a personality trait characterized by the inability to identify and describe emotions in the self. Core characteristics of alexithymia are marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment, and interpersonal relationship.
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