Topic: Quite a lot about my life seems understandable now

English Alexithymia Forum > Personal Experience

Quite a lot about my life seems understandable now
06.04.2015 by NowItMakesSense

This ended up being far longer than I'd originally thought; apologies.

I never thought I'd understand the series of traits that leaves me unable to function normally with "emotions". Truth be told, that's how I register feelings; there are little parentheses going on in my head around "emotions" and "feelings" whenever I think about them. Thoughts - check. Physical symptoms - check. Extreme feelings like fear/rage/sexual desire - check. Beyond that, everything else seems made up to me. When I say "feel", in 99% of cases I literally mean I have a physical symptom that isn't attributable to any external source. Now I see why from the experiences of others on this forum. I also see that other people are like me and that I can expect that other people begin to understand the way my inner world operates.

I'm by no means an uncaring person; I often am too kind, thinking that people's "feelings" will lead them to dislike me if I don't act politely and overly-generous, or that my actions could cause their feelings to disable them or otherwise cause undue harm. It's put me in some terrible situations where I've been taken advantage of career-wise, financially, and in interpersonal relationships. The flip side is that I've also said and done some (what I now understand to be) horrendously uncaring things. My biggest revelation here is that there are others like me who simply don't understand emotions. And that's OK. Phew. Though I've gotten better now that I'm through my 20's and into 30's. That's a lot of trial and error - guessing the right facial expression, replaying events and memories to see what caused the meltdown, canvassing people to see what I may have done wrong, and just plain not knowing what I did to upset others. It's a real relief. By that I mean that I can make sense of it, and it does ease the physical symptoms of dread and anxiety. I "feel" those physical symptoms in concert when things are off, and I now know that they are some sort of placeholder for what other people experience as a wide range of emotions. In any case, discovering Alexithymia has eased these symptoms and put into place many fragmented parts of the understanding of my life.

I do laugh, and I have cried, but usually don't understand either. Well, beyond obvious situations like the death of a family member, but even that isn't guaranteed to generate tears. It seems I only "feel" the highs and lows, with a coasting in between levels of content and anxious. Others describe similar paths, though I'm coming from the viewpoint of someone who scored 154 on the test - with trying to temper my answers to appear more normal. Boy, that didn't work :)

I'm actually what most people would say is a fairly agreeable person. Some call me determined, or stubborn, or calm/cool/collected, accomplished, gregarious, or any range of normal things. They all stem from a series of acting and guessing in order to fit in. In a way, I've been able to construct my own image, but that's exhausting and I'm sensing (I hesitate to use the word *feeling* for obvious reasons) for the last few years that I can't do it anymore.

I'm a former military officer of 7 years, have started companies, jumped out of planes, been engaged twice, and now work in finance. I only come alive in high threat/stress environments. I get agitated and nervous, literally experiencing a physical sensation like there's a target painted on my back, when anything emotional comes up. I always just want things to work out peacefully and amicably, though I won't shy away from high-stakes confrontation like legal disputes, physical confrontation, etc... It's the in between that confuses me; with that confusion come unpleasant anxieties and unidentifiable physical symptoms. Again - placeholders (it would seem) for emotions. I have been getting a better understanding of just where my blind spots are in recent years, though I don't know if I'll ever fully understand emotions.

Hopefully some of what I'm saying will resonate with others; I've already learned a great deal from some of the members here, so my thanks for that. I would be interested to hear in the range of emotions felt as related to severity of Alexi, as well as peoples' descriptions of where thoughts and physical symptoms turn into emotions/feelings. That's always been a critical sticking point for me.

Yes it makes sense to me, too!
08.04.2015 _T('by') DXS

I can relate to all that you said.

I don't really "feel" per se, more so I "manufacture" what I'm "supposed" to feel based on what the situetpation is. Also, my mom kept "telling me how to feel" which I have since learned is NOT a good parenting technique. My Mom's mom "told HER how to feel" and that explains why I have never thought my mom was "real" in anything.

When I had relationships, I never really thought about whether I "liked the person back." Instead, I was more in love with the fact that someone actually liked me!

For that reason, I'm staying away from relationships, and trying to really "feel" things.

Similar physical symptoms
15.06.2015 _T('by') Bobby421

I get the high anxiety type feelings. There reaches a point that if I must continue then I very fearful until I feel nothing. Other things I notice now is twinges of pain. Often while discussing things with my wife, I would get a sharp quick pain in my head or legs or back. Its sharp and suprising and distracting. Its like a way for my brain to bring down the level of emotion by distraction. She mentioned that when I am around alot of people I constantly crack or adjust my back, or I cannot get comfortable. She tells me I am attention seeking, I never took notice to it but I think it is now related to the odd body sensations that may be present in alexithymia.