Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sharing emotions

I am seeing the psychologist again tomorrow and I am worried that it will turn into an intellectual discussion about my feelings and challenges. That is the way it always seems to be. How do I show what I feel? I sometimes feel my two default emotions, and the only ones except joy that I can share or show, is irritation and anger. I wonder if, feeling so uncomfortable showing any emotion in front of others, all the suppressed emotion just come out as irritation when it gets too much?

I am beginning to realise I find it very difficult to name my emotions. Emotions to me are physical experiences, no words attached. And when I try to name the emotion, it either slips away out of grasp, or it turns into intellectual analysing. I've never really thought much about this before. I've been working in the garden now, thinking about different situations and how I felt - and it is so hard. It almost feels as if my brain wants to stop me thinking about it, and the only 'name' I can give to negative emotions is 'I want to get away'. I don't know if that makes sense.


  1. It makes a lot of sense to me, Cecile. There's even a specific name for it: alexithymia - literally "without words for emotions". I also find it very difficult to describe how I feel at a given point in time beyond a simple anxious, sad and so on. Just thinking about strong emotions overloads me - I can't handle the intensity. And I often walk away from situations that cause these intense feelings - it's that or shut down.

  2. Sometimes I find that I have to talk through all of the thoughts before I get to the emotion. I have started turning on the voice recorder on my itouch whenever I realize that I am going over and over thoughts in my mind - I tend to do that when I want to solidify something to remember. By recording it, I sometimes am able to move on to the emotions that are underneath. (Not meaning I can always name them, but eventually something I say will make me feel something and then I know I am getting closer to a bigger issue.)

    I don't know if that will be helpful to you at all, but I wanted to share what I have seen in myself.

    Sometimes writing it down is good too, but I use the recorder if I'm in the car or something.

  3. Hi Cecile,
    My son has AS and he has an extreme difficulty naming his emotions other than sadness, anger and frustration or happiness. He tells me he almost never has a sensation of contentedness, and most likely wouldn't be able to figure it out if it did come on him because he wouldn't be able to identify it. He says his feelings are physical... like what you said in your post.

    I have very physical reactions to my emotions too. They are very strong and I can sense other emotions, especially intense negative ones from others all too well. I have trouble identifying emotions, too. I have joy, anger, sometimes rage (usually about a sound hurting my ears or because I am confused by something and feel frightened and then the rage comes in- usually in the form of my stomping off to be alone and just feel really, really angry.)

    I found that music helps me release my emotions in a very positive way. I am very moved by music, and when my emotions get stuck inside, music helps to pull them out. Some music makes me cry and cry and cry, while other music makes me feel incredible joy, freedom, and even bliss like, I think. I do believe that is what bliss must feel like.

    So whenever I get really stuck, or feel my emotions haven't been coming out like they need to over something, I listen to music in my headset, and then afterwards, if I feel I need to, I will write it all down.

  4. Yep, absolutely. All of it. It feels like the words available don't begin to describe the feeling, or the obvious words are misleading somehow. Or that the "line" is cut between my ability to mentally verbalize the feeling, and my ability to actually say it. The words can form in my brain but I can't connect them to my mouth.