Hollywood and the media would have people believe that autistic people are “robots”.
(I know, right?)
But those of us in the know–and we’re a rapidly-expanding group–know better.
For the cheap seats, I’m capable of emotion. Some might say almost too capable. Emotions bowl me over with intensity. I freeze and act nonchalant, pausing just long enough to try to make sense of them.
Because that’s the real trick – not cultivating emotions, but sorting them out. Putting them in proverbial categories.
Heh, I wish.
I can’t usually get that far. I’m just lucky if I can express them in a recognizable way, a way that is socially acceptable.
Cue more inevitable social awkwardness. Cue the inevitable confusion.
Cue the inevitable inner torrents, as the different waves break and overlap each other, swirling into each other, taking turns overtaking each other.
Lots of “inevitable”s there.
People talk about mental pretzels; I’m an emotional pretzel. Not that I’m overly emotional, per se; I work hard to keep Logic in the driver’s seat.
But emotions for me are like tornados; they form and build momentum, and they can sometimes be destructive…and then they dissipate innocently into nothingness, as if to say, “who, me? What are you staring at?”
Almost as though it’s insinuating that I’m imagining things.
But I know one thing, and that’s that it’s not my imagination. Those emotions, even if difficult to identify and express, are very real.
Sometimes it helps to make a bulleted list of my thoughts and feelings in a journal, or even a blank word processing document, or even on a disposable piece of scratch paper. And sometimes it doesn’t. It all depends.
When I’m writing it down (or rather, trying to), it helps to stick with what I do know and what I can identify, which might be precious little, at first. And if it’s not much, especially in the beginning, that’s OK. I have learned not to criticize myself harshly for the shortcoming.
Sometimes I’m so happy or overjoyed or excited that I can’t express that. Sometimes I’m depressed and I don’t realize it. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m OK, or not?
Sometimes those questions that seem so rudimentary that others might not even think to ask them, actually call for pause and deep and careful consideration, before I can give an answer that resonates solidly with me.
The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize that I had any difficulty with this until very recently. I had no idea that I had any issue identifying and expressing emotions. I knew that my emotions could often be strong and run deep, but I was completely unaware that there were other emotions hanging out on the sidelines or just below the surface that I didn’t know were there.
After all, you don’t know what you don’t know, right?
It’s only after coming across Alexithymia as a concept and then doing some personal digging that I realized that, like every other mystery for which this Asperger’s/autism term has given me my code-key, this one applied to me, too.
I sure didn’t.
But I do now.
Just one more item unpacked from the Asperger’s/autism suitcase. 😉
PS: I did have plans to make a second YouTube video for the channel today, but a headache got in the way, so it hasn’t happened yet. I do want to take this opportunity to give everyone who has watched, liked, commented, and subscribed so far a huge thank you!! You guys are amazing!! My ibuprofen has kicked in, so I will try to get it done tonight; if I can’t, then it’s on my docket for tomorrow, probably in the afternoon, US time-range. 🙂
(Image Credit: Yuumei)