So, there’s a medical emergency in my family.
The CT scan “found something”, and additional tests and a biopsy are pending.
Some members of my family want to do the biopsy and further care at a local medical center, where another family member went through years (years!) of mismanaged care, and it cost her dearly. She’s not even 30 years old, yet, and she has no colon. It could have been avoided, I’m positive. Because the medical center where she went has a reputation for screwing up.
On the other hand, there’s a top-line medical facility that’s one of the best in the nation just 1.5 hours away by car. They have the equipment and the personnel and the expertise to handle this new emergency. They don’t have a reputation for screwing up.
It’s been a multi-day struggle to get people to see that it makes more sense to go to the better facility, even though it’s a little farther away, and it’s in a city (versus the countryside). But after days of calling back and forth, checking facts and figures, trying all sorts of different angles… success. The biopsy will be performed at the excellent hospital, not the sh*tty one.
And here’s where alexithymia comes in handy. Because for days, I haven’t had a clue what I’m feeling. I’m not sure I’ve felt much of anything. There have been stretches where I’ve broken down and cried (of course), but for the most part, my judgment has not been clouded by a lot of emotional reaction.
Some would say, I’m stunted. That I’m “not in touch” with my feelings. They would call it unhealthy, pent-up, repressed.
I’ve got news for them — it’s only a matter of time, till it all comes clear to me. And it shall. But for now, I’m able to think clearly, reason through different criteria, make logical arguments, and keep a level head in the midst of some very challenging conditions.
And that’s not a bad thing.
It helps that I don’t realize how confused and terrified I am.
It helps that I’m “not in touch” with how angry I am with some of my family.
It helps that I haven’t yet processed my frustration and irritation and sense of helplessness from afar.
All this helps me keep my head clear and “work the problem” with logic and fact-finding, which is exactly what needs to happen, right now. Not a lot of folks in my family can do that. But I can.
Eventually, it will all catch up with me. I will probably feel the brunt of this, a few weeks or months after things have resolved (in one way or another). And then I will shutdown… or meltdown. But it will all come crashing in on me. There’s no doubt about that. That’s when I’ll deal with all of this.
Just not yet.
So, maybe people need to loosen up about what the “healthy” way to handle emotions is. Maybe people need to realize that alexithymia serves a purpose — a very valuable purpose — that actually serves the greater good. Some of us need to keep our heads on straight, while everything is falling apart.
After everything has settled out, and we have some distance, we can figure out what we’re feeling.
And we do.
I certainly will.
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Just not yet.