What if #autistic Alexithymia isn’t anything like what we think it is?

You keep using that word. I do not think itmeans what you think it means.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Something occurred to me today.

I’ve been thinking about alexithymia a lot, over the past weeks, and it occurred to me that the problem I have with naming my emotions and sensations isn’t that I can’t feel them at all (sometimes I can’t, but it’s highly variable). The real problem is that I feel so much and things shift and change with me so rapidly, it’s hard to put a single word to what I’m feeling. Even a handful of words.

What if the real problem is that the neurotypical lexicon for emotions and feelings is not sufficient to describe the autistic experience?

What if, rather than not having any words to describe what we feel, we don’t have the right words to describe what we feel?

And what would happen, if we had a wider vocabulary that actually encompassed our experiences, rather than a handful of — what — five or six different emotions.

  • Sad
  • Happy
  • Angry
  • Jealous
  • Bored
  • Whatever else

What if the emotional vocabulary is failing us, rather than us failing it?

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14 thoughts on “What if #autistic Alexithymia isn’t anything like what we think it is?

  1. This field was intentionally left blank

    Yes!!! Omg totally, yes 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. You slammed it home with the sentence at the end: “what if the emotional vocabulary is failing us, rather than us failing it?” Holy cow, yes 😊❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, by all means ❗❗❗👍👍👍
    The current availability of words to identify what’s inside me, is absolutely inadequate. I ended up all my life awkwardly attempting to circumnavigate a person around my “feelings” just to always end up with embarrassing and suspicious, “what do you mean by that” situations…😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. VisualVox

      How do you explain to someone who’s a 2-dimensional thinker, all the aspects of the other 1,735 dimensions that they’re not seeing/experiencing?

      Hard, if not impossible, to do.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. That’s probably the reason why NTs display such an unstable swing of their emotions and allegiances, being your buddy today and stabbing you in the back by the end of the same day, expecting you to be BFFs the next day again. And on top of all, they accuse NDs for our incapability to flip attitudes. I reckon it’s easier to jump between 4 or 5 emotional states, than to spend time considering matters.
        🤔

        Liked by 3 people

      2. VisualVox

        I agree. It’s also easier to flip between a handful of states, than seamlessly shift between 40 or 50 in the space of an hour. Or a few minutes. Our emotional states are like planets they can’t see with their naked eyes — they think they’re not even there, because they can’t detect them. Au contraire — there are lots of ’em — and they are myriad.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. iʻm curious how NTs decipher their emotions. how do they know if being nervous, tired and having tummy ache are part of an ēotional state or if they are just tummy ache and too much coffee?
    and why do NTs spend so much time in talking about their emotions?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. VisualVox

      I’m curious about that as well. My current theory is that they have such a 1-dimensional understanding of their emotions, that they think they can discuss them, when all they’re actually doing is scratching the surface, not even coming close to what all is there. Those who know more, realize it’s not a simple thing, and we don’t play fast and loose with the concepts. I like our way better.

      Obviously 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Alexithymia? Let’s take another look at the facts AND the truth – Part 4 – Aspie Under Your Radar

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  8. What makes the situation even worse, I think, it that we’re “not allowed” to use metaphor to describe/explain what we feel because some “expert” declared that autism means (among other things) being totally unable to understand the concept of metaphor (or anything else that’s not literal), much less USE it. (I’m sure you can appreciate the irony, since you tend to use such eloquent metaphors in your blog posts.) So we’re left with only literal terms, even though many terms for feelings aren’t literal anyway, and if we use a word that isn’t in the other person’s vocabulary, we’re accused of just trying to “show off how many big words we know.”

    English has A LOT of gaps in it. It seems likely to me that neurotypical people also experience emotions that they can’t describe because they don’t have the words to do so. The difference is that they aren’t expected to describe, explain, and justify (or rather, apologize for) everything that they feel.

    Liked by 1 person

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