“Alexithymia has two dimensions – a cognitive dimension, where a child or adult struggles to identify, interpret and verbalize feelings (the “thinking” part of our emotional experience). And an affective dimension, where difficulties arise in reacting, expressing, feeling and imagining (the “experiencing” part of our emotional experience).”

I have always felt ashamed for being unable to express what I’m feeling, and for acting out and seeming ‘crazy’ because I get overwhelmed and don’t know how to use words for it. It happens more often than not. If you ask me how I’m doing in any given situation, my usual responses are ‘fine’, ‘okay’, ‘angry’, ‘pissed off’, or ‘good’. Sometimes I’ll say I feel numb. Those are all buffers, and unintentionally. I don’t know how to express what I’m feeling because I don’t know what I’m feeling. I can’t identify it. My brain’s response to anything traumatic these days is to shut down, and then I feel numb. Or it jumps to anger, which is my biggest go-to. It’s why people have told me throughout my life that I have anger issues. Yeah, no SHIT, Sherlock. Thanks. That’s very helpful. Sometimes I can’t speak at all, and ball up my fists and scream. That’s rarer but it happens. I used to get it out by posting really negative shit on facebook, something I made myself stop doing (for the most part) ten years ago.

Anger is where I’m most comfortable, and it’s the most uncomfortable for other people to deal with while I’m feeling it. It’s what I know how to deal with, and it’s helped me survive in the past. It’s a blanket that masks countless other emotions my brain is protecting me from feeling. I’ve been working on it since I noticed it as a problem in ninth grade, so yeah, I know it’s a problem. My therapist is incredibly helpful with getting me to figure out what I’m feeling by asking the right questions, making me think instead of stressing me out with things like, “Why can’t you just say what you feel?” I’ve gotten that question more times than I can count.

My coping mechanism of choice is writing. I feel the most amount of emotions through my characters. I’ve laughed, cried, gotten enraged, thrown myself into anxiety attacks, and more all because of writing these intricate, complex characters that all resemble me in some way. I put them through different things I’ve been through, and then some. It’s how I get this ever-growing pressure out of me so I don’t explode.

I’ve struggled with this all my life; it’s a trauma response. I understand that it’s frustrating, I do. I get it. But it’s a hell of a lot more frustrating, embarrassing, depressing, and infuriating for me. Bear with me, I’m working on it.

I appreciate those of you who have. ❤

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