a previous entry in this series, about echolalia, you can find here
It is a bit ironic to start an article about alexithymia with the title: what does it feel like.
alexithymia in it’s most basic definition is a lack of being able to explain ones feelings and emotions. It doesn’t make us less empathic, as described in the Wikipedia article on alexithymia. It just makes us want to take care of it practically.
I am the kind of person you would go to, to find a solution to your problems as I think about everything rarionally. I as glad to read about stoicism as in that philosophy, not being able to feel emotions is not pathologized, but seen as a virtue.
It’s not that I don’t see you are distressed, it’s just that I don’t know how it feels, so I don’t know what to do in such a situation.
The same goes for my own feelings. I might act frustrated, but when you Comment on it… I might not know that I was doing so.
How do I know a certain emotion? When I know how it shows itself. I know I’m depressed when I have suicidal thoughts. I know I’m sad, when I am crying. I don’t know how I would describe happy.
I know how love manifests itself, but I don’t feel the physical feelings. To go more into this, I know that I have sexual feelings when something starts to bulge… not sooner.
The thing is that I don’t know if I had this all my life. I don’t think I remember any feelings. Ever.
Is alexithymia harmful? Not to other people. It is to my body, I display physical symptoms instead of emotional. So when something is brooding, I get reflux. When a period was stressful I get bowel problems.
Does it have an upside? Absolutely. I don’t feel emotions. Thanks to reading stoicism, I appreciate it more, as I have the ability to always think rationally. To in any situation instead of first reacting, I have to reflect, or I can go through where others might stop. Or I stop where others might go through, as when I feel a certain emotion, or when I notice certain traits of how I act under a certain emotion, I stop to reflect why this is happening and look for a cause, as most people just feel, and don’t reflect.