30.06.2019 by Sekino
Hello, I am an Aspie and a fellow aspie close friend seems to me to have alexithymia. I had been trying to figure out what was feeling ‘off’ with him for the 4 years I’ve known him because it seemed to me that his sense of permanently feeling disconnected and often ‘empty’ was different and caused him more struggle than my own ASD experience. Once I found out about alexithymia and the descriptions, it was shockingly similar to so many things he’d told me. Before I approach him with the suggestion, I’d please like to hear from actual people if he sounds likely to have it. Here are some of his characteristics:
- He has always told me he doesn’t know what people mean by ‘having fun’ or being excited. He says he’s always just felt maybe entertained by some things but feels like he’s never experienced joy the way others do.
-He often has trouble understanding people’s motivations or reactions towards him. He feels guilty if people act angry or bad towards him and he is conflict avoidant to the point of letting people be outright awful to him since he doesn’t know if it’s his fault. He tries to endlessly replay the interaction in his mind to see what went wrong. This causes him a ton of stress.
- He is extremely even-keel. I’ve never once seen him react strongly to anything, in good or bad ways. It’s like he’s always gently hovering between being placidly occupied at best or depressed and low from not feeling anything specifically good.
-He makes beautiful art and is very skilled visually and with music. However he always talks about the technicality of it, never emotions. It’s like he sees beauty as a mathematical thing, the balance, symmetry or interest of it but never the warm feelings or stories behind a piece. He even says he’s not an artist because he has ‘no vision’, he just tries to be good at the technique.
-He’s been very lonely and hasn’t had many long term relationships because people always feel he is insular and cold. I don’t agree with this because as an Aspie I appreciate how kind and lovely he can be in a different way, but I can see myself how often his quiet, flat demeanour and way to converse gets interpreted as if he is detached and uninterested. He just doesn’t talk about their emotions or how they feel at all. He’s very uncomfortable if people get highly emotional, like he has no clue what to do.
-He has told me that he feels like other people are more ‘colourful’ than him, like he has a different range of colours inside him, like he just can’t feel certain feelings. He also says he’s not ‘poetic’, he is highly matter of fact and literal.
Sorry that this is so long, but I’ve been looking for so long and finding out about alexithymia looks like such a eureka moment. I really hope it could help him navigate or cope a bit better to know what’s going on. He’s a wonderful, kind person but he’s been suffering and isolated a lot even within his own family. Thank you.