Every time I write a personal blog and I think I’m done learning about myself, I find something else out about myself that I didn’t know.
I used to stare in the mirror as a child, not because I was vain and I liked looking at myself, but because my facial expressions seemed flat. I didn’t know that was a thing until my Cognitive Behaviour Therapist mentioned it to me.
The term ‘flat affect’ is used to describe a lack of emotional reactivity, typically observed in people with autism. It is a failure to express feelings, especially in response to issues or situations in which we would normally be expected to engage the emotions.
A person with the condition rarely shows expressive facial gestures and/or animation in facial expression, or change in voice. A person with flat affect has nearly no emotional expression, or no expression at all.
When I smile, my facial expressions are fixed instead of being naturally animated. I also talk in a flat and monotone voice.
Out of necessity, and using my intuition, I have taught myself to read people’s facial expressions and social cues. Through my blog, I think about my emotions and write them down, rather than show or talk about my emotions face to face.
I can’t believe how much work I’ve had to do on myself, just to function ‘in my own normal’ despite my neurological difficulties, and the fact that at the age of 56, I am still learning about myself.