In 2009 at the age of 46, I found out about my cerebral palsy diagnosis, later finding out I had been diagnosed at 2. In January 2019 at the age of 56 I was diagnosed with autism after a lifetime of mental and emotional struggles.
The last piece of the jigsaw is being able to give a name to my mental, emotional and physical difficulties; I have alexithymia. This is the last piece of the jigsaw in what has been a very long journey; too long. This diagnosis explains me, my personality traits, how I am mentally and emotionally, and how I present physically.
Alexithymia is a personality trait whereby a person is unable to identify their own emotions, or the emotions experienced by others. The main characteristic is a lack of emotional awareness, social attachment, and interpersonal relations, so anyone with alexithymia will have difficulties in feeling or recognising the emotions of others, which can lead to a lack of empathy and a lack of an emotional response.
Having alexithymia for me, also means difficulties in identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations. Where someone may have limited imagination, and therefore little to no fantasies and limited dreams, I have none. I have always known these have been my struggles.
I have difficulties in describing feelings to others; not being mentally or emotionally aware of what is happening in my own mind. The condition occurs in about 10% of the population and is linked to autism. It makes what I deal with around a disability I didn’t know I had legitimate, but difficult.
Anyone living with a disability will find it hard. And where autism presents itself, with alexithymia, it makes what I deal with even more complicated. I use my gut and intuition to read, empathise and offer compassion to other people’s and so I can appreciate what they may be feeling, but it doesn’t always go far enough to help me interact.
It makes it even more difficult for me to comprehend this was and is my life. It’s not so much that I find it difficult to live with, but living amongst others, they must somehow fit in with me. It’s not something I can change.
Source: https://www.healthline.com https://www.mentalhelp.net