Alexithymia

I know alexithymia is not a medical diagnosis but as a result of PTSD. It means I cannot feel emotions or recognise them in others. I haven't cried for years. All my reactions are learnt behaviours that I have perfected over the years so no one notices that anything is wrong. I may laugh in the right part when a joke is told or pat someone on the shoulder if they are crying but I feel nothing. All day, everyday, I feel nothing. Does anyone else have this? How to overcome it?

4 Replies

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  • Hi have you been to see a doctor and told them how you are feeling? If not you need to go and get some help. Maybe meds would help or counselling?

    The only other option is to go the self help route ie meditation, mindfulness etc. There is lots online about these.

  • Hi. Yeah I see GP, counsellor, psychologist regularly. I'm on medications and do therapy and mindfulness. Nothing helps.

  • I don't really know what to say except maybe you need more time and things will get better eventually. Are you able to be totally honest with your psychologist and open up to her/him?

    I get like this sometimes with depression and can feel completely numb for ages, but eventually something always snaps ie someone makes me very angry and my emotions, muted as they are, return. It's a mixed blessing though isn't it?

    Maybe you are getting the wrong type of counselling or you don't really connect with your counsellor?

    I have looked recently at CEN (childhood emotional neglect) and I have realised I am terrified of strong emotions as I never learnt to control or harness them properly due to my dysfunctional upbringing and I am sure this is the root cause of my depression and emptiness.

    I have learnt that emotions are the cornerstone of human lives and properly used enable us to lead rich and full lives. Have a google and see what you think.

  • Following your post I read the Wikipedia article on Alexithymia which I was very surprised to learn affects maybe 10 % of the population. There is a lot of information in the article but little about overcoming it. The article leaves one with the impression it is hard to overcome and although I would n't want the condition (we all like to be considered "normal") it strikes me that there are also some advantages in having it. My main purpose in replying was to inform you of the Wikipedia entry if you had n't come across it.

    I have always considered I have slightly damped emotional responses and this is much more the case when I am depressed. However even in the deepest depression I retain my sense of humour and certain situations such as seeing a child or animal cruelly treated especially when it is unjust e.g two misbehaving siblings where one is favoured and the other always takes the punishment always causes strong emotions in me however depressed. I also have the same strong emotions when seeing an animal mistreated ,especially again when it is unjust and again this is true however depressed I am.

    Also I'm 73 and I don't think I've cried since I was in my late teens although occasionally I have shed a few tears briefly, but crying no.

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