1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Can't Describe Feelings in Spoken Words?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by zozie, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Karma:
    +477
    Does anyone else have trouble describing feelings verbally? I've heard of alexithymia but it's often described as crying for no apparent reason. I have a flat affect, and physical expression seems stuck. I feel deeply inside, but it's usually an image, like a tidal wave, and I can't seem to communicate it until I write it out. And even then, I describe it as a tidal wave, not as "feeling overwhelmed".

    Then, when I share the image to someone else, they say something like, "It sounds like you're feeling overwhelmed," so I try to adapt my language. But it doesn't come out like this naturally.

    Any other experiences like this?
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 4
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    35,997
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Karma:
    +26,212
    Sometimes other people's emotional states
    register to me as colors, so I have to translate
    my impression that a person seemed brown/
    lavender/gold/gray...etc into a description that
    is recognizable.

    It's not automatic. I have had to learn what some
    people's colors mean by matching up their subsequent
    actions and remarks. Then when I encounter that same
    color later I have an idea what it's about.
     
    • Like Like x 6
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Karma:
    +477
    That's interesting, my oldest teenager was describing how they associate people with colors, though not on an emotional level, it seems. However, according to them, the sound of the voice also has a color, different from the overall person..
     
  4. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,932
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    Karma:
    +5,580
    Yes similar to the OP, flat affect and emotional resonance with others but in my case, usually not spoken. Can get suddenly overwhelmed by feelings, eg recently after going to the vet for the cats annual booster, a dog went in and came out on a gurney in the time we were there, and the next day I said, I suppose they do it like that for quickness, and he'll wake up at home, and my friend said, he was being put to sleep. So I suddenly realised the poor dog was dead, his owner was getting him back to take home. Couldn't stop crying. It's making me cry again now.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 6
  5. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Karma:
    +477
    I know what you mean about realizing later the actual events and circumstances of an emotional situation. Laying a pet to rest is such a sad thing.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  6. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    476
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,300
    I seem to be very similar, in that there seems to be a disconnect between the feeling part of my brain and the thinking part. I CAN feel, but except for being able to name basic feelings (anger, hurt, desire, contentment, etc), I cannot describe how they actually feel. Until a few years ago I thought this was normal, and could not figure out why everybody else could express feelings so readily. I have no advice for you since I have not found a solution myself. All I can do is let you know you are not alone in this.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,878
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Karma:
    +13,776
    When I experience a strong emotion/feeling it has tended to make my mind fixated on it and everything else, all other thoughts abandoned. It feels like there is no room for anything else at the moment. If I were to describe it as a field of view it becomes tunnel visioned. If a friend at that moment interrupts me I might not remember their name. I briefly thought of it as one of those classic western shootouts where it is suddenly you and whatever it is that caused the emotion staring at each other and all the townspeople (other thoughts/awareness) run away and hide.

    I couldn't find the right gif but thought this was good anyway.

    5ae8605dce04b_Count210.gif.5fc54877d80f7993ed644f9950e48889.gif
     
    • Funny Funny x 3
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,574
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Karma:
    +4,700
    It seems you are an artist of emotions. A some point in our race's development, we became a very verbal species. Before that, however, a picture of a wave after an event might be understood by all. I love words but appreciate when people experience their ideas and emotions in colours and images. If you are around people who understand, it should be valued and understood. It seems wrong that you should be forced to put emotional images into words. Maybe others should learn what your images mean.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  9. Sasha20

    Sasha20 Active Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2020
    Karma:
    +34
    My daughter is currently going thru an autism diagnosis , she is extremely articulate and her vocabulary is well beyond her years but when she was asked during the assessment to describe how she feels inside when she was sad she was completely lost for words .
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  10. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Karma:
    +477
    I did write a narrative of my emotions during the diagnostic process and gave it to my therapist. He said he had to read it through several times to understand the depth and meaning of my images, which is both flattering and frustrating, since this kind of narrative is so easy for me but I can't easily define the word "compassion" in an assessment.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Karma:
    +477
    My oldest is very similar. They are up for assessment in March, and struggle a lot with describing feelings, though their feelings are intense and sometimes debilitating.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  12. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Karma:
    +477
    I, too, find emotions, when they arise, are quite engrossing and I have go somewhere by myself, put on the same song, and write until they're out. I have often wondered in the past if this is a feature of a personality disorder, but I'm comforted to find intense emotions experienced here.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  13. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,625
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Karma:
    +6,884
    I have memories (like short video clips)
    of what acts of compassion look and sound like,
    but they're not mine.
    They come from observing others.

    I recognise what I believe to be compassion,
    and could describe the 'video clip'
    - set the scene, describe physical actions of each person.
    along with giving a dictionary definition of compassion,
    but couldn't describe how it feels.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Sherlock77

    Sherlock77 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,480
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2017
    Karma:
    +2,649
    Yup... I struggle with feeling emotions and expressing emotions, except for negative emotions when things go as well (ask me about the last nine months)

    People tell me they see emotion in my photos, I rarely even think about emotion at any point in the process, it's all logical to me from my perspective... :rolleyes:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Karma:
    +477
    Someone on here (I forget who) spoke of emotional processing delay, and gave the extremely useful advice of "ask me tomorrow how I feel about that, or next week, or next year" (I'm paraphrasing). This has been enormously valuable in understanding difficulty with emotions, and while I started saying this to people, I think I might modify it to, "ask me when I've had a chance to write about it".
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. HeroOfHyrule

    HeroOfHyrule Chicken Chaser

    Messages:
    625
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2020
    Karma:
    +567
    Describing my feelings is very hard, it's almost impossible to do it verbally and in the moment. It's something that has frustrated me for a long time and that makes other people frustrated, because they expect me to be able to express these things easily and on a whim.

    It's a very isolating feeling to not be able to tell people what you're experiencing emotionally and then have them get upset with you.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Karma:
    +477
    I hear that. I realized that I overcompensated by using analysis to figure out how I should feel and said that, and then realized that I felt differently later. Been a difficult pattern to break, and was accused a lot of being inconsistent.

    And of course, to experience people who assume that you're not feeling at all -- that's the worst.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2019
    Karma:
    +1,633
    in•ef•fa•ble ĭn-ĕf′ə-bəl


    • adj.
      Incapable of being expressed in words; indescribable or unutterable; inexpressible.
    Many of my feelings are this way so I don't even bother trying.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  19. Finder

    Finder Active Member

    Messages:
    170
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2020
    Karma:
    +286
    I can tell when my cortisol levels spike, but I have no idea how I am feeling. I can't tell the difference among fear, anxiety, sorrow, excitement, or nervousness, if those are actually different. I know I am stressed. Later I can figure out what was going on, although I am not sure I can express what I was actually feeling or convey the feeling. I kind of have a binary state: stressed and not stressed. I wish I had more of the later.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  20. Wolfsage

    Wolfsage In training to be Wolf King.

    Messages:
    513
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2020
    Karma:
    +811
    Yeah no good at it either. Certain emotional triggers in TV awkward ones and yelling can trigger them. Driving my control out as they pour in. The inevitable what's wrong comes up.
    Sounds like I've got a speech impediment trying describe it.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1