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Dovi
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17 Aug 2012, 9:33 pm

I've heard that aspies have trouble identifing emotions, and while I don't really know how true that is for me, I do know that I usually do not think of what Im feeling in terms of actual emotions. Rather, I have a picture in my head of what I'm feeling. I can't really describe how Im feeling in words, but I can sometimes describe the image of my feelings. For instance, today all of my current money issues make me just feel like melting into a puddle and flowing away. I know that probablly makes no sense. But, I would love to hear how everyone here describes their emotions, to themselves and also to others. Also, are you an aspie or a nt?



chris5000
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17 Aug 2012, 9:36 pm

I have the same problem describing my emotions.



kBillingsley
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18 Aug 2012, 12:29 am

AS, and my emotions are usually presented to me in physical sensations. I also associate music to emotion very strongly. Sadness= sad song (usually something by Evanescence, the Gary Jules version of Mad World, or Mozart's Moonlight Sonata), Anger= sensations of dizziness and an angry beat (usually something from an angry rap song), Happiness= a general sensation of physical lightness accompanied by a happy song (often an old-timey big band song, or a jubilant 8-bit theme), Industriousness= complete disappearance of comprehension of time, physical space I occupy, and verbal language (with a soundtrack of industrial rock and electronica), Contentment= I feel at the center of everything, but not any more important for it (often with harp music as the association). I could go on, but you get the picture.



outofplace
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18 Aug 2012, 12:49 am

I'm a self-diagnosed "mild" aspie. I can identify my emotions some of the times but sometimes not. It usually has to do with how much anxiety I am going through at the time. It seems to mute out other feelings but not the physical effects of those feelings. Thus, sometimes I have to analyze what my body is doing to figure out how I feel and then try to figure out why I feel that way. I have a hard time labeling the source of certain emotions too.


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Joe90
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18 Aug 2012, 10:22 am

I don't generally have a problem with describing my emotions. In fact, my family say I describe my feelings and emotions more than I talk about my obsessions!

Ironically, I open up to how I feel more than my cousin does, and she's an extrovert NT who is my age. Her mum never gets to know how she's really feeling, and they live in the same house. But my mum says that I open up a lot to how I'm feeling, and I can sit and talk about it like anything, and not a moment goes by where people don't know how I'm feeling. Is that strange for an Aspie??????


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PixelPony
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18 Aug 2012, 2:42 pm

Simple emotions I can express to others. Anger, sadness, fear, happiness.

My problems are in expressing levels of emotion, and expressing complex emotions.

Example, if you measure my anger from 0 to 10, I'm fully aware of progressing from 0 to 2. Then I think I'm at 2, even though my anger is creeping up to 5 or 6. My body will express that anger. I'll tighten up, movement becomes brisk and sharp, but I don't "feel" angrier than a 2. Until I hit 7ish. Then my mind becomes aware of the increased anger and feels it. So my perception is that I jumped straight from 2 to 7. Physiologically, I showed the whole progression. If my partner is around, she can see the signs and alert me to rising anger so that I can stop doing or interacting with whatever is upsetting me.

I can't identify complex emotions. I can tell I'm feeling something, but I'm not sure what. About the best I can manage is to tell whether it's mostly a good feeling or a bad one.


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alexi
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18 Aug 2012, 6:16 pm

I have this issue. I have spent many hours trying to explain to my psychologist what "feeling bad" actually means. I know that it is absolutely unpleasant, but I can't work out much more than that. Other people often tell me what I am feeling before I know it. It seems obvious to others that something is upsetting me, but I often don't see it until it is an extreme issue.

I also have difficulty identifying physical sensations. Quite often when I am becoming sensorily overloaded it is because of internal sensations like being hungry or needing to go to the bathroom. I just don't consciously identify these feelings easily, I just know that "something is wrong". Just the other day I was asked "does this tickle or does it make you itchy?" and I said "isn't that the same thing?". Apparently not.



lambey
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18 Aug 2012, 6:22 pm

strange thing about emotions - i can do a better job describing them on internet than i can in person by a mile, but i still can't do it especially great. even when i CAN describe something i don't always recognise what it means - E.G. i spent numerous months where it felt as though i had a hole in my chest, running straight through me and sucking everything in. it weighed me down and made my chest feel a little bit tight

to this DAY i have no idea what the hell that was btw

As outofplace said, it also depends on how high my anxiety is - which is probably why i can describe them better via web chat than in person. not that i ever bring up emotions around people anyways, i don't like to talk about them with people. I'm also undiagnosed, but i believe that this is linked to Alexithymia, which is common in people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (something like 85% of cases i think). Not everyone will have it, but most will.



Eloa
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18 Aug 2012, 6:51 pm

I cannot describe emotions easily and from the age of 27 I was able to identify "fear" as the word and meaning of "fear", though I had a lot of "fear", but I was not able to give a term to the physical sensation called "fear".
I also was (am) not able to identify and communicate pain, but after being diagnosed I establish a a sort of awareness about it, but still I find it not natural for me to identify and communicate these physical sensations, as my recognition of those sensations seems to be and overwhelming but having no definition and delayed in identifying these sensations and being delayed in the context of the former experienced sensation it can have altered which makes it harder to identify.


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KnarlyDUDE09
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18 Aug 2012, 7:01 pm

chris5000 wrote:
I have the same problem describing my emotions.
I definitely have a problem with thi;s, as well; emotions is the area in which I struggled in my ADOS assessment- it wasn't until then that I realised I have this problem.


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corvusgal
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18 Aug 2012, 9:53 pm

I can be highly analytical about my emotions in an abstract way, in that I can kind of explain why I am feeling a certain way- describe the contributing factors and underlying causes and I can even articulate the things I need to do to change my emotional state. However, it all comes across very removed and clinical in a weird sort of way. I'm not very good at describing my internal states beyond happy, sad, depressed etc. I do rely on visual imagery, and I think that a lot of my interest in art has resulted from me trying to better convey how I am feeling. A lot of the time I feel hollow, brittle and cracked like an empty eggshell. Not sure what emotion that relates to exactly.



nerdymama
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18 Aug 2012, 10:31 pm

I think your description of how you are feeling gives me a better idea of what you are feeling than naming an emotion would.



Erminetheawkward
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18 Aug 2012, 11:23 pm

Yep. I can identify the basics, but beyond that, I prefer to give a visual metaphor eg. feeling heavy, boiling mad, feeling empty. I'm a visual thinker in just about everything.


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Filipendula
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17 Nov 2012, 8:43 am

I thought I'd revive this thread and add a couple more questions:

1. A lot of people here say they can identify and describe the basic emotions (happy, sad, angry etc), but no one ever really explains what the not-so-basic emotions are and I realise I'm not sure. What is it you find you can't identify/describe? This question might be easier for those who have already tackled this subject with others or in therapy.

2. Are people supposed to be able to identify/communicate an emotion at any given time? For example, as I write this (having previously read the thread and done a bit of Googling on related topics), the best I can describe my emotion as is "interested" (very interested!! !), but I've never heard that term used in the context of emotions before.


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btbnnyr
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17 Nov 2012, 1:35 pm

I can't identify or describe the not so basic emotions, so I can't post about them in this thread either. I often refer to the not so basic emotions as "social emotions" that I don't have, but I can't be more specific than that, as I can't identify or describe them. I often refer to "social things", also because I can't be more specific. Not having these social functions or this social module makes me unable to talk about these things in specific terms. I don't know what they are, and I don't know what are the words for them, and when other people use the words for them, I don't know what the words mean.



mljt
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17 Nov 2012, 1:41 pm

This is exactly how I feel as well.

The best way I've found to describe it is like I'm in a sea. The water is very choppy and whatever emotions I'm feeling are written on pieces of paper which are floating all around me. Occasionally I'll be able to grab one of the pieces of paper, but the writing is all blurred, and then another wave hits me.

I know if I'm feeling happy or sad, but I have trouble identifying sad emotions as anything more than that; sign language is very good for expressing emotions. I use it to show my flatmate and he's come to understand that if I hunch over and make a clawing motion at my stomach, it's usually anxiety. If I make bigger gestures, it's anger.

Quite often I'll think I have a headache or that I feel tired or ill, when actually it's a physical response to an emotion.