How I Explore My Emotions When They Are Difficult To Identify.
I have always had great difficulty experiencing, expressing and interpreting my own emotional responses. It doesn’t mean that I don’t feel emotion at all but rather that I find it hard to physically interpret the physical sensations that others attribute to emotional responses. I just do not experience the subtleties of emotion in the same way as many. Having this difficulty leaves me in a world of extremes. I know I experience all the emotional reactions that other people experience but unless it’s a heightened emotional response I just do not register it. I feel elated, excited and immensely happy or sad, down or lonely but the subtleties of emotion between these extremes are very confusing. For those of us who experience emotions in this way the world can feel lonely and frustrating. When I was younger I found very unhelpful ways to balance my experience of extremes through excessive alcohol binges. But as an adult I choose healthier ways by which to understand and support how I experience the world.
Through my interest in psychology and neurology I have spent vast amounts of time trying to understand why I found subtleties of emotion difficult and even longer researching how I can help myself. For now I have come up with the best solution for me. I have come to the realisation that because I can not interpret these physical emotion in the same way as others I had to use my intellect to compensate. I have therefore been learning the signs and symptoms of emotional responses so I can apply the emotion name when I feel them. For example when I feel restlessness, racing heart rate, chest pain, pains in my body. I will assign the emotion anxiety/worry and spend some time considering what I may need extra support in within that area. When I experience short responses, pressure in my head, mild stomach pain, I explore the possibility of frustration or annoyance. This is very much a trial and error process and I do not always get the responses correct but through this process I am working towards a better understanding of myself.
In addition to this I also schedule relaxing rest breaks, fun with friends and experiences that promote inner calm. I use Reiki and meditation practises and surround myself with comfy blankets and supports that make managing and processing my sensory and emotional responses easier. It was through researching ways to support my emotional responses and regulation that I learnt about Hygge. Hygge is about support and connection - It got me thinking that just because connection is difficult or expressed differently for people like me it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to connect.
Different ways of processing the world call for different ways of interpreting the world but we all benefit from the warmth and connection that Hygge brings.
Do you experience difficulties interpreting and expressing emotion? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
Love to your sensory self, Jess x x