Archive for June, 2008

Understanding emotion

June 1, 2008

I often have a lot of difficulty with emotion.

Even when I am doing pretty well, the emotion I most often experience is frustration. I get frustrated when my thought process is interrupted, when I’m not given time to understand things. Or when people expect me to be better than I am. When I don’t understand the behavior of others and they’re speaking loudly or in harsh tones, I usually feel scared. I feel agitated any time I don’t understand what’s going on. If I don’t understand what’s going on or what’s going to happen, I feel wholly out of control, like absolutely anything can happen. This is why schedule is very important to me and why it’s very important that things are communicated to me and in front of me calmly and clearly. Sometimes I feel happy and sometimes I feel sad, just as you do. A lot of times, I’m happy about silly things, things I find funny, or maybe I’d be happy talking with an understanding loved one. Sometimes I feel sad because I know I’m not doing as well now as I used to, because I didn’t get to finish school, because my life now is so very different from what I’d imagined and I had no choice. I can be sad about other things, too.. like things that happened in the past, like sad things happening to friends.. but I don’t want to talk too much about being sad because it might make me sad now. I don’t know if confusion is a feeling, exactly, but I’m confused a lot of the time. Every once in a while, I get really angry when I’m pretty sure I’ve been wronged. When I’m frustrated or agitated, I’m loud a lot of times, whining, even yelling. This may lead people to believe I’m angry, but that’s not right. When I’m angry I’m very quiet and very controlled.

When I am doing poorly, I often don’t understand emotions very well. In those times, all I can distinguish within myself are two categories of emotions, good and bad. I usually call the good emotions “happy”, but I might be contented or excited… I just can’t distinguish the emotions or match the feelings to the words. I never know what to call the bad emotions… I might be sad or angry or even frustrated or agitated.

Now and then I’m doing very, very poorly. Sometimes I get completely overwhelmed and I’m not even verbal anymore. In those times, I can’t understand my emotions at all because I can’t think in words. Sometimes with emotion, I express myself physically, but when I can’t express myself verbally, that is the only means I have. I shake my hands or fists furiously, I rock hard, I may slap myself. None of these things I realize I’m doing until after I’m doing them. When I’m expressing emotion physically, I can stop, but it’s very, very difficult as well as emotionally painful and somewhat traumatizing. Asking me to stop all motion when I’m very agitated would be something like asking a “normal” person to stay absolutely still while a colony of ants crawls all over them. It can be done, but it would be incredibly nerve-wracking and you’d just about have to die inside, distance yourself, to do it. You could do it, but it would not be good for you. I would like to learn another way to express my emotions when I am not verbal. Drawing/coloring has been suggested to me. I’ll try that sometime, though I hope not soon.

I want to say more about other people’s emotions.. but I’ll get to that later.