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Alexithymia

by Millie Clayton (follow)
Communication (122)      Self (32)      Awareness (31)      Language (11)      Interaction (8)      Self Awareness (6)      Self Expression (5)      Expression (1)     


Image courtesy of Shea Russell


I pose for the reader to question whether or not your expression limits you in your feelings within the world. If a derelict person was never to gain the skills of communication, does this automatically mean they have a smaller sense of self-awareness? Many people would argue that examples like Helen Keller demonstrate 'no' as the answer. I however, vividly remember struggling a lot when I was younger as I lacked the complex skills to feel comfortable within the language that I was forced to utilise. A reason for the angst experienced in teenage years may be that there is a chasm between our emotional development and the words we are equipped with.

Whilst we grow up becoming familiar with our mother tongue, to learn a new language at a later period of life is a much different matter. It reminds me of an amputee struggling to identify with a prosthesis. A prosthetic is supposed to aid in a body’s gestures yet how could you possibly identify it as your own when it seems so alien to you? After an ability in a new language is formed, one begins to sense it through their dreams. It is when I started to dream in a foreign language that I felt I was getting somewhere in terms of fluency. Despite this, it is not surprising that when when returning to English, I sounded like an adolescent within my language capabilities. It seemed that there was only enough room in my brain for a certain amount of either English or French. Not both. Where I developed in one language, I seemingly lost sophistication in the other. This by no means takes away from the special individuals that can speak several languages with perfect fluency. I take my issues as a sure-fire sign that my brain has restrictions.

Alexithymia refers to an inability to articulate what one is feeling. I find myself constantly falling victim to this, being subject to an infliction where I can’t find the adequate words to express an feeling. There is a failure to properly represent the person that I am and portray the stirrings inside this body: a body that holds a plentiful amount of dissonance. I feel things that I can't give justice to as they remained trapped somewhere. The other day for instance, I felt an emotion that I had never felt before. The best way to explain it was that I wanted to unzip my body and let my insides fall out on the floor. I needed a release and the only way I could imagine it happening was through hanging up my body-suit of skin on a clothes hanger. I needed to take a break yet had so much energy bubbling through my veins. How could I possibly convey to you the complexity of this emotion in one word? It certainly couldn't be confined into mere 'anxiety' as it related more to an 'excitement' whereby which I felt constrained within the body I have. It wasn't a form of distasteful body image either. It wasn't a form of anything that exists yet in language.

Sensations are doomed to a fate incapable of escapism as there are no means of release. This phenomenon forces me to evaluate certain things about myself and my language. Language is, after all, a set of symbols. These symbols exist within a formulaic structure of sequences. Like us, languages has certain rules that we learn as being concrete only to have 'exceptions.' Perhaps this is a representation of ourselves at its most articulate. We have states of cognitive dissonance. We hold certain ideas to be valid only to simultaneously hold a contradicting idea to be equally as valid. We are rules that have exceptions.

For more: www.thereveries.org

#Self
#Communication
#Interaction
#Awareness
#Language
#Self Awareness
#Expression
#Self Expression
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