Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Testing positive

Heart-1
If you read the previous post, you know all about my brand new diagnosis of alexithymia: the inability to put words to what I feel. My new assignment is to watch my behavior and try to determine what I might be feeling from how I act.

One of the friends I've made on Facebook had a really stressful day yesterday--thoughtless things said to her that didn't need saying, on top of doctor's visits and a huge business proposal.

I felt awful when I heard. So I sent her a note of encouragement.

She wrote back:

"You're a doll. Seriously. I want you to know I look forward to emails from you and that I can't express enough how much it means to me to have your support and encouragement, Jenny. You're truly a gem. ♥"

When I wrote back, she sent another "heart."

And then it happened--a feeling! With tears streaming down my face and an uncontrollable smile, I knew it had to be a positive one. It had to be happiness! I felt happy!

And then it hit me: Happiness couldn't be the ONLY positive emotion. What about appreciated? Understood? Proud? Grateful? Content? Elated?

All along I've been thinking that learning to name my feelings is going to be a dreadful task--one involving what I thought were the entire range of emotions other than happiness: anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, despair.

But no! I have an entire world of new emotions to explore to their utmost. And many, if not most of them, can actually feel good!

I don't know that feeling yet--all I can watch is my natural behavior. But I know that it's good. And for now, that's all that matters.
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