ALEXITHYMIA: A CURSE OR A GIFT?

“You lack human feelings!” my mum said as she slapped me on my right cheek for the third time. I didn’t feel any pain neither was I remorseful. I looked at my mum right back in the eye as she slapped me again. This time, I turned my face only to see my younger sister crying. I was confused as to why she was crying. I hate the sight of tears. I see people that cry as being weak. To me, her tears were unnecessary at the moment. I mean, why would she waste her tears on me? I turned to face my enraged mother. The look on her face showed that she was disgusted and irritated by what I did. Still, I didn’t care.
“You know what?” Just get out of my sight! I don’t want to see you for the rest of the day.” I was glad I was asked to leave and without saying a word, I walked out of my mother and sister’s presence.
I entered my room to sleep but I couldn’t sleep. I could hear the nagging of my mother and how she complained bitterly of how my inhumane acts were bringing her sorrow. I tried to block my ears but it didn’t work. I heard my mum say “Maybe when I die, she’ll understand the pain I’m going through and I’m grateful to God I’ll soon pass away”.
The thought of losing my mother hit me hard. I love her very much, I love my family more than anything but I can’t express my love for them. Sometimes, I’ll want to share in their pain whenever they were in crisis but I lost my emotions a long time ago. Let me share what happened with you.
I attended a girls’ only school popularly known as Feggicolla. It was an all-boarding school but due to my health condition, I was permitted to be a day student and was the only day student in my class. Some of my classmates teased me and usually called me “Mummy’s pet”. I got used to it and didn’t let it bother me much. When I got to JSS2, I had a new set of classmates. For no reason, I appeared weak to them. Whenever I spoke, my words were not recognized. Some of them bullied me and accused me of things I didn’t do.
There was a particular day I was called out on the assembly ground along with two of my mates, where we were recognized for our writing skills. When I got back to class, my so-called friends were jealous and angry at me; shouted at me in front of the whole class and made fun of me. I wept bitterly that morning; nobody consoled me. I couldn’t focus well on my exams; was shattered and broken on the inside. I couldn’t tell my parents due to fear that they would scold me.
After that session, I began to ignore them. I avoided them like plague and spent most of my time at the e-library. It helped my emotions to stay in check and I enjoyed my time alone. Soon, loneliness became my best friend and time over time, I picked loneliness over spending time with anyone.
As time went by, I found it difficult to interact with people and how to express my feelings to them. Suddenly, I felt no pain, no joy, no sorrow, and no happiness. I was just empty! At first, I was glad I was that way because it prevented me from being bullied. But now, I want it gone!
I want to cry, I want to have a feeling of remorse and I want to understand what others go through whenever they cried. I want to be happy, I want to be content and be emotional like the others. That’s all I wish for but it feels like my heart is in shackles and has been thrown into the bottom of an ocean. Alexithymia was once a gift! Now, I see it as a curse!

Writer: Iwayemi Iyanuoluwa Olubunmi
Ekiti State University, NIGERIA

A curse or a blessing

 

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Gbemisola
Gbemisola
3 months ago

Lovely piece
Well written.

Alexithymia is not so nice.
She can discuss her condition with her mum and get help.

Iyanuoluwa
Iyanuoluwa
Reply to  Gbemisola
3 months ago

Yes, it isn’t. Thanks for ur opinion

Ella Livie
Ella Livie
3 months ago

I suffered this thing. Sometimes, I was glad for it. Sometimes, I wasn’t. My mum was so worried that I had become so cold all of a sudden. I attended a boarding school too, and my experience was quite disheartening. There was no day that passed and my seniors will not either try to embarrass me of punish me unnecessarily. Alexithymia helped me to get through it. But when it came to my friends, it didn’t really help. I was blind to the love my closest friend then showed me. She endured all my nonsense, and yet I didn’t care. I lost her friendship in the process. I still didn’t care at that moment but it hurts now that I think about it. I guess my feelings ‘returned’ when I started hanging out and paying more attention to the people around me. Sometimes, I still wish I had Alexithymia, but also, I’m glad that I’m not empty inside again.

Iyanuoluwa
Iyanuoluwa
Reply to  Ella Livie
3 months ago

I’m glad you don’t have it again. That shii is cruel

Henry bravo
Henry bravo
3 months ago

I feel so empty
I may go rogue 🎭

Nice piece though

Iyanuoluwa
Iyanuoluwa
Reply to  Henry bravo
3 months ago

Don’t go rogue o, lol. Thanks