In my school, whenever there’s a new student people always want to associate themselves with him or her especially if the person is very handsome or beautiful. But I noticed that the traditional way wasn’t common with this particular girl. When I decided to study why it was so, I noticed that this girl didn’t have any emotion of surprise, anger, happiness…nothing
Her face was so cold and stoic. She only answers questions asked of her, doesn’t mingle with anyone. Just always on her own. Well I decided to try my luck in having a friend in her thus, I made my way towards her.
“Hi” I said smiling widely and I was hoping I didn’t embarrass myself. She looked at me with her still normal cold look which made me question myself for coming to meet her but what surprised me was that she responded and from there after entering into several discussions we probably became friends and I say probably because she still kept on her cold expression which started to frustrate me a lot. Whenever I say something funny I end up being the only one laughing while she looks at me like I’ve grown two heads or something.
Then a day came when we were having physics practical and she ended up hurting herself and the funniest part was that she didn’t even look like she was hurting. She just continued working and I started wondering what was wrong with her because I definitely knew something wasn’t right. After school on our way to the park, I asked if she felt pain from the cut because if she did she did a good job keeping that blank expression on her face and she just looked t me and said no. I was starting to get frustrated. What was wrong with this girl? Because it looked like she didn’t show any other expression than hers signature blank look. I asked angrily what was wrong with her and that’s when she dropped the bomb but well it did sound like one because I didn’t know the meaning but hearing that big word I knew it had a deeper terrifying meaning “I have Alexithymia, I can’t express my emotions. I feel numb.” And she walked away leaving me to ask myself what the hell Alexithymia was
Alexithymia is when a person has difficulty identifying and expressing emotions. It’s not a mental health disorder. People having alexithymia may have problems maintaining relationships and taking part in social functions.
People with Alexithymia have:
Problems observing their own mental and emotional problems
Experience confusion around bodily sensations connected to emotion
Struggle to communicate their emotions to others
According to research most people who suffer from Alexithymia must have suffered from something to trigger it. It’s just like their brain shuts down the part of their nervous system for them to describe their emotions.
Limited ability to communicate feelings to others
Difficulties recognizing and responding to emotions in others, including tone of voice and facial expressions
A lack of fantasies and imagination
Getting frustrated easily
Researchers do not understand the exact cause of alexithymia but some suggest that it could be due to Genetics, Depression, Post traumatic stress disorder, Eating disorders and so on.
There hasn’t been an exact cure for Alexithymia but seeing a psychotherapist, having someone who understands you and you trust a lot because that goes a long way in helping the person and that’s exactly what I did. I warmed up to her and we became pretty close than before and counting now, it’s been like ten years since we’ve been friends and she’s improved a lot at least she could somehow tell me how she feels but even without her saying it. I know, I just know it don’t ask me why.
Writer: Bolawole oreoluwa
University of medical sciences, Ondo State, NIGERIA