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How do you feel your feelings?




How on earth are you supposed to figure out what an aspie is feeling? What if they won't or can't tell you? What if they tell you everything is fine and then act like a monster - and still say they're fine?

There's often a disconnect between aspie feelings and aspie brain: your aspie knows they have a situation which requires feelings but the feelings don't seem to be there. Instead of experiencing the feelings and talking about them, your aspie is more likely to have the feelings independently, almost as if they happen to someone else.

"Yes, yes, of course there is a reason to be upset but just let me get on with my reading, will you? Yes, I'm fine!"

And then later, when the tin opener breaks and they cannot have special chicken-inna-tin pie for supper, voices will be raised, hands flailed, tears fall and those pent up feelings will come rushing in for something as stupidly simple and unimportant as a trapped pie.

The other situation, the really important one full of life-changing possibilities and endless worries is still not spoken of or cried for, you understand. Only the pie is cried for because your aspie wanted that pie, it was going to make them feel better and now it's stuck forever in the tin and it's all going terribly wrong and nothing can make it right.

Solutions for trapped pies are simple, so long as you have access to a shop. Solutions for trapped feelings are slightly more problematic.

This week, I have trapped feelings, readers. They are there, I know they are. I can sense them, bubbling away like bad soup, right under the surface. But do you know what I got upset about instead?

I bought new Christmas lights and I forgot to put them out and then it was dark and I went out anyway in the cold and the night and then it turned out the wires were wrapped in that special way and I had to undo them on the night-time path in my front garden and my hands were cold and I was struggling and it seemed so hard and if I pulled too much then the wires would pull and the new lights wouldn't work.

I undid them, my fingers twisting in the light from the street and me shivering in the cold and it was with no small amount of satisfaction that I wound them prettily around the Cotoneaster and then turned them on in their splendour.

I went indoors and looked at my feelings again, still having a sniffle about the lights but that bad soup was bubbling out of sight and I couldn't get to it.

Yesterday I went to the garage and had my front car light replaced. I sat in the waiting room and fretted over whether there would be other lights that had gone and whether my tyres would need replacing, right before Christmas and if my car was going to need more doing than I expected. All of this had my stomach in knots and I turned towards the bad feelings soup to see if it was ready, but it wasn't.

In the end, the garage man said to me, 'Merry Christmas! The light is on us, have a good Christmas.' No extra charge, no charge at all and I left with a smile.

Then in the car I thought of this small act of kindness when I'd been worrying so much and how it had made one tiny part of my life brighter and I cried as I drove home. There was no need to cry, but I still did, all the while telling myself off for it.

But I still couldn't see the feelings soup, only sense it there, while I cried over the kindness.

Then in the evening when I sat in my Christmas-lit living room, watching the lights sparkle on the trees and wondering if now I could think about everything, instead I thought about the long year since I lost my old dog, a week before last Christmas.

Readers, I can still cry over Tess, but other, more pressing sorrows leave me dry. Why is it, when I need to think things through, my mind will only let me feel these extra experiences, the ones which have no bearing on my problems?

Is it that the situations I face which are most difficult are just too much? I need to think only on those I can manage or process? Or is it more simple than that?

Feelings can be accessed accidentally or on purpose, but to truly feel something we have to connect to it and if we don't feel that connection then it has to wait. If it seems too complicated to make the connection, then the feelings are pushed aside.

And then another connection is made, a simple one, and away we go: tears, words, thoughts, movements, sighs, actions.

What we don't realise is that these small, simple connections which open the floodgate are actually bringing us into touch with the hidden feelings beneath. They are different, not part of whatever we need to think about, but they are still a part of us and if we need to connect, to experience emotion, then somehow or another it will be felt.

We may cry over the wrong things but we still cry. The feelings which seem closed off or seen through a glass darkly are part of a much larger, fluid state where we can dip a toe in this part and make contact with the whole.

Sometimes, feelings have to be viewed from overhead or from a distance. We need to look at the whole of a person and the complete picture of how they behave to understand whether or not they are reacting emotionally - and even then we may not be able to tell for sure.

Just be sure that somewhere, deep within or bubbling right under the surface, those feelings exist. The trick is knowing which moment reveals them and recognising that all moments flow together, part of one complete parcel of Time.

Amanda




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