I don’t know what to title this blog post. But it is a short one, so I’ll just go with that.
There are a number of common comorbidities to autism, and I am in the process of being evaluated for some of these. It will be a number of months before I get an actual diagnosis, because that’s just how backed up the system is, but I’ve taken the screening tests and I know my scores. That being so, I have a good idea what the results are going to be.
I scored very low on the ADHD test, I scored right on the line between mild and moderate on the OCD screening test, and I scored off the charts for alexithymia.
The only one of these that surprised me at all was the OCD test, but on reflection I’d say that’s just me being unaware. Apparently, not everybody has the unending internal dialogue that I thought was normal. Fortunately, my level of OCD doesn’t really interfere in my daily life. At least, I don’t think it does.
As for alexithymia, when I first read the definition, I knew that fit me to the nth degree. Basically, alexithymia is a difficulty in discerning emotions, either my own or other people’s. I’ve seen it described as emotional illiteracy. I remember once telling someone that if they gave me three days, I could figure out what I was feeling. I’m sure that sounded crazy at the time.
I experience emotions as physical things. My stomach hurts. My chest is tight. I can’t quite take a full breath. Usually, all I know is that I’m feeling negative emotions or I’m feeling positive emotions.
When Anju and I were out for dinner last week* I was explaining these test results and what alexithymia is, and her response was “Oh yeah Dad!’ So it seems this is much more apparent than I ever thought it was. I hope it didn’t make me a bad dad.
As for discerning other people’s emotions, I have these internal dialogs when I’m interacting with other people that might go “oh, his voice is going up and he’s making bigger and bigger gestures. I think he’s angry.” Often I’ve no idea why, so I just assume I did or said something in a way to make the person angry, usually unintentionally.
Okay, that’s it. Short and sweet!
* This was written last month soon after I got back to Tennessee after my trip to New England