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On Emotion

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” Oscar Wilde

“Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.” Sarah J Maas

It has been a while since I last wrote on here and that is because I have been busy. Also, because my initial enthusiasm waned a little. Writing this blog became something that I thought about less and less. Then planned less and less and then eventually forgot to write anything at all. Is this a trait of an inconsistent personality or is it indicative of some trait of ASD. Most days I am not too sure.

One thing that I have noticed recently is how emotionally disconnected I am. I have touched on this issue previously and I do believe that it has such a wide-ranging impact on my life that it needs to be discussed further.

When I was initially looking into the possibility of a diagnosis whether it is formal or informal, I DM’d an acquittance of mine – and a fellow English teacher and asked them about their emotions. They said that they felt “everything”. Other people’s emotions and other people’s point of view. I simply do not have this. At all.

I was doing supply in a Liverpudlian school at the start of September. It is a nice enough school in a typically mixed area. Some of the students suffered high levels of deprivation and others experienced comfort and a level of opulence. At the start of a lesson a student was crying. I saw this, panicked, and asked if she was “having an emotion”. I went over and asked if they were alright later in the lesson and suggested they get some air to cool down. I did not know what to say and the “emotion” left me feeling awkward, exposed, ridiculous. As the lesson progressed, I did the chalk and talk element, explained the task and set the students to work. Then I overheard some students talking. One said, “he can’t do emotions” and the other replied, “maybe he is autistic”. This made me more uncomfortable, and the students laughed and walked out of the classroom. They returned a few moments later. The slow death of the lesson progressed until the bell.

My wife has told me that she has been crying and I have not noticed. I don’t mean floods of tears or anything like but still. At my brother’s my Mum was upset and taken to another room. I didn’t notice.

I am unable to tell if my son is fake crying or crying. This leads to misunderstandings and me not fully understanding what the correct response is necessary. Sometimes my wife will tell me what to say or do, so that it is correct.

When someone is crying, shouting or whatever my mind goes blank. I blanket of awkwardness covers me. I do not know what to say or do. I don’t know what to do with my hands or my body. I try and say the right thing, but it often goes south, quickly.

Sometimes however, this does come in handy. In an emergency I can be clear headed and act quickly. I can disassociate the panic and the worry so that I need to do what I have to do. This has been useful far too often in the last few years. The world is crashing around my ears and I can think of what needs to be done and methodically push forward. It is other people that see the emotions and worry, I do not feel it. It is calming and odd at the same time.

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