I have high alexithymia traits and I am autistic.
Hi, I am new to this forum and I wanted to know how common it is to be autistic and have high alexithymia traits.
I was also curious if anyone can relate to this. What are things that anyone could recommend I read that could tell me more information on recognizing and describing my feelings better?
Hi, I am also autistic and just found out what alexithymia is and scored high on the questionnaire. I don't have resources for information, but just wanted to let you know I can relate.
Hi kitkat and Erin,
I'm a researcher at King's College London and would love to have you both come into the lab for a paid session to complete a few tasks for us! We're studying traits of alexithymia and autism and if either/both of you are in London, UK, please do email me!
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't think there have been enough studies done on the subject however interesting.
I do think there is a high correlation between having high alexithymia and testing autistic. Back when I was younger, we didn't have autism, I just tested as developmentally delayed, learning disabled, retarded, and other umbrella terms.
On recognizing feelings, there are some good sites on physical expressions and emotional responses, I'll have to dig them up though. Observing your heart rate, and other bodily functions then correlating them towards common emotional responses has worked well for me. Sometimes I may come across something, such as when you shed a tear from your left eye it's due to happiness, both eyes sadness. I found that helpful in trying to understand my own emotional climate if you will.
I suppose the only unfortunate thing is that for the most part, people assume you know or would recognize what these emotions are and operate suchly.
Synesthesiates I found helpful as well in their understanding of how their emotions arise as it's more fully facited and may help give a greater understanding in how emotions arise in yourself as well.
Just joined after scoring high on the test. I'm also autistic in the sense of Asperger's. It seems to be a fairly common combination.
Wish I'd known about this decades ago; I wouldn't have gotten married and had a child.
I am autistic and recently found the site and scored very high. I am recently engaging in assessments to see if I am suitable for treatment for PTSD, hence my search on emotions. It seems we are all asking the same question: how do we try to understand our emotions and feelings and express them!
My 3 kiddos are autistic, and I am pretty sure my husband and I are also. We are pursuing an ASD evaluation for ourselves soon. I tested pretty high on this website also.
Not too long ago I was saying to my 19yo daughter that I have really liked the advent of emoticons for messaging. I think that it helps me to get across what I seem to be feeling, at the moment, better than I am able to in real life.
I did have a psychologist once tell me that I am really "hard to read", because I laugh no matter what I seem to be feeling... That was about 15, or so, years ago.
I too like the smilies to describe my feelings.
Just lost my job due to behavioural issues. Its not the first time I have had problems with this. I have asked to be assessed for aspergers as it does run in the family and a friend who's son is on the spectrum mentioned I do show some traits. It's interesting to see that others here that have scored highly are also on the spectrum.
My worry is even if diagnosed will it help me. I'm trying so hard to change but seem to be failing. It's tough to stay strong.
I was just recently diagnosed with ASD (Aspergers) and I can tell you, as an adult, it serves no function but to give you peace of mind. Depending on your level of functioning, having a diagnosis won't grant any benefits from employers or the state, and in fact, I think you can even be discharged from the military still for being on the AS.
I pushed my therapist (who is also a PhD,) for a diagnosis simply because I really need labels for things. I need to be able to label myself something as this anchors me in reality. Not having a name for my behavior/personality/disorder makes me feel crazy and just floating around in the ether. Getting a diagnosis of ASD and more importantly, Alexithymia, has given me peace of mind and put me on the path to accepting this as my reality. For me, its working. Slowly, but I already feel more productive in terms of executive functioning and just staying tethered to the moment.
This is the crux of the problem:
I suppose the only unfortunate thing is that for the most part, people assume you know or would recognize what these emotions are and operate suchly.
But my mom keeps doing this "just tell me at the time" and I keep telling her I CANNOT DO THIS! I DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO THIS!
Late diagnosis Aspergers/HFA here, also High Alexithymia score.
Here's a related blog article http://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/01/31/emotional-dysfunction-alexithymia-and-asd/
I too am a HFA individual - that is actually how I identified alexithymia and thought holy shit, that's me.
Thus, the two in combination are more common than not in the sense of alexithymia being significantly higher in the autistic population than in the neurotypical. Not necessarily indicative of every alexithymic being autistic, however.
It makes sense - autistic individuals are variant in base neurology. A marked difference in perception, understanding and expression of emotions is plausibly explained by neurodiversity. Even without alexithymia present, autistic people are still often very different in the ways they feel and express emotions.
So yes, relatability here too.
I find it extremely difficult to keep a job. On one job my manager told me I was a great programmer, as she fired me. My last employer made up lies about me, and then wrote a very vague letter about why I was terminated and mainly stressed that I was an "at will" employee. After getting an Aspergers diagnosis last year, I've been writing off my job losses as communication issues. My wife told me my problem is I can't see problems as they develop. I thought if I learned to "read" people, then that would help, so I've been taking facial expression tests. Now after taking the test on this site, I realize that I'll never be able to "read" people. Marchfirst, you were pondering if an Aspergers diagnosis would help; it won't.
GP thought I had ASD. The psychologist said I am borderline ASD (apparently because I understand sarcasm and use my hands when I talk I don't fit the criteria), but had high grade alexithymia.
I watch TV shows so get info on how to act and to see how other react to things. This doesn't always work though, as I think TV shows are exaggerated. People tend to tell me I exaggerate when all I've done is copy something from a TV show like Friends or New Girl or something else.
Using your hands when you talk and body language could be considered non-verbal communication (OK, I answered my own question), but aren't they learned activities, just like your copying New Girl? People in Italy talk with their hands all the time; nobody in Italy has Asperger's? Actually, you said your doctor says this puts you in the borderline camp; does that mean that the ability to learn and copy other's behavior is beyond the capabilities of the average aspie?
Software has been written to detect emotions. I've thought about setting up a wearable webcam, that feeds into a device that runs the recognition software; maybe a Raspberry-Pi or a cell phone (I'd have to root it). Anybody try something like this? I've thought about this before, so I'm sure somebody else has, too.
I've been really busy, so I haven't had a lot of time to look into what needs to be done to write emotion detecting software; last night I started looking into this. It looks like I need to use the Viola Jones algorithm for face detection, which is supplied by a software library called OpenCV. This algorithm looks for the different facial components (e.g., eyes, mouth, nose...); the first one it finds missing causes the algorithm to stop searching, but if it finds all the components it needs then it returns a hit. There has to be a database of eyes, mouths, etc. that the algorithm uses for comparisons; I think I can fine tune it to return sad eyes, happy eyes, ..., sad mouths, happy mouths, etc. ...or, maybe I need some other approach, but I've started looking into what is needed; kind of a status update.
I've made progress. Take a look at http://community-info.org/NoFeelings.html. I put blogs on my own website; this one is about my progress on the "I've Got No Feelings" program (probably not the final name of the program). It looks like there is a University in Czekoslovakia that is doing research on machine learning that is germane to my software project; I have a link in my blog to the University's project. I also have links to the software I'm already using. When I finish the "I've Got No Feelings" program, I'll put up a link to it on this forum, too.
Dave. I had a look at your page and your blogs etc. An impressive range of work on different platforms. Personally, I like that you think outside the box a little. :)
I would love to see progress on the facial expression application. I think that this would be an invaluable tool for everybody effected by Alexithymia, Autism & Aspergers.
I have often thought that a tool that offered a grid/matrix of numerous descriptive feeling labels that allow a user to circle/check descriptions that match their mood would be a useful tool. I picture labels like "sad/tearful", "isolated/alone", "anxious like something bad was about to happen" and so on. It would be even better if the software could, over time, 'learn' closely related labels selected by the user and so be able to dynamically arrange them on screen to better suit the user.
I wonder if someting like that would also be helpful co-residing with the facial recognition. Allowing the user to select labels that they think match the picture. The software could then score or flash the labels that it has identified as matching the image.
I appreciate your good words, but for now I'm thinking about basic emotions only. Once I get to a working program for basic emotions, I'll try adding complex emotions. On a basic emotions test I was able to learn what facial features I should look for on this particular test too get the emotions correctly, but they still threw some pictures at me that I couldn't get. I wound up just memorizing the right answers for the different faces. Back in 1997 world chess champion Gary Kasparov was beaten by the chess computer, Deep Blue. Kasparov was rated over 2800 at the time, and the author of Deep Blue, Feng-hsiung Hsu was rated maybe 1300. So it's possible to write a program that can perform some task much better then its author; I'm hopeful.
I haven't done any work on my Feelings program since my last post;
I've been finishing up a course in school. I just took the certification test
(Web development) but I still have 1 more week of the course, then I'll
Get back to work on the Feelings program.
I finished by semester at school, but stuff has gotten in the way of me going back to work on my feelings program. My wife wanted to start weight training again, so I took her to the gym, and she tore her Achilles tendon just walking from one machine to another; kinda like somebody who throws out their back by sneezing - just the straw that broke the camel's back. We've had to relocate back to the city for two weeks so my wife can be operated on. We turned off the AC before leaving, so I also powered down my PC (which means my website is down - I host it on my PC); if you want to take a look at what I've done on the feelings program so far, you'll have to wait till 07/01/2016. While I'm away from home I plan on working on my Python skills (since it seems to be the best language to use for this program) and looking it what had been done so far with open source, facial recognition software.
I got back on 07/01/2016, as promised. I had to see a dentist, wait two days and then unload our furniture from our truck and trailer. So, today I finally got back to work on my Feelings program; I can now detect the face, eyes, nose, and mouth. You can see my latest work at http://community-info.org/StillNoFeelings.html My next step is to find some xml files with haarcascades for the 7 emotions; anger, fear, disgust, contempt, joy (there's a smile XML file that comes with the OpenCV package, but I need to search for everything else - or build them if it comes to that), sadness, and surprise. There are still a few things I need to work on for the current program; it only detects frontal faces; a picture of Daryl Hannah from Blade Runner didn't work in my program because DH's face was askew (so my latest blog on my website uses a picture of Daryl Hannah with her face being being positioned more or less "frontal").
At http://community-info.org/NoFeelingsVideo.html you can see a slightly improved face detection program (since my last post) and a video stream version. The program is supposed to eventually run on a video stream, so I thought this was a good time to add this. By video streaming now, I was able to find what problems the program might have (regarding a video stream) at an early enough stage to prevent a major re-write of the program at a later stage. ...so everything is progressing well with the (No)Feelings program.
Mr. G, I've been trying to take your advice for getting along with my wife. I've improved our relationship enough to where neither me or my wife are talking about divorce anymore. One thing I've ben trying to do is avoid engaging my wife in conversations she's rather not get into. E.g., I wouldn't tell my wife about my (No)Feelings program; she probably wouldn't care to hear about it. ...but I sent my wife an e-mail with an embedded picture of my face with rectangles drawn around my face, eyes, nose, and mouth. My wife got back with me about the e-mail, and said that was the weirdest picture she'd ever seen of me, and showed some interest about my program. I have a problem picking up on if I'm boring somebody or not. ...and that's one of the purposes of this program; i.e., it can tell me if somebody is bored (or angry, joy, surprise, etc.).
Hey. This is the first time I've heard of Alexithymia. It seems to fit me and I scored 155, which looks high on the slidy scale. I function really well in society with many friends and a good fulfilling job. I can't even say I'm unhappy - I've just made other people unhappy around me, especially long term partners. In the past I've used drink, drugs and gambling to feel something - anything. I've only just realised this (I previously just thought I had an addictive personality). I don't know what else to say. This has been a revelation in the last few minutes.
I finally have a working program for detecting smiles. Unfortunately, it doesn't always detect smiles; the program works, but the data file the program checks smiles against is incomplete. I need to capture some more smile data. I also need to create some data files (haarcascade xml files) fot the other emotions, so I can test for those as well. Considering how little of my time I've been able to put into this, it could take me a long time to finish this program. However, I'm happy with what I've been able to develop so far.
JustPaul, I know what you mean by a revelation. I always knew I had a problem "reading" other people, but didn't realize this was an incurable problem. Finding out about Alexithymia made me realize that I have a problem reading other people's emotions because I don't have a reference point for those emotions; i.e., I can't read myself. This is why I came up with the idea of writing a program to detect emotions; inspired by a revelation, probably like yours, JustPaul.