Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shake the disease

Alexithymia causes difficulty in understanding, differentiating and communicating emotional states. One of the predominant characteristics on the relationship level is a limited capacity of having emotional connections with people since they are not able to see both in themselves and in others the shades of emotion, just the ones considered good or bad. Another characteristic of alexithymics is an attenuated capacity of controlling their impulses, so much so that some of them discharge the tension caused by the unpleasant inner states by compulsive acts, such as abusing food or substances, or through distorted sexual behavior.

Its symptomatollogy include dissociative experiences, low self-esteem, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and also a tendency to develop internet addiction. The difficulty in identifying emotions is associated in a significant way with an elevated risk of developing Internet addiction. On the other side an emotionally impoverished world along Internet addiction (or any other gadget or media like addiction). Addiction to technologies and emotional impoverishment are, in my opinion, codependent. If it is true that alexithymia promotes addiction, excessive use of technologies which in its turn leads us to a “second-hand” emotional life and a disconnection from the place where the emotions get activated, recognized and mature.

An incapacity of identifying emotions means a major risk of addiction. This makes me observe that lack of awareness on our own emotions (and our inner life in general) leading us to act mechanically and become servomechanisms of technology.If we do not understand what we feel, don’t listen to ourselves, consequently we’ll not get to know ourselves, and our lives will depend on external stimuli, which will trap us repeatedly. Therefore, our identities will depend on external inputs, since we’ll not have any other identity, apart from the one which is mirrored in the Net.

An alexithymic’s limited introspective life is a condition which is replicated in everybody who lives in a continuous flow of information, paying attention only to the inputs which come from the outside. The internal life and capacities for introspection become more and more impoverished, and it becomes more difficult to transfer attention from the external to the internal. The awareness of our feelings is an embodied process as much as a mental one, while using the Internet limits us to a mental sphere which takes us away from the connection with the body, taking the awareness of feelings even farther away.

Awareness of our own emotions prevents the dissociative experiences typical of alexithymics because it keeps our feet on the ground and anchors us to the body. Since ever, the best way to gain insight to our emotions – and not just that – is meditation; where the flow of information is only witnessed, made aware, and not acted upon. Fundamentally not clicked.

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