cadence’s website.

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I don't have emotions about significant changes in my life

I have noticed this for several years but not known whether or how to put it into words. After thinking about it more than usual in the past weeks, this is my attempt to describe my feelings.

When significant changes occur in my life it feels like they are occurring around me without my agency. They don't have an impact on my feelings or emotions, they are just things that happen.

Examples of this occurring in the past:

  • When my family permanently moved from one country to another.
  • When my family moved house.
  • When my parents got the first family pet.
  • When I moved from the family home to a university hall.
  • When I moved from a university hall to flatting.
  • When I finished my university degree.
  • When I started a full time job.

As for romance and dating in my life, sometimes I do have feelings and emotions about these, and often when I feel them they are very strong. But that's only sometimes; an equal or greater amount of the time I don't feel anything about them.

Am I supposed to feel things?

Many people around me ask me "how did it feel to ..." for each of these life events, and "I didn't feel anything" is not the answer they're expecting. So I think most people around me would feel things in these situations. So I expect it's normal and natural to feel things.

Which begs the question, why don't I?

What are the possible causes of this?

I've figured out a few things that are potentially related.

  • Maybe it's because I'm autistic.
  • Maybe it's because I'm autistic, and I'm masking.
  • Maybe it's because all of the life events I mentioned above are "priced in", that is, my brain is already aware of them and that they are an inevitability, so it has already processed the meaning of them, and when these events actually happen there is nothing new to know about.
  • Maybe I don't internalise the events as real, as if I'm not "present" for them. (depersonalisation/derealisation)
  • Maybe it's because I haven't been deliberately letting myself spend time with my feelings — something this blog post is intended to combat.

Maybe it's a combination of all of these.

Do I need to do anything about this?

A better question would be, do I want to feel things?

I believe so! It would be important and valuable to connect with my feelings more. I imagine it would also have wider positive impacts on my life and my brain.

Is there anything I can do to feel more feelings?

I don't know for sure.

I'm going to try spending more time thinking about my feelings rather consuming the internet and turning off my brain. I'm going to take my own advice on the matter.

And if this doesn't help, well, I'll still be in a healthier place than I am currently.

I can also research each of the potential causes I mentioned above to see if other people affected by those things have had similar experiences to mine.

I guess there's nothing more to say. Feel free to get in touch if you know anything about these feelings, or if you have a response to my words.

— Cadence

A seal on a cushion spinning a globe on its nose.
Another seal. They are friends!