Alexithymia and Dysthymia

I have both Alexithymia and Dysthymia. They're complicated by my selective mutism which makes verbal / written expression very difficult when I have a surge of emotions, whether good, bad, or in between.

Emotion and expression are extremely challenging for me.

I tend to rate my emotions as "good" or "bad" because the nuance or subtlety in between is too complex for me to identify, name, or discuss.

Does anyone else have issues with Alexithymia, or Dysthymia?

Please share your experiences, your thoughts, and your research.


  • I used to have trouble sorting out my emotions. There used to be a considerable delay between what inspired an emotional reaction and when it actually hit me. I don't think it is a big problem these days, but recently you "saw" me wondering "out loud", if I would be hit hard by a recent event.

    Regarding depression: I have been profoundly sad, but I haven't been depressed for over 35 years, thankfully. 🐨

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    I have alexithmyia and have had it my entire life. I used to not really "feel" a lot of emotions when I was a kid since I just didn't recognize them, so I mostly ignored them. I now recognize emotions by analyzing how I physically feel, which I've only properly begun doing within the past few years. I didn't have anyone recognize alexithmyia in me and help me develop a better sense for my emotions when I was younger, so now I have to do that myself as an adult.

    Regarding dysthymia/persistent depression, I guess I have depressive episodes, but ironically my alexithmyia makes it hard for me to tell if I'm depressed beyond those episodes. I've been told that the way I describe feeling most of the time is depression, but I honestly don't notice many differences in my default state from when I was a kid and now, and I doubt I was depressed as a little kid.

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited December 2020

    Here's an interesting Alexithymia questionnaire, for anyone who's interested, along with an article about Alexithymia, which describes its presentation in Autism.

    The questionnaire is designed for people with Aspergers or ASD1, but I'm sure it's applicable for those of us with Moderate Autism and other ND conditions.

    I'm working on similar research and training for Alexithymia, Dysthymia, and Interoception with my OT.
    I was diagnosed with severe Alexithymia during my ASD assessment, and it's an area of study that I find very helpful with self-awareness, and sensory regulation.

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor

    Probably have it,not going to bother with the test though

  • I have dysthymia. It’s basically clinical depression on a lower level than major depression but it still makes life difficult. I can get up, though it gets harder the older I get, and move around but I still feel low in my mood. I can take a walk and feel like my life is slipping away. Even when I am driving in my car and have music playing, I think about the things I wish I had but don’t and my mind will replay painful memories against my will. I can play a video game or read a book and my mind will still ruminate on what makes me unhappy. It’s especially severe when I’ve had a bad day at work. Work also doesn’t distract me. I can escape from the world I live in some if I play a video game or read but it will follow after me and grab at me like a pet who wants attention until I finally give it what it wants. 

    I would say dysthymia is like what people without depression have when they are really sad but instead of it going away or subsiding some the next day, it persists for days, weeks, months, and even years. I’ve had it since I was 17 and it’s made my life very unhappy. 

    What do you think contributes to you having dysthymia? 
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