Alexithymia: True disorder or popular psycho-fad?

Our warrior had never heard of it before reading the article below. But for the past couple of years, this Alexithymia ‘disease’, ‘discovered’ in 1973 by Sifneos, has apparently gotten quite some attention.

It seems that there is a valid explanation for all kinds of undesirable behaviour. A diagnosis gives relieve. Did I fail to raise my child well? No! It has ADHD. Your kid does not do well in school? Dyslexia. Is unsociable? Hypersensitivity disorder, or even better, hyperintelligent. Is suicidal? Then it must be bipolar. etc. etc.

Our sincerest apologies if this all sounds a bit offensive (which it probably is a bit we assume), but this psycho-self-help-analysis seems to get totally out of hand. Probably the ever increasing pressure in society (also referred to in the alexithymia article below) has got a pretty big hand in this (For a nice example of new moral standard setting in cyber-space, just check Perez Hilton, the highly popular society-watch-dog who slams celebs like Lindsay Lohan and her mum and Britney Spears, who in his view are out of line…). We (and especially celebrities) NEED to be successful and flawless, role-models to everyone else. The pressure, the pressure.

Back to the Alexi-thing, it seems to be another soothing cream for people who let themselves get carried away in this materialistic society and get into this sort of mid-life-crisis: Oh my god what have I actually done all my life? Worked 80 hours a week, not spent enough time with the family. Who am I? What do I feel? etc.etc. Hardly a disease we would say, but maybe rather a sudden awareness of too strong a focus on a specific aspect in life. But then again, isn’t life just all about priorities??

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Dr. Spock – Patron Saint of Alexithymia
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Alexithymia: A condition where a person is unable to describe emotion in words. Frequently, alexithymic individuals are unaware of what their feelings are.
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Here’s a technical definition of Alexithymia (by Taylor & Bagby, 2000.) Since the Heidelberg conference, there has been a consensus in the literature on the definition of the alexithymia construct. The salient features of the construct are:

(1) difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal;
(2) difficulty describing feelings to other people;
(3) constricted imaginal processes, as evidenced by a paucity of fantasy; and
(4) a stimulus-bound, externally oriented cognitive style.

or in less-scientific terms the keyfeatures of Alexithymia are (according to an unscientific website) :
Difficulty identifying different types of feelings
Difficulty distinguishing between emotional feelings and bodily feelings
Limited understanding of what caused the feelings
Difficulty verbalising feelings
Limited emotional content in the imagination
Functional style of thinking
Lack of enjoyment and pleasure-seeking
Stiff, wooden posture
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For, again, a not very scientific, but more personal view on Alexithymia, you can read: ‘Alexithymia & Society’ (S.Hein, 2005)

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Warrior is going to meet one of her ballet heroes!!!

Yes yes, after years of struggle, elbowing and brownnozing, our fearless warrior finally managed to arrange VIP tickets to the Nederlands Dans Theater performance coming 2nd of October here in Bratislava, and more importantly 😉 to the VIP party afterwards where her longtime hero Jyri Kylian and the dancers of NDTII (the young lot of the dance troupe ;-))!! Check!

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Fingers crossed!

Polish Film Festival prize winner for Best Long Documentary: ‘Jimmy Rosenberg: the father, the son and the talent’

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Jimmy Rosenberg, a Sinti-gypsy, was born in 1980 in Helmond, the Netherlands. Just when twelve year old Jimmy got a contract offered at Sony, already sharing the stage with big stars like Eric Clapton and James Brown, his dad and manager got into prison for 8 years for killing his son-in-law. This event marked the turning point in his young life. Jimmy got addicted to drugs, and also due to psychological problems he was unable to sustain his promising career.

Film-maker Jeroen Berkvens followed 23 year old Jimmy for three years and shows a well-balanced and impressive view on the tragic occurings and how Jimmy lives his life today. In the mean time, Jimmy has had his come-back, so you can check out his fabulous wizardry for yourself at the 2 planned concerts in Utrecht and Paris.

Footage from one of his comeback concerts this year at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam 26th July 2007: