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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Verbally expressing emotional things

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I can't express things with emotional connection in words, it does not matter whether the connection is to positive or negative emotions. I can express them very easily non-verbally especially with art. Difficulty of verbally expressing increases with the strength of the connection and the intensity of the emotions involved and the amount of pressure I am under. If I am forced to verbally express then I will cry and my mind will go blank. Also sometimes if it is a very simple thing to express then I do have words to say but I hesitate to say them because of their emotional connection. It makes no difference who I am talking to and it is not an issue with trusting people feeling like it's not safe to say things.

Social interactions are not difficult because I am not under pressure and the emotional connections involved are very weak and if there is something with stronger connection I can choose not to say it and nobody will notice or care.
Creative writing assignments (especially ones with a time limit) are very difficult because I am under pressure and there are stronger emotional connections involved. Writing with a tutor only temporarily pushes the emotions away and they return when I read my writing. Using art to express first and then trying to put it into words does not work, I still can't express it in words.

I have been seeing a psychiatrist for 5 months but the majority of each session is spent crying, not talking, or having unrelated philosophical discussions, so I have gotten nowhere with that. My mom thinks the psychiatrist I have is useful but she doesn't understand either and it's difficult to explain the problem to anyone at all because the problem itself has emotional connection so I hesitate to explain it and also that's why I hesitate to tell my mom that I think I should switch psychiatrists. I'm stuck in a closed loop :(

I have no idea what could have created this but I know that I have always been this way, I've only been crying more because I was forced to write more emotional stuff in school and that's when people noticed (because that's when I started failing English and History). My school did a whole bunch of testing that was so long it felt like it covered every mental condition imaginable and all the results said was that I didn't have any kind of disorder and I was above average or far above average in almost everything except 2 categories: verbal problems and expressing-opinion problems. And since they can't name the disorder they aren't allowed to change the curriculum, it's illegal.

Nothing seriously bad has ever happened to me, long-term problems or short-term events, so it can't be because of that sort of thing. I need to at least find why I am like this, even if I can't find a way to fix things - I can scrape by in English and History but what I really want to do is understand the problem - if it is a problem, and not just a difference in what kind of person I am. But I want your advice.

Answer
Cemre

I am not sure at all that I understand your question about, expressing emotion,  

It seems you are not suffering from serious emotional or psychological problems, but are struggling with the feeling that you have to express your emotions in words.

There are many great writers who value the fact that there writing is not laden with emotionality, so I am sure you can learn to write successfully for your classes without having to "bare your soul" in words.

If you are avoiding close personal relations because of this feeling, it is also true that deeds speak louder than words and you may be very  well able to express your emotions for important people in your life by simply being  a kind and loving person, even if it remains hard for you to talk or write about it.

It is important to our psychological health that we express our emotions because not expressing them leads to accumulating inner physical and emotional tension, and also limits our ability to  develop important social skills.

But nothing and no one should be making you feel bad about the way that you find is best for you to express your emotions.  People you care for I am sure would be just as happy for a drawing or a painting from you as a greeting card with your written words.  That you have a way of expressing your emotions is all that matters and that you learn how to use it to help the people you care about and help the people you care about understand you...that is what is important.

Write clinically and without emotion and let your art and your actions in life express your feelings and you will be just fine.

Best,

Dr. Andrew Elmore  

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Andrew M. Elmore, Ph.D.

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I can answer questions about: Stress. Headaches. Stress-related Disorders. Anxiety/Panic Disorder. Depression. Psychopathology. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Personal Problem Solving. Life in General. Relationships: Love, Friendship, Business Partner, Coworker, Family,Child/Parent. What makes us tick. The use of psycho-pharmacological agents in combination with psychological treatment. How to deal with evil people in your life. How to improve your outlook under duress. How to control stress. How to control mood. How to control headaches. I cannot answer: Questions about Eating Disorders. Questions about computers.

Experience

30 years in private practice as a psychologist in Manhattan. Dealing with people from almost every conceivable ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and as many character types as exist in this country. Dealing with patients from 8 years old to 90 years old. Pioneer in biofeedback and the treatment of stress-related disorders. Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1982. Treatment of stress-related, anxiety and depressive disorders with biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy. Developed personal problem solving, an extremely precise form of psychotherapy. Relationship therapy for couples, families, parent/child issues, business partners, coworkers, employers, and dealing with psychopathic individuals in your life.

Organizations
American Psychological Association. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. New York Academy of Sciences.

Publications
The journal, Psychophysiology. The book, Expanding Dimensions of Consciousness. The journal, Headache. The journal, Biofeedback and Self-Regulation. The journal Psychiatry Digest. The book, The TMJ Book. The book, Dental Phobia. The network, CNN. Parade Magazine. The newspaper, Newsday. The Manhattan TV station, WCBS. The national news program, The CBS Evening News. The newspaper, The New York Post. The national TV program, The Phil Donohue Show. The magazine, The New Yorker. The magazine, Glamor. The magazine, Redbook. The magazine, Health. The magazine, Bottom Line Personal. Web MD. The website, Healthology. The magazine, Newsweek.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. SUNY at Stony Brook, 1979. B.A., magna cum laude with Honors in Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1974.

Awards and Honors
Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, First, Second and Third Editions, 1997-2000. Appointed to the Training Faculty of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA), 1993. Senior Fellow BCIA. New York Academy of Sciences, 1987. Who’s Who in the East, 1983-present. Who’s Who in Frontier Science and Technology, First Edition. Citation Paper Author. Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Biofeedback Society of America, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1980. Biofeedback Society of America Scholar, 1979. Co-author, USVA Grant, “Variables Affecting the Experience of Pain in Migraine,” USVA Medical Center, Northport, New York, 1977-1979. Biomedical Research Fellow, Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, 1978. NIMH Predoctoral Fellowship, 1976. BA, Magna cum laude, with Honors in Psychology, 1974. Danforth Fellowship Nominee, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, 1973.

Past/Present Clients
Most of my clients are my private patients. However I have provided many seminars, lectures and workshops for: Columbia University. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Natural History. The UJA Federation. The university, CW Post. The College of New Rochelle. Equinox Fitness. Travelers Insurance. AutoOne Insurance. Chubb Insurance. Metropolitan Life. Allstate Insurance. State Farm Insurance. Encompass Insurance. The public relations firm, Porter Novelli. The investment firm, Capital Re:. The Estee Lauder corporation. The law firm of Irwin Abrams. The National Insurance Crime Bureau. GEICO Insruance. Beth Israel Hospital.

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