+EMOTIONAL ZOMBIE-ISM: The feeling diseases and disorders


Monday, March 10, 2014.  Where do I start this morning as I begin a post I intend to use to clarify my thoughts about FEELINGS?

I think I’ll start here —


Addiction is a Feelings Disease  – Posted on June 26, 2012 by Karl Shallowhorn, MS, CASAC

It’s a feelings disease – Emotions and addictions

The Feelings Chart – How addictions interact with feelings (does not address how a severe early trauma history alters our emotional life from the start so that “normal” does not exist so that “using” happens in attempt to even feel anything LIKE normal – this article does offer insights on feelings and addiction processes including its progression!)

Addiction as a disease of “Frozen Feelings” – Interestingly, from the perspective of medical anthropology – a take on Russian recovery, VERY GOOD article!


OK, let’s dig a little deeper here – Not too hard to begin to see the patterns – which, I believe, greatly relate to what Dr. Siegel describes as the goal of healing one’s entire embodied, relational mind – INTEGRATION!

Alexithymia – While this Wickipedia entry says that 10% of the public suffer from this condition I would beg to differ.  A very similar condition is HIDING in people, in families, in communities, cultures, civilization and within our species under many different guises.  In other words, there are many roads that “lead to Rome.”  We can CREATE this condition, support and sustain it in many different ways.


Alexithymia/ˌlɛksəˈθmiə/ is a personality construct characterized by the sub-clinical inability to identify and describe emotions in the self.[1] The core characteristics of alexithymia are marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment, and interpersonal relating.[2] Furthermore, individuals suffering from alexithymia also have difficulty in distinguishing and appreciating the emotions of others, which is thought to lead to unempathic and ineffective emotional responding.[2] Alexithymia is prevalent in approximately 10% of the general population and is known to be comorbid with a number of psychiatric conditions.[3]

The term “alexithymia” was coined by psychotherapist Peter Sifneos in 1973.[4][5] According to the OED, the word comes from the Greek words αλέξω (alexo, “repel”, “protect”) and θυμός (thumos, “soul, as the seat of emotion, feeling, and thought”) modified by an alpha privative, literally meaning “repelling emotions”.” – bold type emphasis is mine


Depersonalization disorder (DPD) is a mental disorder in which the sufferer is affected by persistent or recurrent feelings of depersonalization and/or derealization. In the DSM-IV-TR this disorder is classified as a dissociative disorder; in the ICD-10 it is called depersonalization-derealization syndrome and classified as an independent neurotic disorder.[1] Common descriptions of symptoms are: feeling disconnected from one’s physicality; feeling as though one is not completely occupying the body; not feeling in control of one’s speech or physical movements; feeling detached from one’s own thoughts or emotions; a sense of automation, going through the motions of life but not experiencing it or participating in it; loss of conviction with one’s identity; feeling a disconnection from one’s body; inability to accept one’s reflection as one’s own; difficulty relating oneself to reality and the environment; feeling as though one is in a dream; and out-of-body experiences.[2] Depersonalization is described as suffering from episodes of surreal experiences. Some of these experiences have been also reminiscent of panic attacks and paroxysmal anxiety. While many people experience brief moments of depersonalization, in others it may last much longer and can become a persistent problem.[3] Diagnostic criteria for Depersonalization disorder include, among others, persistent or recurrent experiences of feeling detached from one’s mental processes or body.[4] A diagnosis is made when the dissociation is persistent and interferes with the social and occupational functions necessary for everyday living. Providing an accurate description through investigation has proved challenging due to the subjective nature of depersonalization, the ambiguity of the language used to describe episodes of depersonalization and because the experiences of depersonalization overlap with those of derealization, which are two separate disorders.[5]

Depersonalization disorder is thought to be largely caused by severe traumatic lifetime events including childhood abuse, accidents, war, torture, panic attacks and bad drug experiences. It is unclear whether genetics play a role; however, there are many neurochemical and hormonal changes in individuals suffering with depersonalization disorder.[6]


And as a start into the insecure/secure attachment links to difficulties with feelings – and therefore with empathy –


“…common characteristics include a failure to support partners during stressful times and an inability to share feelings, thoughts, and emotions with partners.”


Disorganized Attachment or Why You Think You’re Crazy But Really Aren’t – A very nice article that gives an overview of attachment as a whole with a focus on how insecure attachment disorders appear in people who come to therapy.  (I do know there is another side to the last statement made in this article for some of us who were traumatized through neglect and abuse from birth – just keep that in mind although I won’t discuss it at the moment here – it’s already on the blog in many places.)


What is your attachment style?  Emotionally Limited – I like this term!

Avoidant Attachment:  There are adults who are emotionally unavailable and, as a result, they are insensitive to and unaware of the needs of their children.”  [I WOULD ADD,  EMOTIONALLY UNAWARE AND UNAVAILABLE, INSENSITIVE TO EMOTIONS OF SELF AND ALL OTHERS!]

+ A Google search for terms like “anxious-avoidant insecure attachment emotions” will land you in a universe of related information!


A Personal Take on Emotions-Feelings

A few posts back I included a link to Dr. Daniel Siegel’s 25-minute Wheel of Awareness guided meditation  (Just Google “siegel wheel of awareness youtube” and lots of related info will come up.).

It would take me some time to elucidate my concerns today about the topic I am presenting. 

(1) On one level I note that I do not get the impression through Siegel’s mediation that feelings and emotions are given their proper due in this exercise.  The weight is on THOUGHTS as you will notice at the end of the practice.  A thought without a root in embodied/feelings is a sterile monster of a thing in my book.

(2) I have known many traditional-minded indigenous people in my lifetime.  Nearly ALL of them would say that “white people” are most known for being “cut-off at the neck” as they “live in their brain only.”  I agree.

(3) Insecure attachment disorders are rampant in American culture and are increasing moment by moment.  This means that “empathy disorders” that include an increasing inability to FEEL anyone’s emotions – self, others, planet — are concurrently escalating.  This is to me a SERIOUS malady that affects certainly American culture on MASSIVE levels.

(4)  Being dead/numb/dumb to one’s feelings is, to me, an indication of dis-integration.  It is a form of DEATH, DYING, and of being DEAD to one’s self and to all life in SERIOUS ways.  This condition is passed through CULTURE as it includes caregiver relationships with little people who are entrusted to adults for their nervous system/brain/body/mind development.  Do we intend to SHUT DOWN the vital signs as they are contained in emotional/feeling information within ourselves, our children and within other people?

(5) I am seeing these shut-down death and dying patterns in my family and know this condition is a massive condition of those living in this Fargo, North Dakota region.  I am now recognizing the familiar awareness I had while living in this area beginning 40+ years ago.  It is a HUGE reason I left here!

(6)  I’ll put this bluntly:  Anyone who tries to shut me down by devaluing ME by devaluing my emotional and feeling state of being in this lifetime is actually working to KILL me-as-myself just as surely as my mother did.

This form of devaluing and disrespect comes at me through RAGE attacks by one person I know and by “so-sweet-shush-shush you are being SO INAPPROPRIATE” by another!!  I remember how this operated for me as an outsider when I first arrived in this area 40+ years ago:  DO NOT BE YOU NO MATTER WHAT because WHO YOU ARE/HOW YOU ARE IS COMPLETELY WRONG AND UNACCEPTABLE TO US!!

Oh, I’ll tell you – I am learning a lot right now – seeing what has taken me so many, many years to learn:  I could NOT make the progress I needed to make in my own healing in this location.  The litmus test now all these years later – and I have been gone from the northland for 20 years – can I maintain MYSELF – my WHOLE SELF – for any length of time while living here again?

If I determine I cannot I will leave here as soon as my apartment lease is up next December 1st, no matter what my other good intentions for assisting others might be.

I will NOT – will NEVER – again be shut down, disrespected, not valued, shamed, ridiculed, judged and rejected from loving acceptance FOR BEING MY TRUE SELF which HAS to include all I FEEL and have the RIGHT to express in my own ways (which of course evidently displease others – but certainly does not harm them in any possible way!).

(7) There are a lot of people here of Scandinavian heritage.  Do far northerners tend to deaden their emotions so that in important ways – as I see things as a complete outsider – they become as cold, frigid and rigid as the often frozen land they inhabit?  Can they only live in winters like these ones by NOT FEELING?

As the “addiction disease” models point out, it is not possible to deaden “only the rejected” and deemed unacceptable “negative” feelings without greatly harming one’s ability to feel the “positive” feelings.  I will NOT become numb/dumb/dead to my FEELING self until I am literally dead in body.  (I also strongly suspect that some form of feeling belongs to our soul and travels with us into eternity without this physical body.)

(8) Is it a Fargo urban legend that North Dakota has the highest alcohol consumption rates of any state in the nation?  Fargo is the largest city in this state – and therefore would have the highest consumption rate. 

99 Million Americans Drink Beer – Well, North Dakota is #1 in the nation for beer consumption, and we all know this says nothing about other alcohol consumption, street or prescription drug use, etc.

Is North Dakota the ALCOHOLIC CAPITAL of the nation?  I am beginning to see that it very well may be.  A feeling disease?  You GOT IT!

North Dakota in Top 10 States for Alcohol Consumption per capita (North Dakota just reached the population it had in 1930 – and has a peculiar demographic based on age of employees in its current farm and oil based boom economy.)

National Alcohol Statistics 2010

National Surveillance Report #96 – Underage Drinking

45 States that Allow Drinking Under 21– at least North Dakota does not ALLOW


If you are DEAD to your emotional self – what a set-up – DRINK to FEEL anything at all!  It’s a deadly cycle!

Is this a HUGE part of what I am noticing living back here?  Is alcohol consumption a boom biz in North Dakota?  How is booze affecting my family – and therefore – me?  I believe that alcoholism has been in my family for generations.  It’s still here.  Actively in some cases.  In remission in others.


This post topic is beginning to make me feel ill….  I am certainly no expert on addictions but I do know I have spent over 30 years of my life trying to put myself together after the traumas of my first 18 years of life – and I had to FIND my feelings, even FIND my body at all so wounded was I!  I am NOT going to put myself at risk of backing backwards down my spiral of recovery!

I am hoping I am strong enough to DO THIS current learning curve of my life without anything but increased growth and healing coming to me.  I will sure find out!  This is NOT an easy time!


Check out this great blog about CONTROL mentioned by a commenter here:

Monkeytraps / Free your inner monkey blog here — http://monkeytraps.wordpress.com/


Here is an excellent source for the BEST addiction model of treatment on the planet!  HAZELDEN


Warning contained in this follow-up post —

+COST OF EMOTIONS (be careful)

March 10, 2014


Here is our first book out in ebook format.  A very kind professional graphic artist is going to revise our cover pro bono (we are still waiting to hear that he has accomplished this job) – what a gift and thank you Ben!  Click here to view or purchase: 


It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.  Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site are WELCOME and appreciated!


Please click here to read or to Leave a Comment »


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