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Juniper

Do you feel happiness ?

15 posts in this topic

One thing I'm very aware of is that I don't seem to experience emotions the same way as people around me. For example, happiness for me is what I can only describe as a state of nothingness, but not in a bad way. What I mean by that is I'm well aware of what anxiety, stress, depression etc, the negative feelings are like. What I've come to understand as happiness for me is a mental state where no negative feelings are present and I experience a sort of empty calm, devoid of negative or uncomfortable feelings. Is that the same for everyone? I ask because as for my children for example, I'm fairly certain that they seem to experience a sort of elation mixed with excitement and joy combined, or something similar when they are demonstrating happiness. Perhaps as we get older the highs aren't so high anymore, but then when are the lows the same or lower? 

I hope this question makes sense and just so you know, I'm not at all sad or depressed or anything like that. I'm just interested to know if others experience happiness as I do, or as a feeling in and of itself, separate from other emotions that can be described  and categorised without any ambiguity, thanks.

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I do experience what you describe, but I also experience excitement. Sometimes I get excited over small things that other people aren't enthusiastic about. Other times, when others are getting really enthusiastic, I feel nothing. I seem to get extreme emotions - extreme happiness or extreme anger or frustration or unhappiness. So it's not the case that I don't experience such emotions, I just experience them in a different way to most people. Since taking antidepressants, I feel these extremes of emotion less and everything is kind of neutral, or I'm not aware of any specific emotion.

What you describe seems like calm contentment, satisfaction, lack of stress. Subtle emotions are hard to describe or distinguish.

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@Nesf Thanks, I can understand and relate to what you wrote. I also get what you said about extreme emotions. I realised recently that when I get very angry and flip, which happens from time to time, behind it is usually always intense stress or frustration. The end result is never feeling violent or aggressive but extremely  upset at not being able to communicate efficiently, and just needing to be left alone to rebalance. What you describe as feeling "neutral" is also similar to how I am a lot of the time.

I was offered antidepressants from my doctor shortly after being diagnosed, but I didn't accept them or feel that I needed them. I've noticed quite a few GPs seem keen to get get people diagnosed with ASD/AS on antidepressants. 

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20 minutes ago, Juniper said:

@Nesf Thanks, I can understand and relate to what you wrote. I also get what you said about extreme emotions. I realised recently that when I get very angry and flip, which happens from time to time, behind it is usually always intense stress or frustration. The end result is never feeling violent or aggressive but extremely  upset at not being able to communicate efficiently, and just needing to be left alone to rebalance. What you describe as feeling "neutral" is also similar to how I am a lot of the time.

I was offered antidepressants from my doctor shortly after being diagnosed, but I didn't accept them or feel that I needed them. I've noticed quite a few GPs seem keen to get get people diagnosed with ASD/AS on antidepressants. 

Actually, I started taking the antidepressants due to another unrelated serious medical issue, they do help to regulate my moods and with anxiety/feelings of frustration, but I don't plan on taking them long term.

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I was offered them for exactly the reasons you mentioned, regulating moods, anxiety and frustration. I'm glad you found them helpful and I would have no hesitation going back and asking for them in the future if I needed to. I didn't feel the time was right when I was offered them as I had just been diagnosed with ASD, and I was still coming to terms with all that entailed regarding my past, present and future.

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I do. I feel an incredible surge of energy along with the desire to jump around. :lol:

People become afraid of me or annoyed at me, when I'm happy. :)

Some do show sympathy. :)

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@Whoknows Well that's great! You enjoy a particularly exuberant type of happiness and it doesn't sound like you have any problem identifying or expressing it, or for those around you to witness it when you enjoy it. 😊👍🏻

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I do get happy moments although having been going through a difficult work situation for some time, it seems like its been a while since I've had a really happy day or week, but last Friday I had a meal with my family and drunk champagne (not much of a drinker) and on Saturday watched a hilarious show and was happy for both those events. I'm doing my first full Autscape next month (an Autism convention) and hope to be mostly happy throughout that.

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@HalfFull I expect you enjoyed your time away from work all the more if you've been going through a difficult situation there. The time spent with your family sounds lovely and I can see how it made you feel happy, it actually sounds very similar to my last weekend! We went out for a meal on Friday somewhere quiet, and  on Saturday we stayed in and watched "the man who knew infinity" which while not a comedy was very enjoyable. It was a first for my family but I've seen it lots of times.

I'd never heard of an Autscape until today. I hope it goes well for you and you have a very happy and enjoyable experience.

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I think sometimes my feelings of happiness is like you described, more of a calm feeling without anxiety or stresses.  Sometimes I will get more visually excited, probably most when something I have waited for is here, but more of the time, actually, it is probably more of a calm feeling.  Though I do recognize when I am happy and feeling good because of being very internal.  I also get more extreme "lows" when irrational thinking takes over and I react without thinking too much because that's typically what happens.

I react more in my home environment, I have always been like that, though that is probably normal for most people because it is when we are with people who we trust (ideally, hopefully).  

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I do experience happiness or feelings with no/little anxiety or negative feelings but I feel this is very rare. I generally always have some kind of anxiety going on the background at least. It doesn't mean I'm unhappy though, just my neutral state. I've suffered with depression (whether I knew it or not) for a long time so I think I now might find it difficult to recognise or accept true happiness, which is kind of sad. A therapist once told me we get so used to our feelings of depression and mental anguish that it's almost like a comfort familiarity to us and we get scared when we're getting better and get scared of happiness. 

Some things do make mean really happy though, like being with lovely friends, or being in my favourite places (both at the same time :D )  or reading my favourite books. 

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I feel my situation is similar to Sofi's. I have an underlying, low-level feeling of anxiety which sometimes flares up into bigger worries. I also have an underlying downbeat, pessimistic mood rather than feelings of depression. Sometimes I do feel more positive and perhaps have feelings of happiness but I'm also wary of the possibility of them being short-lived and perhaps illusory. I'm even more wary of seeming to really enjoy or revel in good experiences as it can seem like hubris and "riding for a fall". The problem with these sorts of attitudes is they make it difficult to really enjoy happiness although there can be good sense in not taking good things for granted. However as with all attitudes they've become very deep-rooted and difficult to overcome.

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I used to experience emotions in a similar way to what you describe, but as I get older I find that my capacity to experience a real sense of elation and satisfaction is actually increasing. One of the reasons for this will undoubtedly be my recovery from the depression, grief and anxiety that once consumed my life, but having learned to quell my ASD-related compulsive thinking tendencies has also helped a lot. Now that my mind isn’t incessantly looking for logical problems to solve, I have much more time to simply appreciate the world around me, whether it’s a beautiful sunset, a moving piece of music or even a simple tree. There is cause for happiness to be found in things most people are too busy to notice.

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Thanks for all the valuable replies. It's very interesting and helpful for me to read what everyone wrote.

@Heather I can totally relate to what you described. What you wrote about more extreme lows when irrational thinking takes over, that's me too. Irrational thinking is something I have to try and keep in check, I can easily totally blow things out of proportion or think something important not worthy of a second thought for example. My wife is invaluable in helping me keep things in perspective and proportion, and see things a different way. I don't always agree with her interpretation but she's often right, when I've had time to process things.

@Sofi @Sanctuary Lots of us on the spectrum seem to be particularly vulnerable to anxiety, depression and pessimism, I know I am too. It's interesting for me to see other people describe often feeling a neutral state as their natural state too. When I asked my NT daughter (11 years old) what happiness feels like, she said after thinking for a minute "it's like I'm smiling inside and the sun is shining" That's very sweet but doesn't seem anything like we experience. What you both said about "getting scared of happiness" and "riding for a fall" I can relate to also. It's almost a Buddhist view point in that all is illusion, and temporary, and nothing will ever stay the same. 

@Sirius74 I think it's fantastic that your capacity to experience elation and satisfaction is increasing! That's very positive and I would cultivate it. I find your your post quite inspirational from someone who has recovered from being in perhaps, a dark place. I would be grateful if you could elaborate on how you learned to quell your ASD related compulsive thinking tendencies. I know I for one would benefit from that. As you describe, my mind is also consumed with looking for logical problems to solve. I think that is the underlying reason behind my insomnia. I would also like to appreciate the world around me more and learn to be more grateful and positive. Sometimes I feel quite quite cheated, and down, about the fact I was diagnosed so late in life. I've struggled and muddled my way through life as best I could without ever knowing what was behind my struggles. Now I do, it's a bit late. Mr eldest daughter also has an ASD diagnosis, so I'm determined she won't go through, or have a life like I've had.

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I have this continual 'cosmic background anxiety' as others have described - it's never far way, but I also find that certain sounds and sensations make me feel very calm and contented, perhaps it's more an absence of anxiety - the sound of a pigeon cooing outside my window, a warm bath or duvet, etc.

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