Low Affect


One day I was suffering horribly from a literally unbearable ear ache (plus nausea and dizziness to the point where I couldn't stand up). I called the clinic and talked to a nurse who told me I should have someone take me to the emergency room immediately. So I called my friend Nancy who has known me for about 25 years and, I believe, really does care about me. As usual under stress, I had become (without realizing it) "low affect." That means the emotional nature of my situation did not come across at all in what I said to Nancy. My words were literally true ("The nurse says I need to have someone take me to the emergency room"), but instead of responding to the reality I was experiencing, Nancy's reply was, "Okay, I'll finish breakfast, take a quick shower, take Sam [one of her cats] to the vet [for a routine appointment], and then I'll come by to get you."

When I'm in agony, I sound (apparently) as if I'm discussing the chance that we might have a bit of rain today. It's not at all a handy way to be!



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