Seems like a fairly simple thing to answer doesn't it? The challenge arises when one tries to have a meaningful conversation about fears. In my head, there are two primary types of fear, irrational and rational. Now there are many rational fears that almost everyone will understand such as a fear of pain or death but those aren't very interesting in my opinion. A fear of death or pain, in my mind is very rational inversely, an extreme reaction to snakes and spiders is, at least in my mind, irrational (don't get me wrong here I'm no fan of them but it isn't debilitating).
So I'm here to discuss a subset of my irrational fears that are almost indistinguishable from my rational fears. For one because they helped establish some of my more fundamental behaviours and to this day guide my path.
Let's start with one that might seem perfectly rational at first glance.
I have a fear of being wrong...
Everyone has this at some level but I think that in itself is where half the problems with communicating these things lies.
Now while could spend ages writing about managing this fear and harnessing it for good (i.e. in pursuit of my personal goals and ambitions) this isn't the most interesting aspect.
To put it bluntly - "I do not trust my interpretation of my own emotions"
In my mind I have a constant narrative with myself. Occasionally it slips out but for the most part it is just a mechiasm I use to attempt to keep track of my mental state and to somewhat predict and comprehend the emotions of those I interact with. Please note that I didn't say "keep a track of my emotions" and that is where the problems lie.
This part will get rather vague but that's true of lots of my writing 😀.
I have a handful of useful mechanisms for determining my state. Some are fairly understandable even from an NT point of view these ones are kind of like my intuitive emotional understandings and are comprised mostly of things like sadness, ambivalence, motivation etc. In that list there is little or no Intuitive emotional reasoning for the 'happier' emotions which is annoying.
The part of my mental state monitoring is comprised of little self tests. At the simplest level just checking how much my hands are shaking at any given time and a more extreme version involves attempts to recall arbitrary events in the past (which the ease and accuracy of recall is checked and compared by questions to peers/family/friends).
When posed the question, internally or externally,"How do you feel about X" the process I have to go through is akin to multidimensional analysis with an attempt to quantify the effect on my state given changes to the limited observables.
I'm sure that most people who've done multivariate analysis before can see where the difficulties lie here. None of the variables are independent of any of the others.
In the past it has been noted by a variety of different people that my emotional response to things is very hit and miss... Sometimes I get it right and others I get it very wrong and adjust over time. I have no self check mechanism because it is built using the same technique so it comes from other people.
This is why I fear the accuracy of my personal emotional interpretation.
So it's difficult to fully comprehend what impact this has had on me without examples.
First example is one of the biggest things in my life at the moment...
Gender Identity - Why do I not feel comfortable when I apply the label of 'Man' to myself
In terms of the earlier discussion I am in serious need of expert opinion in this matter. I am very fond of being at equilibrium and please believe me that I wouldn't have sought the advice and support from my close friends in this matter if I felt that not asking the question was in anyway the best approach and would definitely have stopped the moment I found an answer that satisfied my curiosity.
However I now question my thought processes and feelings around this point for a variety of different reasons: 1) I'm depressed again so I must look to changes in my life to identify potential causes and while yes this has been a period of great change (Work pressures, new flat, DIY, lodger etc.) the biggest personal change has been with the gender experimentation. 2) I question everything, it's not helpful or beneficial for me to do so but I question everything in order to gain fuller understanding of myself. 3) I'm no expert in this field so my interpretation could be wrong. 4) I was very lonely at the time. I believe that I am clever enough to use this subconsciously as a tool to meet new people in an effort to not be lonely anymore. 5) It is reminiscent of the way my ASD manifests itself in a fixation. Not exactly the same but related.
Now all these thoughts are valid. I'd not be an advocate of freedom of the mind if I said that because these thoughts exist they are wrong and continue. It is this uncertainty that is driving me towards the specialist support/therapy that I believe can furnish me with something more resembling the truth.
Romantic feelings towards others.
I've said this many times to people as I feel it is important enough that they deserve to know.
I do not, in general, feel sexual attraction to people. While having spent most of my life identifying as male has imparted the ability to be crude and comment on the physical appearance of others I would never say I've been aroused by it without an additional factor.
Trust is my additional factor. It is this factor that makes relationships difficult (both platonic and romantic). My biggest fear is misreading my own feelings towards others because despite being able to feel attraction to someone I trust that is not the same as having romantic feelings towards them.
If I don't post this now I'll never do it so it's going to stay like this and I might make another post related to it.