I am a people watcher, a people listener and a people toucher. It has been how I learned what is acceptable and what is not. Usually I try to behave within these constraints, but sometimes my inner stress is too high for me. Identifying what emotion I am going through is often a cognitive process.
Pain in certain areas of my body and intensity of stimming, like noise level (singing, rhyming, talking to myself, echoing, humming etc) are both indications of how I might be feeling. When my chest hurts and my noise level increases I am usually angry/frustrated or sad/grieving. I then depend on knowing what has happened in my life lately and that will usually clinch the matter.
Until I discovered my autism I wasn’t able to figure these things out without much time passing. Once I found blogs written by women like me, I discovered others had to take the same route to their emotions. Quite a few of these types of blogs can be found on wrong.planet.net. Other blogs I have used extensively to understand myself have been seventhvoice.wordpress.com and musingsofanaspie.com.
When a favorite author died a short time ago these symptoms appeared and I knew that meant I took his death hard. An increase in stimming and pain kept nagging me until I acknowledged their existence and meaning. You see, I seldom cry when I am sad. Even when I am supposed to be extremely sad. Earlier on, I thought something was wrong with me. Perhaps I wasn’t sad. A person who is singing isn’t supposed to be sad. Well, it turns out all that was going on was me being Asperger. What a relief that was.