I grew up in an upper-middle class family without shouting or screaming or hitting. I didn’t realize until I was 40 years old that we were emotionally illiterate and that I didn’t even know I had spent most of my life sad, lonely, angry, and afraid. I just knew it felt good when I got drunk, that I hated seeing the sun come up, and when my wife talked I couldn’t wait for her to finish her sentences so I could go back to watching whatever crap was on television. I thought that was normal. I didn’t know how to communicate my emotions because I couldn’t name my emotions.
If you’re looking for the name of a new pill to “ask your doctor about,” as the ads say, the Mayo Clinic Health Information site is not the place for you. If you’re shopping for a newly branded disorder that might account for your general feeling of unease, Mayo is not for you either. But if you want workaday, can-do health information in a nonprofit environment, plug your symptoms into Mayo’s Symptom Checker. What you’ll get is: No hysteria. No drug peddling. Good medicine. Good ideas.