Talking To Yourself ??— ADD Tip O the Day 599

Is Talking To Yourself A Problem, A Symptom, or What?

Someone asked me if talking to yourself is okay. I said I certainly hope so, cause I do it all the time.

I don’t think it’s a symptom of ADD ADHD; it’s a coping strategy.

I say, “Right now I’m writing this post and when I finish, I’m gonna do the Spanish lesson.”

And I made a commitment to myself to finish the post before I let myself do anything else. When a tempting distraction pops up (don’t they always?) I write it down and keep going. And I’m coaching myself, “No, finish the post first!”

I coach myself through the day, often out loud.  So maybe it’s a little weird?  But it’s a lot better than the alternative.

Doug

Note: this is not exactly the same as what I call “self talk”.  More on that later.

Bonus Links:      

from Katy:  29 Things Only a Person with ADD ADHD Would Understand

How to Cope with Distraction

More On Distraction

ADD,ADHD,attention deficit,adult ADD,adult ADHD, strategy,strategies,coaching,talking to yourself,coaching,commitment

Spring has sprung,the grass is green,
I’ll go get my tambourine.
Spring has sprung, the grass is wet,
help me find my clarinet.

 

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About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at amazon.com, or smashwords.com (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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22 Responses to Talking To Yourself ??— ADD Tip O the Day 599

  1. shannonell says:

    That’s….just awesome! Loving Homey’s comment.

    I talk to myself out loud all the time, and it drives other people CRAZY. I’ve been thinking of it as absolutely being an ADHD symptom; a problem of impulse control. That where other people use self-talk (quietly, inside their heads!) as a tool in various ways, when I use it I am often just unable to control the impulse to speak out loud. And I think that is sometimes the case. But it never occurred to me that it might be serving a purpose in a specifically ADHD way! I’ve felt instinctively that it’s doing something for me, that I’m getting something out of it, but I thought it must be the same thing everyone gets out of talking to themselves, and I just lack the ability to keep it inside.

    It never occurred to me that it might be a way of cutting through the noise. The inside my head, internal noise. Or of increasing memorability, like Homey’s “the garage door is closed”. I know, and I think this is very much an ADHD thing, that I have more difficulty than the average person knowing if I actually did a thing or just thought about/imagined doing that thing. In cases where I’m trying to remember something like shutting the garage door. I’m absolutely going to try the “verbalizing as a tool to remember” thing. Thanks!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff says:

    Hi Doug – My first comment.

    I saw this “Talking To Yourself?” ADD tip the other day and said “This doesn’t apply to me.” But today I saw it again and said “Maybe it does.”

    I spend much of my day working in my second floor home office. I often leave my office to go downstairs to do several things on each trip. One task usually includes heating up my coffee in the microwave. Unfortunately, upon my return upstairs I discover that I didn’t do one or more of the tasks that I had planned on doing.

    A good solution to this problem might be “talking to myself” – telling myself aloud what I need to accomplish – to help me remember each task. I’ve tried doing this in the past (in my mind), and it has been helpful. Unfortunately, another ADD problem has prevented me from doing this more often: I forget to do it! (talk to myself)

    Then, there’s another big problem I have: I often find myself downstairs to do something, and realize that I’ve forgotten to bring my coffee with me! So it’s back upstairs for the coffee, and back downstairs again. This problem has persisted for so long that I finally resorted to sticking a small flag at the top of the stairs to partially block my path downstairs. This is supposed to remind me to make sure my coffee is with me. It works sometimes, but I find that I’m often so focused on another more important task that I ignore the flag!

    What a “pain” ADD is! …Jeff

    Like

    • Jeff – boy it sure is a pain, but I think there are ways to reduce the pain.
      your strategy of saying out loud sounds right on to me, it’s what I’m doing.
      as far as the flag to remember the coffee, it’s a good strategy, but is not working well for you, the problem is, maybe “small” and “partial”. Do you want to use something that is so big you cannot ignore it. That should work, if it’s worth the trouble to you.
      otherwise, if you just keep using the small flag and do your best, it should eventually become a habit and work most of the time.
      thank you for commenting.
      Doug

      Like

    • Jason Ross says:

      Hi Jeff,

      I developed a neat trick about 15 years ago and have used it quite successfully. I think about each thing I need to do and count it on my hands. Then, when I am doing my tasks, I think ‘OK, how many things did I need to do, things I need from the grocery store, etc’, and then I lost them off again and count them up. When all the numbers are gone, I’m done! Very helpful. Maybe you might want to try it sometime.

      Jason

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff says:

        Hi Jason- Good to hear from you. I appreciate the tip. I need all the help I can get!

        We must be like-minded, as I sometimes count off the tasks I need to accomplish using my fingers. It is VERY helpful – otherwise I normally forget to do one or more tasks, and then have to return to wherever I was doing my tasks. I think this counting tip is very useful for someone with ADD. BUT, my problem in using it is my MEMORY: I often forget to count off my tasks! Any ideas on how to remember to do this?

        By the way, do you have any ideas on how I can solve my coffee dilemma?
        Jeff

        Like

        • Jason Ross says:

          Hi Jeff,

          Maybe you could try making it a habit (using it as often as you remember and hoping over time it sticks). How about you put a sign up on your kitchen table, in the bathroom, etc. that reminds you to count the number of things you need to do that day? You could also write things down in a planner or your phone (to do lists). Give it a try and see if it works.

          Jason
          addfinances.org

          Like

    • Jason Ross says:

      Hi Jeff,

      I have more ideas for you. Put the reminder sign “count the number of things you need to do downstairs before you leave your desk” on the wall by your desk. That way you will be looking at it directly in front of you when in your office chair.

      Try putting a sign at the bottom of the stairs with one of those “!Warning! Don’t forget your coffee mug!” in bright letters (neon yellow / orange / red). Something that will capture your attention as you head up the stairs.

      Jason
      addfinances.org

      Like

      • Jeff says:

        Good idea to have a sign by my desk, Jason. I’m going to try that one.

        I’ve tried using signs downstairs. Like you said, they seem more effective when in bright colors – otherwise I tend to ignore them. The problem is that my wife doesn’t like the signs – too much clutter. So I have to use them sparingly. For example, I need a sign to remind me to go get the mail out of the mailbox!

        Another ADD problem I have is remembering to get my coffee out of the microwave after heating it up. My microwave has a reminder beep ever minute, but turns out that’s too long. Before the minute is up I’ve become distracted by something else, and have forgotten my coffee! Sometimes, by the time I remember my coffee, it’s gotten cold again!!!

        Jeff

        Like

  3. voice says:

    Hey, Doug,

    I have talked to myself all of my life. Along with being a great strategy for keeping myself on task, it also alerts others nearby that I am in the middle of something. My planner is open to the side of my computer on the desk. As I think of things that need doing or that I want to do, I write them on a “Notes” page in the planner. At the end of the day or when I have a moment of time to review, I determine which will be done when. That strategy has been working for over 60 years.

    Dianne in the desert

    Like

    • dianne- sounds like you’ve got it down! The notes page is basically what I do too; try to write it down instead of getting distracted by it and going off task.
      Thank you for commenting.
      Doug
      in the desert. Also

      Like

  4. rammkatze says:

    I’m with homemaker on this one. Though I usually talk to myself when my thoughts are racing all over the place, thinking about >hypotetical< bad situations (the adhd trait that causes me the most pain). I say loudl "Ram, stop it!", or if it happens at work, I mutter " snap out of it". It is an old strategy that only works consistently sonce the meds. It is also very efficient when you're trying to quit smoking, especially if you make fun oft yourself while you're at it ("oh you want a smoke and you can't? Oh you poor thing, you make The whole world so sad, boo hoo!" :p

    Like

    • ram- good strategies. Except I’m a little uncomfortable about the putdown part of the anti-smoking, but I guess if it works it’s well worth it
      thank you for commenting.
      Doug

      Like

      • rammkatze says:

        Tanks for the reply, Doug. I’m a bit startled that the negative part about the smoking makes you (or anyone). Frankly, everyone around me allways seem such rabid anti-smokers (and the fat-shaming is coming too!) that I wouldn’t have expected anyone to think it wrong to use negative enforcement about smoking. But let’s see if I can minimize our discomfort. I’m too a believer of the positive reinforcement, but I also strongly believe that negative reinforcement is unavoidable sometimes. Namely, when all the positive reinforcement in the world isn’t helping. I only used my mocking voice two or three times when the “but you’re not gonna smoke because you’ve made it this far and that’s awesome!” wasn’t working and I was getting a foul mood. While I understand the need for positive reinforcement, I find its use 100% if the time limiting. But then again, who knows? Maybe it’s just a good job I don’t habe a child to raise? ;-p

        Liked by 1 person

        • ram- listen, if its working I won’t knock it.
          its the self put down I’m uncomfortable with.
          would something else work? “i dont have to do this. i can control this. this would not be good for me. i love myself too much to do this. i owe it to myself to skip this” etc.
          but maybe not, if the “youv’e made it this far –” didnt work.
          but again, the harm from smoking is much greater than the harm from a little self depreciation, so if thats what it takes, OK
          you probably use the other strategy, to have a substitute – gum, exercise,prayer, something – for when the urge hits.
          good for you for not smoking
          thank you always for commenting
          doug

          Like

  5. Jason Ross says:

    Hi Doug,

    I agree that talking to yourself can be a good way to cope with the challenges of ADD/ADHD. For me, I have found talking to myself to be quite useful when I get the urge to say something (interupt a conversation, say something stupid / inappropriate, needing to get a thought out but it would involve disrupting someone else’s concentration / task at work). So, for example, if I see something at work and I get the urge to say something (that’s ugly, what the heck is that?, that’s stupid!), I now say it to myself first (most of the time – it’s a work in progress).

    This provides two benefits. First, I do not say something I might regret as often because it gives me a chance to evaluate it and think, “Hmm, should I say this out loud? Does that sound right?”. Then I can choose whether or not to say it. Second, even just being able to ‘speak it’ to myself helps relieve that compunction to blurt something out loud (you know what that’s like, right?).

    Homey – I’ve never thought about talking to myself like that. Seems like a neat idea for trying to remember things (talking out loud). I too have a zillion thoughts whipping through my mind….thanks to my ADD I’m sure.

    Jason @addfinances.org

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jason – are you saying it out loud off by yourself, or just in your head? either way, its a great strategy that takes a good bit of self control.
      thank you for commenting
      doug

      Like

      • Jason Ross says:

        I talk to myself ‘internally’ (silently inside my head). It helps a lot. It isn’t 100% foolproof, but it helps a great deal with avoiding saying things that should not be said.

        Jason @addfinances

        Like

        • Jason – I don’t know of anything that’s 100% foolproof. But you’re giving a beautiful example of “think before you speak.” That is extremely hard for us ADDer’s to do. good for you.
          Thank you for clarifying.
          Doug

          Like

  6. I talk to myself constantly! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been “caught” in public places. It’s a little embarrassing sometimes but I know everyone probably does it sometimes.

    Saturday morning I got an early morning text and got out of bed to go to the bathroom and then get my phone. I was talking to myself about who I thought it was and what they wanted. Then my husband responded. Oops. I forgot he was there. He usually goes to the gym on Saturday morning but he going later and was in the office. It was kind of a funny conversation we had because it took me a while to figure out what was going on and explain it.

    I think one reason I talk to myself is to silence the other thoughts. If I’m talking “in my head”, there can be multiple conversations going on at one time. But if I talk out loud, there’s only the one. Plus if I say it out loud, it means more and is more memorable. Like this morning when I was backing out of the garage. I said out loud: “The garage door is closed.” If I had thought it, it wouldn’t have come back to me when I wondered whether I closed the garage. Having said it out loud, I knew I did it.

    I do what you do, too, with telling myself, out loud, what I’m going to do next. If I lose my ability to talk to myself out loud, I think I’d lose my mind!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • homey- I like your strategy about the garage door, so you don’t worry, and wonder later. It’s kind of like I also say out loud, where I parked- “third row back in line with the O in the sign.”
      Thank you for commenting.
      Doug

      Like

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