Do you feel that your brain thinks too fast and that causes
Joined: 6 Nov 2007
Location: United States
Joined: 1 May 2009
Location: South Africa
Yes, I agree. It also comes from sensory overstimulation as well overstimulation in other areas, such as spending two hours on Twitter and Facebook, or working too long without a relaxation break.
Even if I take a break, I find it hard to slow down my mind, and I have started to learn relaxation techniques to stop my brain from racing and flipping the channels. My mind otherwise tends to run on and I see pictures like movie scenes and I try to work out issues or creative problems logically at the same time.
I use numerous techniques for this relaxation, some physical and some mental, some of which I have read in books and articles on AS and/or anxiety.
I also use a number of techniques to help me get to sleep at night, including pillows which provide pressure around my body, music designed by neurologists to help induce sleep, etc.
Sometimes I find that taking Ritalin helps me to keep these thoughts from dancing about, because then my mind can focus on a single thing. It does not prevent me from falling asleep. I learned this Ritalin sleep strategy from an article at ADDitudeMag.com.
I also sometimes drink coffee before I go to bed. This also sounds ironic, I know, but I know numerous people (including family members and colleagues) who find that it helps. (Tea, which contains a different kind of caffeine, has the opposite effect on me.) Of course some people are kept awake by coffee, but not I.
You most likely have ADHD too, which would explain why you struggle to focus. Most aspies have ADHD.
When I must wait in a queue, I dance. Classified as an aspie with ADHD on 31 March 2009 at the age of 43.
Joined: 14 Nov 2010
Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 26 Aug 2006
Yes, I have the same problem. Often it's like I'm constantly flipping from one thought to another like changing channels from one scene to another slightly related, and on and on until I wonder how I got on something else and I try to work the chain back. I have used visualization techniques to try to "turn this off" when I lay down to go to sleep ever since I was a kid, because when it's really buzzing it's hard to fall asleep. I think I go through cycles in the day like this, even in the evening I'll be really tired, then I'll get my mind spinning like this and energetic, then slow again, etc. I have a problem doing this when I talk too. In fact, although I tend to make sense in writing it's much harder when I talk because I just keep going from one thing to another as my mind plows ahead with disregard for coherency, it also makes me constantly want to interrupt people and change the subject, not because I don't want to listen to what they are talking about, but because other trains of thoughts keep firing away and if I don't say something I can't remember it later because it's been left behind in the dust.
Some techniques which help me work through this at night (when it's most problematic because it can prevent me from sleeping, or if my thoughts lead down negative paths/memories/worries this can stress me out a lot). The one I started doing when I was a kid was I would visualize what looks kind of like the static you see on TV if there is no television channel (the black and white moving dots). Everytime a picture popped in and threatened to run away I would "tune" back to this image and it would gradually calm things down as I focused on this and drifted to sleep. The image was necessary because the majority of the noise in my head is images, usually rapidly changing, though there's also other stuff. (No, I didn't actually watch a lot of tv as a child, I guess I just settled on this because it blocked everything out). I still use this technique when I'm lying in bed and my mind is racing.
Another visualization technique I'd use in bed to "focus" and turn off the mental stuff would be to do something where I mentally rotate my body in space. This would allow me to focus in another way on the physical sensation if I were floating in space (like, outer space, all black, unsupported), and as I would sink into this and begin to feel the sensation, I would rotate my body one way, or another, or feel like I was standing vertically, or spinning around, or moving very fast, etc. I don't exactly remember where I got this idea as a kid but I think it was from my sister. Fun to play around with and it focused me when there was nothing to actually focus on in front of me since I was lying in bed and couldn't see anything.
Nowadays another thing I do if I have something very exciting or interesting or I have to remember later or something I have to say to somebody or a worry or a revelation etc that comes to mind, I will briefly take my notepad from the nightstand and write it down. Once I write it down I can get it "out of my head" without worrying that I'll forget it later; otherwise, it will just continue to cycle and cycle indefinitely as I keep going back over it and refining it and going to something else and coming back to it. This works for a lot of different situations. The drawback is, if I'm really wound up on something I could end up writing for hours and hours and stay up for way too long (when I really have something to write, I want to keep doing it until I'm done). So I try to avoid doing this when I'm actually trying to sleep if it's something like a story I want to write or all my memories or thoughts about some event. Sometimes I end up doing so anyway or a summary to refer to later (though often later, the urge has subsided), but it can still be a useful technique if it doesn't in itself prevent getting more sleep.
I also read before bed almost every night. If the thoughts whirling around in my head are of something bothersome, I will try to read something light and fluffy (comic books), that way when I am very tired and lay down to fall asleep, generally what is whirling in my head is related to whatever I was reading and I have pleasant pictures to fade into my dreams. It also helps me keep my mind on one thing (what I'm reading) until I'm very sleepy instead of lying in bed letting my mind wander, and instead of getting sleepy just thinking more and more.
I also do the pillow thing like Alphabetania, it's funny as I haven't heard of anybody else doing that . I have six pillows on my bed. The number is just right for me. I can position them around my body in a comforting and blocking way as needed. I would really like to get a weighted blanket as well, I think that would help in a similar way (I used to pile so many blankets and sometimes a rug on top when I was a kid that my mother kept commenting that she was afraid I would suffocate), but they're kind of expensive so I haven't bitten the bullet yet, but it's something I would really like. I had this jute rug for a while that I used over the top of my blankets and I got the best sleep EVER, hands down. It was quite heavy. However I discovered I am allergic to jute or at least something in that rug (I'm allergic to a lot of things) and the allergies became intolerable so I had to give it away.
Joined: 16 Dec 2010
Yes too fast when it needs to slow down.
Unfortunately it operates too slow when I need it to be able to skip over things and not analyse each and every thing in front of it.
My mind seems to prefer "boxes" and "labels" for everything so when someone says or does something that I can't find the appropriate box or label, I stop listening while I re-check my library. That's why I seem to have a poor attention span. Its more like if something in front of me doesn't fit my model, I have to form a new model and that takes time.
Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Well, it's one way of seeing it, yes. My thoughts usually seem to happen too thick and fast for me to catch them all, which causes me some distress, because I imagine that with my lousy short-term memory, some ideas are going to be lost forever......I often have this illusion that what I'm currently thinking is more important than anything I've ever thought before, so it's like watching precious gems vanishing into a black hole. I sometimes wonder if the reason I talk past the point so often is because I hope the other person will be able to remember my thoughts better than I can.
On the other hand, I could just as well see the problem as my brain thinking too slowly to catch my thoughts. It's like there are two of me in there, and the one who has the thoughts is too quick for the other one (the thought observer). More likely it's all the same person and he flips back and forth from thought generator to thought observer, only he's not very good at flipping, and tends to get stuck in generator mode....could this be the same phenomenom as the well-known Aspie difficulty of shifting from the detail to the Big Picture?
Also, I wonder if NTs have the same "problem" but they don't worry about it, because they have better faith in being able to recall anything important later, and because they don't get hung up on the perfectionist goal of capturing every thought and analysing it to "completion" like we do. With me, I want to take every thought and evaluate it to find out if it's correct and to discover how it relates to my existing knowledge base, and what potential use value it has.
Joined: 16 Dec 2010
With me, I want to take every thought and evaluate it to find out if it's correct and to discover how it relates to my existing knowledge base, and what potential use value it has.
Ahhh, yup. I always thought this was a good thing but now I'm learning 45 years later that others don't do the same. Kinda sad and shocking for me at the same time
Joined: 17 Jul 2004
Location: Defending the Mick Avory-like Sweet Peas that are growing in a quiet and peaceful garden.
Joined: 6 Nov 2007
Location: United States
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