Self Directed Talking - EF Coping Mechanism?

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Trogluddite
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02 May 2018, 10:46 am

Like many folks here, I seem to have a pretty bad time with my Executive Functioning. I also talk to myself a lot, sometimes internally, sometimes out loud, and sometimes without being sure which! But I have noticed something about it which makes me think that talking to myself is a kind of coping mechanism for some of my EF problems.

I quite often find that if I tell myself out loud to do something, I am more likely to do it than if I only have the thought. It's as if somehow there is a broken link in my brain between thought and action which I can bypass by speaking the command to myself and processing it through my hearing and speech processing.

I also got quite used to being told to "keep it down" in various jobs that I've had (the cursing doesn't help!). Without realising it, I will start to narrate my way through the job out loud - "right, you go over there; now two of those; need the screwdriver now; yup, that's fixed up nicely now....." etc...

So I wonder, has anyone else noticed this effect? And if so, how do you feel about it? I find myself caught between thinking of it as an effective coping mechanism or as a liability due to the embarrassment of being caught talking to myself or feeling that I'm annoying and distracting other people.


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kraftiekortie
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02 May 2018, 11:12 am

This sort of thing has happened to me.



leahbear
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02 May 2018, 12:13 pm

I do that to keep myself on task when working too. I just tell the people around me that I talk to myself. No need to be embarassed about it.



BeaArthur
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02 May 2018, 4:14 pm

Yes, I do that too. If you find it helpful but disruptive in your work, try speaking without voicing - forming the shapes with your mouth, but not emitting any sound. Or speak in a whisper.

I'm sure it does have to do with executive function difficulties, which are one of the most troubling aspects of autism for me.


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02 May 2018, 4:32 pm

Yes I do this all the time at work. I do talk to myself at home a lot too but at home it's less of a list of instructions, more of a chat. I think this is because at home the pressure is off to get things done in an organised way. At work I need to be doing things in a clear way and not get distracted and the talking to myself helps.



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02 May 2018, 4:47 pm

Taken your shower, very good, now take the toothbrush, brush gently, first tooth, count until fife, goot, neksht toosh
...not eagy wig a tooshbrush and tooshpashte in ge moush



Trogluddite
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02 May 2018, 4:57 pm

BeaArthur wrote:
If you find it helpful but disruptive in your work, try speaking without voicing - forming the shapes with your mouth, but not emitting any sound. Or speak in a whisper.

Yes, this is what I try to do as much as possible, but it has a habit of "leaking out" once I get into a hyper-focused state (which is when I'm more productive, of course). There's also some aspect of actually hearing my voice say a command which seems to make it more effective when I'm getting stuck with initiating a task, though less so once I've actually managed to get started.

leahbear wrote:
No need to be embarassed about it.

Yes, you're right, I do realise that I can't help it and should be less self-conscious about it. I think the fact that I curse a lot makes me more embarrassed about it. It's an odd thing, because I generally curse very little in conversational speech - maybe I'm worrying too much that people will think I have a hidden "dark side".

LaetiBlabla wrote:
...not eagy wig a tooshbrush and tooshpashte in ge moush

:lol:
So I'm not the only one that ends up with toothpaste all down my chin, then! :D


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skibum
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02 May 2018, 6:05 pm

I do that all the time but a a very primitive level. I do it as if I were telling a toddler what to do. I literally tell myself, "Go sit on the potty" and I might say, "good girl" when I do it. It is at that level. Sometimes if I don't do that I literally have trouble figuring out what to do and how to do it. There are times when I literally cannot do things as easy as eating and going to the bathroom unless I narrate to myself like I would to a little child. And I often hear it in my head in my older brother's voice because he sometimes has to narrate to me as well in order for me to be able to do some simple things. And he says, "Good girl," to me sometimes when I do somethings well. But self narrations are a huge part of my life. If I am struggling, I cannot function without them.


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Trogluddite
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02 May 2018, 6:27 pm

skibum wrote:
and I might say, "good girl" when I do it

That's interesting. I was thinking originally about the kind of "motivational" talk to get myself doing stuff, but yes, I do usually say things afterwards too, to confirm to myself what I've just done and note the achievement; "Excellent, that's the plates cleaned." It's the same with, say, preparing to go out; "I've got my keys. Wallet is in my coat pocket. I don't need my rucksack..."


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BeaArthur
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02 May 2018, 6:31 pm

skibum wrote:
I do that all the time but a a very primitive level. I do it as if I were telling a toddler what to do. I literally tell myself, "Go sit on the potty" and I might say, "good girl" when I do it. It is at that level. Sometimes if I don't do that I literally have trouble figuring out what to do and how to do it. There are times when I literally cannot do things as easy as eating and going to the bathroom unless I narrate to myself like I would to a little child. And I often hear it in my head in my older brother's voice because he sometimes has to narrate to me as well in order for me to be able to do some simple things. And he says, "Good girl," to me sometimes when I do somethings well. But self narrations are a huge part of my life. If I am struggling, I cannot function without them.

You're not the only one, I do these things too. Giving simple commands.... saying "good girl" when complete. I'd rather not have most people know I do this! It seems very infantile. But not as infantile as complete inaction.


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Trogluddite
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02 May 2018, 6:53 pm

BeaArthur wrote:
I'd rather not have most people know I do this! It seems very infantile. But not as infantile as complete inaction.

That perfectly sums up what I was thinking about when I asked how people feel about it in the top post. I think I've been very slow to realise that I'm letting fear of embarrassment hold me back from achieving more. I've been living in shared accommodation for the last few months after years of living in my own place, which is probably what has drawn it to my attention - my landlady handles my autism very well, which I'm thankful for, but I do get anxious about disturbing her with my constant chatter (she likes her peace and quiet, as do I.)


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Gallia
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02 May 2018, 8:53 pm

when I'm home (especially home alone) i tend to be quite loud - make weird noises, sing, skip and jump around and i guess talk to myself a little or make weird faces. that's especially if I'm in a good mood or have been home by myself for a while and let loose lol since i live with housemates at the moment i do feel like i can't quite be myself. i have been wanting to sing all year and i sometimes do it when I'm washing dishes (sound of the water will cover my voice) i didn't use to be embarrassed about things like that :|


also when I'm stressed I'm likely to talk to myself. i also catch myself laughing out loud sometimes lol like literally just now xD


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Trogluddite
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02 May 2018, 9:12 pm

^ Yes, aside from the executive functioning thing, I think there is part of suppressing the talking which is like the tension that builds up when I have to go a long time without stimming (I do have little discreet ones for when I can be seen, but they're not a patch on pacing around and bouncing on my toes while I have a good hand flap.)


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