The Bottleneck in My Brain - Keeping Up With My Thoughts
When I was a kid, before I had multiple sclerosis (MS), I used to think at a million miles per hour and though it was not always easy I did manage to get all my thoughts out either in the form of spoken words or written words. I was coherent. After I was diagnosed with MS, the slow process of that becoming more and more difficult began. This is a problem I hear a lot of people (usually who have had MS for a while) talking about. Sometimes it feels like my mind is just racing but when I try to hold a conversation with someone? It’s like I can’t get those thoughts out as fast as I am thinking them so I end up tripping over my tongue and just talking gibberish that even to me doesn’t seem to make much sense. It is very frustrating! I imagine it’s like putting the engine of a Ferrari into a 1994 Honda Civic; the car cannot handle the engine! It can’t go as fast as the engine wants it to! The MS body I now have? Sometimes can’t seem to keep up with my thoughts! Not always but sometimes and it’s so frustrating that at times I find myself overwhelmed with the feeling of just wanting to smash something then break down in tears. Why can’t I get the “me” in my head out?
Writing things down
This is why I prefer to write (whenever I can) instead of speak. I can organize the tangled mess of thoughts in my head and write them down one sentence at a time. Then, after I have a few sentences written down, I can read over them and reword them if I feel it necessary so that my thoughts are more coherent to the reader. A lot of the time though, I run into the same problem; I think faster than I can write. With the fine motor issues I now have I definitely can’t type as fast as I once could but on top of that my fingers tend to fumble while I type causing me to hit a bunch of the wrong keys. My “backspace” key will without a doubt be the first key on my keyboard to wear out and fall off! But regardless of the difficulties typing may bring about, it allows me to get my thoughts out and organized. Though hitting the wrong keys may also be frustrating it is nothing compared to the frustration I feel when I am talking like a drunk.
Now some people find relief from this problem with certain medications like Ritalin or Adderall but my neurologist won’t prescribe Adderall and Ritalin worked for a while but wore off over time… Now I take Nuvigil but sometimes this makes the problem worse; I will be thinking even faster but still not be able to get those thoughts out quickly enough. The bottleneck is still there but now there is a lot more traffic trying to pass through it! So medication (I have tried a lot more than I listed) does not seem like it’s going to be the answer to this problem for me. Most people I have talked to do not seem to really have this issue with medication, so for me? I have just been trying really hard to take a deep breath and be more patient with myself. That is easier said than done, I know, but I really try to not stress about things I cannot change in life. MS has created a bottleneck in the path my thoughts have to follow to make it out of my brain and into the world and if I can’t widen that bottleneck I have to try to create some order in the way my thoughts get out. It’s like a room full of people trying to escape from a fire. If everyone rushes towards the door pushing and shoving in a mad panic then getting out will not be too easy. But if everyone is more calm, composed and organized regarding how they exit? Things will flow a lot more smoothly.
Do your thoughts seem to bottleneck? Do you feel like you are constantly tripping over your words when you try to speak? How do you deal with this?
Does listening to music help lower the severity of your stress or MS symptoms?