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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.

Treatment options

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?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Joelle Buck
    3 years ago

    Yes indeed. I NEED TO BE PUT OUT OF MY MISERY. PLS SHOOT ME NOW!! TILT!!! Have you found a reset button yet ? I am looking for mine ? Thanks

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I am STILL looking and I imagine I will be for a long time. I just want that magic pill, wasn’t there a movie or a show where they had a pill that made the brain work at like a thousand percent? I would kill for that haha…

  • piestarmoon
    3 years ago

    Thank you for this. I was diagnosed earlier this year, but this has rung true for a few years now. I spew out words out of order or completely zone out in the middle of a sentence sometimes. Story telling has never been a strong point for me, but it is about hopeless now.

    I work in a restaurant and after finding out what had been causing my double vision, one of my regular customers asked, “So, are you stupid yet?”
    MS runs in his family, his wife has SPMS, and if I hadn’t already been experiencing this brain to mouth obstacle, I would have been slightly offended. Instead I just laughed, because he understood, and was genuinely asking about cognitive function, not being snarky.

    I have to slow down, take a breath and focus on one sentence, or one word at a time and get back to the rest of the thoughts when they come. It is definitely worse (sometimes hopeless) when I am stressed.

    Out of all of the information I’ve been looking at in the past 5 months, this site is probably the most valuable to me. Learning from the experiences of others helps me feel more prepared and reassures me that I’m not alone.

    Thank you to you and all of the others who regularly post here.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I have been trying to “slow things down” and just focus on one word at a time and for the most part I can make that work but sometimes I still get worked up and then the constant tripping just frustrates the heck out of me! So yeah, patience, it’s so important in life with MS

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Piemoonstar! We’re glad you found the article helpful!Please know that you’re never alone. We’re here to share information and support. WE’re glad you’re part of the community. If you haven’t already, please also stop by our Facebook page, and don’t hesitate to visit any time you need support or just a friendly ear. -Warmly, Donna (MultipleSclerosis.net team)

  • BaltoRic
    3 years ago

    Matt – This is me. It used to be that I could talk fast with no problem. Now I tend to get overwhelmed and tongue-tied if I don’t slow it down. It usually is okay but sometimes if I am trying to make a point, I might forget some of what I would want to say before I say it! Thought bottlenecks are definitely the worst.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    I hate that, always feeling like “unless I hurry up there is no way to get all my thoughts out” which I suppose is another reason I like writing over speaking now; it lets me make sure all my thoughts are there before I click “send”

  • Kim Dolce moderator
    3 years ago

    Totally relate to this. The up side is that it’s made me slow down my thoughts and concentrate harder on my speech. I think I’ve become a better oral communicator because of this. Maybe only in my own mind, lol. Love the auto analogies, they’re spot on.

    Kim

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    Part of me wanted/wants to use this as an opportunity to focus on really learning strategies for better speaking but instead I have just been focusing on better writing haha…

  • Dimitri
    3 years ago

    Omg. Yes.

    This problem happens to me all the time. It’s so confusing. I’ve found myself stopping a conversation and ask the other person if I’m making sense. It’s so embarrassing. They usually say yes with a perplexed look on their face. But to me I feel like I have just spewed jibberish.

    As for medication, I haven’t found one that works for me for this problem. I find that these drugs only make me worse. They cause so much confusion in me.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 years ago

    yeah, I am all too familiar with that “look” and sometimes I have to stop because I can see that they are lost and when I listen to myself I know I am not making sense. ARG!

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