Back in the day, when you wanted to know something, you reached for an encyclopedia. My favorite reference book, however, was a medical dictionary belonging to my in-laws. Not a visit to Louise, Texas, passed that I didn’t pull that book out of the bookcase to look up some disease. My father-in-law, who seemed really old at the time in his late 50s, would caution me that I’d certainly find something to be sick with if I kept reading that book! Fast forward 50 years, I’m older than he was then but the internet has fueled the compulsion to self-diagnose even more.
This week I got serious about trying to diagnose some of my “verbal” issues and discovered I may have a Thought Disorder! Note to my conservative friends, this isn’t the liberal medical establishment’s diagnosis of critical thinking – not yet anyway! Thought Disorder is described as a “disorganized way of thinking” and there are numerous subtypes to characterize my lack of sophisticated speech but I don’t think I’m alone in this.
For example, riding in the car with my late husband or my gentleman friend, we’re having a discussion and suddenly I start talking about something totally unrelated.
According to Healthline, this behavior could be described as Racing Thoughts, Loosening of Associations or something called Derailment. A similar term is Tangential Speech…”the phenomenon in which a person constantly digresses to random, irrelevant ideas and topics.” Medical News Today calls it Flight of Ideas – “jumping rapidly between ideas and thoughts.”
I just thought I did that because I have so much to do and so little time to do it in! And besides, who is the arbiter of what is relevant? I’m a ‘more is more’ kind of person. There is no such thing as too much information. It’s my position that background information is the foundation for good decision-making…but I digress.
And speaking of husbands, I think mine suffered from Alogia and I don’t think he’s the only man to have a case of “brief and unelaborated responses to questions!” I noticed they didn’t mention “selective hearing,” a real disorder in my opinion among husbands and gentlemen friends.
My youngest son use to accuse me of what the professionals call Circumstantiality…“excessive irrelevant details in speaking or writing.” He just wanted the Cliff Notes version but I know the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree…see Alogia above!
Distractible Speech is a Thought Disorder that I bet gets slapped on women all the time. In reality it’s called multitasking! Yes, women can ask you about that potluck recipe midsentence while discussing legislative priorities!
These websites tie Thought Disorders to Schizophrenia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I certainly don’t want to make light of them considering the multigenerational mental health issues in my family history but I’ve concluded not all quirky ways of communicating are necessarily a disorder.
In my immediate family’s case, it’s more like birth order. My youngest son referenced above had three older siblings and swears he was always talked over. That feeling impacts how he communicates today.
Hindsight being 20-20, when you get down to it, my father-in-law was right about forays into the medical world. Curiosity could kill the cat but with a little common sense, she’ll live to roam another day!
The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.
Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.