I’ve been called varying things and experienced a lot of distress in my life because of what comes out of my mouth. I’m a “chatterbox”, “a chatty little girl”, “talks a lot”, “talks too much”, “annoying”, “goes on”, “likes to lecture”, “rambles”, “has verbal diarrhea”, “is too friendly”, “won’t shut up”, “mental”. Some people love it, some people have made it the reason to hurt me and put me down.
I always thought this was just who I am, a part of me, and I still think this, even more so.
I know that there is a “time and place” for certain behaviour, but when you have impulses that your brain wont deny when it is supposed to, all sorts of things happen that I don’t really control yet still have to be accountable for. It also impacts my reactions, how I emotionally react and how quickly. Often automatically. I often have done things that within mere seconds after regretted or would had never said otherwise, things that aren’t really a representation of my thoughts, it’s just my brain not filtering what should be internalized. But the reason I also do this is to help me internalize my thoughts by making sense of them externally. It’s almost like my whole thought process is out, raw and bare with all the context (even if it’s only context I understand). It’s how I make sense of most things.
Especially in conversations with others. For some reason other people stimulate me in ways where I loose complete sight of myself and the situation. And that loss of control and also unpredictability to what is actually the “appropriate” reaction gets lost. And then suddenly I am process dumping on any listener. Talking out loud to others to make sense of my thoughts is a good portion of my chatter. Once you understand this about me the responsibility for the receiving party is lessened but it’s like I need a sounding board for thoughts or they will stay jumbled in a drawn out actually tedious process in my head. I actually think because my brain doesn’t find it stimulating, it’s also part of why I vocalize those thoughts, to make it stimulating to work it out.
This obviously causes social problems in ways, especially when I was younger I probably did this more than I remember because it’s such a regular coping mechanism now (it’s obviously more sophisticated as an adult). But this becomes masking and where anxiety started to impact my life. I feel it’s all very much part of my ADHD, it’s working memory. But maybe also Autism at the same time struggling with reading social cues. This making socializing a taxing task. But also you can see why talking is such a useful tool to me and why it should be OK to have more chatter in situations that it could accommodate me.
The fact I have always been like this should had been a tell tale sign to a medical professional or hints to my cognitive condition. Yes people can be chatty, but what are they saying, and is it problematic? Is the ‘behaviour’ an issue enough to cause school detentions, loss of friendships, jobs, being misunderstood constantly in intentions of self. That literally being yourself is felt as a problem. That trying to stop does nothing. That I need it to be sane and to function.
Over the years I have gotten better at redirecting some unwanted reactions, but verbal stimming is something I have encouraged in myself, especially singing, whistling, it actually helps with regulating how I feel and it makes me feel good. CBT helped more with mindfulness and the anxiety that had come from some situations. Accepting my ND self though has been the newest mindset for me, unmasking and allowing forgiveness for myself. Acceptance too, this is who I am. I have been forced and asked to change which has made me doubt myself, when actually being a talkative person has given me many wonderful experiences and opportunities and skills! And anyone who tries to tell me that this self action is not OK and a bad personality trait etc are wrong, there is nothing wrong with this part of me. Yes it is also part of what I would consider a disability but it’s as much part of who I am and a tool I need to be well and enjoy my life. I like talking OK. And that’s fine too!
I’ve included some resources to how I know and see talking as part of my neurology and not a behaviour issue. Which might be good learning for those who are trying to understand why we talk a heck of a lot and what we can do or maybe not do about it.
14 Adult ADHD Symptoms: Disorganization, Fatigue, and More
The Effects of ADHD on Communication – ADD Resource Center
What is stimming
Speech Processing Difficulties in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Speed of Language Comprehension is Impaired in ADHD
Skills and compensation strategies in adult ADHD
Females with ADHD: An expert consensus statement taking a lifespan approach providing guidance for the identification and treatment of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder in girls and women
The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why
The Neuroscience of Everybody’s Favorite Topic
Exploring long-term modality effects: Vocalization leads to best retention
Clinical characteristics of children with ASD and comorbid ADHD: Association with social impairment and externalizing and internalizing behaviours