Amy and I mentioned inner worlds in a conversation the other day. Mine has music as a background. It is pretty much like the outer world, I reckon. Well, no, scratch this. It’s messier.
My inner world has loads of samples of music. When I stop and think about it, I can pinpoint what song, or what melody. And I can trace why this particular one is in my head, most of the time. There is something else than music. There are sounds. Sounds that I heard. They repeat in my head until another sound worth of being repeated takes over. They are jingles. They can be short sentences too. Either ones I’ve just heard, or ones that I constructed myself. Either I’m practicing my side of the conversation in my head, or it’s just my thoughts or bits of my thoughts that play. I move on to thinking about something else, or doing something else, and if I pause, a jingle is still playing. It’s not bothering me.
But there are occasions when this is bothering me. For example, when I’m under stress and I’d love to focus on something else than the music or the jingle. Impossible. It’s as though the volume is turned all the way up, and any thinking relevant to the conversation or situation at hand is banned from the setting.
In an effort to put a name on this tendency to reproduce jingles and sentences or play them in my heard, I looked up the “symptoms”. The closest I found was echolalia.
Echolalia: The involuntary parrotlike repetition (echoing) of a word or phrase just spoken by another person. Echolalia is a feature of schizophrenia (especially the catatonic form), Tourette syndrome, and some other disorders. From echo + the Greek lalia, a form of speech.
In a book by Robert J. Waldinger, “Psychiatry for Medical Students”, the part on “Thought Process” ( chapter four, “The Mental Status Examination”) is particularly interesting. I think perseveration applies to me.
Rate and flow of idea. Patients frequently use the term racing thoughs to describe being flooded with ideas and unable to keep up with them. This condition is often seen with anxiety as well as in those with psychosis (e.g. mania, schizophrenia.)
Circumstantiality involves thinking that is indirect in reaching a goal or getting to the point. This style is common in obsessional people and in schizophrenic patients.
Blocking is a sudden obstruction or interruption on the spontaneous flow of thought, perceived by the patient as an absence or deprivation of thought. It is seen in patients with schizophrenia and in those with severe anxiety states.
Perseveration is the tendency to emit the same verbal response again and again to varied stimuli. This may range from constant repetition of one word or phrase (e.g. “night and day, night and day, night and day…”) to an inabilit to shift fhe focus of conversation away from one particular topic.
Other abnormalities of though process. Abnormalities of thought process may include the following:
Neologisms are new words or condensations of several words that are not readily understood by others. This disturbance is seen in patients with schizophrenia and organic brain syndromes (e.g. a paranoid man used “plickening” to mean “the plot thickens”).
Word salad is a jumble of words and phrases lacking comprehensive meaning or logical coherence. It is characteristic of patients with schizophrenia.
Echolalia is a parrotlike repetition of another person’s speech. It is observed in patients with mania, among other disorders.”
Now I’d love to hear about others’ inner worlds :)