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How can I stop repeating myself when I'm stressed?

(8 Posts)
BuggerOffOutside Fri 04-Dec-15 10:25:48

I have this bad habit - when I'm really stressed, I start repeating words in sentences, or small chunks of the sentences, several times before I can move onto the next bit, and it really slows things down especially if I need to say several sentences, and when it gets really bad I just repeat one word over and over again (and pace around or stand next to a wall) - I know it must annoy people so I can often switch to "sorry" ("sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry").

I have to do it for a while until I feel calmer. Sometimes it's repeated or repeated collections of swearwords - often the only word that overpowers the other words is a swearword, and sometimes I can stop the stream by swearing, but as often as not it just goes into "fuckfuckfuckfuckbollocksarsefuckfuckfuckfuck" - it can be really inappropriate and I try not to but I think it's a stress reaction.

Does anyone have any experience with stopping this kind of habit/behaviour? I'm finding it embarrassing.

MotiSen Sat 05-Dec-15 13:13:26

Do you think you might have Tourette syndrome?

The explanation here:
www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Tourette-syndrome/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

seems to be a bit more than what you describe, but this part sounds spot on: repeating the same phrase over and over again (palilalia)

I knew a child (~11 yo) who had it, but outgrew it; i.e., it subsided in his 20s. I think the only other way to stop is to find ways to keep stress levels low. I.e., no wonder drugs for it that I know of.

Best wishes. I guess it is part of what makes you unique. It's rare, but I think it could helpful to meet people experiencing the same phenomenon. Maybe they'd have some tips for controlling it.

TheoriginalLEM Sat 05-Dec-15 13:23:27

I do this when i am anxious, and i also can't find the words for things - so will call the washing machine the lawn mower for instance blush

I think sorting the anxiety is your priority - but when you figure that out, can you come back and tell me how you did it? Because i am buggered if i can.

I think for me its because i have so many unwanted thoughts (and voices) in my head that it just doesn't leave enough brain power to compute trivial things like the correct words for things.

BuggerOffOutside Sat 05-Dec-15 13:52:46

I don't think it's Tourette's, Moti - I know someone who has it, and it feels qualitatively different to what she experiences, and the helpful description you linked seems to describe something that's different in a few key areas. I think palilalia probably sounds about right, but I'm guessing there can be a lot of different causes for it.

LEM, I think anxiety is key. It only seems to happen when I'm really stressed, under pressure to talk, and trying to get something across to someone and being frustrated that my brain won't cooperate. Sometimes I just can't talk at all and no words will come out, and it seems like this is just an attempt to get any communication out at all past a wall of inability. It's confusing!

Thanks for both of your replies - I tried posting in Chat, but I think perhaps people there aren't as familiar with the kind of anxiety-related behaviours that are more common among people here on the MH board.

MotiSen Sat 05-Dec-15 15:41:49

Maybe it is similar to stuttering - in that it could possibly be controlled by conscious effort over time, kind of like in the film, "The King's Speech"? I probably shouldn't even be answering because I don't have first person experience with it. Although, I have had problems with anxiety attacks, and reducing stress via understanding how I tend to overreact did help. Not saying you overreact - just it's possible that there is some area of anxiety understanding that might help. Like, from a different angle. Anyway, I am not sure the King ever did 100% conquer it, just for important speeches, I think. But, that would be better than not at all. So, you need to be really rich and hire a personal speech trainer. Yeah, I need a personal Know When to Stop Going On and On Trainer! Best wishes!

BuggerOffOutside Sat 05-Dec-15 16:06:13

I did stutter as a kid and it feels very similar - like a block I can't get past. Maybe I could sing what I want to say! I really do overreact, you're not wrong there - it's not normal to respond to pressure like this.

Thanks grin You're not going on and on!

Katytatiepot Sat 05-Dec-15 16:09:33

I often repeat the same word or phrase over and over in my head, either saying words in their entirety or spelling out the letters. I only do it when I'm stressed or anxious. It seems to calm me down. I don't think I've repeated words out loud in the way you describe but I've definitely thought them in the same way.
My anxiety does make me stutter slightly though, especially when I'm talking to someone who makes me nervous.

BuggerOffOutside Sat 05-Dec-15 16:36:26

There are a few of us, then smile

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