How My Internal Monologue Affects My Attention Deficit Disorder

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My name is Ryan Langdon and I accidently blew the minds of over 10 million people this week. It has been a wild experience. I have received thousands of messages from all types of people. I have received interview invites, messages from celebrities, and even had a little filipino man photoshop himself into pictures with me. I have heard input from a lot of you, however I feel like you guys do not know where I stand on this situation. It appears to me that having an internal monologue is a spectrum. There are some people that do not have it, which I have decided to call “hyponeurovocalism.” In contrast, there are people who have a strong internal monologue, aka “hyperneurovocalism.”

I was diagnosed and treated for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in 2009. After this whole post blew up I realized that my inability to focus in school was caused by the inability to control my inner monologue. I could be sitting in class, trying my best to focus on what the teacher is saying, but my monologue just drifts off and I lose focus on what is being lectured. After speaking with a few people who are hyponeurovocal, I realized that they report that they do not daydream often (I know it is a small sample size). Therefore, I believe that the cause of ADD is directly related to the internal monologue. 

When it comes to ADD, no one ever talks about what goes on in their head. It is a common stereotype that individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder are distracted by shiny things, but that’s not the case at all. It’s a much more subtle thing in my experience. People only talk about what medications they are on, rather than how the disorder actually manifests inside their head. Most conversations go a little something like this:

“I have ADD”

“Me too.”

“Adderall or Vyvanse?”

“Concerta.”

“I heard Concerta sucks”

“It works for me.”

No one ever explains that no matter how hard you try to focus on something, that internal monologue will take you into a different world. There are many physicians who still do not believe that ADD is a real medical diagnosis. However, as someone that has spoken with many people on this subject and has studied medicine, I would have to respectfully disagree. 

ADD is not correlated with IQ level, rather, it is a problem with controlling that inner voice. I can drift off into another world in the blink of an eye, until I snap back to reality by the sound of my entire class typing notes. “Oh shit, I must have missed something important,” is something I have said inside of my mind many times before. If I do not take my medication, I can not read more than two sentences without my internal monologue shifting gears and talking about something unrelated. If I am reading a book, my internal monologue could be vocalizing the words, but then it can slowly transition into an entirely different topic. Although my eyes are scanning the page still, I will absorb absolutely nothing and have to restart from the point I lost focus. It is exhausting and frustrating, because as much as I want to remain attentive to the words on the page, I can not keep my thoughts anchored to a particular subject. 

My entire life, most of my learning came from outside the classroom. It takes a lot more work than people realize to teach yourself everything. I hardly absorb any information in class, therefore studying requires much more time for me. People are jealous that I have adderall, but all it does is even the playing field. I’m sure it gives hyponeurovocal people a strong advantage, however all it does is allow me to focus for more than 7 seconds without daydreaming about different scenarios in which I am saving my entire class from a masked gunman. 

I am not sure if this is how everyone else with ADD operates, however I have a strong suspicion that their experience is very similar to mine. If that is the case, then this whole inner monologue news may be a helpful screening tool in diagnosing Attention Deficit Disorder. It is a wildly misdiagnosed/undiagnosed condition. So understanding exactly what is going on inside of people’s heads could lead to a more accurate way to treat the individuals with this problem while simultaneously avoiding overdiagnosing and over treating patients who do not fit the criteria. I would like to hear how other people with ADD relate to my experience.

@RyanLangdon_

Ryan Langdon
This blog is a collection of work that I have done over the years. From scientific phenomena to personal stories, I simply write about the things that go on Inside My Mind. My YouTube channel consists of interviews and vlogs relating to areas of psychology that interest me, and those fields will continue to evolve and expand as my interests change. Follow along!

6 COMMENTS

  1. I was formally diagnosed yesterday. I am 39, almost 40. Just popped my first Adderal and wondering if it will pull me out of this new obsession with being ADD and needing (not wanting, needing) to know every last thing about it and all of that right now. This article about overwhelming internal monologue, found after Googling ‘ADHD internal monologue’ and after talking to myself out loud for 15 minutes) hit home. Yes. Yes. Yes. This is me 1000%. My head is ALWAYS in the clouds. Always has been. Had a 2 hour discussion with my dad yesterday. Same for him. We never talked about it before. Hopefully this Addy (which I never took in college when everyone else was BTW… because I thought it was cheating) kicks in and shows me what real concentration is. I hope it works. Cause this voice will NOT SHUT UP!!

  2. How you describe your head as- daydreaming and not being able to control the inner monologue… it’s spot on. I’ve been unable to focus my entire life and just figured everyone was that way. I used to drift off and daydream in class teachers had to have conferences constantly with my parents.

    I have full blown conversations, scenarios, I can literally spend all day in my head if I wanted to. It’s really unfortunate, great in a creative scale but unfortunately I lack the discipline to do anything with it in any efficient timeline. Now as an adult, 32 I’m just now realizing this isn’t the case for everyone. Thanks for sharing your insight!

  3. I have recently dedicated the year 2020 as the year of “Hindsight” ,having said that I stepped out of my usual role of baby brother (at age 50🥴) and dedicated myself to trying to help one of my 3 sisters after I became less passive about my mother always using the reason of “not being to bright” as a general way of acceptance when it came to my one sister mainly after playing the role of an unbiased observer and applying my many years of mental situational unconformities (better known as Mental Behavior Issues) such a negative tag for a unique perception, and realized the reason she doesn’t get the concept of circumstances is that,I believe, she suffers from ADD/ADHD. I by no means am structurally educated in physiology but more self taught as a non-standardered generality in society although fortunate to be bestowed an intellect greater than my obsticals and also recently discovered an empath my entire life suggested by the same sister I was drawn to help from her inner dialogue that I explain as ….. as she is participating in learning her focus wonders during the teaching/explanation and to grasp the concept before her being presented its imperative to be knowledgeable of all 5 steps of the concept but her attention drifts during,lets say ,step 2 and the end of step 3 therefore rendering her minds ability to see the concept as a whole which can only make understanding it possible and then more than likely tunes the following explanation out because when she refocuses she cant grasp the point or sense making her feel inadequate of possessing a great enough intelligence and hacking away at her self esteem creating a more conveniencing critical conflicting inner voice/dialogue then adding my mothers acceptance and protective (so she thinks) reasoning to intellectual ability. About 10 years ago I was in a redescovery or reinvention of myself and started to explore the web about my inner conflicting dialogue and focused with a laser intensity on why would i disagree with my own natural evaluation of things because I should either be interested or not interested in whatever it was without second guessing my self. I started delving into “Living in the now” aka “Being
    Present” but at the time ignorant to the concept as a whole also it wasn’t as structured as it is now. To sum it up, I used a technique to eventually quite that conflicting voice inside by substituting imaginary brick barriers that I mentally place in front of each ear, the left thought mainly of the past and the right ear thinking/pondering about future possibilities, neither helpful with focus or sanity in intense sessions. I had only discovered how much I actually obtained and learned over those 2 years the moment I tried to help my sister from her unnecessary suffering due to constantly reliving her past unpleasant and disturbing incidences she had been exposed to in big part to living in a housing development and the singularity of tending to the survival and care of a local pride of feral cats just on the properties wooded border. I thought that all the negative assaults and blatent ignorance she has weathered over the years and never a day of relief to that responsibility was detrimental enough without incorporating non existing situations of inner emotional disparities. So I aquired an unexpected desire ,being an empath unbeknownst to me at that time as a legitimate mindful structural term that was not just a skewed perception of mine, to share what I had self discovered that helped with quieting my own obsessively overthinking inner voice and had brought me an inner peace and majority of control back to my natural acting thoughts and further and further away from what i believe as the conditioned/mentored brainwashing mind of the unwittingly trusting childs sponge-like mind . Thats where I find the birth of conflicting inner voice annoyance and misguided understanding of my concious. It was my ow
    n personal understanding and interpretation of life verses the teachings and tactical forcefull obideance I had been frightened into accepting as the only possible way of perceiving the reality happing in front of me in the present as a child….
    Follow up…. I ended up deciding without considerating during the process intentionally using a repetitive style of informational impressionism (brainwashing but unintentional so ,subjective i guess) teaching or sharing my knowledge which as we moved forward was reinforced as I re explored that very concept of “mindfullness” “living in the now” and to my delight I had actually mimicked the very recent cognative structure layout of the conceptual progressive explanations. Still a bit surreal and not easily a point of focus for myself as I work at being as humble as I can and as inquisitive for many many more questions have arisen the more I explore with an open mind of possibility without any conclusions with certainty to help me absorb the most knowledge I can. My sister is a reinvented former substance indulgent now 25+ years living single and religiously unexpandable in possibility of perceptual adaptation of other angles. After a drag me down year of self checking and regrounding of my own self she is now having some “ah ha” moments of rationality that there is different ways of experiencing her reality . So I see progress and I have never stated her way of thinking was wrong nor my way correct just different perceptions die to different life experiences.
    pardon my lack of proofreading this as is draining me due to unexpecting this lengthy dialogue of spontaneous sharing and I hope this further expands your direction of understanding.
    James Phillips
    phillipsjamey1970@yahoo.com
    a highschool educated explorer of unknown possibilities and discoveries.

  4. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. As a child/teenager I was found myself overwhelmed with sensorial input, but on the other hand I never struggled in school. I could learn things quickly (even when not paying attention), so nobody would think of me as having ADHD. Only as an adult I realized that this was because I had a high IQ.

    My internal monologue is confusing, it goes back and forth in time. Even when I write, I usually end up changing the order of the sentences so they can make sense to other people. Sometimes I have two simultaneous train of thoughts, sometimes I think in pictures (pretty much as Temple Grandin describes here: https://www.grandin.com/inc/visual.thinking.html). When I talk to other people I usually need them to repeat something, or I might jump much ahead of what they are currently talking, correlate it with something else in my head, and present them an idea which they see as irrelevant or unrelated with what they were just saying.

    What I found to be helpful is mindfulness meditation or silent meditation. The idea is to keep your brain devoid of any thoughts by shifting your focus towards a single sensorial input, such as your breath, or a bell, or an image (which could be real or in your mind). If any thoughts arise, you dismiss them with labels (e.g. this is a thought about the past / present / future). But I ended up not doing this as often as I’d like.

  5. I was diagnosed with ADHD in the 3rd grade, I tried pretty much every kind of medication there was. I have a constant never ending internal monologue. Sometimes I get so lost in my own monologue that it plays out like a movie instead of words. When I was little I always found it easier to read in my head than out loud like other kids. I understand what I’m thinking and I can always perfectly repeat it out loud. Often as a kid I felt the need to speak my thoughts out loud. For example if my teacher was talking I would often feel the need to say what I was thinking and give my opinion. I would butt into any conversation at any point not to be rude but because I literally felt like if i didn’t tell them my world would end. It was one of the symptoms that my parents saw first. I was always talking to anyone about anything because I literally would repeat exactly what my internal monologue was saying. It was like one was a pathway to the other and there was a missing filter. However, I have many friends who could be the farthest thing from an individual with ADD and they say they see in words.

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