Word processing issues

I’m not talking about computer programs here (although the one I’m currently using is irritating me slightly), but the problems my brain has with processing words.

I’ve posted about sensory issues before, but have been struggling with them a bit today. So thought I would try to explain further in this post.

For some reason, I don’t distinguish well between background and foreground noise. This means that someone speaking next to me and someone clicking a pen lid at the other side of the room can sound at the same volume to me. So it makes it quite challenging to concentrate on the ‘right’ sounds.

Even when I manage to tune into the right sounds, the challenge doesn’t stop there. I don’t think in words, but in pictures. So in order to communicate verbally, I need to translate my pictures into words and others’ words into pictures. Most of the time this can happen with minimal delay. But in noisy environments it becomes far more difficult.

To give an idea of what it can be like for me:

  • Imagine you need to have a conversation with someone in a foreign language
  • In the middle of a busy children’s playground
  • Under a flight path
  • With a football match taking place next door

It’s possible, of course it is, but it takes a lot of concentration.

And I can only maintain concentration for a limited length of time. If I try to do too much, then it can push me into a shutdown. Or, if not a full blown one, at least a period of time where I am not fully aware of my surroundings or what I am doing.

I normally try to cope with this condition by control and scripting. When this all goes, it can be extremely frightening. Less so now I understand what’s going on and have put some strategies in place to mitigate the impact, so at least I’m not panicking too much on top of everything else. (The main strategy is scripting a ‘rule’ that if I start to feel as though I’m in a dream and don’t know where I am, I have to go into the first coffee shop I see.) But I’m still left shaken afterwards.



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