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I've had this problem for a long time. I have a complex concept in my head, but have a hard time expressing it. In writing, it takes me a long time to structure my thoughts; I am constantly rewording and rearranging sentences to adjust the "flow." Verbally, it's much more difficult - I simply can't come up with the words at normal conversation pace. All that comes out are incoherent fragments. Simpler conversations are OK, and complex back-and-forth conversations are also OK; it's only monologues that are a problem.

Oh yeah… I lose my train of thought, too.


For a long time, this has made me question my intelligence. On the outside, I'm sure I sound like a retard, and I speak little to hide it. In elementary school, I was classified as gifted, and was fairly outgoing, but by high school I was very quiet.


Recently I discovered that I've been mercury-poisoned, probably since late childhood. It's too soon to say whether the treatment for this will have an effect on my mental faculties. I mention this only because I suspect, but am not sure, that it might be an influence. It's just that I've been poisoned for so long that I hardly remember what it's like not to be.


Now that I think of it… (this is a train of thought returning to the station) I have a hard time in certain reading situations, too. Blogs/web pages are no problem, but books kill me. I can't read more than a page without my mind wandering off. Why would I be able to read even long web pages, for hours, but not books?


Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing, as an INTJ or otherwise? One reason I'm posting this here is because it is sometimes said that INTJ is a common MBTI type for Aspies. I don't have AS, as far as I know, but I figured that maybe other INTJs could relate, or at least have some insight, since we are the smartest type. :wink:

It took me a half hour to type this post.
 

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Welcome to the wonderful world of Ni.

I constantly drift away when I am supposed to be reading, or trying to write a paper. Or take an hour to write a five-line journal entry because my mind wandered.
 

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I've had this problem for a long time. I have a complex concept in my head, but have a hard time expressing it.
yup; terrible. i've gotten much better at it but it kept me more or less mute for great tracts of my life. i got to seem deep and 'mysterious' through most of my teens and 20's without even making an effort at it.
 

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I've had this problem for a long time. I have a complex concept in my head, but have a hard time expressing it. In writing, it takes me a long time to structure my thoughts; I am constantly rewording and rearranging sentences to adjust the "flow." Verbally, it's much more difficult - I simply can't come up with the words at normal conversation pace.
Yup. I don't really think in words. I think in abstract concepts. So for me to explain my thoughts to other people I have to first translate them into a language that can be expressed. That takes time. In writing I will constantly edit and re-word sentences, partly in an attempt to express my thoughts accurately, but also because I try to see and avoid all the possible misinterpretations as well.

Verbal conversation often annoys me because I will pause to translate or gather my thoughts and someone else will jump in to fill the silence. So in fast moving conversations, I will often just sit and watch until I have the opportunity to express myself properly. Or I'll often go back to a topic that was being discussed 5 tangents ago because it has taken me that long to translate my thoughts on the topic.
 

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Practice talking aloud as if you were explaining something to an audience.

It's not easy to go from Complex cause-and-effect / abstract pattern recognition epiphanies to simple words. However, with practice it might improve.

I say it might improve because maybe the mercury has done permanent damage. Also, perhaps it just only worked for me (practicing talking aloud that is). So give it a try. I also noticed that my "uhh, why was I talking about this?"-recall mechanism went from almost 0% functionality to recalling within 10 seconds or not at all. It was a nice upgrade. It's lessened now, but I don't speak aloud as much as before soooo... don't use it ya lose it perhaps.
 

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I also noticed that my "uhh, why was I talking about this?"-recall mechanism went from almost 0% functionality to recalling within 10 seconds or not at all. It was a nice upgrade. It's lessened now, but I don't speak aloud as much as before soooo... don't use it ya lose it perhaps.
Lol! Yeah, that's classic Ni. Your mind starts wandering mid-sentence and you end up with a "wait, what was I talking about?" moment. Assuming you don't just stop talking altogether leaving your audience hanging :p
 

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Yep!! All the time! And in the past few years I've gotten into this bad habit of over-explaining because I'm trying to avoid people misunderstanding what I'm saying...which annoys me every time I realize that I'm doing it but I haven't quite figured out how to completely stop it.
I even notice on this board, I tend to avoid the deep question topics...the more complex, the more thoughts to sort through - it's just too much effort most of the time to write and think and edit and write in order get my thoughts down. Bleh.
 
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I even notice on this board, I tend to avoid the deep question topics...the more complex, the more thoughts to sort through - it's just too much effort most of the time to write and think and edit and write in order get my thoughts down. Bleh.
that's probably partly from not knowing your audience, right? i over-explain when i don't know how much i need to explain, just to be sure. you kind of can't win. on the one hand you come off as obscure enough to sound snotty or arrogant, and on the other you're patronizing.
 

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that's probably partly from not knowing your audience, right? i over-explain when i don't know how much i need to explain, just to be sure. you kind of can't win. on the one hand you come off as obscure enough to sound snotty or arrogant, and on the other you're patronizing.
Hmmm not that so much, actually. If I'm explaining some concept, I'll just explain it and take questions as needed or speed it up as needed..I can usually read fairly well if people are following or not. For me, the over explaining happens usually when it's an abstract concept and/or a highly personal-attuned idea that I can see so clearly in my mind and I really want someone to follow me there. And most of the time, they just can't. So I try to explain every piece I'm seeing in my mind. Or it's something that i have a lot of thoughts on- some question that makes my mind explode out into a million thoughts so I start talking and then interrupt myself because "well, no, that doesnt quite describe it because XYZ is a factor also", etc. I dunno. Still dissecting the issue and when it happens most and why :)

:edit: or maybe also I got the idea somewhere along the way like "oh I guess I need to give more detail because people aren't following me" but then I started giving too much detail or not the right ones. I dunno. Hmmf.

anyway...derailing a bit I think lol
 
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Yup. I don't really think in words. I think in abstract concepts...because it has taken me that long to translate my thoughts on the topic.
That hits so close to home I created an account just to comment. Everything in your post describes me 100%. It's nice to know I'm not the only one like that.

Sorry to necro this thread. Tired to send a PM but couldn't.

PS - It took home almost 20 minutes to write this short little comment. Ha
 

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I completely understand.
It was so difficult in high school to write timed essays because I would spend over half of the time just thinking of something to write down. I hate being rushed into writing or saying things because it turns into a huge mess.
Speech class was the worst experience, however. Trying to voice my thoughts and opinions on something in front of a huge class was like hell on earth. And the impromptu. was. terrible. I literally stood up in front of that class and mumbled words for the first part of it and said, "UH. UH. UMMMM. UH." for the rest because I couldn't gather my thoughts into coherent statements. I was the only one with this problem. Everyone else went up there and spoke perfectly. I wanted to cry and die in a hole.

You are not alone, trust me, haha.
 

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First of all, I must thank the OP for creating this thread. It was a strange relief reading what could've been accounts of my own experiences and thought processes from so many different people. I used to get really frustrated with myself over these issues. I've made tremendous efforts - and headway, if I do say so myself - when it comes to coherently getting my thoughts across when necessary. Especially since I started college, I've seen a lot of improvement. But there are still many times when I will be lost in a sea of my own abstract thoughts, when I'm supposed to be trying to communicate, or write, or read... I'll flounder for words, trying to keep up with the pace of the exchange, and I just can't. My brain isn't built that way. If the conversation isn't complex, it usually isn't a problem, but articulating complex concepts...is like pulling teeth.
 
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