Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Mental health


Today at work I was trying to explain a situation to my boss and ended up really embarrassing myself. This isnít the first time it has happened, I struggle with getting my thoughts into coherent sentences. It almost seems like if you were watching a movie and hit mute every other sentence, only getting a half, out of order conversation. I get a this weird pressure in my brain, almost like a balloon expanding but finding the skull there stopping it. This happens in any situation where I am put on the spot or am being asked to recall information immediately. In this instance I closed my eyes and concentrated for a few moments and could get out a somewhat intelligent sentence but that looks really bad when talking to your boss. I have no issues with writing or reading. I prefer to email or text over talking and I can recall even at a young age hating talking on the phone. I have caught myself switching words in speech that were otherwise correct in my thoughts. I donít manage on tests very well and was never good at math growing up. I canít listen to music sometimes because it gives me that similar pressure feeling, and sometimes silence is the most beautiful thing to my mind. At every workplace I have been told to slow down, no matter how hard I work at that concept it doesnít seem to matter.  I have a great ability to adapt and pick up skills if I am doing it or watching it be done. IE: Math never being my strong point its weird that I have picked up accounting, not without its moments of difficulty.

I guess I want to know what could be wrong and what can I do to change it?

Hi Erica

There's not a clear enough picture for me to identify the problem and solution. Could range from situational anxiety to a cognitive or neurological issue, so it would take some testing.

Fortunately, California is the best place to look for a diagnostic workup, but may I suggest an alternate direction to pursue. The diagnosis may come easily, or your problem could be unique and hard to define. Then if and when labeled, there may be a remedy for it or maybe not; knowing what a condition is doesn't always mean it can be cured or even helped.

So, assuming the other aspects of your life are in order, maybe your simplest and most immediate response would be to look for simple strategies to work around whatever it is that you have. For instance, suppose you said something like, "Could I get back to you with a written or emailed response? (You see, I used to have stagefright, and sometimes it echoes back, so I'm more comfortable at the keyboard.")

But if you feel that the first step should be diagnostic, I'd suggest a multi-disciplinary clinic. (But stay away from any with an agenda, such as a devotion to a particular school of thought or having its own proprietary regimen.)

I hope those comments will be of some help to you, and feel free if you have a follow-up. All the best to you in the meantime,


Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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