Over the course of many years of psychiatric care, I have been asked a number of questions for which I had no good answer. This is the best way I can think of to answer, “…and what’s that like?”…
Here’s an example “stock” answer I filed away for those times when I knew they were going to ask: Sometimes my thoughts are like raindrops. Bold and surprising when they hit me, but I am aware of more.
I have come up with, what I think is, a way that maybe I can show you. This will require some participation on your part, but all you need is a deck of simple playing cards.
Look at the cards. Say each name. Take in what it looks like. This is me when I have a good handle on my thoughts. I enjoy the little nuances, the texture of the card, the way it shines in the light. Sometimes this thought-mode weirds me out, because I become acutely aware of whatever I’m doing… like typing… (lol)
Now, take the deck in your hands and begin moving the cards, one at a time, from one hand to the other. I use my thumb to push them over, like I’m sorting through a hand of cards, but don’t spread them out. You only need to move them about a half the width of the card. (Yes, I like specific instructions.)
As you’re doing this, pick a card to watch for. Generally, you can sort through pretty quickly and still find the one you’re looking for. This is how a thought process should work. (I imagine.)
My true normal is with the following added challenge: Focus on the center of the cards as you’re doing it, and try to focus on a spot in the middle distance, that area that is somewhere about 6 inches from the cards. It’s doable, but it can be a challenge. Decisions take a bit longer as I try to sort through things.
More on decisions later.
“Racing thoughts” is when you take the cards and just flip through them really fast. Like trying to spot a card as someone shuffles them. Remember the instructions before about picking a card? Try to stop on that one.
If possible, try to have someone else flip and stop when you tell them. See if you land on the card that way.
Yeah, that’s racing thoughts.