How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
TherapistMarryAnn is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Can you help me understand what is happening to me? I miss

This answer was rated:

Can you help me understand what is happening to me? I miss time (several minutes pass without my knowing) and I cannot control talking to myself. My husband doesn't want me to drive and I'm worried about impressions at work. I feel I am an extremely motivated and intelligent person. But this talking to myself (I don't hallucinate or imagine things that aren't there, I just talk my way through problems) and when I space out under stress... this does not leave a great impression on those who meet me.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
Talking to ourselves is something that most people do at one time or another. We do it mostly when we are alone. And many people are not consciously aware of it, or only become aware of it after a few minutes. Many people also do it on purpose.
There are many reasons to talk to yourself. Some people do it to process thoughts. It is easier to talk out loud to "hear" yourself say what you are thinking. It makes your thoughts more "real" and helps you think things through.
Another reason people talk out loud is habit. Many people develop the habit as a child, either because they were an only child or alone a lot or they learned it as a way to comfort themselves. Pretend play also requires talking out loud. And some people have active imaginations, which often are "played out" through talking out loud. Talking out loud also helps people to learn.
Talking out loud can also help you cope with situations better. It not only comforts you to hear yourself talking (it helps you feel normal) but it also is a way to deal with feelings.
It sounds like in your situation that you might feel that talking out loud is uncontrollable. That, along with losing time, may be a reason to see your doctor, particularly if this is a new symptom. If not, you may just want to see your doctor to rule out any possible medical reason, especially for the time loss.
If you are cleared medically, you may want to approach this as a habit to break. If you are used to retreating into your own mind and imagination and talk out loud as part of that process, it could be just how you learn or process information. But if you feel you want to stop talking to yourself (except when you are alone) here are some ideas:
If you find yourself talking out loud, you may need to talk to someone else. Try seeking out others and share your thoughts.
Use the "stop" method. When you catch yourself talking, say stop loudly or use a rubber band to snap on your wrist to remind yourself to be aware of what you are doing.
You can also cover your mouth or turn on music if you find yourself talking out loud. That can help pull you out of your own mind and connect you to your outside world.
And consider seeing a therapist if you feel you need support or help with this process.
I hope this has helped you,
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.
May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much for the ideas about breaking the talking to myself habit. As you say, I don't realize it when I'm doing it. When I become aware of it, I can suppress it for some time, until the next problem pops up in my head.

I want to clarify a bit from my past. I had a traumatic event in my past at 15 that I lost time while it was happening. When I was 19, I had seizures that turned out to not be medical. They went away after several years. I just wondered if it could be related to that. Except that I'm not seizing. Maybe it's stress related? There is a lot of pressure in my occupation at work, but I love the work I do. I'm totally at a loss... maybe lack of sleep will cause people to have several minutes go by without being aware?

Anyway, I am replying really in a hope to glean from you this: are you saying that this is more likely medical to pursue that route? Or, that I should see a therapist specifically for the missing time portion of my question.. Thanks again and I'll give you a rating.

It could possibly be related to the traumatic event you went through. There is not enough research yet to understand completely how someone processes a traumatic event and the effects of that event on a person. And everyone responds differently to trauma. If the event was when your memory loss began, that is the most likely cause of that symptom.
Stress can also cause your symptoms, though that is not as likely, it is still possible. Stress can cause you to feel overwhelmed and you may not pay as close attention as you normally would or you may not have as much self control. And lack of sleep will definitely affect your memory. It has to do with how much REM sleep you get. If there is not enough, you can begin to experience all kinds of "brain reactions" including memory loss and possibly talking to yourself (lack of control over your own actions).
Best practices when there are symptoms like yours (could be medical or emotional) is to rule out the medical first. You do not want to be seeing a therapist when you have a medical issue that needs a doctor. When you can rule out any medical problem, the logical conclusion is to explore an emotional problem.
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the positive rating and bonus. I appreciate it!
My best to you,