Adulting: Our Inner Voice

One of the things that helps me when combating some issues related to my autism is to talk things through. It helps me solve issues that I may not have the direct answer for or what I need to solve something that may be difficult in my eyes. It is one of those qualities that many autistics know is intact but don’t use it in the same way as typically developing people do.

According to British scientists in 2012, this skill is a good quality in becoming independent in life.

At a young age, I used the skills often to get through the things that were rough in my daily life. I was one who never wanted to say something was “wrong” or admit that I did something that I felt would result in trouble or anger developing from those in authority. So I used this inner voice to try to solve the problem in my ability with the skills I had. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it made it worse. Most of the time, those in power knew of my doings and while it may or may not resulted in a way I liked or not, I learned the lessons to build for the next time I was approached with this scenario.

Another way I have processed these thoughts internally to visually see them so they are “out” of my brain is by putting them to paper and including it in a section of my Wellness Recovery Action Plan. This has helped me from living in a state of ruminating thoughts and has allowed me to process what is in my inner voice in a safe manner that I know will be protected so I do not end in meltdown and can get through whatever I have to face with ease. 

According to research, autistics miss out on early communicative opportunities and it may be a reason to not use the inner speech when we become of school age and is also a contribution of repetitive behaviors. It was best known that at around six or seven years old that these training methods would be helpful to autistics. 

It is also known that the manifestation of the inner voice varies.  It doesn’t happen in some but in others it does not. This can be because they are thinking differently than those that have the personality skills of an inner voice. It has been stated that there might be a silver lining to not be able to produce inner speech.

For instance, inner speech might help us to solve problems, but it can also put us down, which can lead to the development of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and many other forms of mental illness. This is where I personally get into trouble. It can be difficult when I am triggered by a thought and it won’t go away and it is hard to get away. It has gotten better than it was in past weeks. Journaling has helped immensely and learning that I cannot solve the problems that I cannot have control over. It hasn’t been easy to understand and has caused many hours of unrest and wasted time. But alas, learning to control my inner voice has done wonders for my mental health.

Talking things through has helped me get through some pretty rough stuff. However, it can also hurt me if the thoughts become too obsessive and will not be challenged from its points of rumination so you can return to your relaxed self and not become obsessed in what you are thinking. Be sure to work what you are thinking with whatever therapeutic processes you as a neurodiverse or neurotypical may have in your toolbox of coping skills to face life’s challenges. It will be OK. Sometimes when we think we are at our worst, that silver lining keeps us back in line and makes us come out better than we think we ever did.

Sources:

Talking things through in your head may help autism | Reuters

Most of us have an inner voice, but if you’re part of the minority who doesn’t, this could be why | ABC News

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