After doing the personality test the other day, and thinking about my son’s diagnosis it really got me thinking about my own childhood. When I was in primary school I was considered very outgoing: I was overly energetic and talkative. Every one of my primary school reports would have variations of “Karlee would be an excellent student if she could just stop talking so much in class”. Actually my nickname in grades 5 & 6 was “Mouth from the South” perhaps cruel, but I never really paid it much mind back then.
Not only did I talk a lot (and I mean a LOT) I was also very loud. My voice naturally carries, and I’d never realise I’d be talking loudly. I’d get particularly louder the more excited I got. And it was very easy for me to be over enthusiastic (as one teacher kindly put it). I was a high energy child, always onto the next thing, never staying interested in anything for too long. I’d get bored if I wasn’t properly challenged and that’s when I started talking incessantly.
I used to assume that I was naturally an extravert, and that it was due to circumstance (bullying in high school & mental illness) I became an introvert. However, even as a youngster I didn’t initiate friendships, I didn’t like inviting people over to play, didn’t like birthday parties where the focus was on me. Thinking back on it now it seems that my introversion was actually the natural tendency for me. It was only my high energy and loud voice that gave a false impression that I was extraverted.
The more I look at my childhood self, the more I see the parallels between my son and myself. And I’m not the first to do that as other family members have also noted he is so much like me in personality. Always wired, always talking, always busy. Often getting into trouble for distracting other people, not doing it maliciously but because of losing focus and getting bored far too easily.
I control myself a lot better now, but I’m still too easily distracted. I still lose interest in things way too quickly. I still unconsciously talk inappropriately too loudly at times. My eyes glaze over when someones talking and I get bored, and I’ve been known to walk away mid conversation (I know it’s so rude). I still can’t sit still – I bounce my heels rapidly up and down whenever I’m sitting. I don’t realise I’m doing it, and it can get on peoples nerves. I also shift positions in my chair during work meetings more times than socially acceptable. I still interrupt others and sometimes get impatient when people are slow. I forget things that my mind doesn’t classify as important (like when mum asks me to bring over spare clothes for the children you can bet your bottom dollar I have forgotten). I routinely forget appointments or plans I’ve made with others even though I have them in a calendar. I can literally walk over a pile of clothing for days without registering that it needs doing. I’m not lazy, I just don’t “see” the pile because it’s not important in my busy mind.
My ex used to call me Dory (from Finding Nemo) because I’d be talking away and in mid sentence … oooh shiny!!!!
Uh where was I? Oh yes, I get distracted and forget to finish what I was talking about. Sometimes I even forget I had been talking in the first place. I’m a pretty forgetful person, often misplacing (not losing, misplacing!) things. And yet, for whatever reason, I have a massive databank in my head of song lyrics from probably hundreds of different songs across different decades and genres. It’s fascinating just how many songs I know all of the words to from start to finish. But I can’t even remember what day it is half the time.