Friday, August 7, 2009

Words Words Words Words

Well, now that Sonia Sotomayor has got the nomination, I'm hoping that I won't have her name on a constant repeat in my mind. I'm sure that she's a nice lady and all, but hearing her name repeated in my head every 1.4 seconds was really starting to get annoying. As I'm sure you've noticed by (my incessant whining by) now, I get words and phrases stuck in my head constantly. I'd venture a guess that it happens on a daily basis (and nightly, during my dreams), but I try not to think about it much. The more I focus on the "stuck" words, the more they get stuck. If I ignore them, they go away more quickly. I can also chase them away by listening to music loudly or to something on tv.

It turns out - as one would expect - that I'm not alone. A quick google search gave me a message board full of people describing similar afflictions. The following blurb hits it exactly and precisely and completely on the head for me.

    JayShaw on describes it like this:
    I also exhibit the behavior you are describing from time to time. The behavior typically manifests itself whenever I am exposed to an unfamiliar word or phrase that I find to be qualitatively appealing. When this happens, I am apt to frequently refer to the word or phrase subconsciously, apply it often to situations around me, and quickly grant it a disproportionately active role in my vocabulary. As time passes, the word or phrase will remain an active part of my vocabulary, but its usage will revert to an ordinary level.

Evidently, this affliction is often referred to as "Perseveration." Never heard of that word? Yeah, me neither. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

    Perseveration is the uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder. If an issue has been fully explored and discussed to a point of resolution it is not uncommon for something to trigger the re-investigation of the matter. This can happen at any time during a conversation. This is particularly true with those who have had traumatic brain injuries. Those with Asperger syndrome may display a form of perseveration in that they focus on one or a number of narrow interests. This phenomenon can also occur in people with schizophrenia.

Oh, how lovely. So I'm narrowed down to brain injury, schizophrenia, or Asperger's. At least Asperger's has become trendy these days:

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