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What is it like to live with no internal monologue?


Man with empty thought bubbles on either side of his head

What do you hear inside your head? (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

What do you hear as you read this? Probably your own voice reading the words.

Well, if you’re one of the people with an inner monologue that is – which could be less than half the population. 

Yes, millions – probably billions – of people around the world do not hear their own voices, or anyone else’s, in their mind. For those with an inner monologue, it can be frankly mind blowing trying to imagine how to formulate thoughts or recall memories without a voice.

And for those without an inner monologue, it’s just as wild to imagine someone constantly nattering in your head.

Whether you live with or without an inner monologue, until the subject comes up, you might not even realise that not everyone is the same.

In fact, the lack of an inner monologue was only given a name – anauralia – in 2021.

So what exactly is it like to live without an inner monologue? 

Not everyone has an inner monologue narrating their day (Picture: Getty)

Medical student Kirsten Carlson shared her experience on YouTube, and revealed she never daydreams, sees information like files, and doesn’t endlessly replay conversations that went wrong in her head – dreamy.

However, she also described what it’s like to read without an inner monologue, and admitted she doesn’t particularly enjoy it.

‘When I read I can see this sentence structure in my head – every sentence has a shape so you can see, then also like keywords will pop out and I can file those away into my concept map, so at the end of reading something I can have a concept map of the main topic,’ she said.

‘I tend to move my lips when I read so essentially I’m saying it out loud, but it’s not audible.’

She also said she doesn’t visualise settings, and just sees the words.

People without an inner monologue also often have aphantasia too, an inability to form mental images of objects – essentially the ‘mind’s eye’.

And while those with an active inner monologue and mind’s eye might think having neither could be a blessing, it isn’t always.

Kirsten said she often can’t sleep because she’s seeing lists of things to do, and needs to get up and write them down, and although she doesn’t have that little voice trying to break her confidence, she can still feel anxious.

‘I tend to have really physical symptoms of anxiety,’ she said. ‘It’s less mental and I don’t really feel like I’m anxious until I realise my hands are shaking or I feel nauseated.’

Olivia Rivera, who also has no inner monologue, has the same feelings. Speaking to CBC, she said: ‘I’m not telling myself to panic and I’m not like, “Oh my gosh Olivia!”. I never think like that, that feels weird to say. I would never address myself.’

Just as those with an inner monologue find the idea of living without one hard to imagine, it works both ways.

‘When I hear that other people have a constant kind of …read more

Source:: Metro

      

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