Jibber-jabber about Jibber-Jabber
Prior to watching this excerpt from the Big Bang Theory, I remained as clueless as Sheldon is in this one particular scene, where Penny strikes up the following conversation with Sheldon:
Scene from Series 04 Episode 23 – The Engagement Reaction
Penny: It’s not a big deal, Sheldon. It’s just, ever since Leonard’s been dating Raj’s sister, I’ve had to keep my distance. I don’t get to hear all your jibber-jabber.
Sheldon: Jibber-jabber? I don’t jibber-jabber.
Penny: What are you doing at work these days?
Sheldon: Oh, I’m working on time-dependent backgrounds in string theory, specifically quantum field theory in D-dimensional de Sitter space.
Penny: Alright, come on, even you have to admit that’s jibber-jabber.
Sheldon: Interesting, do you know where the phrase jibber-jabber comes from?
Penny: Oh, my God, you’re about to jibber-jabber about jibber-jabber.
This jibber-jabber they are talking about is a trait called a monologue within the Autistic Community, and it refers to our inclination to communicate to others with long winded, boring, very detailed, fact-based word-vomit typically about our own interests, all the while with our being totally clueless that those we are delivering this information to don’t want to hear it, resulting in the listener becoming totally bored out of their mind, irritated, impatient, baffled, or even angry
And, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what we are talking about is something that we are particularly interested in – though it commonly is, but the monologue/jibber-jabber could be about virtually anything at all – any topic, any subject, anything and everything - and as we see from Sheldon in the aforementioned scene from the episode, even jibber-jabber itself. And when we get started, there’s literally no stopping us – we just have an irrepressible, uncontrollable, and unstoppable need to deliver information.
Jibber-jabber about jibber-jabber
Monologue about monologuing
Bazinga! They are one and the same!
Now, I had been a fan of Big Bang since Season One, and I had watched re-runs of this jibber-jabber scene many times before I realized my own tendency to subject others to this jibber-jabber about jibber-jabber/monologue about monologuing. But finally, a sudden sinking feeling of self-awareness hit me - and hit me with one Big Bang the next time I watched it.
The first thing that washed over me was a recent appointment with my previous therapist, when I immediately thought to myself:
“Oh my God, what did I put my therapist through!”
I had just remembered a past appointment where I had actually subjected my previous therapist to this jibber-jabber about jibber-jabber/monologue about monologuing just like Sheldon!
But, much worse than the realization that I too was actually capable of jibber-jabber about jibber-jabber, is the realization of the affect that it has on other people. And it’s downright embarrassing.
To illustrate the impact and severe degree of tedium that this jibber-jabber-monologue-about-monologuing can have on other people, just try to read the following excerpt from my Journal without becoming severely exhausted with words.
My Jibber-Jabber about Jibber-Jabber
Monologue about Monologuing
||: …of course it took me till just now to realize that once again I’d fallen into the same atypically driven dialog that drives people away. Like the sun just peaked at me through the darkened skies just enough to catch a vivid glimpse of myself with this almost amnesia-like ability to stir up tidal-waves of relentless self-sabotaging behavior by spontaneously spewing out a torrential storm of too many words.
But there it was again – that singularly one-sided, self-serving, fervorously unnerving, unexpectedly unprompted stream of information unwanted.
Yet another borderline-dissociative daunting didactic dissonant display of essay – no more than an enigmatic encyclopedic dissertation of meticulous minutia.
Word-after-word-upon-word-after-word – whether heard or unheard, it’s never your turn s so absent of pause it’s painfully flawed – the missing refrain leaves others so drained.
A randomly roaming möbius maze of untimely tangential thinking –a sententiously senseless over-thinking mixed-up milieu of tedious word tinkering with no clue where its leading – so factually formal, it’s oh so not so the normal.
An unrelenting non-stop circuitous trap of over-speaking that defies common reasoning – so abundantly redundant it’s obvious where all the fun went – so insipid and senseless – countless cues of disinterest, yet I’m clueless – I missed it.
So irrepressibly irritative – so self-overrated – the laughably literal meandering of mindlessly monotonous dribble, once again stuck in the middle of an unanswerable riddle.
That gratuitously grating trait that everyone hates – the runaway train of a too busy brain – the dreaded and regretted – the obnoxiously monotonous monolithic mountain of unnecessary detail delivered in such vehemently voluminous verbosity that it baffles all it befalls – social protocol begone – there’s not one at all, and there’s never enough time for the Autistic Monologue.
The Monologue. That awkwardly odd Autistic social faux pas — an over scrupulous point-by-point enumerated info-dump loop of ridiculously repetitive rhetoric, shrouded in a ranting possessing a pathology of boundlessly boring banter, rat-a-tat splattered, absent bulls-eye no matter, but still bullets shatter, splatter the page with slight rage, the holes take their toll, row after row, after row, after row?
Peculiar isn’t it? No? Is this not the pitter-patter pondering of pathetically pedantic, frighteningly frantic, dysfunctionally dysprosodic, impossibly pretentious, irrationally iterative, pitifully literal prose that I chose? Or, who knows?
Was it not oh-so awkwardly delivered in a disturbing jibber-jabber jerking caterwauling cadence? Like nails-on-chalking, don’t-stop-keep-on-walking, do you hear yourself talking? Squeakily squawking? And by the way, if I may say: “Who am I to be talking?” Word up indeed!
So, I go see my psych in my jammies, and psyched like I am I hope for a slam. I stayed up all night and I crammed, to stand where I stand, all in my way be damned, and show her just who I am — though still half-asleep, barely able to think, finally ending my speech, the real topic now reached, this now what I seek…
“These symptoms I read, they speak to me. They speak to me and speak to me ever so loudly. They shout at me like they know me, know that I’m lonely, say I’m not the only, as others there are out there somewhere, be it here or be it there, or just anywhere, but it makes me feel good to think: I’m not alone.”
“They don’t know my name, but it sounds like my game. Not just words to reorder in some random order, but of a personality that is mine, like those of my kind, so answer me please: Am I ASD?”
She’s patient with me – though I never really know. My words spill out frantically until I run of breath to blow out any more of the words in my head, then she turns and she speaks, as it nothing I’ve said is at all that unique, my words said before, revolved through the door from others before, she responds as if bored, my words now contrite, seem small and so slight, the life has been drained, like teardrops in rain, as if they were lain in a cold and dark plane buried deep in my brain, as deep as they must, then left there to rust, before dawn turned to dusk, they died in the dust.
She says: “You don’t want yet another label do you?”
I look at her blankly. I spoke to a wall. It replied back and it spanked me. Still, she doesn’t outrank me. I don’t tell the wall this, but the truth is: I like labels.
Labels identify things. They let me know just what things are — and that means something. Labels are words, and words tell you something too. It’s the exactness that just feels right and makes my world stay in line in a perfect way. Somehow, I feel enabled.
I mean, there are labels on jars, and the bumpers of cars, on booze in the bars, and people that are, and people that aren’t, whoever they are or whoever they aren’t, all prejudice aside, it all just aligns, gives names for my rhymes. And I like rhymes. So read, or why bother? Either way, I feel unlabeled – and even that’s just a label.
So, labels give identity to things; and that’s one thing I lack – an identity. “Who I am” is a hack. A monkey on my back, until it gets sacked, and that’s where it smacks, slaps, and it snaps. It feels so surreal. I don’t know how I feel, which words to steal, to tell what’s real, to only unveil that what’s real to me is not what’s real to you. What do I do? I’m coming unglued, and once again so I lose, this is not what I choose, but there it is.
And there it is again, and again, and again – unmet expectations. Unmet expectations and invalidation. Still, there’s more I have to say. I have no choice, and… :||
I wrote the above in my Journal pre-diagnosis while in post-meltdown recovery mode after an exceedingly frustrating and deeply deflating visit with my then-regular therapist.
You might find the above confusing to read – but after a serious meltdown, this is just the way my mind works.
Note: Before I go any further on the topic of how my mind works after a meltdown, I’ll stop myself right here – that’s a typical trigger to prompt me to spontaneously spawn another instance of yet another overlong monologue – I’ll delve into that in another post
In that session with my therapist, she wasn’t listening – likely because I monologued all the listening out of her. I found her terse response odd – after all, it was she who had suggested to me that there was a strong likelihood that I was Autistic. Since my question left me with no real answer, from then on I was dismissive of the subject and it never came up again in therapy with her.
Regretfully, I reluctantly relented – judged, juried, and sentenced to a crime not committed – the glove didn’t fit, but I still took the hit, backed into a corner of Bipolar Disorder misordered.
I resigned to this misdiagnosis for far too long, and it took a serious toll on me. At one point I was prescribed a daily cocktail of 31 heavyweight psych pills a day l leaving me in a pervasive zombie-like state, which resulted in a manifestation of terribly disturbing Tardive Dyskinesia side effects that to this day are still are just too painful for me to think about.
It wasn’t until years later, with a new and very astute therapist, did I get my Bipolar rap sheet expunged. Within the first few sessions, she quickly spotted the obvious Autistic traits that were always there right in the face of all my previous and apparently oblivious psychs and therapists who missed them. I took several preliminary tests in her office and scored nearly as high a score as possible in the “Extremely likely to be Autistic” category.
Fast forward several months later just before Christmas, and I underwent a battery of extensive tests by a Neuropsychologist, which resulted in my final official diagnosis of High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. Along with ASD – comorbid conditions of Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, and I had me an early Christmas stocking chocked full of Mental Health treats!
Since then, it’s been an ongoing struggle with acceptance, but I think I’ve finally reached there. Throughout all my years of wondering why I never really fit in the way others do, I now have an answer – and that’s powerfully enabling.