It’s never good to rely on “Dr. Google.” “Dr. Google” is a reference to people who google their symptoms and diagnose themselves with what they learn. Part of the problem is that the information is too general and it can apply to almost anyone. It’s always best to consult a professional. They have the knowledge to both diagnose the problem and to provide the appropriate treatments.
Without being able to interview you in-person and at length, my ideas about what could be wrong are speculative. You mentioned having difficulty thinking in an “organized systematic sequence” and “ideas almost never flow freely.” It’s difficult to know what precisely you meant here. A follow-up question I would have for you is when and how often does this occur? Is it only some of the time or is it after you’ve worked all day? Are you tired when it happens? Are you getting enough sleep?
Sleep greatly impacts concentration. It would be difficult for anyone to focus without much sleep.
In your example, you say that you have difficulty keeping track of the information unless you force yourself to concentrate. It’s possible that when you are conversing with someone, you are not necessarily listening to what they’re saying but rather anticipating your response. That would simply be a matter of not listening.
You seem to be struggling with concentration. One explanation could be attention deficit problems. The formal diagnosis is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. Individuals who struggle with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that interferes with their functioning. Some of the symptoms including: failing to pay close attention to details, having trouble holding attention on tasks, does not seem to listen when spoken to directly, trouble organizing tasks and activities, dislikes or avoids the required mental effort to focus on something long-term, and is easily distracted and forgetful.
You also mentioned anxiety. Some of your symptoms are consistent with the possibility of anxiety. Medical problems should also be examined as they can affect one’s thinking and behavior. Brain injuries, sleep disorders, seizure disorders, can also affect one’s ability to concentrate.
Alcohol or illegal substances can also cause some of the symptoms you are describing, as can certain medications.
I would highly recommend consulting both a primary care physician to rule out medical problems and also a mental health professional for a clinical assessment. Once you meet with these professionals, you will have a better sense about what might be wrong but most importantly, how to treat your symptoms. Medication and/or psychotherapy may be recommended. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle