My parts are going out of order since it seems fitting that way. I want to touch upon self-talk, what it is and how someone with Bipolar is living with it. Self-talk is your inner voice inside your head that speaks to you, sometimes super loud to the point you’re no longer paying attention in real life, and what’s actually happening around you.
When I talk to myself in my head, sometimes I’m having full blown conversations and it’s hard to concentrate on what I’m really doing, like watching a movie, or reading a book. It’s like having your own audiobook stuck in your head and you don’t have the off button. Even the volume button doesn’t work. Sometimes it seems to get worse as I’m trying to fight it.
I’ll be sitting outside, watching the birds and I’ll create this story in my head, narrating it as I watch the birds perched on the tree, maybe eating at the little birdhouse. It’s nice that my neighbor’s into birds. He has a little sanctuary built up for them.
But during this time, I’m saying I wonder where your nests are. Is it really high up in the trees? I bet they have little eggs too. I’ll watch one swoop down and pick at the ground and pull out a worm when the morning’s damp and the sky is a gray haze. But mind you now, I’ll be narrating it in my head as I’m watching the birds. I can’t just watch the birds. There’s always a story going on there.
Or when I’m stopped at the red light and a young girl is walking across the street. She runs to the bus stop. Here I am sitting there wondering where she’s rushing off too. Is she late for an appointment? Then I’ll think of all these stories until the light turns green and I go.
Or another example. I’m doing my daily walk (try to at least…more like 4 days a week) and I’ll see a stork sign on someone’s lawn, baby girl born into this world, Vivian Lynn, 7 lbs. 2 oz. And by the time I’m at the end of the block, Vivian is already one and is trying to walk. Her mother is sick with postpartum depression and the father is the one taking Vivian around, to the park and things like that.
So, self-talk can be really creative and it truly helps when you’re writing. BUT living with it day to day can be daunting. Worry about things and blowing them way out of proportion. Like if I don’t hear from my son who is away at college. If I haven’t heard from him all day and I’ve texted him and called him, I begin to think horrible thoughts, like someone knocked him over the head somewhere as he was walking and now he woke up tied to a chair in some dark closet where it’s hard to breathe. Now these thoughts are very very difficult to take. These worries are the same as if I haven’t heard from my daughter in a while too. These are just some examples when self-talk is harmful. It puts you in a state of panic. You’re trapped, not being able to function with anything.
But what I’ve learned over the years is that the best way to curb my self-talk never-ending record player in my head, is to write. It has got to be for me the best way to cope with things. My doctor recommended it when I was first diagnosed back in 2004 and I’ve been writing ever since.
I’m also a big fan of walking. And I don’t just mean walking on a treadmill at the gym. I mean walking outside and getting the fresh air, taking in your surroundings. Most of the time I’m walking and talking (out loud sometimes…I’m careful to make sure no one is around, and I talk under my breath, anyway) It’s good to get out of your head that way too. Not always, but usually I feel better, like I got it out of my system.
So writing and walking are my two great coping skills for the Bipolar Disorder. If you suffer from self-talk and sometimes can’t get that voice inside your head to shut off, put it to good use and write your thoughts out. Or walk your thoughts out. I sincerely hope this post will help you. Living with a mental illness doesn’t have to rule your life. Seeing your doctor and staying on your meds is key. And as you stabilize yourself, I hope you’ll use these coping skills along the way. Stay strong. Live well.