The First Sign of Madness

Why is talking to yourself considered one of the first signs of madness? Surely it should be seen as a sign of sanity. How am I supposed to get to know myself, who I am, what I enjoy doing, what I like or don’t like, what my dreams are, what my fears are, work through my issues, etc, if I don’t communicate with myself?
talking to yourself

When you meet someone new, you talk with them, ask them questions, spend time with them to get to know who they are, what and how they think, feel and experience life, the world, and others. Shouldn’t you do that with yourself as well?

Some of the best conversations I have had have been with myself, because I know I’m listening, I’m interested in what I have to say, and I really do want to understand myself. This is not something I am ever sure is there when I am talking with someone else.

listening to reply

In fact, more often than not, I know that the other person is only half-listening, waiting to hear for a break in my words so they can jump into the conversation with the thing they have been thinking about, the thing they want to tell me about themselves, and they have been waiting patiently for me to finish my blah blah so they can say something which is far more interesting than anything I have to say.

Isn’t it crazier to talk to someone who isn’t listening, than to talk to someone who is, even if the someone who is listening is yourself?

talk to yourself

(bet you understood the above quote even with the typos… the same process applies to understanding others even when they may not use the same words as you or speak the same language)

krishnamurti listening

I often lose my train of thought around other people. The moment I sense that my words are just bouncing off the other person, falling to the ground and lying their like little bits of wastepaper, my mind goes blank.

This isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it is a very good thing. It depends on the situation, and each occasion is different.

reciprocal communication

Not listening is a form of silence, understanding what that silence means is also an important aspect of communication.

Silence:words - Hubbard

 

If someone is not listening because they have something weighing on their mind, then it is important to hear their inability to listen to you as a need for you to listen to them.

Sometimes listening is the best part of a conversation.

And sometimes by listening to their silence you understand far more than their words could ever tell you, because there is so much more to conversation than words.

Perhaps their inattention, their auditory silence, is simply saying that their ears are closed for business at this time please try later. They are communing and in communication with themselves, and this is what they need at this time.

silence burroughs

I love having conversations with people. The interaction is a blending of two energies, and the chemical reaction can produce some very illuminating insights. I have learned a lot from other people, and I am very grateful to them for their role as teacher.

I hope very much that I have returned the favour.

A relationship, ideally, should be give and take, flowing both ways rhythmically, but that is often very difficult to achieve.

complex communication

When people hold back and don’t say things for fear that they will be misunderstood, or that you will think badly of them, or, worse still, that they will not be able to handle the reaction you have to their words, then conversations become very complicated and confusing. When the things which are not said prevail over and censor the things which are said, then the interaction becomes static. Heavy silence oppresses all who find themselves in its presence.

mind reading blame

I love talking to myself, and if that makes me crazy, well so be it, I would rather be considered crazy and live my life as I please and enjoy it, then suppress myself so that others will think I am sane. I’ve done that and I almost bored myself to death.

The blurbs which I post are usually the results of conversations I have been having with myself, often inspired by conversations I have had with others which have continued long afterwards within me, and sometimes they are inspired by things which I have read on someone else’s blog which have started a flow of thoughts and words that need a place to go, to express themselves.

There are many sources of inspiration for conversation… especially those I have with myself

I often catch myself smiling when I write.

self talk

Thank you for listening.

Do you talk to yourself? And if you do, do you think that you are crazy for doing it, or do you think it makes you sane?

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36 thoughts on “The First Sign of Madness

    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      The first thought I had when I read your comment was – that sounds relaxing – as though you’d just told me that you’ve been chilling in a hammock on a tropical beach for 40 years.

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  1. Living alone as I do, I totally agree that talking to yourself isn’t mad at all, in fact it actually stops you from going crazy. It can be interpreted as self-analysis. After all, nobody knows you better than you know yourself.

    It’s when you say nothing at all and live in complete total silence alone, that’s when you really need to start worrying that you’re going slightly doolally. In fact, the utter silence alone gives you more focus to worry within yourself anyway, you risk becoming more detached from the world around you.

    It’s why many play their music collection, turn on the TV or the radio just to break that silence cycle if you’re not in the mood for anything else. Talking to yourself is just another form of breaking that detachment and insularity.

    As they say, it’s the totally silent ones which you’ve really gotta watch.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I love your take on it and the insights you have about it.

      I’m not sure when the idea of talking to yourself being a sign of madness emerged and caught on as a status diagnostic, but it’s about as accurate as the idea that those who look in the mirror are vain, and those who wear white after labor day are committing a fashion faux-pas.

      Although a few of those who talk to themselves may indeed be crazy (perhaps because the conversation they’re having with themselves is repeating things which others have said to them and they’re trying to make sense of someone else’s nonsense), a few of those who don’t talk to themselves may also be crazy. Sometimes being crazy in life is a good idea.

      Overall though I would say that those who talk to themselves are just chatting with themselves and, like you pointed out, it’s a healthy thing to do.

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  2. I lose it with people who behave as if their actions don’t affect any one else! Am I losing it or am I right to get cross?

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      People who behave as though their actions don’t affect anyone else annoy everyone including those who behave that way when it is someone else who is behaving that way.

      So getting cross about it is a natural reaction.

      It does depend on context.

      We can all behave like that sometimes and we can’t always be aware of, or considerate of, or predict how our actions will affect others. If we’re always worried about how what we do will affect others then we might never do anything because someone somewhere will object to it. Usually though most people will be open to being informed in a logical and reasonable manner if they have adversely affected you and will try to make amends, compromise, adjust, if possible.

      The bigger picture does need to be assessed, and all aspects need to be reviewed.

      There are certain people, however, who are continuously and consistently oblivious to how they affect others, and they have no intention of changing the way they behave. They only notice others when they’re being affected by them, and expect others to change for them. I’m guessing that is the sort of person to whom you are referring, you’ve probably confronted them about it and they’ve more than likely ignored what you had to say, have kept doing the thing which is affecting you, and they may even have blamed you for their actions.

      This is an interesting take on that – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ambigamy/201405/why-some-people-will-never-learn

      This is also worth reading – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/counseling-keys/201403/how-handle-crazymaker

      That sort of person can make even the calmest human on the planet lose it.

      These days that type of person is usually known as a Narcissist, and if you’re dealing with one then I recommend reading up on the type, there are many articles about them and how to best deal with them if you have one in your life.

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  3. I really appreciate your effort. I most of the time talk to my self that the reason i try going online to fine out if its sign of insanity, Thanks.

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      More and more I’ve come across articles by professionals who study these kind of things who have said that talking to ourselves is actually not a sign of insanity, for the most part it is normal, natural, healthy, and is necessary for sanity as it is a part of getting to know yourself, self reflection, and awareness.

      Usually talking to ourselves is simply thinking out loud, giving voice to thoughts which can help to clarify them, focus us, aid concentration, be more conscious of our thoughts. It can let us become more mindful of what we’re saying to ourselves, something which we may not notice until we voice it and hear it. It adds dimension to our inner chatter.

      It’s also quite good for releasing stress. It does depend on what you’re saying to yourself and how you listen to yourself.

      Frankly some of the things other people say to us are far more insane than us talking to ourselves 🙂

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  4. I talk to myself at times and more often than not– find myself truly hilarious. But to play devil’s advocate here…I only do this in private. I dont walk through Walgreens talking aloud to myself. I also have a neighbor who tests out at genius level. Yet he stands outside and screams at the snow for falling or the squirrels for running on his roof. So could there be levels of not so crazy talking aloud to yourself…and just plain crazy? Maybe its just perspective.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I agree, it is a matter of perspective.

      From my perspective talking to yourself out loud, in public or in private, isn’t a sign of madness it’s just someone talking to themselves, which is kind of nice as they see themselves as a friend. We all talk to ourselves inside our heads, why not do it out loud – sometimes it can clear the mind and bring focus. In the case of your neighbour, you could say that he’s not talking to himself, he’s talking to the squirrels and the weather, he’s chatting with nature. Nature often talks to us, so why not talk back.

      I think not listening to yourself is more a sign of a certain type of madness than talking to yourself.

      Have you ever been with someone and felt that you were just a wall and they talk and talk and talk and don’t listen to a word they say, and they don’t listen to anything anyone else says either. How can you connect with others when you don’t connect with yourself.

      Of course some people who talk out loud to themselves in public can seem crazy, but I wonder, maybe they’re the sanest ones around. Who knows, this is a rather crazy experience, living on this planet and being alive and everything that entails.

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  5. I often talk to myself mainly for reassurance and guidance , it’s been proven to be beneficial to talk to one self by experts .
    I really don’t care if people think I need to go to the funny farm
    I like talking to myself the way I see it I think I would actually have gone insane if I stopped talking to myself

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    1. I agree, it is a beneficial thing to do. It is also considered to be a sign of personal intelligence because talking to ourselves allows us to know and understand ourselves, so we’re more aware of who we are and how we are. And when we know ourselves well, it helps us to understand other people too.

      When people think something or someone is crazy, I tend to view it as a matter of perspective – Once upon a time lots of people thought the Earth was flat and they viewed those who thought the Earth was spherical as being crazy. Now it’s the other way around. That’s humans for you, we change our minds all the time, but we don’t really understand the minds we change as well as we think we do. Experts prove that all the time – So one minute we’re crazy for talking to ourselves, and the next minute talking to ourselves is healthy and sane.

      We really should just do what is right for us, trust ourselves.

      I like talking to myself too, at least I know I’m listening.

      Thank you for sharing!

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  6. I always talk to myself! People might think I’m insane, crazy or “mad” but that’s just how I am. And I won’t give up on me because other people want me to change. I mean, you could be the smartest person on earth and you still have a choice to be crazy! Just because you’re smart doesnt mean you can’t be crazy.

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    1. Well said 🙂

      I kind of think that talking to ourselves is how we get to know ourselves better… I mean that is what we do with others, makes sense to do it with ourselves too. And there are some things we can only say to ourselves and which only we can understand.

      If being ourselves as we are, enjoying it, and getting along with ourselves, chatting with ourselves like a close friend, is ‘crazy’, then I think crazy is a good choice.

      Thank you for sharing!

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    1. 😀 I like it when people think I’m crazy because then I don’t have to pretend to be their version of sane for their benefit and comfort. It’s a release from obligations to others and a free pass to just be myself.

      I love talking to myself mostly because I know that I understand what I’m saying, something of which I am never sure when talking with others. I can also use shorthand, such as images, memories, sensations, songs, clips from films and all sorts of things which don’t translate into words, which means I can convey a lot of thoughts which connect all at once to myself without trying to make it orderly and linear. It only needs to make sense to me. No explanations of the complicated kind – I find trying to explain myself to someone else is akin to torture 😉

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  7. Once we can hear what we are saying to ourselves we can come to know at a deeper level what is going on. I loved the idea of “the voice” at times it may actually be destructive. At one period in my life I was assailed my a voice that hated me so deeply it wanted me dead. But the turn around came when I could really let it out, write down its words and realise it as a voice of destruction. I did this whole piece of writing called Destruction 11.11. Since then and going through a relationship with someone who put me down and put his ideas of me into my head I have learned to answer the nasty voice with a loving one. So now I talk to myself all the time like a loving parent would to a child who is needing its encouragement, wisdom, understanding and soothing. At times I can still “diss” myself though. Clumsy idiot maybe one expression for when things break or fall or spill around me as they do cause sometimes I am in my head so much that my head is a-head of my body… HA….getting the two in alignment is an ongoing task….

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    1. That’s sounds like a healthy and balanced approach. You can’t get rid of the self-talk, but you can reply and converse until some sort of an understanding is reached, which is what the voices inside seek to accomplish, at least that’s what mine do. My critical ones tend to just be that way because they feel ignored or something like that. And through inner conversations you find out which voices are yours and which ones are echoes of other people’s voices which crept into your mind. I wrote a post sort of about that somewhere… here – https://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/i-never-talk-about-sex/

      I think becoming a parent to yourself, especially when your own parents didn’t fill the role in an adequate way for your child self, is a very beautiful experience. Love how you expressed it!

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  8. We all have that voice inside us thinking – talking – responding to those things that pass through our consciousness – I rarely vocalise these – but do sometimes punctuate them with words – I think maybe that this is what is perceived as madness – that the vocalised externalised words come from a train of thought nobody may access other than the utterer them selves… this lack of context could be what is seen by others as madness..

    For me this makes me consider if really we know ourselves so well as we may think, that we can surprise our own selves is a clue to how shallow this sense of knowing is in reality – we can only have at best an impression of who we are and to suggest otherwise is to be seen to close off our senses somehow..

    After all, if we knew ourselves that well why would we struggle so much to cope with those things that happen in our lives..?

    For me there is some value in realising that even making words alters the originating thought – we are all poets inside us – evoking beyond words much of what we feel as pure emotion – the notion that there is a conversation inside our heads I think is an illusion… for me I have come to resist at times describing in words even to myself those things I feel – because once the words are made they stand between you and the feeling that inspired them – and for me I love the wordless poetry of feelings…

    Sanity – that is for others…. I am happy as I am in this regard..

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    1. Struggling is an intrinsic part of life, not just human life but all of it, it’s how the planet and life in it, on it, around it, flows. It’s the friction which creates everything.

      When something happens in our life which challenges our life as we’ve come to know it, it kicks us out of the comfort zone in which we were vegetating and off of a cliff into the unknown shouting loudly at us that it is time for the land animal to grow wings.

      I think we talk to ourselves in a million intricate ways, through words, yes, but also through memories, images, sensations, feelings, sounds, sights, tastes and so on. You’re right, it is poetry and we are all poets but we don’t always know it until we do 🙂

      Thank you for sharing, always insightful!

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  9. Loving this post. I talk to myself, but not like (the beautiful) Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, but talking to myself happens. It’s helpful when solidifying something that I’d like to write, and it’s helpful when I call myself an idiot after realizing how much of a doofus I sounded like when talking to an attractive girl.

    “They say, the definition of madness is doing. The same thing and expecting a different result.” – The Hives (“Try It Again”)

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    1. Thank you 😀

      Hey! Idiot is my term of endearment for myself! Only I usually embellish it with sweet honey-coated swear words. 😉

      I started talking to myself before I could talk (or it feels like it’s been that long) because I was the only one who actually listened and replied wanting to know more. We do what feels right, natural, whatever, and think it’s fine until someone else weighs in and tells us it’s not because of blah blah blah… I’ve kind of stopped listening to the list of what is wrong with me and what I’m doing, it’s a bit repetitive and ties in nicely with the quote in your comment.

      Have you noticed how often attractive girls say very little as though they are afraid that speaking will give their inner doofus away.

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        1. Attractive people have an image to maintain, and it takes a lot of effort, and it comes at a high price – they can’t be seen to be crazy or silly or anything really other than attractive and so cool they are frozen in beauty. They have to be very careful about what they say… which is exhausting! And really not much fun.

          You have a lot of sense and you know it… but I think you may have a slapping yourself fetish. Hmmm 😉

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  10. I talk to myself constantly. I find it therapeutic, as if I’m somehow rationalising decisions I have made. I do think it’s a little strange, mostly because my boyfriends thinks so but hey, I’m not gonna stop now 🙂 thanks for this!

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    1. Thank you 😀

      I love your blog, your posts are bursting with a wonderful soufulness!

      And blogging is kind of like talking to ourselves, and lots of people do it, so… we’re all a bit strange and that’s rather fun.

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  11. Yes, I do talk to myself too. And sometimes I feel the need to talk to a person, who really knows me, without any kind of judgement too.
    Who know us better than ourselves?
    Thanks for sharing.
    Irene

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    1. Thank you 😀

      It’s lovely to be in the company of someone who understands us and accepts us as we are, and it’s even better to return the favour. It’s like being surrounded by life affirming love!

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