If anyone — friends or family — paid close attention to how I operate, they might notice I talk to myself.
Many people engage in self-talk. I am sure there is nothing pathological about my habit — just a need to converse, see solutions, or even get advice from someone who knows my situation best, and that is me.
I don’t mean to sound arrogant, just practical. I have lived with multiple sclerosis (MS) for 35 years and only now see the reality of what my future may look like. So naturally, small changes are huge changes in my day-to-day life.
Sometimes Self-Talk Just Fills the Empty Spaces
Self-talk comes in several forms. The usual kind is just chatter. It has taken me a while to notice that I am afraid of total silence when I am alone. The “filler” nature of what I ramble on about simply fills in the empty spaces.
I have noticed I will talk to myself about things that happen during the week, people who rubbed me in an interesting way, or some who hold political beliefs different from my own. Particularly in the past few years, I noticed a lot of political chatter.
This harmless chatter helps to fill space during periods of fatigue and confusion surrounding the MS. I don’t have to answer to anyone, I just say anything I want to myself in private.
The pandemic has changed the way we interact with others, increasing forced isolation. Regardless of all that, I spend a great deal of time by myself anyway.
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Sometimes Self-Talk Feels Like a Form of Self-Therapy
The other form of self-talk is a personal counsel. This is like having a therapist off whom I bounce ideas.
This voice is gentle and talks me through a variety of issues that plague me daily. These include issues surrounding my future, my role in society now, and why I feel comfort in my own company in dealing with my own MS.
As a person, I can be hard on myself, a perfectionist who has difficulty attaining impossible goals. But when my gentle interior voice speaks up, it tells me not to berate myself and that I am worth more than I imagine. This is the balancing voice that makes my world function.
Many years ago on a road trip with a friend, she pointed out that I talk myself through little issues like putting my socks on or navigating a hotel bathroom. Those voices were probably both my personal counsel and my alter ego walking me through an unfamiliar situation.
My Inner Voice Looks Out for My Well-Being, When Necessary
The third voice that pipes up when I need someone to look out for some of my movements such as discerning safe from unsafe. This is the “alter ego” voice. This voice really looks out for my well-being.
Everything that I do in a given day needs a voice that is sharp and commanding, because without it I would definitely get overzealous with activities. Once I didn’t listen to that voice, which clearly said not to attempt going down the stairs with socks on. Well I did just that, the result was me bouncing down 11 stairs one right after the other! I have since learned to listen to this voice, which has in turn made my basic instincts more alert.
My Voices Are My Internal Friends
I continue to chatter every day, and none of it is in vain. This constant self-talk continues to teach me about myself in the world and where I fit. I continue to seek my own wise counsel, because I know my challenges and deserve that much at least.
Whether it is taking a shower, climbing the stairs, buttoning my shirt, knowing where my wheelchair can and can’t go, there are things only I get. I have internal friends, so why make someone else go through my process when they don’t have to?