Warning: This post might possibly make you think I’m crazier than I really am. Or maybe I really am that crazy. Do crazy people know how crazy they are?
I have a lot of conversations with myself.
I test myself before interviews and come up with brilliant or witty responses. I confront people and imagine how the following discussion might play out. I replay situations in my head to come up with better responses for next time. Sometimes I even dream up conversations with people I don’t even know. I’ll just be thinking about how a discussion with so-and-so would go, if I were ever to meet him or her (celebrities, bloggers, clients I’ve only talked to on the phone).
I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. Maybe that’s why I had so few friends – I was too busy coming up with things to say to actually say something.
You might think that this would serve me some good. I am always preparing myself for every conversation that could possibly happen. Most people walk away and then think, “Oh great, now I think of the perfect response to what that guy was saying!” Well, I am always coming up with those “perfect” responses. But I rarely use them, or the words don’t come out quite right and I end up sounding like an idiot. I’m always thinking, thinking, thinking, but I still rarely think before I speak. I just blurt out things and then regret it because it was the wrong response, inappropriate, or just doesn’t come out quite like I meant it to.
Which means it is highly possible we would be having a conversation one day about gardening and I’ll suddenly blurt out, “I like crunchy peanut butter best.”
And you will look at me like I might possibly have a mental handicap (when really my only handicap is social assimilation).
But in my head, we were talking about gardening and then you brought up growing your own vegetables and I told you how I love vegetables and have always wanted to grow my own but I have nowhere to plant a garden so I buy my produce at Wal-Mart because I’m poor and you would tell me how evil Wal-Mart is but you would invite me to lunch anyway and we would decide to have sandwiches and I’ll want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and you will tell me that you have crunchy or creamy peanut butter and…
“I like crunchy peanut butter best.”
The conversations in my head, and where they lead my thoughts are actually much more convoluted than that, but you get the point. I’m like the zombie kid who likes “toitles”.
When I was in therapy a few years ago (participating in a study for women with anxiety through the University of Nevada, Reno), I bonded with my therapist so much that I found myself having conversations with her all week long. I told her this and instead of being kind of creeped out, she found it really interesting. Because I would “discuss” certain thoughts or feelings I was having at a particular time, and then I would create responses from her. This actually came to be a wonderful therapeutic-outside-of-therapy practice for me. Because there I would be, anxiety rising over XYZ happening, but inside my head I would be discussing it with JB (her initials). I had been in therapy long enough by that time that I was able to formulate solutions, or suggestions on how to deal, right there on the spot. It was like having a therapist around 24/7.
It didn’t cure my anxiety, but for a time it did help. I haven’t seen JB in about 2 years, and when I think about it, I realize I can’t hear her voice anymore. And I haven’t come up with a replacement. Instead, I sit here wondering if I can track her down and see if she is accepting patients (she regretfully wasn’t when the study was over – and I never took the initiative to find another therapist).
Interestingly, blogging has affected this part of me. I still have full-on conversations in my head, but sometimes they become monologues, or soliloquies, and I start thinking about it in terms of a blog entry.
This entry started as a long speech in my head. It’s not coming out quite the same way it went in my head earlier yesterday, but the idea is there.
I’m not even sure if this is something other people do. Sometimes I feel so ridiculous, putting so much thought into conversations that usually either don’t end up happening, or don’t end up going the way I imagined.
But I don’t know any other way to think. I’ve been doing it for so long, that’s just how my brain functions, how it processes information.
And even though it’s the only way I know, I still feel as if it might be slightly off-kilter from typical brain functioning. And I wonder what it’s like to not be constantly in these silent conversations.