Every time I talk about something that was on my mind for a lot of time, I have the tendency to forget about it shortly after. Just talking about things that really were on my head seems to make them disappear afterwards. I had this impression a lot of times. Lately, I experienced this almost on any topic I am thinking about. Expressing my thoughts in words, written or talked, made the topic vanish. It’s like giving the thought some shape pushes it out of my brain, into another realm.
I had this going on for many years. I ruminated about something for months, making it bigger and bigger in my head, and then, all of a sudden, expressed it violently. Either in form of a journal entry, a blog entry, or sometimes in a fight or controversy with somebody else. After the eruption, the inside volcano magically disappeared. I even forgot that there was a volcano in that place. Shifted my attention to something else, and of course, started another ruminating session on a different topic, soon to be ended with another eruption, in several days, weeks, or months.
This chain of reactions lead me to the concept of therapeutically talking or writing. In today’s blog post I’ll try to understand what are the reasons for this therapeutical dimension of talking. Why is this happening, what are the triggers and what are the limits of this behavior. Is this a good thing, a bad thing or just a thing that I have? We’ll see about that together.
During the last 5-6 years I started to pay more attention to this phenomenon. I monitored those “eruptions” and the subtle mechanism behind them. Gradually isolated similar events and tried to build on a pattern. It seemed that every confusion, fear, worry or lack of trust was in fact a root for a ruminating session. Not being able to express in the very moment my feelings about that confusion or fear pushed it back into my mental backyard, converting them in seeds of some huge wild-growing plants.Â
Without paying attention to those plants, they grew until they started to shade my normal thinking patterns. They grew so big that they took some of the whole garden light. So big that I was forced to confront them. And the only immediate action I could take was to cut them out. Talking them out loud, writing about them, bringing them into conversations or fights. I just cannot leave in the dark, so I had to eliminate the obstruction, most of the time by violently expressing it.
After I eliminated those huge ugly wild-growing plants, the backyard was clean again. No need for another confrontation, my mental clarity was not obstructed anymore. Those wild-growing plants were out for good, so the very topic that generated them was forgotten.
This pattern was so powerful that it become my way of life. Almost everything that wasn’t managed was staying somewhere back, waiting to reach an “explosion” point. After expressing my feelings out loud, the problem disappeared. I went on this rollercoaster for years, until I started to feel annoyed about something.
I didn’t realize in the beginning what was my annoyance. But things around me started to lose consistency. I was forgetting stuff, more and more stuff and more and more often. If there was something that I was already “erupted” on, I even avoided direct confrontation. I knew from the beginning that this will lead to a huge wild-growing plant that will need to be cut in a painful storm of words, so I was keeping the distance. I didn’t engage in a lot of activities, started to work less, to keep honest relationships away, to avoid social interaction. All of that was before a source of pain expressed by words, so it had to be avoided.
But that was even worse. My way of dealing with negative emotions or situations was keeping me from experiencing a true and sincere life. Everything was thrown back and vomited weeks after in order to keep me clean. And between those periods I was almost invisible. I wasn’t doing much on my own. It was this chain of non-confrontation and therapeutical talking that took command of me. It was an auto pilot.
Words As Building Bricks
The first thing I did when I noticed this is getting really serious was to start keeping a journal. I thought a journal would be like a sandbox for those words. If I can manage to keep my healing talking only in my journal, it will not affect me or others around me. So, 5 years ago I started to keep a journal.
In the first year I was experiencing a mild improvement. Things were a little bit smoother and I started to have normal social relationships. But after a year I read the journal. And felt unbelievable creepy. That journal was full of whining and self pity. Every page was a mirror of my backyard wild-growing plants, ugly and big, and every sentence was in fact a miserable complaint about something. That journal was filthy.Â
And I realized it didn’t change anything for good. I was just moderately slowed it down. I was redirected the words storm into a safer place, but I haven’t break the circle of events. I was still ruminating, sometimes even harder, knowing that I finally have a place where to safely throw all my self pity.
It changed only when I started to directly confront unpleasant situations. Only when I stopped push things back and confront them on place. If something was not ok for me, I said it. I don’t like it. It’s not ok. I won’t do this. Please, leave me alone.
The very words I used before to cut the pain from the backyard were used now in order to prevent the plant to grow. I tried to break the circle by saying it out loud before the seeds of a negative words storm will reach the ground. And it instantly worked!
It was quite a change, believe me. It started several months ago, and I’m still working on it. But the shift in my behavior was magic. I started to have less and less healing talking sessions. I didn’t started to fight out of nothing just because my inner backyard was so filled with anger and fury. I was just clean and open. And I’m still on that bus as I write this.
But the most magical change was related to words. I used them before like a sort of therapy, but now I was using them like building bricks. The change was extremely subtle, because they were the same words as before, but the way I was using them was hugely different. I took action, I took initiative, I was getting out and do something, before I was hit by an incidental unpleasant situation. I chose a different path.
Even as I write this I use words completely different. This is not a healing talking session. It’s a blog post that I’ve planned several weeks ago. It’s a way to share something that might be useful to other people. It’s the history of a change on my personal life that I openly share. It’s part of a bigger plan of keeping a personal development blog. It’s something that I intended to do and I chose to manifest it. It’s my decision.
Use Talking For Your Own Good
So, here’s what I learned from watching my talking and writing habits. I’ll note it briefly, I’m sure it will be useful for somebody else too:
1. Try to respond to any event as fast and as accurate as you can
And in the very moment of the interaction. You can chose to accept or reject something, but do it right now. Postponing an honest and complete response to an event, being it rejection or acceptance in some form will force it to hide into your backyard and grow uncontrollable.Â
2. Clean your backyard from time to time
Keep a journal, keep a blog, find a friend to talk, or go to a shrink. You may not cope with every situation in a timely manner, so your backyard will have its share of uncontrollable plants. Manage it. Do it consciously, accept and forgive yourself. Even if it gets filthy over the years, it’s only some backyard clean up, you’ll survive.
3. Make your own internal garden
Now that you know the power of words, you can chose to consciously grow your own garden. You can chose to create beauty and order from ugliness and chaos. You can do this with your own words, by choosing how you’ll talk and write. Make your journal full of joy and enthusiasm, acknowledge your success and accept your failures as lessons. If there are some uncontrollable wild-growing plants in your backyard, you’ll still have your own garden to spend time in, if you plan it and do it on a daily basis.
Do you have your own experience with therapeutical talking and writing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.