The inner dialogue

The mental health support sees me for six weeks, and at the start and end give a questionnaire, asking how often I feel in particular ways- depressed and hopeless, lacking motivation, that sort of thing; not at all, hardly ever, up to every day. At the end, you could whizz me into a temporary state of optimism and I would give better numbers. The numbers make it look objective and patient led, but it is not, really. So there has been no improvement, but the records show that there has, and that’s a win.

Why would you think of the meanness and negativity yesterday, and perhaps in the above paragraph (it seems rational when I’m there) as a distinct inner voice? Why not as a mood?

Possibly it would be a different neuronal circuit, but I could not know. It feels like the different “moods” can be in dialogue, or at least argument, or manifesting together. And thinking of them as different voices, I imagine balance may be possible. If it is simply a bad mood, simply negative, I have to snap out of it. If it is an inner voice, it has its part in the dialogue, I can listen to it and gain from it and even be led by it where appropriate.

Why would suppressing it be a bad thing, denying a voice to part of me, using my energy to self-suppress not self-express, rather than managing my mood to stop me spiralling into darkness?

I need to at least investigate that possibility. It is a way of seeing aspects of the truth which I might not see from another perspective/inner voice/mood. Possibly it just demotivates and gets in the way of seeing opportunities. At worst, investigating it, I would be feeding it so that it had more control in me. This article says the positive and negative are separate circuits in the brain- distinct, they could indeed be in dialogue- citing this, whose abstract does not confirm it but the article might.

But I do not run from threats. I seek understanding. That is important to me, and when something is important to me and I see a way forward I seek it, wholeheartedly. This is an affirmation of my gifts which I believe, and find easier to say now than before. Rather than plunging into darkness, I feel I am rebalancing. Parts of me I suppress I am bringing out, to get a better equilibrium, a more integrated self.

Being in a low mood, because of that email- “our friendship has run its course”- I noticed the inner critic being hysterical. I did something unimportant, then wondered if I had made a mistake with it- “another idiotic failure”. Well, I hadn’t made that mistake, and if I had it would not have mattered much, and so the inner critic was clearly wrong.

I could have maintained that friendship, perhaps, if I had gone full-on campaigner against trans rights. I really cannot afford to lose friends, but that would have been too much.

I do not feel I am achieving enough, but that may be too great self-criticism. Not working can be a good thing.

I will be away for the Quaker Diversity weekend. Queers, Blacks and the working classes, getting together for a moan, with perhaps a few cis white heterosexual educated prosperous males agonising about their privilege. The way to deal with my own privilege may be (irony ALERT!) to think that, even though this person is in a wheelchair, they may have something worthwhile to say.

-It sounds like there’s motivation to go to that, she said. Which parts of you-? And I answered a different question, about why I wanted to go somewhere else. It’s interesting to see the question I dodged. Well, I anticipate the joy of meeting other people with similar concerns and talking about them, with infectious enthusiasm building insight together. I anticipate learning and thinking, increasing my understanding and possibly changing my mind. I anticipate joking and saying wise loving things and having them appreciated. I anticipate connection.

2 thoughts on “The inner dialogue

  1. I’m in perpetual dialogue with myself. Perhaps this is how I perceive moods/emotions? I would like to say that some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had have been with myself, but somehow stating that seems rather narcissistic and egoistic. The only time the conversation ceases is when I seek that “quiet inner voice” (Quakers will understand what I mean). I probably don’t seek it often enough, as I have found it’s very helpful in sorting out the chaff from the wheat. I think any process that helps one better understand oneself is worthwhile.

    As for before and after questionnaires, sometimes I think they are designed to get the “result” they want, or that the system demands, and not necessarily whether or not the process has been beneficial to you as an individual.

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    • On the dialogue, I am not aware of it most of the time. Rather I am aware of voices popping up. One generally recognised which most people have is their inner critic which says horrible judgmental things about us. I have practised answering my inner critic. “You would never say that to anyone else” is a good all-purpose answer.

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