Calming the Noise in My Head

I don’t know if there’s something I’ve written about more in the past month than my increased interest in meditation. And while I’m slowly learning what the benefits for me, a very helpful one became clear earlier this week. A huge benefit of reaching a meditative state is that, even though it’s incredibly brief, the noise in my head quiets down. But it wasn’t until it quieted down that I realized just how loud and constant the noise is in my head – and learned, yet again, how anxiety can manifest in people.

As someone who experiences anxiety on a daily basis, I forget most people don’t see the world the same way I do. We all have our own experiences, but I don’t think I’ve been able to encapsulate how my anxiety truly feels to someone who hasn’t experienced something similar. And while I’m alright with that, I tend to forget how this contextualizes nearly every area of my life.

Which leads to the noise in my head. The best way I’ve been able to visualize what goes on in my brain is that my thoughts are like the news tickers that slowly scroll across the screen of a news channel. When I’m calm, there’s only one or two of those tickers going, but when I get anxious, the tickers grow, and grow, and grow…and then it’s impossible to focus on anything.

I’m sharing this today because figuring out how thoughts and feelings manifest is something I’m starting to understand more and more. When I first learned about what mental illness was and the symptoms of anxiety and depression, I dove in head-first to learn as much as I could about these things. But I forgot one importance variable in everything I read – I wasn’t applying it to myself.

Anxiety affects me different than it might affect you, and vice versa. Our personalities don’t disappear when we deal with challenges; in fact, it’s those unique parts of us that color the way we deal with them. Personalizing my mental illness has been one of the most effective ways of shrinking my problem so that I remember where my focus lies – within me.

It wasn’t until I quieted down some of the noise in my head that I learned that not everyone’s brain works in that same way. In fact, I just learned the other day that not everyone has an inner monologue or inner voice in their head. A majority of people don’t think that way, and a big reason we believed they did is because we made assumptions based on our own experiences.

I want to continue learning how anxiety manifests itself for me, and it’s my hope that what I learn is another step on the road to mental wellness. We are all unique and deal with things in our own unique way, and even though it’s nice to know we’re not alone in our struggles, it helps to hear that we’re also one-of-a-kind when it comes to the people we are.

Now that I’ve learned what an inner monologue is, I want to ask my readers if they have one! Do you have an inner monologue? If you don’t, is there a different way your thoughts display themselves? Let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Calming the Noise in My Head

  1. Mentally Ill In America April 21, 2022 / 2:09 pm

    Would you care to elaborate on how you learned the majority of people don’t have an inner dialogue? That might be helpful if you cite a source if that is possible. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith April 26, 2022 / 11:32 am

      At first I learned this from other people in conversation, and it confused me to learn not everyone has an inner dialogue (because I couldn’t process what people’s thoughts were otherwise). The link I found that took a broad look at this is this one – https://www.livescience.com/does-everyone-have-inner-monologue.html – but I also found various studies that looked at inner dialogue and inner monologues. I don’t know if I found a definitive number, but I learned that far fewer people have an inner dialogue than I originally thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mentally Ill In America April 26, 2022 / 12:00 pm

        I appreciate the follow up. I find this quite fascinating. Have a great day!

        Like

  2. David May 16, 2022 / 2:29 am

    Ah yes, my old friend, or is it enemy, the inner monologue. I have had it for at least 35 years that I can remember. It started as a voice that told me everything bad that happens should be considered a learning experience and preparation for some grand event in the future. Initially I welcomed this fairly constant monologue. In fact for a few years, I think it worked well, and helped me put things in to perspective. Gradually that voice became something else and at times turned in to something quite nasty. Negativity became my default, positivity was imprisoned. The lowest point came in the period from 2012 to 2019. These days my inner monologue is like the numbskulls (remember them?). Actually there are two of them, at least at any one time, sometimes more. So now my inner monologue is more of a debate between several inner monologuers, which is mostly civilised. Occassionally it does get loud and slightly out of control. When that happens, the lines between reality and the reality I create become blurred.

    Like

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