Stop listening to yourself and try having a word with yourself instead.

There is an old saying that says, ‘Talking to yourself is a sign of madness,’ but I would disagree because I would still have been in the madness had I not given myself a good talking to long ago. Then I came across a quote I had never heard while podcasting with a guy from Australia, which prompted this blog.

I’d been invited to come along and talk with Muilka Nisc and David Best about the recent global position paper on recovery that had recently been presented at the UN. Shane Varcoe, who was hosting the Podcast quoted this guy called Dr Lloyd Jones and said.


‘Most of our unhappiness in life is because we listen to ourselves instead of talking to ourselves.’


And I was like, WOW that’s precisely what I’ve been doing with my writing. Doing that podcast reaffirmed one of the biggest lessons I learned in my early recovery, which was to stop listening to the internal chatter and instead have a word with myself.

Sooo, on that note, I thought I would share my thoughts and personal experiences with you.

Dr Lloyd is right when he says far too many people are functioning daily on autopilot without paying attention to what they say to themselves. I know this too well because I did it myself for years if I wasn’t dwelling on ‘I wish and if-only thoughts.’ I was constantly fighting against self-doubt, constantly comparing myself to others; the weight of discontentment was suffocating, as was my inability to let go of a lifetime’s worth of hurt, anger and grievances.

It’s not surprising I turned to drugs to escape in an attempt to turn the volume down on the internal chatter and to drown out the poisonous external chatter that came from my then-partner.

In the run-up to being hospitalised, the internal chatter had gotten so bad that I felt like the devil had taken root in my head; he was talking to me, and I could even smell him when he was near. When I’d tried and failed to convince everyone around me of his presence, I finally agreed to be hospitalised in the hope that his voice wouldn’t be able to penetrate my head through the hospital walls. It took a couple of days for the staff to convince me that the devil wasn’t real and that I’d become mentally ill.

Being in that safe space, away from my then-partner’s manipulative and cohesive words, made room for some of my own thoughts.

The only problem was that I didn’t like what I was thinking about myself.  I didn’t know back then that I didn’t have to believe every thought that popped up in my head. Instead, I was consumed by the shame and stigma of being found out about my addiction and that my secret had finally been exposed. The thought of facing up to the mess I’d gotten into made me want to run for the hills and never return. But it soon became apparent that I had nowhere to hide, and the person who I was trying to escape from was myself.

There wasn’t much else to do in the hospital other than think. I vividly remember repeatedly asking myself the same question over and over again.


‘How the fuck did I end up in here.’


Each time, the answer was the same. Of course, the drug-induced psychosis didn’t help, but it was more than just the drugs. Having some alone time away from my partner, it was impossible not to deny that I hadn’t been happy in my relationship for years.

I’ve had a curious brain for as long as I can remember. But I now realise that I’d gotten so used to seeking out all the answers from other people that I’d forgotten to ask let alone trust myself. I could have quite easily continued blaming my sham of life on him, and I could have even blamed it on the drugs. The reality was that it was me who continued to stay in the relationship despite being unhappy, and also, no one forced me to take drugs. During my time in the hospital, the line of self-interrogation continued.


“I know I am a good person with a big heart, so why does it always feel like it’s being broken?”


When I dug deeper and repeated the question, I realised I’d always been a people pleaser. I had been all my life. Pleasing others made me feel somehow wanted and needed. The only problem was it was always short-lived, which got me asking other questions like


‘But where does that come from? Why do I keep making the same mistakes?


Months after being discharged with my newfound thirst for answers to all my unanswered questions, I finally found the courage to leave, but it wasn’t easy; I still found it hard to turn down the volume on my self-doubt. When I was alone, I would find myself talking to myself out loud, replaying M peoples Song, Search for the hero inside yourself or writing little notes to remind me of all the intimate conversations I’d previously had with myself that had given me the courage to leave in the first place.

The list of questions continued and still does to this day. Only nowadays, instead of talking to myself out loud, I find myself translating the words onto paper. I realised a long time ago that my recovery wasn’t just about giving up the drugs. It was about embarking on a journey of rediscovering myself, but it wasn’t until I started putting pen to paper that the magic started to happen.

Writing has helped to remind me that my thoughts are just that, and I have a choice to listen or to ignore them, I’ve also found that my thoughts are much harder to ignore when I am writing them down because they are staring right back at me.

The urge to write is like an itch that won’t disappear until it’s scratched. Writing has not only helped me to me make sense of all the shit from my past whilst working on the memoir, but it has also helped me to process any shit that I might be experiencing in the present.


 So why is talking (or writing) with/to yourself so important?

Everyone has an inner voice within us, a negative inner voice that has been chatting away, often unmuted, sculpted by conscious thoughts, built-in beliefs, and biases since birth. Our brains carry these thoughts along neural pathways; these thoughts become ingrained and reinforced over time. It wasn’t until I started listening to what I was telling myself and questioning myself that my outlook on life changed.

You know yourself better than anyone; the first hurdle is working on trusting yourself. This took some time for me to figure out; I’d gotten into the habit of reacting and lashing out instead of questioning my thoughts, which never got me anywhere. But being able to start trusting yourself becomes much easier when you are brutally honest, especially regarding matters of the heart.

My heart at the time was so fragile, and I wouldn’t let anyone near, fearing they might break it again. So, instead of handing my heart over to someone else, I started loving myself and discovered ways to comfort myself. Through this, I figured out that there was no one better than myself who was equipped to help manage my emotions and figure out what might have triggered them in the first place.

Through writing/journaling, I have learned that the worst critic I have ever encountered was myself, and I have learned that the more I got to know myself, the more I found sides of myself I never knew existed, I will give you an example.

For years, I always thought that not being able to visualise images in my head was normal; that was until I recently heard about Aphantasia and realised I was Aphantasic. A condition that is thought to affect 3.9% of the population. Sounds serious, doesn’t it? But it isn’t it just means my brain works differently from others.  The point I am trying to make is that had I not been on this journey of self-enquiry through writing, I know that I would never have found this out about myself.

There are other benefits to writing. Well for starters, it’s FREE, and you can do it anywhere. I even capture my thoughts on my phone if there isn’t a pen or piece of paper available to help make my head feel lighter.

The other beauty of journaling is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. People often say to me ,

‘But I don’t know where to start?’ and my reply is always the same. ‘it’s not rocket science; go pick up a pen and follow your thoughts and ask yourself, “Why” and keep on asking ‘Why’

I’m not trying to claim that writing is a magic cure. My inner critic can still sneak in and squat rent-free in my head, but now I finally have a tool that enables me to evict its sorry ass out of my head. But I am saying that if you were embarking on a journey of recovery, writing is another tool in your recovery toolkit that might help you while you embark on this journey of self-discovery.

You might not see or feel the benefits I have described immediately, but with persistence, patience and time, I can promise that your head and heart will start revealing new sides of yourself that you never knew existed, just like I did.

As with all my blogs, I like to be able to share some of my personal lived experiences in the hope that it might help one person to help them find their true authentic voice and, with this one, to reiterate Dr Lloyd Jones Quote

‘Most of our unhappiness in life is because we listen to ourselves instead of talking to ourselves.’

Love Fordy

Aka #Unapolegeticwriter


Remember – I don’t write for financial reward or gain. I aim to help share my lived experience with others, hoping it helps, and if it doesn’t, then that’s ok too. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so feel free to pop them in the comments box below and if you liked it, then feel free to share it.

2 thoughts on “Stop listening to yourself and try having a word with yourself instead.

  1. I love this. I’ve always been a reader & loved English more than maths & was very shy in school though not at home coming from a large family of varied ages. My sister 10 year older had a friend who bought me a 5 year diary when I was 12 in 1979.I filled it in one year and had a diary every year after that. After my best friend-mum died in 2019 I have not written as I feel exhausted and that everything I write is trite.
    But that’s me. I totally get what you say.
    Some of my worst experiences were eased by my diary.

    1. Hi Debra, I am so sorry to hear about your mum, also sad that you feel what you write is trite, nothing is trite as long as its coming from the heart, I hope you feel inspired to put pen to paper again – Love Tracey

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