I’ve been talking to myself for over 6 years now. It’s only now that I realized I don’t have control over it. I don’t really talk to myself, I talk to people I no longer know and people I wish to know. I engage in long conversations with them that may last for 1~3 hour/s. I talk and imagine their answers in my head and then reply. I’ve been okay with it but for the past year, it started to bother me because I realized I waste about 30% of my day on it. I low-key like it, because it gives me chances I was never given and probably will never be given. I imagine myself doing all the stuff I couldn’t do. I started to feel really bad about it when I realized I don’t fully move on from any single thing in my life (a past lover or something I failed in before) because of this. I basically never forget anything that happened to me because I keep repeating everything in my head and also make up scenarios that never happened. It’s starting to get out of control because it makes me unable to focus, whenever I see a movie I keep pausing to talk for some time and then I go on with the movie and repeat, which ends up with me finishing a 2 hour movie in over 5 hours. I never felt bad about it but now I do because I came to know that’s basically why I never move on. I repeatedly think about things that happened years ago. I’ve had OCD since I was in grade 5 (about 8 years ago), I never fully recovered from it, it comes and goes. I don’t know if it might be related. I tried controlling myself and refusing any urges to talk to whoever I talk to but I always fail. Thing is, I fully understand I’m not talking to real human being and I’m merely pleasing myself by achieving stuff I couldn’t in real life, so I don’t think I’m crazy or something. I just need to know if it’s serious, and I certainly need help on how to stop this because I need the time I waste on doing it. (From Egypt)
Thank you for sharing this difficult concern with us. You’ve said that you’ve wrestled with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) since you were a child. It seems to me that since this diagnosis has already been made it would be a very good idea to follow up with treatment. The repetitive and intrusive imaginary discussions seem right at the core of an OCD style behavior.
A way to understand what is happening is that obsessive thoughts and behaviors can take many forms. Most of the compulsions are behaviors that can be observed, like washing hands or cleaning or arranging rituals. But some of the rituals may be mental. My best guess is that what you’ve explained sounds like a type of ritualized behavior. Keep in mind that I could be off on this because this isn’t a situation where I could diagnose someone — but the fact that you’ve been diagnosed with OCD and these patterns of thought follow a particular repetition and arrangement with your situation, makes me think having a discussion with a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist is the best thing.
For diagnosis and treatment the first thing is to make sure it is an OCD symptom and this can only be done with a trained professional. Typically, the type of therapy offered that is effective for OCD is cognitive-behavioral therapy, CBT. You can learn more about CBT here.
Talking to Myself
Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2019). Talking to Myself. Psych Central.
Retrieved on December 9, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/09/20/talking-to-myself-2/
Last updated: 16 Sep 2019 (Originally: 20 Sep 2019) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 16 Sep 2019 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.