Incessant Internal Chatter

It’s 6:30 AM, I’ve been awake since before 5 with a headache and I’ve finally given in to the internal chatter, I’ve crept downstairs trying not to wake the family and switched on my Chromebook. It’s not a recent thing, this subject has been on my mind for months, my blog.

I’m not going to mention my running hardly in this blog, for reasons that will become apparent as you read, also I’m going to be very open and honest so beware!

At times I’ve been too busy in the last few months and that has been my barrier (or excuse) to write more but in the past couple of months another barrier has hit, it’s that inner thought fuelled by something I’ve recently read on Facebook. A friend has just started writing his own blog and he has done a fantastic job writing about his running and his fight with a horrible condition called Ulcerative Colitis (Link to Mark’s blog), a comment I saw from a mutual running friend said about it not being an ego trip like other blogs. This got me thinking, is that what my blog is? Do people think that my blog is just all about blowing my own trumpet? I do go on maybe too much about me and what I’ve done, but then again it is a blog about me, it’s my therapy, people have told me it’s helped and inspired them. Yes I have an overactive mind, it’s partly why I suffer with mental health issues, I dwell on things, especially the past and that internal chatter probably exaggerates situations and I fear not being liked, for some reason at times it consumes me. In fact a few times of late, I’ve been told to stop caring what others think by my friend Mark, the very person who writes the blog I’ve just mentioned. Mark you are right and I do take on what you say so thank you for those messages you send me even though sometimes we haven’t seen eye to eye lately on the election and our differing views, something I’ll touch on later as it has caused me a world of bother and certainly affected me.

Many times I lay awake at night for seemingly hours just worrying about what people think of me, at times it’s debilitating and stops me from doing things and I think I blame social media for much of it. Social media is a friend and a foe, I recently took myself off of Facebook for a week, it was meant to be permanently but I have a need for it, my boys clubs, my running club, my only socialising as I’m an introvert and apart from running don’t really ever go out with friends. The reason I took myself off of Facebook was after sharing some views regarding the general election and Brexit, don’t worry I won’t go on about it too much but it’s relevant so bear with me. I tend to look at things logically and one view is that our infrastructure cannot keep up with immigration, I have nothing against immigration and have many European friends, just in my head logically and mathematically I believe we have an issue in this country. This affects us all, including my friends from Latvia, Romania and Poland and more importantly my family and in particular my son who has high functioning Autism, it took many many years to get a diagnosis and funding to help him with his education is hard to come by. Immigration is not the only issue and no we don’t have any party or leader than is perfect or can truly sort it. However because of this view I was labelled a racist by a certain person, something far from the truth and it deeply hurt me. Unfortunately for me this was somebody who I often run in a group with and it stopped me from turning up to run as I hate conflict and also it started to concern me about how many other people thought about me like this. It even stopped me, if I’m honest with myself and others, from going to the running club Christmas party, where I found out later I was awarded runner of the year for my speed group.

If this wasn’t enough Christmas was around the corner, never a good time for me, I always for some reason go a little downhill at this time of year, but also my wife lost her Nan. My wife was brought up by her Nan from the age of 9 and did a lot of caring for her in her later life as she got ill. All of this together, supporting my wife, dealing with my own grief, dealing with the name calling on Facebook and multiplied by my negative internal chatter started to bring me down. The thing is, I run to keep my mind strong and healthy, when I start to avoid running because of situations I become lower, then I avoid running as I’m low and can’t be bothered to get myself out of the door, it all starts to become a bit too much. Luckily I have some great friends, I’m a quiet guy and am not great with socialising, I get very socially awkward, but I have some friends that accept this and are always there if I need them, even if it’s just a quick message of support. Also I have learnt to deal better with the negative chatter, I hear it but I don’t let it drag me down as much as I once did, instead of using it in a negative way I use it in a positive way do help push me to try and become a better person.

I have realised though as I have been lying awake for longer and longer at night dwelling on this that I need an outlet for this, I don’t talk about it much, I need to let it out. Maybe I should write about it, maybe I should use my blog, my therapy. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me though, I don’t want people not to have conflict with me just because they read this, I’m writing this just because it’s going to help me become a better person. I’ve got a long way to go and I do maybe need to stop worrying so much about what people think of me, i guess to be liked by everyone would be impossible.

I thought now would be a good time to get some of these issues and thoughts that go around my head noted, not just to help me get it out but hopefully some of you may relate to this and realise you are not alone, so here goes;

  • I see Facebook friends stop liking my posts but I also see them liking and engaging in other friends posts, have I upset them, have I done something wrong? Have they turned my posts off? Am I really that bad of a person?
  • I turn up to ParkRun, people I know are huddled together chatting, do I say hello? Am I welcome in their group? I feel awkward, where shall I stand, I don’t want to look like a loner but I don’t want to butt in.
  • I want to write on my social media or blog about something I’ve achieved, will people think I’m just bragging, does this make me a bad person?
  • If I write about these thoughts will people think I’m crazy? Will somebody from work read this and use it against me pushing forward in my career?
  • Do I care too much what people think, should I just be me? Should I change my ways, should I just keep quiet and stay under the radar? Do I need to be liked to be happy?

There is so much more to this but I am sure you get the idea, reading this back, I can see that a lot of this is just silly and unfounded, or is it? Is it that I’m just not confident at being me? The strange thing is I’m not really like this at work, I’m confident, I’ll stand in a meeting with Directors and present my findings from my analytic work, I present the facts, be they positive or negative. Why am I more confident in that situation, that currently I do not have the answer.

For now I’ll try not to be a stranger here in this space, I’ll write about the good and the bad, the running and my thoughts, I’ll learn not to take on the negatives in a bad way or to let them consume me, I’ll strive to become a better person and I’ll strive to get a good night’s sleep.

Anyway, the time now is 8 am and it’s Saturday, I need to go and get changed and feel socially awkward at the start of the local ParkRun, knowing that around 28 minutes later I’ll be happy and chatty. Take care everyone and I hope that this may have helped somebody in some way and to realise they aren’t the only person that has these thoughts.

Gav.

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