A Hive of Words

 

My father and I had an interesting conversation the other day about the voices in our heads and how our minds work. He explained to me how he thinks in shapes and images, with the occasional monologue or two. His description took me by surprise.

Shapes and images with an occasional monologue?

It seems unimaginable to me.

My mind is loud. It is a mess.

A jumble of words, like a never-ending script that no one will ever read but me. There is always a conversation going on between the frightfully negative me and the hopelessly positive me. Sure there are images there and some music, too. But it’s never quiet. It truly is, as Virginia Woolf put it, “…a hive of words that won’t settle.” I’m always either discussing something in my mind or writing something like a journal entry that just drags on and on and on. (Sort of like how I write in this blog…)

When someone tells me to make my mind blank, I’m thinking, “Blank, blank, blank… Urgh! I can’t stop thinking of the word ‘blank!'”

Am I starting to sound like a crazy person? Or am I a crazy person who has an inner monologue going at all hours (like JD in Scrubs)?

I wonder how it would feel if I could mute the narrating in my head. Would it be liberating? Refreshing? …Lonely? I guess I’ll never really know.

What’s it like in your head?

I’m very curious. I’d truly like to know.

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20 Comments

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  1. Hi there, just found your blog via Sofia’s over at papaya pieces. I love this post here and your way with words. Looking forward to reading through your blog a little! We have a saying amongst my group of friends about the “committee” in our heads . . . . when I wake up I always have to ask whether the “committee” is in session! So many words, voices . . . . !!

    • Hello, Sue! I remember reading about you on Sofia’s blog! Thanks for stopping by :) That’s so funny about the “committee”–what a great way to describe the voices in our heads. It sounds a lot better than “hearing voices.” haha ;)

  2. I think I understand what you mean…..my mind is messy ,too.
    Always thinking about my boys and my husband who don’t live together(because of their university and job,
    and worrying about my studens who come to my cram school….
    So many images come to my mind whenever I read books. It gives me sleepless nights….

    • I see a lot of images whenever I read too! And yes, all of the voices and images keep me up at night as well. I’m relieved to hear that there are so many other people out there with loud minds too ;)

  3. oh dear, when sometime tells me to put my mind blank all I think of is that putting my mind blank is absolutely impossible, cannot do. I sometimes don’t talk that much in person, but gosh the voices in my head, I wish I could mute them too! xx

    • Have you ever heard the quote, “Quiet people have the loudest minds”?

      I’m like you–I sometimes don’t talk that much in person but the voices in my head never quiet down. Blogging helps me sort some of the thoughts in my head though ;)

  4. Wow, I too cannot imagine thinking in shapes and images!! Perhaps it is the difference between men and women, the reason they seem not talk as much as us either (not all men and women of course, just in general). I think I am a bit more like yourself. The hardest is at night. My body is so fatigued and yet I cannot get my brain to shut off and go to sleep! :-)

    • Sasha, that’s a really interesting point! Maybe it IS a difference between men and women… That would explain why they don’t need to “talk things out” as much as women do. And I know what you mean about nighttime. Sometimes, I just want to mute the voices, think about nothing, and get some sleep!

  5. For me…I definitely think in images with scenes running through my mind. Most of the time there are conversation running through my head and there would even be music playing with it. Another thing is that I think in different languages…I wonder if that’s a multilingual thing?

    • Hmm, very interesting! Since you said “most of the time there are conversations,” does that mean there are times when it’s just images and scenes?

      The answers that I’ve been getting are very intriguing ;)

      Oh, and I think in different languages too! I think that’s definitely a multilingual thing. Having two languages swirling around in my head is pretty loud, so I can’t even imagine how trilingual people must feel!

      • Haha! Yes there are times there are just images and scenes that play out in my mind instead of a conversation.

        I’m trilingual, but there are times when I think in Japanese because I studied and lived there for sometime plus when dealing with my Japanese friends its easier to think in Japanese than to translate it from English to Japanese ☺

        • Hahaha it really used to be an issue how I couldn’t seem to shut down the voice in my head. But now its better but I still am overly reflective of my actions and I tend to over think a situation after it has happened….still trying to learn how to shut it down at night

  6. My mind never shuts up……..ever.

    I do yoga and even when we are in corpse pose my mind is all over the place even though I’m trying to focus on my breathing. It’s full of questions and reminders to do things. Ideas for photo sessions. What I’m going to do when I move. It’s just never quiet. I’m always coming up with ideas of what I should have done or what would happen if this happened to me.

    I think about my future a lot and what I should do to reach my goals. I think about soooooo much. It’s like the big bang is going on in there. Which is what leads me to believe that I reach a point of where I need to actually converse with someone other than my LO and I just say whatever is on my mind and jump all over the place.

    I do find that sitting in bed before I go to sleep and reflecting on my day helps me to make my mind quieter. It’s never 100% quiet in there but enough that I can tell myself to think about that tomorrow is good enough for me to go to sleep.

    • I’m weirdly relieved to hear you say that your mind is busy even when you’re doing yoga! I guess it really is hard to quiet our minds. And I gotta admit, I think of pretty similar things–what if this happens, I should’ve done that, how will I do so-and-so, what am I going to do when we move… (A lot of worrying going on in there!) Maybe I’ll try out your technique of reflecting on my day before I go to sleep… Thanks for the tip, Dina ;)

  7. I wish we had machines that would allow us to see exactly how things appear in other peoples’ minds because i am very curious about your father’s – it sounds so peaceful and elegant to be able to think like that! Perhaps we begin to think like that with age (i hope so!) ?
    You are not sounding like a crazy person at all! My mind is usually like my room (some clothes thrown around, little bits and bobs in a clutter here and there – overall a mess) but i think that sleep definitely helps put those things into neater piles (though it’s usually before sleeping when my minds the loudest!)

    • Haha, yeah I’d love to have a machine like that too! And maybe you’re on to something… Maybe our minds start to get a little more peaceful with age? Very interesting ;)

      And your mind sounds very similar to mine. Such a mess! And I suppose our minds are the loudest before sleeping because everything else around us is quiet–letting our minds go free (free to twist and turn and babble and worry!)

  8. I struggle a lot with insomnia, and back when I was seeing a doctor about it, she would tell me to try to clear my head of all thoughts as I lay down to sleep. …Right. She might as well have been asking me to stop breathing for twenty minutes.

    I am the world’s worst multitasker when it comes to actual tasks, but I like to think I’m a pretty good mental multitasker. At any given time, there are definitely at least three different monologues, thoughts, etc running through my head. It’s definitely a busy place in here! :)

    • Three different monologues at any given time sounds exhausting!! I struggle with insomnia as well though… I guess it’s something that happens to all of us who have many voices and thoughts scurrying through our heads 24/7! Now, if only we could figure out a way to “clear our minds,” as your doctor said… It would definitely make sleeping so much easier :/

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