Do you like talking to yourself? You know, when you’re all by yourself and your mind is filled with thoughts and feelings, it isn’t that strange to find words coming out of your mouth – directed to an empty room.
There have been many references about talking to oneself in popular culture. There have also been many songs in which the singer just can’t seem to stop talking to themselves.
So… does that make those singers crazy? Wait… does this make you crazy?
Why is Talking to Oneself Considered Crazy?
Suppose you see a guy walking down the road. He’s a good-looking chap, well-dressed and such, but there is something unusual about him that you don’t fail to notice, yet completely fail to comprehend. It appears that he is talking to himself.
Talking to oneself, in medical terms, is called private speech. The name itself pretty much explains what the concept is all about. There are some typical scenarios in which people engage in private speech. Some typical self-talking subjects may include, “What did I have to buy from the store?”, “I really need to get that sales project done in the next week”, “I should really stop eating so much”, as well as rehearsing your request for a raise or asking a woman out on a date.
People generally associate talking to oneself with schizophrenia. For those who don’t know what that is, schizophrenia is a mental disorder in humans who fail to recognize what is real and what is not. The diagnosis of schizophrenia is often based on the observation of patients, reports and experiences. Schizophrenic patients often talk to themselves; to them, the people to whom they are talking are real. In reality, however, they are not, which is why it seems that schizophrenic people are talking to themselves. That’s the reason why people consider talking to oneself as a sign of insanity.
Kids Talking to Themselves
There have been many studies carried out to study the behavior of children aged between 4-7 years. This is the age group that engages in a great deal of self-talking without actually realizing that they’re doing it. Much of this habit can be ascribed to the fact that children are generally fascinated by stories and the characters in them. Much of what they read and understand is released through a verbal outlet for them to experience the things they read on a more personal level. You wouldn’t be surprised if you found your child speaking to no one in particular, saying, “Cinderella is very nice. Why is her mother so mean?”
Apart from this, children are also used to talking through tasks that they find difficult. For example, a child who had recently acquired the talent of tying his shoelaces would say out loud,”Now this lace goes on top of the other. Here comes the knot.” In fact, a study compared test results from a group of 10 children. The children who talked themselves through their problems scored higher than those who didn’t.
Talking to themselves not only makes them feel that they are talking to someone real, but also makes the task at hand seem simpler.
I Talk to Myself All the Time. Am I Crazy?
Well, if you’re not medically proven to be suffering from a mental disorder, it is quite unfair to judge you as a maniac simply because of your private speech habits.
In fact, talking out loud to oneself can be a good thing! According to a famous psychologist, Dr. Linda Sapadin, private speech can be immensely beneficial to an individual, as long as the speech remains positive. There is nothing wrong with commending yourself, saying “Well done, man!” or “I did it!” This motivates oneself to do something or set goals, such as “I gotta do some exercise. It’s good for me”. Plain talking to oneself can also be used to ease out of depression or stress. It can be very fruitful to engage in such private speech with yourself.
You may have faced situations in the past when you found yourself looking for something unfamiliar in a supermarket and found yourself, quite involuntarily, talking to yourself. It has become quite apparent that many people automatically engage in self-talk when coming across something different or unfamiliar.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a person talking to himself is so much smarter than others. For example, finding something, like your car keys, doesn’t become any easier when you talk to yourself. It’s just that some people engage in self-talking more often than others, and they do it in appropriate situations to actually help themselves.
The Final Answer
In short, if you’re a person who talks a lot to himself/herself, don’t worry… you’re far from crazy.
However, if you experience foreign voices, see figures that aren’t there, or have hallucinations, then it may be a mental disorder and you should visit a medical or psychological professional as soon as possible.
- Private Speech – Wikipedia
- Private Speech – The Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition
- Science Direct