My ‘Bipolar Brain’: Constant Conversations in My Head

By Dave Mowry
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Negative thoughts pop into my head—and then I will have a conversation about this experience.

 

Today I am going to talk about the conversations I have with myself that are constantly going on in my mind.

A few nights ago, my wife looked over at me and said, “Dave, why are you so quiet today?” I said, “I don’t know. Am I being quiet? I didn’t realize.” Then a few days ago, I thought about it and realized that I am having a constant conversation with myself in my mind. And by constant I mean every minute of every hour of every day.

Thoughts will pop in my head, mostly negative, about experiences I have had. And I will have a conversation about this experience. Usually these conversations will last from 10 seconds to 30 or anywhere in between. Then I’m off to another conversation for 10 or 30 seconds, and then back to the original.

Music helps. I listen to music but I can never ever, ever remember listening to a song all the way through. Somewhere, whether it be 10 seconds or 30 seconds, a thought will pop into my head and I will think about it and converse with myself about it. Then I will go back to the music. Then I will have a thought and go back to having a conversation with myself,

I meditate and it helps, but it is not a solution. It gives me some quiet in between the thoughts because I will have a thought and start a conversation and then I will let it go. Then 10-30 seconds later I am off to another thought. I go back and forth, back and forth, and back again. So meditation for me is only a slight temporary relief.

Watching TV is helpful for me because I am focusing on something else.

The most relief comes from reading a book. I think, no I’m sure, everyone has thoughts that pop into their head and conversations with themselves. I just wonder if my bipolar brain is the reason my thoughts are constant.

The next time my wife says, “Why are you so quiet tonight? I will say “Because I have been having a conversation with myself all day long.”

I’m sure she is going to say, “About what?” Unfortunately I will have to say, “About everything and nothing.” But by talking about it with her I hope she will understand. And by talking about it I will have some understanding, or gain an understanding about these constant thoughts and conversations I have with myself.

 

About the author
Dave Mowry is the author of the new book, “No Really, We Want You to Laugh. Mental Illness and Stand-Up Comedy: Transforming Lives.” The book tells the story of Dave and five others whose lives have been impacted by mental illness Dave has bipolar disorder and severe anxiety and suffered in silence for most of his adult life Five years ago Dave took a stand-up comedy class and it transformed him by showing him how to find humor in his darkest experiences. Dave now teaches stand-up comedy to other folks with a mental illness and sees the same transformation happen in them. Dave recently received the Community Champion Award for his work in mental illness in Oregon. He speaks regularly to large and small groups and was interviewed on the Think Out Loud program on Oregon Public Radio after the Robin Williams suicide. Dave was also featured in an article by The Oregonian newspaper in 2011. The article focused on the fact that most people with a mental illness are not dangerous or threatening. Dave worked as a peer support specialist for NAMI from December 2010 to December 2014. During this time he worked with well over 1200 people and this experience informs his writing, teaching, speaking and performing. Dave and stand-up class graduates perform regularly to audiences from 50 to 500 people in Oregon and Southwest Washington shattering stigma one joke at a time. Dave lives just outside Portland, Oregon with his wife Heather, daughter Meghan and grandson Van.
216 Comments
  1. I constantly suffered from this issue but was prescribed lamical while it hasn’t totally eliminated scattered thoughts I feel I have a bit more control over my racing thoughts.
    I also take propranolol, buspar,depakote and seroquel. Maybe it’s not just all these drugs but something is helping.

  2. I’ve always thought that it was just me. I can’t meditate and I can’t do yoga because I am always having a dialogue in my head. Either with someone I know, otherwise just with myself. I once literally stayed awake ALL night because I was ‘writing’ a book in my head. It’s pretty exhausted

  3. I have the same problem, I sit and think a lot, and yes it is usually a conversation. Sometimes I without knowing it I actually talk out loud, but I don’t even realize I’m saying anything, my husband would say “ who are you talking to” or even at work I would do it and coworker would ask if I am talking to them, it is embarrassing… I do over think a lot, I sit and cry or get upset over my thoughts and I cannot even explain to anyone why. I’m always at the brink of tears… I always worry begat people must think of me

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