When People Think You’re Crazy

You’ve seen them, disheveled and disoriented people who mutter or sometimes curse at no one in particular. They are upset by others, both invisible and only seen in their mind. Their conversation may have taken place years ago only to be acted out again and again.

I talk to myself all the time. I blame my kids. When they were babies, I talked to them all the time even though they probably didn’t understand much of what I said. I had read an article claiming this would improve their intelligence. I remember taking them to the store and asking them what kind of baby food they would like to eat or which tampons I should buy. I got all kinds of amused looks from strangers who thought I was out of my mind. Although I looked like a fool, my kids grew up to be very intelligent adults. People think you're crazy

When I became a writer, I discovered reading what I had written aloud helped me find errors and create realistic conversation. It works! I don’t think I had completely gotten out of the habit of talking to myself, so writing compounded the issue.

I would catch myself muttering, “Where’s my car?” in the parking lot, or “Man, this is way too much laundry,” or “Oh, my God. This line is going to take forever,” while waiting at Costco.

In the movie, Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett nails the role of an unstable woman who lives out her socialite lifestyle in her imagination. She takes talking to yourself to a whole new level. I realize there is a big difference between saying your thoughts out loud and being in an altered state of mind. I loved that movie, but it made me more conscious of my occasional habit.

Last winter, I drove to King Soopers grocery store late in the day. I ran into my friend, Jack, who works in the produce department. We chatted until I sensed that I had taken up enough of his time, yammering on about the weather and the price of beans.

I said goodbye and pushed my cart forward. Someone to my right muttered something unintelligible. My cart hadn’t bumped into to anyone, but I said, “Sorry,” just in case I had impeded their progress between the bins of potatoes and the mushroom display.

As I continued toward the bakery, a middle-aged man dressed in a sweater and collared shirt turned and directed his hatred with a seething look that shot me right between the eyes. My cheeks flushed with heat. I couldn’t understand what I did. I reacted the way I always do. “I’m sorry.” I looked around. I hadn’t blocked the aisle. I hadn’t bumped into anyone. I didn’t say anything outrageous or offensive. We were talking beans.

Then I made a big mistake. “I’m really sorry, but what did I do?”

He turned to face me and said, “You are unbelievable!”

As he stormed away, I shouted, “What did I do?” Other shoppers shook their heads and shrugged.

I had made a scene.

Shaking, I made my way through the bakery. The aisles swam. What the hell was that all about? He was such a dick. He must be crazy.

I walked back to produce. The Angry Man had passed behind me, so Jack would have seen him. I told him what happened, but Jack didn’t see him. He was very concerned. “He might be dangerous. Do you want me to walk you to your car?”

It was dark outside, but I told him I wasn’t afraid of the Angry Man.

While shopping for about half the items I needed, I continued to ruminate over what had happened. Then I pushed my cart to the check stand and told the clerk about the confrontation.

“I bet if we could look at your security cameras, we could figure out what set him off.” I said. Then I thought for a moment. I gasped and laughed.

“What’s so funny?” asked the clerk.

“I just realized that if you checked your security cameras, I would look like the crazy maniac. I’ve been thinking out loud since it happened.”

She giggled and assured me that everyone talks to themselves these days.

I drove home and reassessed my habit. The problem is, I write for so many hours every day. I read my comments, drafts of blog posts and my book all out loud. It definitely reinforces this terrible habit. I’ve reread this post several times out loud already.

This was a turning point for me.

If I catch myself thinking with my mouth open, I stop. It has worked for the most part, but according to my family, I still have a long way to go. In the meantime, I’m working on lowering my muttering to a whisper especially when I’m in the grocery store.

Do you talk to yourself? Did you see the movie, Blue Jasmine? Have you ever been verbally accosted by a crazy person? 

 

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118 thoughts on “When People Think You’re Crazy

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  1. There seems to be an awful lot of angry people out there these days Susie. I suspect you did nothing more than get in the way of angry man. What a jerk.

    In terms of talking to myself, I think I do it occasionally, probably more than I realize!

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  2. I talk out loud to myself all the time. Doesn’t everybody? It’s called self-counseling. I’ve given myself some of the best advice I’ve ever had.

    As for your experience, sounds like you ran into one of those people who denigrate others to feel better about themselves. Sad to say, the world is well populated by them.

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    1. Self-counseling!!! Right on, Al! Now I can tell Danny that’s what I’m doing when he asks, “What did you say?”Ha!
      I must have caught the Angry Man at the wrong time. Whoa. I’d hate to live with him!

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    1. You’re so lucky! I think if I spent 40 hours a week at a job around others, I would be careful, but the freedom to yammer on while in the comfort of my home is way to much freedom for my open mouth.

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  3. I talk to myself constantly. It’s like I’m narrating my daily life. I sing out loud ALL the time too! I’ll make up these really elaborate songs and sing them like I’m on Broadway. “I’m making eggs! Some scrambled eggs!” I lived alone (with cats) for years, so maybe it’s a habit? I’m sure my cats thought I was nuts. But I have to tell you, I read somewhere (from a reliable source) that people who talk to themselves are highly intelligent. Not crazy. At least that’s what I tell myself…

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    1. Oh, MAN!!! I am going to Google that study and email it to my family with a “So there!” sign off.
      You sing like my husband! He used to sing to my kids in the mornings. My daughter would groan every time. Now she sings what she is doing. Maybe if I add a tune, it will be more entertaining the next time I’m in the grocery store. Ha!

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          1. I forgot to add I also read my posts out loud. And my job is writing for academic textbooks so I always talk out loud to myself while writing, it helps me organize my thoughts. I can’t imagine NOT doing that!

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            1. That is so cool! I’m so glad you stopped by to straighten me out. I may think out loud even more now. It works so much better for me. I have gotten hoarse when reading through my book. That takes hours of non-stop talking. Ha!

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  4. I talk to myself ALL the time! I’ll mutter things to myself in my office and sometimes I’ll look up and catch the gal who sits in the cube just outside the door looking in, wondering to whom I’m speaking. HA! I think it’s totally normal 😉

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    1. I’m so glad to hear that! I thought I was nuts, but it’s hard to control. It reinforces what I’m trying to remember or what I intend to do, as well as cursing out the motorist who cuts me off. Ha!

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  5. I would say if you can’t even talk out loud in your own home, then what’s the world coming to? Definitely, we are in 1984 or whatever that book on spying is called. I’m with you girl. Skiing much??

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  6. What a great pic! Like you, I talked to my babies non-stop knowing that they didn’t understand me, and they are pretty intelligent. 🙂 I am also a fan of saying things out loud. My study skills in high school and college consisted of me pretending I was teaching the information to others so that I would hear my voice and remember things, and it worked! I don’t talk to myself in public but I do hum 24/7. I don’t even know I’m humming but believe me, I’m humming. 🙂

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    1. I took that picture of Courtney for one of my first posts. Thanks!
      That is such a great study tip! I hum too. You are so lucky to never mumble in public. I do it all the time especially when looking for my car… Ha!

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  7. A1: Yes, but without incident… unlike someone else who I know. 😉

    A2: No, but will add movie to my queue.

    A3: Yes, we have a neighbor who is a crazy woman who shouts words/obscenities at me/everyone. Quite unique, that one.

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  8. I always talk to myself, and I yell at computers a lot, but then I work in IT. LOL But really, I’m sure people think I’m crazy. I just don’t care. I’ve never claimed to be sane in the first place. 😉

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  9. I talk to myself all the time, but I try to go quiet when someone comes near. Still, I’ve never had someone be a total arse and stalk off like that. It’s a good thing you’re not me…I would’ve let off a string of profanities when he pulled that stunt.

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  10. I talk to myself, the cat, the dog, the laundry… I only get self-conscious when I’m outside where the neighbors can see me, or when I’m chatting away with the dog while walking him. But I figure with so many people wearing those cyborg-esque Bluetooth cell phones, maybe people will think I’m on a call.

    And I’m not too keen on the neighbors anyway, so if they think I’m crazy and steer clear of me, that’s fine with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I LOVE it! That has occurred to me. I should just wear ear buds plugged into my phone all the time! I have heard a lot of other people who talk to themselves.
      The comments have been great. We’re not alone!

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  11. I don’t talk to myself a lot, though I do read my work out loud at least once. Sometimes we pick up things while reading aloud that we wouldn’t otherwise. But now I’m curious as to what set that guy off as well. Guess it’ll just be a mystery you’ll never be able to solve. 🙂

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    1. Honestly, I don’t think he was angry over anything in particular. There was plenty of space in the aisle. If he was trying to get Jack’s attention, we didn’t see him. I think he was on something. You’re right. We’ll never know! Unless he reads my blog. Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I talk to myself all the time. They, say it’s therapeutic. They, say it helps us work things out. They, say sometimes it is because people suffer multiple personality disorder. Where we might have trouble is when we answer ourselves—or so, They, say. But I’m willing to bet that the, They’s, answer themselves too. I never saw Blue Jasmine but I’m curious now. Never been verbally accosted by a crazy person either, however, I think that might be better than being physically accosted.

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    1. I love the They in this case! Especially since they say so many positive things except in the case of multiple personality disorder…Definitely watch the movie. It is a good one!

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  13. You’re not crazy – you’re a normal writer. I sometimes get a random thought that won’t uproot itself from my brain so I’ll ask a total stranger what they think about whatever it is I’m stuck thinking about. I get some really strange responses. I’ve also laughed out loud at someone at the store talking to themselves because I’ve been there and I know exactly what they’re doing.

    Most importantly, talking to yourself is most often the best way to get the answer or validation you need. After all, are you going to argue with yourself? Don’t answer that.

    Keep on keeping on.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t talk to myself, honestly I think women do that more than men. Men have more of a tendency to just internalize everything until their top blows off – probably kind of like that guy you were dealing with. I do often read my posts out loud though, several times before posting. You’re right, its a good way to find mistakes.

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    1. Ha! My husband is the same way and makes fun of me all the time. I didn’t realize how many others talk to themselves until I posted this. You should read the comments! There are some positive aspects to all that muttering!
      Yep. For some reason hearing the words helps, that and printing it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Since I began writing full-time I find most people leave me alone. I think the uncombed hair and three-day growth gives off a certain vibe that the innocents of the world want to avoid. I used to live in the NYC metro area and every time I went to the city it seems like a crazy person would know I was from Connecticut and go out of their way to accuse me of being terrible. I basically stopped noticing and when I was with co-workers they would ask about the person’s problem. I would answer, “Beats me.”

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    1. You are so funny! I don’t have a beard, but I don’t do my hair or makeup when I’m writing at home. Good think no one sees me unless they come to the door. Then they’re in trouble! Ha!
      We must attract the weirdos!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Some of my most intelligent conversations are between me and myself. Okay, I’m a little bit prejudiced, but . . . Even if there is something wrong with talking to oneself, are we writers supposed to be crazy to start with?

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  17. I don’t think your’e the crazy one. The man is grumpy and angry about something in his life. They come out of nowhere. Trick is to forget all about them immediately after the encounter and never question yourself. Talking to self is normal 🙂 Blue Jasmine was a fabulous movie and Cate was perfection. Hard to watch? yes.

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    1. You are so right! I shook it off with the clerk at the register. And then when I realized I had been thinking aloud the whole time, it cracked me up! Posting this showed me how common it is. I looked it up after Darla’s comment. It is actually good for us to talk to ourselves. Yay!
      That movie was hard, but so good. I loved her sister and how she handled everything. I thought the ending was perfect.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. I am always talking to myself. I love to do it when I’m driving my car, and I know that people see me from their cars or pedestrians from the sidewalks. I get so caught up in what I’m talking to myself about that I forget I’m out in public and will keep talking when I get out of my car and head into a store!

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  19. I do talk to myself all the time, I think it can help you process your thoughts if you verbalise them a little, like how it can help you process your thoughts if you bounce ideas off of someone else, but you’re just doing it with yourself instead? Like you say it, and hear what you said and think about it some more, even if you’re not aware you’re talking the words! Or maybe I’m just a bit nuts, who knows! Muahahaaaa!!! I haven’t seen that film. I can’t think of any particular examples right now, but I know I’ve had times with strangers where I’ve thought “What?!” unsure what has caused them to glare at me or whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Vanessa! If you read the comments, we are not alone! I’m so glad I posted this. Now I am going to let my babbling flag fly. Darla said it was good for us, so I looked it up. She’s right!
      The movie is on the dark side, but it is really good! Jasmine takes babbling to herself to a whole new level. Ha!

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