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Talking to yourself

(19 Posts)
pankhurst80 Mon 18-Jul-16 15:37:25

Bit concerned about a relative who we've seen talking to himself. First thoughts were schizophrenia although from a small bit of googling I know that it can be a symptom of various things. Not sure what to think or how to broach it, should probably have a chat with him but wary of handling it badly. Any advice welcome. Thanks

BarbaraRoberts Mon 18-Jul-16 15:39:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StrictlyMumDancing Mon 18-Jul-16 15:40:33

This may sound odd but could you be more specific about how they talk to themselves? Or perhaps why you find it so concerning?

On its own talking to yourself isn't that strange a thing. I know lots of people, including myself, who talk themselves through tasks or to sort out something in their heads.

LuckyBitches Mon 18-Jul-16 15:44:40

I talk to myself constantly! I've always thought it was a healthy thing - I enjoy my own company. Although I do tend to do it more when I'm anxious or excited. You could ask your relative if anything is bothering him?

HopperBusTicket Mon 18-Jul-16 15:46:06

Yes I think how they're talking and what they're saying could be significant. I sometimes talk out loud to myself and I talk to my baby a lot. But I don't berate myself or think that someone else is talking. It's just mundane stuff usually about what I'm doing and I (think) I only do it when I'm by myself so no one else would know anyway. I have had post natal mental health problems but anxiety/depression, no delusions and I didn't talk to myself any more than usual at those times.

pankhurst80 Mon 18-Jul-16 15:47:53

Sorry I know I'm being vague. Don't want to give too many details. It was more like he was having a full conversation and laughing. I know people do talk to themselves and it doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong. But this seemed a bit different. Thanks for replying.

ThinkPinkStink Mon 18-Jul-16 15:50:29

I'm not an expert, but there are certain things that would worry me:

* Talking to him/her self and responding as it he/she was a different person
* Responding/talking in a voice, accent or tone other than their own
* Sounding cross or upset when engaged with talking to him/her self

I would worry least if the person was a child (under 11 or very old).

heretochat555 Mon 22-Aug-16 22:12:15

I'm not sure if you should question him about talking to himself or perhaps just see how things go, see if it's a regular thing.
I recall seeing my grandad do this once but I don't remember seeing it any other times,
My mum has talked to herself for many many years. It's upsetting to see as its not general conversation of what she's doing but it's like she's remembering situations that she wasn't happy about, and she's arguing back. She appears angry and very much disengaged with what's going on in reality.shes in her on world. She can have these outbursts on and off all day every day. On other occasions she's smiling away to herself almost laughing obviously thinking about something funny but there's nothing funny actually happening. It's a relief if I see her and she's not doing it. Stress makes her worse. She denies it if I question her or says I don't understand. She refuses to seek medical
Help and to be honest is no major risk to herself or others. Although makes for uncomfortable company sadly.
I'd love to know a diagnoses. I assume its scizophrenia and I think Asperger's likely too.
Does anyone know anything about this type of behaviour do you think it's scizophrenia or something else?

erinaceus Tue 23-Aug-16 00:06:13

heretochat555 I appreciate that you would love to know a diagnosis. There may or may not be a diagnosis. I talk to myself quite a lot, often imaginary conversations with people whom I find supportive, or rehearsals of conversations that I plan to have. I can best describe it as an exaggerated form of daydreaming. I used to mutter to myself in class sometimes if I was concentrating very hard, to the amusement or irritation of my friends. Of all the myriad symptoms I have experienced, this is one of the ones that concerns me the least. In terms of diagnosis, I do not have one at the moment, although I have had a number of diagnoses in the past.

Unless it is causing a concern of a different sort, then I am not sure that someone talking to themself is a particular cause for concern.

I am sorry to hear about your mum. That sounds difficult flowers

heretochat555 Tue 23-Aug-16 07:08:25

Erinaceus Thankyou for your reply!
It is interesting to see you talk so honestly about yourself. I mean that it a good way. Other than this would you say you live a normal life? . I guess it would be easier for me to accept her behaviour if I understood it properly but unlike you she won't discuss it with me.she says I'm criticising and gets more irritated.
It's uncomfortable to see her when she's shouting angrily and calling out names and particularly that she does it in front of grandchildren etc. It does greatly affect her ability to be a mum and grandma as she's very much " in her own world"

I've always wondered if she's just remembering a past experience or if in fact she can hear voices in her head which is think would be scizophrenia. Other than this she does show other signs that could possibly be Asperger's syndrome.
In a funny kind of way I'm trying to understand her more and sympathise more by pretending those two things are her diagnoses. I think it's just easier than the frustration of not understanding her.
Thankyou very much for your reply. It's been comforting for me to read that others have similar things too

erinaceus Thu 25-Aug-16 00:05:16

Her behaviour in front of the grandchildren is more of a concern. Is it possible for you and her to have a conversation about her behaviour? Diagnoses of schizophrenia are the domain of psychiatrists; I do not know what group of people would put forward a diagnosis of Autism. Clinical psychologists, perhaps? Families are families and diagnosis-by-Internet is not going to support your mum. I do not recall expressing concern about the talking to myself situation to anyone. My DH expresses concern to me, and he and I are able to talk about it. I do not hear voices, and I know people who do. There was someone who posted about it on MN, a while ago, I cannot remember the details but the person who heard voices had no concerns and nor did the poster.

heretochat555 Thu 25-Aug-16 07:10:46

Thankyou. Yes I have discussed it many times but she denies she does it and she can't seem to see things from my point of view. Regarding a diagnoses I don't know that she'll ever get one. Her doctor told me she would have to willingly come for an appointment and wish to discuss it.
She's over 70 now so unless a professional was to have concerns and insist she should be assessed I
Suppose I wouldn't want her to go through the stress of it all.
For now we will carry on our relationship the way it is and I'll do my best

heretochat555 Thu 25-Aug-16 07:13:51

Ps I'm pleased for you that are able to discuss things with your husband.
I'll also have a look through here for the post about hearing voices.
I appreciate your messages.. It's more helpful and reassuring than the usual method of reading medical information on Google!

erinaceus Thu 25-Aug-16 12:03:03

I can imagine.

erinaceus Thu 25-Aug-16 12:06:31

That it's more helpful I believe, I mean. There is a whole literature on whether a diagnosis is helpful or not helpful. When it comes to behaviour that is concerning, I tend to first ask who is concerned and why are they concerned? What are they concerned about? This is why I mentioned the children. If your mum is angry towards your children for example, it might be more helpful to address this rather than chase a diagnosis.

heretochat555 Thu 25-Aug-16 12:58:44

Luckily she isn't angry at the children. She doesn't engage in them all that much really but likewise the children don't engage much with her due to her unpredictable temperament I'd imagine. It's fine though, it's the way it's always been and we get by. It's not easy to work out what she's talking to herself about as it's often words shouted out rather than sentances. She always appears angry I can tell this due to her body language and the expression on her face. I try to calm her by making conversation with her about anything, this way she sometimes returns to the real world for a short time and therefore my children don't have to witness too much. It's difficult for me to understand my mum and accept her ways and protect my children but we manage ok.

erinaceus Thu 25-Aug-16 21:47:32

Have you asked her who she is talking to? As in, mum, I can hear that you are talking. Who is there?

I worked a bit with people in the early stages of dementia and one could sometimes de-escalate an agitated person by sort of going into where they are. As you would with a child and imagination. After a point though or if you cannot do it, then do not put yourself at risk. It is a sort of more immersive version of "just smile and nod".

Other posters may be along in a moment to tell me that this is a terrible idea. My DH will say "I heard you talking in the other room grin" and not "are you talking to yourself again angry"

He and I have always been like this. It never occurred to me to worry about it!

heretochat555 Thu 25-Aug-16 22:32:19

Thankyou for your tips. I'll give that a try. flowers

erinaceus Fri 26-Aug-16 02:08:58

Good luck. The most important thing is to take care of yourself. She may not be able to connect with the children but you may be able to connect with her.

I remember caring for a war veteran as he aged. In the end his violent outbursts were too much for me as I was never became an experienced person in working with the elderly. Working with people with severe dementia is too much for me. The combination of dementia and PTSD meant that he lashed out and it is difficult to look after someone who is so jumpy. Any loud noise could set him off.

I say this not to say that your DM has dementia. It's more that memory can do funny things to people and it can be lonely if no-one can come with you. Your DM might be sort of daydreaming, or not. I am usually rehearsing future conversations, or public speaking obligations, or whatever. A bit like singing to oneself or imagining one is on Ready Steady Cook or whatever else it is that you do behind closed doors...

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