I’ve written about “real talk” in my book The Noisy Mind. In fact I wrote a whole chapter about talking in that book. It is something I am all too familiar with as someone that has grown up being able to strike up a conversation with anybody, even if I’ve never met them before. It’s my Dad’s doing. Often when at a pub or restaurant he would have “made a friend” with some random person and struck up a conversation. It’s a skill that I am glad to have, but it is not real talk. It is fake talk.
Real talk is being able to have a deeper level of conversation and generally involves someone you trust, not a random person you’ve just met. For years this has been the thing that I’ve wanted to have but have felt unable to attain, partly out of not trusting someone, partly from fear and shame. Generally speaking it is not as though I want to open up to somebody about my mental health. It is more a yearning to talk in a deeper way about life, passions and doing something fulfilling with our time on earth. It is the opportunity to be heard, understood and respected that I have looked for.
You may wonder why I am writing about this in a blog post. Well it was a topic that came up in last week’s therapy session as I have been doing a lot of the fake talk and not enough of the real. That’s kind of the point of therapy. You pay a professional to listen to you and they help guide you to uncover the deeper issues at hand. But when I don’t talk about the issues even in a safe space that allows all emotions it kind of defeats the purpose! Thankfully my therapist called me out on this and so I have a session today to uncover several things that have been bubbling away under the surface.
To make the most of today’s session I spent yesterday’s afternoon walk with Alex the dog thinking about what I wanted to talk about. I made notes first in my phone and then in a four page handwritten splurge to prepare me. You see you don’t make progress when you are struggling, during those times it is just about surviving each day and not offing yourself or somebody else. When you get to a point when you can handle more, that is when you can dive into your long standing, deeper issues. Often this comes at a time when you feel “better”. But by not delving into things when you are in a more stable place you are missing the opportunity to make long term change.
So that is what I am doing today. I thought I’d share because unless us men talk about our mental health and normalise therapy, we will continue to die from suicide. Those stats again are below in case you missed them in my newsletters of books.
If you ever need a chat just let me know.