Posted on December 7, 2012 in Fulfillment, Self Improvement by Sandra Bienkowski
“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” –Sigmund Freud
I was about 20 when the movie Pump Up the Volume came out. I loved it. At the time, the hotness factor of Christian Slater was a big draw … but it was really the message of the movie I loved the most—talk hard, steal the air.
If you haven’t watched the movie, Christian Slater plays a loner high school student by day who starts an FM pirate radio station to broadcast his anger/ angst at night, from the basement of his parents’ house.
The movie was about teenage rebellion, but the bigger, underlying message was about speaking out. And I love that! I think people, many people, would have far fewer problems, and vastly better lives, if they just decided to give voice to what’s going on with them internally. Yet so many people don’t.
I don’t mean walking up to a random stranger on the street and dishing about your personal problems. When you are on the receiving end of that, it’s just plain weird. I am talking about taking the courageous step to talk to someone—a friend, a family member, a professional, a spouse—about whatever issue is weighing you down.
People appear to have an easier time medicating, drinking, eating or stuffing their problems instead of giving their problems voice. If I could start a crusade, I think making people talk would be my mission. Since I try my best to keep appropriate boundaries and not meddle in other people’s lives uninvited, I obviously can’t make people talk. I can, however, write this blog encouraging people to do so, even if it helps just one person.
I realize not everyone is a talker like I am. Growing up I talked to journals. I have more journals than years I’ve been alive. In my early twenties I talked to a psychologist weekly to overcome depression from a less than functional growing up experience. I credit the time spent in talk therapy for changing my life.
I get disheartened to hear about how many people are on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications because I believe so strongly that so many problems can be solved with talking. I understand some people desperately need these medications or their lives might be in jeopardy, but I am always perplexed when I hear of people only taking medicine—and they aren’t talking to someone professionally. Medications alone act as Band-Aids covering up underlying issues that need to be resolved.
Things get better when you talk about them. It’s not a sign of mental health to pretend you have it all together or to make it look like you do. It’s not a sign of mental health to let medications do all the work for you.
Not talking can lead to isolation and depression. It can cause you to expend a great deal of energy pretending you feel one way when you really feel a different way. It’s exhausting. Suppressing your emotions isn’t being real. Not giving voice to whatever is dragging you down negatively impacts the relationships you have with others, but ends up hurting you the most. Unresolved issues can negatively impact the relationship you have with yourself, and can compromise your health and quality of life. As the saying goes, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”
Talking is powerful and it can be life-changing. Healing your past emotional experience creates a joyful present experience. Talk instead. I think the world is filled with empathic ears. I always connect easier with friends and family who can authentically talk about it all—the good, the bad, the ugly. Talking brings people together. It connects us. We all relate.
To send it back to Christian Slater from the movie:
“No more hiding. Listen, we’re all worried, we’re all in pain. That just comes with having eyes and with having ears … I gotta believe, with everything in me, the whole world is longing for healing. Even the trees, the Earth itself are crying out for it. You can hear it everywhere. Same kinda healing I desperately needed, and I finally feel has begun, with you.”
There’s nothing in your way but you. Just start talking.