Internal Dialogue

by arkansawblk

Narrator: Danielle has been participating in a virtual writing workshop. Although she feels comfortable, she can’t stop the incessant voices in her head. The facilitator asks if anyone would like to share. Danielle checks in with herself to see how she feels.

Anxiety: WHY is everyone looking at me? Check your face, Danielle. You’re good, you’re good. Speak. Participate. I can’t. I’m just gonna be silent.

Criticism: That’s it. It’s official. Anxiety, you’ve lost it. Literally, NOBODY cares. You aren’t the center of the world. Fix your face, you look sad.

Depression: But I am sad and exhausted. I’m so drained from everyone, including myself. Maybe it’s just better if I don’t interact with anyone ever again.

Optimism: Guys…

Criticism: Shut up Optimism! No one wants to hear your hopeful speeches today. Save it for tomorrow. Or better yet, for Instagram haha, am I right guys? Plus being optimistic and hopeful is for children, this isn’t Imagination Land, this is The Real World.

Depression: Well, maybe we should listen to her. Honestly though, it doesn’t matter. I’m too tired to listen.

Anxiety: Let’s just click the “Leave Meeting” button and this will all be over.

Criticism: How has listening to Optimism made any of us better? All she does is plant false hope. Me, on the other hand, I improve us. I make us one step closer to perfection every minute. I’m the one who reads all the self-help books.

Anxiety: Our goal is perfection? If our goal is perfection then we definitely cannot participate.

Depression: Yeah, we probably shouldn’t volunteer.

Criticism: You guys get what I’m saying. I’ll keep critiquing and maybe one day in the distant future our work will be worth sharing, maybe.

Optimism: Guys!

Depression: Sorry Optimism. You aren’t being helpful. Didn’t you hear Criticism, we aren’t even close to being perfect. You’re just making things worse.

Optimism: Alright, that’s it. I’m calling our Higher Self; this is not working.

RING __________________ RING __________________ RING

Higher Self: Hello, Higher Self speaking.

Optimism: We need you.

Higher Self: I am on my way.

*Higher Self removes herself from her hammock in Imagination Land and travels to The Real World.

She observes Criticism attempting to create order and structure through the tools she learned from all those self-improvement books. However, instead of being encouraging, Criticism is making everyone feel like they aren’t good enough.

She observes Anxiety huddled in the corner, rocking back and forth. Anxiety is paralyzed with Real World fear. She holds onto them as if they are fact and cannot see that the fears are illusions The Real World uses to discourage Anxiety from trying new things.

She observes Depression who is pondering what life would be like if she just disappeared into the darkness. If she never returned to the light. If she completely removed herself from this realm and tried her luck in another.

After beholding the situation, Higher Self floats over to the intercom system, picks up the mic, and uses her index finger to press the lavender triangle button that reads “Reset”. When she presses the button a radiant, lavender light falls across the room and Higher Self’s voice reverberates throughout The Real World.

I am strong
I am love
I am enough
What I have to contribute is valuable
I am worthy to share my thoughts
I am kind to myself and others
I am complete whether I give of myself or not
I am at peace

*Peace appears the moment Higher Self says her name. *

Peace: Thank you, Higher Self. I can feel my strength again. I guess I got overwhelmed by the mental chaos conjured by Anxiety, Depression, and Criticism and fell asleep.

Higher Self: No problem. I am always here.

Peace: Hey, Optimism, you think we should volunteer to share our writing?

Optimism: That sounds like a really brave thing to do. This group is so supportive and loving.

Peace: You’re right. We came here to grow, so let’s do it!

*And as Higher Self floats back to her resting place in Imagination Land, Peace walks around The Real World and consoles Anxiety, Depression, and Criticism. She reminds them that their input is valuable, but without balance it will overload the system.*

Narrator: The facilitator asks again if anyone would like to share. Danielle hears the encouragement of Peace and Optimism. She ever so slightly raises her hand on the virtual screen, just enough to be noticed and just enough to maybe go unnoticed. She is chosen and she shares her peace. When she finishes, she receives love and affirmation from the other writers. Danielle beams with pride for overcoming those harmful voices in her head and relying on the helpful ones. Even if it was a journey that no one else could see.