Inside Out is by far one of my favorite animated movies! It explores the emotions of a young teen as her family moves to a new place. The voices in her head are likened to real people, with individual thoughts, motives & agendas, while all seeking what they deem is best for her. They become her inner council, with sometimes funny & near-disastrous results. This article in no way relates to serious mental health conditions for example Schizophrenia which is characterized by audio & visual hallucinations but rather delves into our inner dialogue & everyday self-talk.
I can relate to this; the many voices in my head. More often than not, I ignore them & fight vigorously to silence them, as they often wreak havoc before they are through. The voices as I’ve come to know them are as follows;
- Happy Hannah
- Worrying Wendy
- Critical Cathy
- Vindictive Vanya
Happy Hannah is a hoot. She is fun & lively, with a penchant to procrastinate. She drives me to watch hilarious series, harrass my family members by playing ridiculous pranks & is an all-around gas! The main problem I have with Happy Hannah is she shows up when I’m in the middle of heavy workloads, with looming deadlines that are holding me at gun-point. I often chastise her, & ask her to take life seriously. She often retorts that if I take life so seriously, it will give me a heart attack. She initially seemed to be a bother, but now she reminds me I need to take a break. Over-achievers will know the hassles that come with perfectionist tendencies. You work so hard that you forget to brush your teeth, to eat, or even sleep. Happy Hannah reminds me to take care of myself by being a welcome relief & time out. She reminds me to take a step back, breathe & destroy internal capitalism; the idea that to be worth something I must achieve & do more sometimes to my own detriment.
Worrying Wendy is next in line. She worries about everything; she worries that today is not enough, tomorrow will not come & the past will resurface. She is a master diagnostician assessing everything that could go wrong in any circumstance. The main issue I have with Worrying Wendy is she believes every possible horror story as true & so carries with her the anxiety of many nations. This becomes crippling fear that holds me back & leaves me unable to function each day. I’ve come to realise that Worrying Wendy is my safety guide. Her main purpose is to keep me alert & aware of all possible outcomes, so I can best manouvre each situation & ensure I am safe. I have learnt to heed her words, not the attached emotions, & treat each of her daily discussions as purely logical & strategic, so I have the best plan possible. Thereafter, I assure her we have covered as many of our bases as possible & ask that she calm down, or better yet, decipher all the ways everything could go wonderfully right.
Critical Cathy drives me crazy. She nitpicks everything I do, asking the question; could you have done more? Is it perfect? The funny thing I’ve discovered about Critical Cathy is she is an amalgamation of all the naysayers I’ve encountered in my life, from the critical tone of a high school teacher to the scathing comments of fellow classmates, & even the scornful words of a past love. She embodies everyone who told me I was somehow not enough or worthy. When I started talking to Critical Cathy, she helped me realize the wounds I was carrying from the words of so many gone before. She helped me heal and redress the many lies I’d come to believe as the gospel truth. She has now become the indicator of areas where I need to heal, & points out the lies about me I’ve internalized. Once I realised this, she became my greatest cheerleader, as I redressed the lies, with the truth that now guides me; I am enough & I am capable of becoming whatever I set my mind to.
Vindictive Vanya is a mixture of Vanya (White Violin from Umbrella Academy) & the Mother of Dragons, Daenarys (Game of Thrones) in her dark, measured & precise rage. She burns bridges like it’s nothing, decimating years of friendship in a moment, & cutting people down to size in milliseconds. She is wrath personified & a wonder to behold as she blazes in righteous anger. At her core she is my strongest defender; she abruptly ends toxic relationships that destroy me, cutting off energy vampires & control freaks who undermine my truth. She is harsh because she loves deeply, holding everyone to a high standard when it comes to protecting me & being honorable. When people fail dismally & repeatedly in this regard, her wrath towards them is her love towards me; a bid to keep me safe.
I have started to have a daily discourse with the many voices in my head; they are fun, loving & sometimes dark, but they are all aspects of me & my experiences. Like Arthur, I have sworn them in, as the Knights of my round table, listening to the words of counsel I used to silence. Do you hear the voices in your head? If you were to sit quietly at their feet & rip away the rage, criticism & sometimes downright silliness, what secrets would they share with you? This has been another editions of the Musings of a Whimsical Mind. We all bid you adieu!