Not much to say

“They” say that women use 30,000 words in a day, while men use only 10,000. This sets up quite a difference of communication patterns between the sexes!

I used to talk a lot. It was an ongoing joke that the moment my husband shut off the lamp for sleep, I’d want to talk, tell him about my day, ask deep philosophical questions. Sometimes, he’d even turn the light back on in hopes I’d wind down!

But since my experiences with depression, I am much more quiet. I’m content to listen to conversations going on around me, and don’t feel the need to chime in at every opportunity. I’m happy to observe – I don’t need to contribute every thought I have.

It’s been a noticeable change. Several friends – especially those I don’t see regularly – will ask me if I’m ok. They’ve commented that I seem so quiet. Even my husband will ask me if everything is alright if I don’t say anything for a while.

I think the change is due to several factors:

Firstly, I think I’m a better listener than I used to be. I’m content to hear about others’ successes and troubles. I’m much quicker to pick up on subtext – those behind-the-scene  feelings. My therapist once told me that I’d find myself able to spot depression in others, since I’ve been through it myself. I think this is true – I sense a person’s unspoken sadness or struggle. So I find myself listening instead of talking.

Secondly, I simply have less to say. There’s just not much going on in my day-to-day to share. My hours are pretty quiet, and often silent. If I have lots of thoughts, I try to write them in my journal, so I don’t seem to have the need to verbally share like I used to.

Lastly, I’m more content with silence. That’s a benefit I gained from depression – being still. I pray, I journal, I don’t need noise to fill every moment. In fact, I usually look forward to my down-time, the peace that comes with silence.

On the Myers-Briggs test, I used to be an extreme Extrovert, which means I get my batteries charged from being around other people as opposed to being alone. But since depression, I’ve moved from the far extreme to closer to the Introvert, where my energy comes from my personal down-time. On the continuum, I’m still an E, but much closer to an I than before. I still need people, connection and community, to recharge my energy, but I’m more content being alone than I used to be.

This past week really tested that observation. My Tuesday small group was cancelled due to weather. I had to cancel my therapy appointment – where I talk most of the hour – due to illness. So my week was much quieter than normal. I still had my students/work, but that’s not socializing or even real conversation. By Friday, I was feeling the silence as loneliness, and I was crying because of it. I felt so alone – way past enjoying the silence. Instead, I was craving that connection and community I mentioned earlier. I journaled pages about feeling lonely. I cried out to God, and reminded myself that He was with me – I wasn’t completely alone. Still, it took me several hours to adjust to a week’s worth of quiet.

Then my husband got home from his business trip, and let me “talk his ear off.” And I felt so much better!

4 thoughts on “Not much to say

  1. kbailey374 February 5, 2018 / 11:57 am

    I am definitely an introvert, who looks like and extrovert. So I am exhausted after work, parties, etc. I want to go into my hidey hole and recover. But I also do need to be heard. Unfortunately as an introvert I don’t assert for myself for that. That’s why writing is such a good outlet for me. You notice probably that I haven’t been writing. I’ve been sick with a cold and that easily causes a bit of depression 😦 I can’t wait to feel better!

    Thanks for listening lol


  2. Jane February 4, 2018 / 7:17 am

    Great insights Peggy! I love the new you. And I loved the old you. I often chuckle when we get off the phone when I think of how much you listened to me. Ha, I used to be the listener. Now I talk your ear off no matter how much I try not to. Kicking myself for not calling again Friday. I knew the week might be lonely but thought your scheduled activities would help get you through. Very glad you were able to talk to Chris when he got home!

    Liked by 1 person

    • peggyricewi February 4, 2018 / 8:40 am

      I did talk to Mom for our regular weekly call – I had dried my tears (mostly) by then.


    • peggyricewi February 4, 2018 / 8:40 am

      You can talk my ear off anytime – I love our chats!


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