Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Advise for talking/mumbling to self

Looking for advise/insight regarding 22 year old son had first diagnosis/psychosis July 2014. The main symptom he still shows is talking to himself. We cannot hear what he says and its almost like he’s just moving his lips.
He will not discuss this with his doctor or with us. He gets very upset when doctors attempt a discussion. He is doing very good in most other way, but we fear he will talk to himself in public. He goes out often- seems to talk to himself mainly at home and in the car. We have been accompanying him most of the time. Sometimes when we are out he asks to return to the car and we see him talking to himself. He does not seem upset by what he’s hearing, and is often laughing when he responds.

I have read lots through hearing voices forums,etc, and the doctors are still adjusting medications. Son is not interested in reading about his symptoms. Seems his internal responses got much worse when put on Seroquel in August, but maybe it was a coincidence. He is still on low dose of seroquel 150 mg and clozapine was added up to 175mg.We hoped the dr. would stop Seroquel, but since he was improving overall they did not want to reduce the medications. We have been through 2months out-patient/ 2months inpatient programs. No interest in talking to a therapist now, but takes all medications and sees a psychiatrist. We dont know how to address this issue, though we hope with increase Meds it may improve.
Any info/hope from someone who has experience talking to themselves would be appreciated.

I used to talk to myself. I was under the delusion that I was under surveillance everywhere I went, and I had hopes that reasoning with my watchers would make them go away. Oddly my parents (who I was living with at the time) never spoke to me about it. I only did this at home and in my room behind closed doors.

I was very aware that it wasn’t something that was socially acceptable. Eventually I came up with the innovation that they could see what I was doing in my home, so I started writing with my fingers in the air and transitioned to writing in a journal under the assumption that the would be able to see that too. I eventually outgrew it, as I started to have social contact and my delusions faded.

I would treat it a bit like a parent might treat the subject of masturbation or an imaginary friend. Pass no judgement on the practice itself, but make it clear that it’s something that should be private, and not done in public. I’d continue to keep lines of communication open and make it clear that talk therapy is available if he wants it.

Part of the reason I concluded that I talked to myself is that I was alone and no one really understood me. As much as I felt my survelliors tormented me, I eventually started calling them “Friends Being Interested” because I’d concluded that they must be FBI, but they were the only friends I really had at the time.

Don’t lose hope. From my perspective you are doing all the right things. For some people like me, schizophrenia is a process that can lead to recovery. All the best to you and your son.


I think maybe convincing him the voices are not real and he should not interact with them because it could lead to worse behavior.

When I interact with my voices it seems to have a chemical effect on my brain where I feel euphoric with no inhibitions.

I use to talk to them until I started laughing at not just them but my mental state as a whole and I started having strange thoughts about acting out behavior that would get me in trouble.

It sounds like he needs stronger meds and unfortunately that will prolly effect him greatly

I talk to myself. Not always but sometimes. It’s just a way of processing the barrage of thoughts going on in my head.


Currently my son is experiencing voices. He doesn’t talk to them out loud but he does in his head and laughs out loud at/with them.

I have suggested to my son that he wear headphones while out in public if he is going to respond to his voices. So far he hasn’t. He is usually with me and my hubby and somewhat distracted from them when out in public. I worry more about him walking into people or things then I do about him laughing out loud at them.

Not a bad idea. Nowadays people would dismiss this as someone talking into a hands-free cellphone. Putting a smartphone to his ear, or a bluetooth headset in his ear might work too.

I’m reminded of a joke of Lily Tomlin’s where she says she’d like to pair up people who are talking to themselves so they look like they are having conversations.


I was told not to try to compete with the voices. My son wore headphones 24/7 and even in bed. Telling him that he was hearing voices and that they were not real only made things worse. It doesn’t matter if he is talking to himself in public, don’t worry about it. He doesn’t and it doesn’t matter what other people think. I don’t care anymore . Other people just don’t matter if they don’t understand. My son is now in a mental health unit and still denies voices. He likes them. The docs call them command hallucinations. Imaginary "friend"is certainly true. SZ can be so lonely for them.

1 Like

You might try buying him a used ipad so that he can listen to music, and even if not listening to music he could keep the ear buds in his ears - so people would think he’s either on the phone or responding to music.

You’re probably not in NY City - but just as an example - here is a list of used ipods for sale:

My son used to do this. Not so much now. I think its stressful for him to try to control himself for long periods of time. As long as I know that HE knows, I pretty much ignore it. Sometimes I say "what?" because He talks in a low voice that I think hes talking to me.
I believe he has learned a few tricks of his own for covering things like this.

Okay, so this is actually not a big issue. Fred Frese talks to himself and he is a renowned expert on schizophrenia and he has schizophrenia, he is a clinical paychologist and associate professor of psychiatry in Ohio.

I talk to myself, mainly while driving, uh, doing personal things in private involving my genitals, showering and relaxing in bed before I go to sleep. Sometimes I sing along to music, dark music. I am quite highly functioning if I might say, I’m taking 19 hours at school working in psychotherapy research and I lift weights a few times a week, there are posts of me powerlifting on this forum. It’s not unhealthy, in fact today I reviewed a masters student’s thesis which cited previous research that talking to ones self is actually good, for patients resolving trauma in particular.

I would be much more concerned with his disinterest in therapy and denial of his illness. I am surprised that he is medication compliant to be honest.

1 Like

My son also went to psychiatrist and took meds without any insight into meds for over a year. If you think, Seroquel makes him worse you are probably right. Insist that it be lowered gradually. My son took Seroquel for 11 weeks. He slept a lot, but when he was awake he was angry, rude, and heard more voices - mean voices. He was on a way higher dose. And of course, it’s different for everyone. But you are the one who lives with him. Trust your observations.

Mag, thanks for all your information and encouragement.

Thank you all for your suggestions. My son has mentioned he is just responding to his own thoughts. Though he mentioned that about 4 months ago. Recently he does not say anything about what he is responding to. We do suggest earbuds, chewing gum etc. to make the talking less apparent, but so far no interest. Will be asking the dr. to reduce seroquel as he is very sensitive to meds.- Had rage/anger at 300mg Seroqeul while inpatient and that is one reason he ended up on Clozpine. While inpatient he also had NMS (possible serotin syndrome- but dr. not certain) due to mix of too many meds while inpatient- so his meds quickly became very limited-clozapine seemed like the best option. We will gradually address the issues as you all suggested, but for now he does not appear ready for a discussion- he went through quite a bit while inpatient and we are so proud of him for being so strong. Its so helpful to hear your experiences with talking reponses and how you coped. Great Thanks!

I talk to myself a lot, sometimes in public too. Is it a symptom of sz? I never knew, I thought it was an idiosyncrasy of mine. I can’t help it, it just comes. Sometimes its in response to the voices, but most of the time it is ordering my thoughts together.

For me there is a distinction between talking to oneself and talking to or responding to voices. Talking to oneself is not a symptom of sz and I can only guess that’s something most people do. I talk to myself a lot. Most of the day in fact :blush: I know that what I’m communicating with is my own brain and my own thoughts. My son talks to or responds out loud to voices/entities. Things that he considers to be separate from himself.

Thanks for that clarification BarbieBF! It goes to show I am half normal, half sz :smile:

I mumble to myself a lot. I don’t think it’s really that noticeable to other people until you start laughing or what I do accidentally, making gestures. But like other people have said, wearing headphones or pretending to talk on a cellphone works. I try to bite my lip if I realize I’ve been talking to myself in public without one of those.
Also therapy and medication can be helpful. I’m on clozapine and for me it’s made a world of difference, but everyone is different.

I know this is quite an old thread but our daughter, diagnosed sz many years ago, has recently started this mumbling/talking to herself. We’ve discussed whether she’s talking to her voices but she totally denies this.

When we listen acutely to what she’s saying, it’s as though she’s relaying and responding to her own thoughts, just as you say in your post pto. In our mobile phone/headphone wearing era this could be hidden in some social circumstances. However I don’t think it would be socially acceptable to be presenting like this all the time.

Is this a recognised sz symptom and does it ever go away, either with treatment or as a progression of the illness, or is she stuck with this for the rest of her life?

Hi pto,

Can you share your experience after three years or so ? can this be cured over time ?


If you don’t mind me asking, How did you recovered? Are you on medications? Thank you.