I’ve written before about hearing voices here. This post is an update and a chance for me to express my feelings surrounding the voice I hear. Please be trigger aware when reading this piece.
“I hear a voice in my head” are the words I wish I could say more easily but unfortunately the fear of stigma has stopped me from being honest with so many people. These people include my family. They don’t know I hear a voice which is frustrating and sad. It is also often isolating. Why cant I tell them? That’s what you may be asking and the answer is I’m scared. I’m scared that they’ll see me as a freak or as dangerous and I don’t have the words to reassure them that I’m not those things. My voice scares me so why wouldn’t it scare other people? This is where my own self stigma plays a role.
Recently I have had an appointment with a psychologist who couldn’t treat me due to my voice. I was too ill for his service. This again scared me and led to more fear and isolation related to the voice. This was the first time I had actually had the word “psychotic” used to describe my illness. It really shook me up and has taken me weeks to admit to myself that what I have is a psychotic illness (this is how it was described in a letter from the psychologist to the psychiatrist) even though I’ve been on anti-psychotic medication for a couple of years now. I know I must sound silly but I had always felt that as the voice was in my head it wasn’t “that bad” but the phrasing of the letter made me realise how serious what I experience is.
My voice is a very negative voice and although I ignore its suggestions it does bring my mood down very low. My voice is very much in my head but it can drag me back to some of the worst times of my life. It makes living hard and an ongoing battle. It is not something that I can just push to the back of my mind.
My voice is currently being treated with an anti-psychotic medication. This gives me brief respite but does not take the voice away completely. In fact there are days for me where it does not seem to touch the voice at all. On these days the battle in my head is immense and exhausting. But I know I am still at the beginning of my journey of finding a medication or treatment that can help me quieten down the voice. This keeps me going.
Overall the hearing of a voice has been a truly negative experience for me. It is isolating and fear inducing. But if you hear a voice please know you are not alone. You are not the only person to hear a voice or voices. Don’t give up as there is help. Together we can get through this and hopefully by talking about it we will break down the stigma.