I first discovered The Hearing Voices Network after speaking with my sister about my voice hearing experiences in the autumn of 2012. She looked up resources and information for me as she wanted to help me.
Looking up the Intervoice website brought me to The Hearing Voices Network. Suddenly I became aware of the fact that I was not alone and many people have similar beliefs as I do regarding their voice hearing experiences. Every time I was told I have a mental illness I felt stigmatized and invalidated. The Hearing Voices Network website validated my beliefs and my right to have them.
Early in 2013, my mental health team pointed me to The Voices and Visions group at Grandview Woodlands Mental Health Team. I started attending that group and it was the first time I had met other voice hearers. The group is a Hearing Voices Network group and adheres to their guidelines and principles.
In 2016 I took Peer Group Facilitator training and in 2017 I took Peer Support Worker training. I had decided I would enquire about volunteering for The Voice and Visions group at Grandview Woodlands when my social worker sent me a job posting for a position being advertised for that group. I immediately applied and was called for an interview. My interview was successful and I was hired for the position of co-facilitator.
I have been co-facilitating for The Voices and Visions group at Grandview Woodlands for about a year and half. I also have and am co-facilitating other Voices and Visions groups. I find it tremendously rewarding to be of service to other folks with their voice hearing experiences. Providing a safe space to share their stories and beliefs is of the utmost importance to me. Highlighting the group guidelines during each session is so validating as we always remind people that their beliefs are right for them and that we make no assumption of illness. This may be the first time anyone has ever said that to them.
Often-times attendees express their gratitude about this. All in all my journey with The Hearing Voices Network has had an extremely positive impact on my life and a blessing that I wouldn’t change for anyone.