In this submission, Tom writes in to share some of his personal experiences with hearing voices, as well as the strategies that help him to cope with and challenge the voices. Knowing that others have gone through similar things – and found ways to live well with their experiences – can be a powerful source of hope. As Tom puts it,

I hope what I shared about my experience hearing voices will help someone, as it helps me to share my experience with others, and hopefully someone else who is struggling with hearing voices everyday can relate to what I’m going through.

Read on for Tom’s personal story of living with voices, the struggles he’s encountered, and techniques that have helped him to take back control.

Experiencing Hearing Voices

Hi, my name is Tom. I hear voices everyday, and I would like to share my story.

At this point in time, I have only spoken with a social worker; I have not yet seen a psychiatrist and do not know if I suffer from any specific mental illness.

I hear voices everyday, almost all day, which has been going on for at least 6-12 months.

Trying to understand the voices I hear:

  • Start as soon as I wake up
  • End only when I’ve fallen asleep
  • Multiple voices; can be male or female
  • They insult me; criticize me; mock me; harass me; threaten me
  • They want me to believe they’re someone from my past experiences/relationships
  • They want me to believe they’re my neighbours
  • They want me to believe they’re a group of people spying on me
  • They want me to believe they’re ghosts or supernatural in some way
  • They want me to believe it’s my fault they’re harassing me; that they are punishing me
  • They want me to believe they’re goal is to cause me harm
  • They want me to believe they are of a greater power
  • They want me to believe that they know everything of my past/personal life

How hearing these voices makes me feel:

  • Helpless, Frustrated, Sad, Depressed, Confused, Scared, Embarrassed, Angry, Vengeful, like I am constantly being watched

Times I haven’t heard them OR hear them less often:

  • Socializing
  • Drinking alcohol (which is bad)
  • Travelling or spending time outdoors
  • Concentrating on an activity/writing/watching TV or playing video game

What I want:

  • To find ways to help hear the voices less often
  • To find ways to stop hearing voices for good

Taking control:

  • The voices I hear imply they don’t care how I feel or what happens to me, so I don’t want to believe anything they say. If they don’t care about me, I shouldn’t care what they think.
  • The voices I hear threaten me, so I want to realize that although this is scary, they cant hurt me, that only I can hurt me.
  • The voices I hear harass me over things that happened in my past, so I want to realize that I can’t change anything that has already happened.
  • The voices I hear lie to me and try to confuse me, so I don’t want to believe anything they say.
  • The voices I hear imply they can see me and that they watch me, but after a long period of time of hearing these comments there is no proof whatsoever that anyone is spying one me.
  • The voices I hear insult and criticize me, but they are not a real person, so their judgement does not mean anything real.

When I stand up to the voices I hear:

  • When I am alone, and I “call the voices out” looking for an explanation or reasoning behind their negativity, there is little or no response.
  • When I am feeling confident and am ready to confront the voices, they are not present with a response.
  • The voices I hear seem to work very much like the way a bully would harass a weakened person.

The voices I hear feed off of my fears, my paranoia, and any negative emotions I am feeling or ideas I am thinking.

The voices are negative, and only cause me to feel that way.

I need to realize that these voices only make me feel afraid, so I need to work hard at trying to understand what is happening, and I need to work hard at taking control.

Ways I can keep busy:

  • Hobbies/doing things I enjoy
  • Socializing/spending time with family
  • Physical exercise
  • Mediation and self-reflection
  • Writing
  • Sharing my experience with others

I hope what I shared about my experience hearing voices will help someone, as it helps me to share my experience with others, and hopefully someone else who is struggling with hearing voices everyday can relate to what I’m going through.

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