I’ve experienced three approaches to voice-hearing.
|Fight the voices||Ignore the voices||Work with the voices|
Let me know which approach works best for you in the comments below.
There are currently seven billion people alive today and the Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived (BBC, 2012).
So, if 1% of the population receive schizophrenia, then (1% of 107 billion =) 1.07 billion people have had schizophrenia throughout human history.
Getting diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder is a real life-changer.
These disorders are often accompanied by hearing voices, either inside or outside your head.
The voices can often be derogatory and relentlessly harass and abuse you.
This is extremely difficult to deal with.
With medication, the audio volume of the voices can decrease, so they’re easier to deal with.
With time, you might start asking the voices why they are there. This is the approach recommended by leading voice-hearing advocate Rufus May.
When you start asking questions of the voices you hear, you may start learning a whole host of things about yourself you didn’t know before.
The voices will hopefully reveal why they are in your life, and what they want you to change.
They can reveal a personality or character deficit you have that needs to be remedied.
In my case, the voices told me I need to stop thinking about myself. I had previously been diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, which meant I was intensely inward-looking, and the voices wanted this gone. They told me I need to:
These can only be positive changes to my personal habits.
The voices have also told me things about my future.
I recommend asking your voices as many questions as possible.
It can be very useful to keep a mood diary. The good old traditional way of putting pen to paper is great but can be tedious for some, especially for those who do not wish to relive their day and just want to track mood specifically.
There are some good mood tracking apps that are easy to use and simple to input:
Schizophrenia is a brutal psychological disease. It is known for producing voices inside or outside the patient’s own head which abuse, harass, horrify, and drastically reduce the quality of the patient’s life.
I myself have had schizophrenia since 2012, and in that time I’ve learned to not let them bully me into any corners.
This article is about how to fight back against the horror and bullying that schizophrenia voices inject into a patient’s ears and heads, and to give yourself some time, space and more control over schizophrenia.
After the initial 6 months of relentless abuse I received from my voices (that I hear outside my head), I switched on to the fact that they often said the same thing at different times.
In fact, I realized they had a repertoire of phrases they would call on every time they spoke, but they would never say anything outside that repertoire.
The voices were functioning like an algorithm, mechanically repeating a certain phrase depending on what I was doing or thinking.
This was a revelation to me. No longer did they seem like avenging angels (or demons) coming from the spirit realm.
They were more like a computer program.
Every 6 months or so, they would introduce a few more phrases into their repertoire and drop a few of their phrases. This seemed to track my progress of being a chronically self-absorbed person into a (slowly) more open-minded person.
After a certain amount of years, I finally grew tired of their relentless nature, their relentless attempts at trying to force things out of me. I decided to fight back, and fight back hard.
I was no longer going to accept being:
All of the above were relentlessly repeated in circles into my ears during any spare moment I had.
I demanded to know of my voices what constructive purpose such destructive behaviour had?
If they wanted me to change my behaviour, why make an enemy of themselves?
Why couldn’t they use:
They never offered any of this – all intelligent ways to communicate.
Instead, they were offering unintelligent, mindless destruction of the quality of my life in order to blackmail me into changing my attitude.
For the record, they didn’t like my habit of focusing on myself.
In 9 years so far, they have never once clarified why they think it is a bad or wrong thing to do.
In among the destructive trash were three pearls of wisdom. I managed to extract three constructive things they said to me:
Given I was extremely self-absorbed I had trouble doing these things initially but got better at them as time went by.
They were extremely positive things to do and seemed to improve my spiritual health – they gave me a bit of a new appreciation of life and the world around me.
Some other revelations were forthcoming from the voices, which I believe are debatable.
They were really hard to hear from them because they often didn’t complete the sentence.
Getting details from them is like extracting blood from a stone.
Hinting at things positive while being relentlessly destructive most of the time is not an intelligent way to communicate.
I appreciate that opening my mind, opening my heart, and mind over matter is a constructive message.
But 99% of the time they’re being destructive, and mechanical, rather than thoughtful, and helpful.
My voices are extremely mechanical. Over time I have become emboldened to stand up to them every time they bully or abuse me, because they only every replay a phrase from their repertoire, so to me they are just a computer algorithm.
Your voices may be much more articulate and varied in what they say to you. You might have trouble taking away their power from them, and handing it back to yourself.
I would encourage you to start slowly and ask them questions and challenge them gradually, so they don’t generate something too overwhelming in response.
I am determined to not be bullied by mindless, thoughtless destruction.
Here are some of the things the voices say to me, and my responses.
|What my voices say to me||What I say back to them inside my own head|
|You’re evil||That’s ironic, considering that you’re a source of vile evil across space and time. If schizophrenia affects 1% of the population, and scientists are correct that over Earth’s history there have been 100 billion human lives, then you’ve ruined 1 billion human lives through relentless abuse and harassment. No other force in human history has abused humanity more than you have. And then you claim I’m evil without explaining how or why. The irony is lost on you.|
|You don’t know how much misery responsible for||Again, that’s ironic considering that for the last 9 years you’ve supplied zero details about how or why I might be responsible for misery, yet for hundreds of thousands of years you’ve made 1 billion human beings miserable, ruining their lives.|
|You’re a laughing stock||That’s ironic, considering that people will laugh behind people’s backs when they find out they hear voices. They know what a destructive force you are, and how crazy you can drive people.|
|You have a bad reputation||That’s ironic, considering you’re the most reviled psychological disease in human history. You’re renowned for relentlessly abusing and harassing people.|
|There’s a question mark over your head||Ironic once more, considering medical science considers you to be a major disease and are trying to destroy you and rid the earth of you.|
|[When I hear my neighbour’s voice commenting on my thoughts, and casting judgement on me]||[I say something completely/outrageously insulting to them (important: only in my mind) which the schizophrenic system has no response/programming for, proving it’s only an algorithm, not my actual neighbour commenting.|
|[A specific voice to me:] You’re a fuckwit||That’s ironic coming from you considering that every time you’ve opened your mouth during the last 9 years you’ve repeated the same piece of venom into my ear. You have zero electrons worth of wit, and you call me a fuckwit? The irony is lost on you.|
Rufus May, a voice hearer and considered a specialist in dealing with schizophrenia, has the very helpful advice to ask questions of your voices, and find out why they’re in your life, and what they want from you.
I agree, but I am determined to see that my voices do not waste time repeating abuse and destructive behaviour.
When I counter my voice’s destructive behaviour and I challenge them, they often don’t know how to respond (perhaps because they’re an algorithm), and their aggression is dialled down, giving me some time, space, and control over my voices.
Schizoaffective disorder (SZA, SZD or SAD) is a mental or psychological disorder characterized by abnormal thought processes and deregulated emotions. The diagnosis is made when the patient has features of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder—either bipolar disorder or depression—but does not strictly meet diagnostic criteria for either alone.
The bipolar type is distinguished by symptoms of mania, hypomania, or mixed episode; the depressive type by symptoms of depression only.
Common symptoms of the disorder include hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and disorganized speech and thinking.
The onset of symptoms usually begins in young adulthood, currently with an uncertain lifetime prevalence because the disorder was redefined, but DSM-IV prevalence estimates were less than 1 percent of the population, in the range of 0.5 to 0.8 percent.
Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient’s reported experiences.