When people speak about hearing voices, they instantly assume you’re insane. Most importantly there stunned that I’m open about talking about the ‘inner voices’ that I deal with because it doesn’t mean I’m crazy. It just means my brains wired differently, doesn’t make me any less of a person just makes me who I am.
I’ve discovered that those who suffer from mental health problems have a great difficulty explaining it to those around them from their GP to their friends and family. It gets to the point where I hear they are annoyed and angry at people for not understanding. But the reality is can you expect them to understand it fully? They aren’t going through it. For anyone with mental health problems to avoid the overwhelming frustration that follows trying to explain it, you have to remember it’s like trying to force someone that only speaks English to understand a whole conversation spoken in Chinese. As hard as they may try, it doesn’t mean they fully comprehend it at times.
Our brains are wired differently meaning it’s hard for them to imagine what it’s like, you have to realise the odds are they haven’t and may never go through it. Hearing voices is possibly one of the hardest to explain or even come to terms with admitting, purely down to the huge stigma attached to it.
For me, I’ve discovered the voices I hear are primarily what most people feel as self-doubt, insecurities and fear. However where my brain is different, I listen to these simple daily things others deal with as another voice in my head – it’s still me, but it’s like I talk to myself.
The ‘bad’ side of my brain, to most ordinary people they experience these things as “I can’t do this, I’m not strong enough” or “I failed at doing this before, there’s no way I’ll be able to achieve that”. My brain, however, will not process this as rational thought. I’ll hear the other side of my brain shouting at me in kind of a narrative term “YOU WILL NEVER DO THAT YOUR WORTHLESS, YOUR NOT STRONG ENOUGH – WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK YOU CAN DO THAT, YOUR USELESS” or “YOU ALWAYS FAIL, YOUR PATHETIC. YOU’LL NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING YOUR JUST A HORRIBLE USELESS BURDEN TO EVERYONE AROUND YOU – WHY DO YOU EVEN BOTHER”.
It’s taken me a long time to accept and discover what is happening when I feel this way but slowly and steadily I’ve accepted it and took a step back and fully analysed what was going on and what it meant. I then discovered it’s more my self-doubt and insecurities popping up in a different way. Kind of like Jiminy Cricket sat next to Pinocchio – it doesn’t mean I’m insane or losing the plot it just means my brain works differently and this is the way it’s going to be. However, it’s something I can face, challenge and battle with full support and understanding.
The way I like to explain it to people is using Jean Grey from the X-men movie. For those of you that aren’t familiar she is a powerful ‘mutant’ powerful than most. Between two different films, she’s forced to deal with her immense powers in entirely different ways.
In the first, she is compelled to suppress the ‘bad’ side, push it so far down she’s unaware of it until it starts to seep out. Like a pan of boiling water bubbling over until it becomes a huge mess. By those surrounding her it’s the unspoken taboo situation, nobody acknowledges it or deals with it till it’s beyond management and control. Destructive and soul destroying – by this point it’s unmanageable, damaging and vicious. Causing chaos because it’s suppressed.
However, in the second version. Jean grows up dealing with both sides, learning that she’s unique and has a strong and resilient mind and abilities aware of the potential damage that she could do but also aware of how she does have control of her mind. Yes, its takes her a long and hard struggle. A process of teaching herself her capabilities and how to use the energy that comes from the two sides to work in harmony with one another. Having the self-belief that she won’t let it destroy her, and using it to her abilities to her full advantage.
Obviously hearing voices for each person is completely different and I can’t say this will relate to everyone who suffers from hearing voices or as it’s called ‘auditory hallucination’ which apparently between 5-28% of the population will experience at some point in life. Although it is the most common type of hallucination for people that suffer from psychotic disorders to have. The best thing you can do is seek help, speak about it and remember it’s happening within your mind – so to gain control you need to face up to it. Ask for help, share your thoughts, speak to a mental health team – even get support and medication if it’s required.
The best thing you can do is accept it – anyone can run away from their fears, it’s easy – a short term fix. However facing up to them, working through it and getting the help you need is what makes you stronger. In turn allowing you to be the best version of yourself possible.
Like the saying on my fridge magnet that’s gone everywhere with me. ‘No matter where you go, there you are’. No matter how hard you try to run from something if the problem is within yourself unless you face it and learn to cope with it, you will never get away.