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Are the Voices in My Head Real--Schizophrenia

Updated on July 25, 2011

Mental illnesses are so Often Misunderstood

Schizophrenia has been a diagnosed mental illness for quite some time now, and it is most known for the voices the afflicted person hears. The disorder has been one of the least understood of all the mental illnesses we know about, and because the voices they hear are quite often bad, evil or often times tells the person to do violent things, or sometimes even will tell them to hurt themselves, the schizophrenic person is oftentimes shunned by friends and family for fear of being victimized or even just the fear of the unknown or misunderstood illness.

Upon doing research, not for this article but because one of my dearest friends has recently become stricken with these voices, I wanted to be able to understand what was going on with her, for she went from a very normal outgoing and talkative person to one who is afraid to talk at all sometimes, and is afraid to say certain words all the time. When we have conversations, her part of it might go something like this when describing to me what she did last Saturday morning; "I got up early, it was about s-i-x o'clock, and I was going to eat but couldn't, oh oh, oooops, I'm sorry I said that, that was wrong, what should I do now?"

I was lost as to what she felt she had done wrong, and I was also lost as to why she was spelling instead of saying certain words, like red, six, hot, ten, orange, pink, and many other words. When I found the information about this disorder, it was a mix-mash of older beliefs regarding this diagnosis, and more up to date information that was a much better understanding of what was going on.

Up until about ten years ago, most doctors told their patients that they should not acknowledge the voices that they were hearing, telling them that they were not real but auditory hallucinations, and would instruct them to try to ignore what they were hearing by finding something to do that would distract them from them. This, just from how my friend is, I can tell you right now will not work, and I do not see how any doctor would ever think this would be possible. The voices my friend hears are just as real if not more so than me talking to her. As a matter of fact, it is much easier for her to ignore me and listen to her voices, than the other way around.

I have chosen to ask my friend about the voices, what they say., and who they are, rather than pretend that they don't exist, besides I am thinking that this is going to be the only was I will ever figure out what she is talking about half the time. I was shocked when she broke down and told me that I was , including her family members, the only person who was interested in knowing about her voices. Now this is including her doctor, her therapy group, and her family, and boyfriend. She informed me that nobody ever asks her anything about them, and as a matter of fact avoids mentioning anything about her disorder. I asked her if she minded me asking questions, and trying to figure out what her life was like and why she did such weird things sometimes, and she laughed, sounding relieved, and said she didn't mind at all, and would like it for it was a subject that was hush hush in her life.

How can people expect her to ignore that huge elephant in the front room (or in her head). I began questioning her as to why she spelled certain words. It turns out that she has nice personalities, and evil ones that talk to her. The evil ones scare her by telling her that if she says or does certain things that she will burn in hell, which is just like living for eternity on the sun. I was horrified. How can this sweet friend of mine not say something about this. They tell her that if she says certain words in front of someone she cares about that they will be anally raped. My God, she lived with this daily and never mentioned it to a soul.

I researched some more, and was happy to find a place that seemed to actually have some possible answers. Lets see what you think. The story said that in the past few years, doctors were beginning to think that acknowledging the voices and allowing the patient to talk about them might actually be better for some research being done has shown that these voices may actually be splintered personalities of the patient, that are calling out from their subconscious mind in an effort to heal damage done to the persons mental health usually at a very young age. The way they were describing it, it almost sounded a lot like multiple personality only without the lack of memory when the various personalities took over. An interesting prospect, perhaps this was nothing more than the mind, screaming out the obscenities it had endured as a child.

When I further questioned my friend, she did not have any memories of her childhood, except that she was one of 34 children, counting true siblings, half siblings and step siblings. She then explained how that was, and yes she was correct. One of 34 children, and not memories. Her parents were missionaries, who preached Hellfire and Brimstone, and ritual spankings were a regular occurrence. This she did remember. When she began telling me of these kinds of things in her past, the pieces to the puzzle that was her mind seemed to want to fall into place for me. It made sense to me that if her parents preached about hell's fire, and being punished by fire for eternity that perhaps the little girl she had been was scared literally out of her mind But now, as an adult, it may seem as though her mind wants back, or her memory wants back, and to me this makes a lot of sense considering what her voices are telling her.

I am going to continue talking with my friend, for perhaps it will take the trust of a friend to let her trust someone for the first time maybe, and I cannot see that it would be anything but therapeutic for her to talk to someone about what her voices are saying and what the adults in her childhood said way back then. It can't hurt, and I am hoping it may help.

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  • chasmac profile image

    chasmac 4 years ago from UK

    An excellent insight into schizophrenia - and I think you're doing your friend a great service. Now she has an ally helping her to deal with the voices. She won't feel so alone.

    Interesting what you say about the parents. A friend of a friend of mine is an artist with schizophrenia and she had exactly the same kind of fire and brimstone parents. For example, as a kid, she was only allowed to have a bath or shower at night (or before dawn) with the light off so she wouldn't see her own body.

    Her brother also has schizophrenia - He ended up as a homeless down and out. She, with the help of the meds, can lead a normal life, except that the meds seem to kill her artistic talents and she can't paint anything worthwhile anymore.

  • profile image

    WalkWithJesus 6 years ago

    Please read my article explaining schizophrenia.

  • profile image

    LIL-ANGEL-WINGS 6 years ago

    you are a good friend, it is hard to trust when you have this illness.

  • ddsurfsca profile image
    Author

    deb douglas 6 years ago from Oxnard

    My friend has good days and bad. They adjust her meds every once in a while, and this seems to do two things, one it seems to calm the voices down, and two, it also makes her very sleepy, and has days when she actually sleeps up to 12 to 15 hours. She does not seem to mind, but I personally could not handle sleeping that much. I have done something as an experiment, and that is when she visits my house, we call it her safe zone. No voices are allowed to bully her, and she is absolutely in charge here. She is allowed to say any words she likes without any fear of anything happening because of this. It is the only place where she can feel free to say and do what she likes, and no voices can touch her. When she begins her sentence with oh oh, I made a mistake, I reassure her that my house is safe from any mistakes, and please continue, and she smiles and looks relieved and does continue. It is getting easier for her to do so here.

  • profile image

    Life7 6 years ago

    Gee I don't know. My wife has come up with some very strange things ranging from wars to aliens to homosexuality. It is all very negative stuff. I can't pick up a common theme except hate and fear. We talked and I supported her the whole way through her episodes but she eventually couldn't communicate anymore. Trying to make sense of it I don't think was possible. She is ok now. Still on meds though.

    UmbraMaya -how did you do it?

  • UmbraMaya profile image

    UmbraMaya 7 years ago from Land of Rain

    OMG 34 siblings??? O.O

    DD, I have had my own battle too with schizophrenia several years ago. The voices inside my head made me feel like I want to beat my head on the wall, which I never did. But now I'm cured, without psychiatrist.

  • Lucky Cats profile image

    Kathy 7 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

    DD, I think this is her way of trying to heal herself; not consciously, necessarily but, a way in which her psyche is attempting to dispel "cast out" all the bad messages and experiences of childhood. Maybe something triggered it; maybe is is just time for her to 'work through this.' Perhaps, and I believe this, your paying attention and taking her seriously is a first step in a process of repairing or grieving, past damages done her. In order to disarm something, we must, first, face it or acknowledge it or accept it...then, the beginnings of dealing with it are enabled. I don't know but, I think your friendship is a gift and a blessing for your friend. thank you for sharing this very personal bit of your life. UP and Awesome and Beautiful; because you are a wonderful friend.

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

    DD,

    A very good article. But darn it...I was planning to write on this subject as well. You beat me to the punch. :-)

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