Looking back I began hearing voices from about the age of 15/16. I never told anyone because I was scared of both their reaction, and what they would do. I was terrified of being locked away, so I kept quiet. At times I could ignore the voices, at other times I did what they told me to do. I remember once writing my deputy head of sixth form this long note, and not wanting to but the voice was telling me I had to otherwise bad things would happen.
The teachers took the note badly, saying I didn’t realise how much work they were doing and they could not deal with me too (I do not really remember the content of that letter). At home I debated whether to tell the teachers the truth that I had only written the letter under duress from the voices, in the end I decided not to tell the teachers. I feared I would either not be believed and be in more trouble, or I believed they would make doctors lock me up.
Looking back I know that hearing the voices was not my first psychotic encounter, I had encountered other forms of hallucinations at a very young age, and also had episodes of delusions and paranoia. However, this blog is about auditory hallucinations.
At the moment I hear one main voice, called Malcolm, who has been around for a long time. I have also seen Malcolm at various times. Malcolm is not a nice person, on a daily basis he calls me names, tells me I am useless, and a waste of space. He says I should kill myself, and tells me I fake my disabiliteis for attention and money. That is Malcolm on an average day. Most of the time he talks at an average normal volume, but at times he can shout, and he can shout for days.
Other times Malcolm becomes even worse and he tells me he will hurt my partner if I do not self harm, often in these times I completely believe Malcolm and do self harm, he has also told me I must kill myself in order to save others, this has led to suicide attempts. Malcolm has also told me my medication is poison, and therefore I stop taking it, he has also told me that people around me are a threat to me. Malcolm is here 24/7.
I also hear a background group of voices, I cannot hear what they are saying though. It is like hearing a meeting in the distance, you can har talking, but not hear the words. Malcolm often talks to this group, he often passes messages from them to me about how pathetic I am, and also about the government tracking me. Like Malcolm this group are there 24/7.
Recently I have also heard a new voice which whispers my name, or just makes a hissing noise. This one is not constant, it comes and goes.
I have also heard voices for short periods and then they go. When I was in hospital recently the TV in my room would talk to me if it was turned on.
Its not just voices I hear as hallucinations though, I also hear sounds and music. I have heard laughter, cheering, and orchestral music. The orchestral music is a nice one to hear.
These sounds also come and go.
Hearing auditory hallucinations is scary, and frightening. Sometimes I talk back to the voices, sometimes I sing along to the music. I am called names when I do these in public.
I do not think I will ever be used to Malcolm in the sense that he does not bother me, but I am used to him being there every day, very occassionally I have periods for an hour or so where he shuts up and that silence is eerie and unknown to me.
Sometimes I can easily ignore the voices, other times they take over, and other times I struggle to ignore them but am not yet being controlled by them.
Having auditory hallucinations does not just affect me in a way of trying to not listen to them and not get controlled by them. But they also affect concentration, my ability to listen and understand, my ability to join in a conversation, my ability to read, how I view myself (when I have Malcolm telling me I am worthless and useless constantly its hard not to believe that)
Auditory hallucinations are not like the inner voice in ones head which people often compare it too. I also have an inner monologue of thoughts, and intrusive thoughts that go along inside my head. Hearing auditory hallucinations is like having a person next to me constantly talking, or having an orchestra right by me playing.
It has been about 13 years for me of hearing voices and sounds now, and it has not gotten easier. Today has been a difficult day, Malcolm started yelling at me really loudly how I am a fake and fake all my disabilities for attention and money, he has really gotten to me today.
As no one else can hear what I hear daily it is hard to explain the impact and affects it has on me. People who do not or never have heard voices or sounds often do not understand, and often will not listen to me when I try to explain.
Its tiring, exhausting, gives me hadaches, makes me feel like scum, makes me self harm and try to kill myself, makes me yell at others, saps my concentration, makes getting to sleep difficult. It can also be very scary, especially when new voices appear.