I hear voices. Not the hum of a computer, not a creaky floorboard. I hear voices that command me to hurt myself. I have experienced what my doctor calls “auditory hallucinations” since I was a teenager, but they didn’t get commanding and vulgar until my mid-twenties. I never told my doctors that I was hearing voices until this year, and once I did, they tried different medications to see what would help me. I never took anti-psychotics until this year, but I have been on numerous anti-depressants and anti-anxiety for years prior.
Ever since I was a teen, I’ve felt misunderstood. No one took the time to actually ask what happened and only asked what was wrong. There’s nothing wrong with me, I just happened to be a victim of circumstance. The voices act as a council of people in my head. They argue with each other about what I should do in situations that make me feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Then they get aggressive toward me and scream at me to pick options that can potentially hurt me. They’re not always mean, though. Sometimes they make me laugh when they argue.
It can get scary sometimes, living in my own head. I try to use my coping skills as much as possible to make the voices chill out. Name 5 things I can see, 4 things I can hear, 3 things that I can touch, 2 things I can smell, and 1 thing I can taste. I call it the 54321 method and I use it to help myself stay grounded and in the present moment. I use music to drown out any unwanted noise. Sensory toys such as fidget spinners, play doh, slime, and stuffed animals help me stay focused.
Do I wish the voices weren’t here? No. I think that the voices are an essential part of who I am.