But what if this voice was not coming from a person? What if, for hours everyday, you heard someone talking to you or about you — even when you're alone?
But with these voices, you never truly feel alone. The voices see everything you see, hear everything you hear and insert thoughts into your head. But, unlike your own thoughts, these are thoughts you cannot control. And you have no idea what the voice is going to say next.
This would be completely terrifying.
So I was not too surprised when I heard that kids who hear voices may be at a high suicide risk. In a new study of 1,112 teens age 13 to 16 in Ireland, hearing voices was linked to a nearly 70-fold higher likelihood of a suicide attempt over the course of a year. Of those studied, Reuters reports that 77 of the teens reported hearing voices or other sounds that weren't there. Of these kids, 20 percent reported attempting suicide within the year — compared to 2.5 percent of the kids who didn't hear voices.
Some people's voices are guiding and inspiring. Others are abusive — telling them to do things or making them feel bad about themselves. I'm sure that the content of what these voices are telling the teens is also linked to the likelihood of suicide attempts.
Looking at a schizophrenia forum, one anonymous person said that the voice in his head constantly reminds him of the wrongs he has done and tells him he doesn't deserve sleep.
One person said in response something that I think could be beneficial to anyone going through this — "You are special, you have a condition that makes you special, do not let the disorder take away your purpose, use medication to find rest from suffering and chaos. Do not give up hope, keep trying."
Some advice — talk to other voice hearers. Groups can be found on hearingvoicesusa.org. Founded in 2010, the Hearing Voices Network USA represents a partnership between individuals who hear voices or have other extreme or unusual experiences, professionals and allies in the community, all of whom are working together to change the assumptions made about these phenomenon and create supports, learning and healing opportunities for people across the country.
Don't be afraid to discuss these voices in your head. By learning from others experiences, you can learn the tricks of these voices in your head and try to block out what it's saying.
Mentalhealth.org says that it's imperative to accept the voices as part of yourself — instead of considering it as something wrong with you. Try not to feel powerless. These voices are inside your head. A psychiatrist can teach you how to have influence over these voices…instead of the voices having influence over you.
Art by Jonathon Rosen Imagine hearing someone physically speaking to you. You have no idea what this person is going to say. Sounds...