Share your experiences with us

Personal experience is at the heart of the Hearing Voices Movement. All of the accounts in this section have been contributed by members and give you a small glimpse into the wide variety of ways people experience and understand ‘hearing voices’.

If you would like to contribute your experiences to this site, we would love to hear from you.

  • For short experiences and reflections – please click on ‘Share Your Views’ and leave a reply to this post.
  • For longer articles, please email us or post a comment on our ‘Share Your Story‘ page.

Whilst we cannot publish every single article in full, with your help we will work to ensure there is an ever growing collection of experiences and perspectives represented here.

4 responses to “Share your experiences with us”

  1. Raina Walks

    I first heard voices when I was eight years old. They were not unkind but then started shortly afterwards to be just that. I did not hear them again until I was 18 years old and they made me cry with the words they chose…in 1997 they came at me like an army charging one person and i did not know what was going on. I did not even realize that I was hearing voices…I just did not know what was going on but they stayed for months telling me to kill myself…to die already…they said they were going to drown me…they talked all day and all night…they would not let me get any sleep.

    They went away in 1998 but would come back sporadically saying very mean and hateful things and sending me frightening pictures that were not of me but from them. I was terrified. In 2008 they came back with a vengeance and on top of seeing things, I was hearing voices and they were making me feel all kinds of body sensations including being raped …they were vicious and told me they would make me lose my job.

    I went back to work and fought them but they hurled such abuse at me that it was difficult to concentrate on my job and interact with people especially when conflict arose because I was agitated already. I ended up having to quit my job because it was just too much…the voices called me every nasty name in the book and I fought back hurling their words back at them…they told me I was nothing and hurt me when I tried to exercise…to this day I am afraid to do vigorous exercise because I don’t want chronic physical pain on top of the very distressing hearing voices experience as well as my other mental health concerns…

    I had a lot of rage against the voices and I fought them valiantly…they sent picture of me being dismembered so I sent pictures of them being dismembered in the same way…everything they said to me I said back….everything they did to me I did back…I kept hitting and hating back at those hateful voices…in so doing all the rage I had inside me over a lifetime of abuse and injustice was given expression and I feel more at peace.

    I found a hearing voices CBT group and benefited from being in a group of voice hearers so I did not feel alone. My social workers did not know what to do for me or say to me about the voices and anything they did say sounded insensitive…I got angry with them….but they continued to listen…

    Lately there have been periods where the voices are quiet so that has been good. I pray every day that they will go away so that I can work again and keep my apartment that they said they were determined to have me lose. They made me spent $15,000 in three weeks and then when I was broke they started criticizing every purchase I made.

    I was rescued from the debt because I had a settlement coming to me but I have not allowed the voices to make me spend large sums of money again….I tell them to go spend it themselves…I told them I don’t need anything…I am not working so I only spend money on the basics…the very basics…food, rent, utilities, transportation and grooming which I cut down significantly….

    The voices tried to ruin me and my life but I fight back and so far am still treading water but it is a literal fight. They made me have fainting spells where I passed out in public for no reason and when I started fighting…they would make me feel like I was going to black out but I would fight the darkness and not let it overtake me…so they stopped doing it as much as they did….

    In some ways they ruined my life…I lost lots of people in my life because when they first came back they really frightened me … one day I was at work and a male voice said harshly “I am going to kill you and I am going to tell you why”…I was afraid to go home that night because I was facing an empty apartment and I did not know what to make of such a vicious threat…my voices are male…all of them and I hate every single one of them and want them to go away. I will never accept such hateful beings in my life and after all the suffering they caused me I will never see them as a positive part of my life…I would kill them if it were possible to kill air…that is how angry I am at the voices…I am not violent but they tried to get me to hit a child and instead I hit at them…they sent me pictures of themselves and I hit them instead of the child…I don’t believe in hitting children no matter how naughty they are….so for a long time they tried to make me believe in their principles but I had to fight and take a stand and determine what my principles were and disagree with the voices and stand up for my right to my own belief system and my own principles.

    I want freedom from hearing voices…I hate them hate them hate them….they make sounds in my ear that do a number of my nervous system and prevent me from having peace in my mind and in my life…they want to tell me what to do…I don’t like people telling me what to do in real time never mind having voices do it.

    I am on medication but won’t let the doctors increase the dosage…I don’t believe that is the answer… I don’t even believe that I need to be on medication but I take it to help me get some sleep and therefore a get break from the voices…

    I don’t relate to people who say that their voices are a normal experience…I find it intrusive, dangerous….I have walked through so many red lights because they distracted me terribly…I cannot drive anymore….they tire me out too so I don’t have the energy to do the things that I enjoy like reading and writing and exercising and being with people.

    The voices have sucked a lot if not all the joy out of my life and I hate and resent them for that. They are derogatory and manipulative and insulting and hateful and hurtful. They keep saying they will kill me someway somehow…they said they will make me commit suicide someway somehow…so far I have fought them but they say to give up and just kill myself because they are never going to go away.

    I am in fight mode…not fear mode anymore and I am regaining my power because of that but I get tired fighting something so intangible…it is a neverending fight….I am not killing myself so hopefully the fight will end with the voices shutting the hell up finally when they realize they cannot break me.

  2. Mark Ellerby

    Prof Romme suggested I give you this link as it has some thoughts on voice hearing:

    all best wishes,

    Mark Ellerby

  3. Mark Ellerby

    An introduction to my story

    At age 21, life could not be better. I had just graduated from University with a first class degree, had been accepted to study for a doctorate with funding (the academic equivalent of being selected for the Olympic team) and had a research supervisor who was a member of the House of Lords. What could go wrong? Nothing, or so it seemed. Then it happened: Schizophrenia. It was not a sudden shock, more of a gradual onset, although nothing had prepared me for it. Nobody takes you aside at school and says, “Look you might get a mental illness!” There was no information available to allow a self-diagnosis. I had heard of Schizophrenia, but thought it was a split or dual personality. It was all the more frightening back then as I didn’t know how to help myself.

    For the first few years, I stayed at university in Southampton; the opposite end of the country and away from home and family. I managed to keep my head above water on my course, as the symptoms were not so bad at the start. I kept hearing people talking about my actions, behaviour and thoughts. Eventually I spent more time thinking about this than my work and had to give it up and go home – just in time.

    My psychiatrist described my symptoms as particularly severe so they are probably worth recounting. I kept hearing the neighbours banging on the walls trying to play on my nerves (or so I thought). My response was to run not just out of the house, but to get as far away as possible. That meant getting away from everybody. I wandered round the countryside at night trying to avoid towns and villages from which direction I could still hear the banging noise. I had paranoia and auditory hallucinations all mixed together.

    This however was not the end of the matter. I had other kinds of delusions. I thought I was responsible for all kinds of problems such as wars, crime and disease. The worst such symptom was that I had memories of being the reason why everything from TV programmes to the architecture of buildings had the form and appearances they did. It was like wandering around in my own subconscious. I tried ‘ump-teen’ times to commit suicide but was sectioned and taken to hospital.

    I was in there for more than a year while ‘They’ – the doctors – tried to find the right drug. The illness never was a continual thing – I had good periods and bad. I was then put on Risperidone and some of the delusional symptoms seemed to improve. I still had other problems, most notably strange thoughts and periodic head pains but I think the doctors must have thought that by then I had gone through the system and come out the other side! I was left to live independently.

    That proved very difficult. The stigma of mental illness made me a virtual recluse. You cannot go down the pub and face the inevitable question; “what do you do?” and reply you are schizophrenic. On my own, the presence of the voices seemed to be magnified and there was little to help the depression this created. The answer was to live in sheltered accommodation, and as with my stay in hospital, this improved things further. What I have learned about having such an illness is that one of the best things that can be done is to simply talk to the patient.

    I guess this can act as a distraction and prevent you from dwelling on your problems. Living together in sheltered housing aims to provide such a context. Some kind of activity is also necessary but this can be a double-edged sword; work can be stressful but then doing nothing can be the same so it is often necessary to balance the two. Variety, in terms of people and activity, is also necessary.

    The biggest help in my case seems, at present, to be the drug Clozapine. My mental health has greatly improved since the very first time it was prescribed to me. That was two years ago! I still have some symptoms and side effects but I am now a thousand times better. I have started to research and write again, this time about mental health. To date I have had a lot of publishing success. I guess the lesson here is that every cloud has a ‘silver lining’, so keep hoping.

  4. Sara S

    I first starting hearing voices in the middle of 5th Grade, about 6-6.5 years ago. My depression was getting worse, and I had entered into the worst depressive period I had experienced so far… to the point where I was going to try to end my life. I was going to go through with it while I was home alone until I heard a voice. It was very quiet at first, and very unsure of himself. “Stop,” he whispered, “Don’t. I’d miss you.” I was terrified and thought that I had lost my mind, but I was shocked enough to stop. Once the voice, who named himself Jon, realized that I was paying attention, he tried to help me cope with the depression and the other problems I perceived in my life. He promised to be my “guardian angel” and that he would always be there to protect me, even from myself.

    A few years passed, and I was feeling a lot better when I had my inner “angel” to tell me that I was wonderful and worth every minute of my life. Unfortunately, that summer I wound up in the ER from a rollerblading accident that nearly took my thumb off. Jon was silent for a large part of the recovery process out of guilt that he hadn’t protected me. That was when the second voice showed up. His name was Gavril, though he got angry when anyone called him anything other than Gabe (which Jon quickly learned to take advantage of). Gabe seemed to be, for lack of a better term, the id of my mind.

    More years passed, each of them bringing their own struggles and traumas. By the time my family went through numerous losses, including family members who I was very close to, I was listening to numerous voices in my head. They were female this time, a woman named Anna who constantly berated me for not being confidant or feminine enough, and a little girl named Kitty who alternated between sobbing hysterically, something I wouldn’t let myself do, and giggling. Each of them were things that I refused to let myself become, and I decided that my mind was punishing me for not being good enough at god-knows what. My depression was getting worse, and the fact that I didn’t feel comfortable turning to anyone about hearing these voices only made things worse. I diagnosed myself with paranoid schizophrenia after a little bit of (incorrect) research and tried to resign myself to the fact that I was going crazy.

    Freshmen year of high-school came the next year, and with it a new voice. This one was male and had a very heavy British accent. He called himself A and constantly belittled the people in my classes, deeming them of a lesser intelligence and constantly encouraging me to do my best to prove to the “Neanderthals” (as he refers to them) that I was better than them. It probably didn’t help my depression or inferiority complex when I couldn’t meet my own expectations, but I managed to keep going through it all because my inner voices told me that I could.

    Sophomore year brought me two new voices, as well as my first terrifying experience with a voice. Cain and Aio both started talking at about the same time, but they couldn’t be more different. Aio is a boy who can’t seem to decide what age he is (I’ve heard his voice as anywhere from a child to a middle-aged adult) who helps me stay cheerful and has attempted to tutor me in playing flute better. Cain, on the other hand, is extremely violent. He insists that killing, hatred, and aggression are the only ways to truly solve anything, and I’ve been forced to block him out on numerous occasions.

    Nevertheless, my experience with hearing voices has been a generally positive one. I can safely say that these voices are one of the main reasons that I’m functional at all, and I haven’t tried to deal with mental health professionals thus far. If nothing else, my creativity has boosted with the number of stories my younger voices tell me, and my life is all the more interesting from it.

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