Personal Experiences

Personal experiences are at the heart of all we do at Intervoice. In this section we share some of the inspiring stories we have read about in our work.

Living with Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery

Marius Romme, Sandra Escher, Jacqui Dillon, Dirk Corstens, Mervyn Morris

A new analysis of the hearing voices experience outside the illness model resulted in accepting and making sense of voices. This study of 50 stories forms the evidence for this successful new approach to working with voice hearers.

The voice-hearers featured in this exciting collection come from across the world. Their stories are inspiring, enlightening and – most importantly – honest. It is a must for anyone interested in human experience, resilience and the potential to survive intense, and sometimes overwhelming, experiences.

This book is published through PCCS Books

‘Gek genoeg gewoon Een andere visie op stemmen horen en beelden zien’

by Tilly Gerritsma/Titus Rivas, Deventer Price, 2007, Netherlands.

The phenomenon of hearing voices and seeing images or visions is much more widespread than is commonly thought. Nonetheless, mainstream psychiatry continues to treat such hallucinations as evidence for a mental disorder. ‘Gek genoeg gewoon’ tries to show how outdated this view actually is. Experiential expert Tilly Gerritsma describes her personal process of hearing voices and related phenomena, and how she learnt to deal with them, through the aid of ‘the voice’. She shows that hearing voices can be seen as an opportunity for both psychological and emotional as well as spiritual growth.

Psychologist and philosopher Titus Rivas gives a comprehensive survey of theories about hallucinations. He endorses approaches that offer resistance to a one-sided biopsychiatric view, such as social psychiatry, and emphasizes the reality and normality of paranormal experiences. Hearing voices: an opportunity for emotional and spiritual growth!

About the authors

Tilly Gerritsma (1953) is a mother of four sons. She’s a member of the staff of Stichting Weerklank, and a counselor, and she also gives lectures and workshops about hearing voices and extrasensory experiences.

Titus Rivas, MA (1964) is an author, researcher and teacher. He’s affiliated to Athanasia Foundation in Nijmegen. Ankh-Hermes previously published his book ‘Parapsychologisch onderzoek naar reïncarnatie en leven na de dood’ .

152 pages., pb. Dutch Ankh-Hermes, Deventer Price ca. € 12,50 ISBN 978 90 202 8464 5

Recovery – An Alien Concept, 2nd Edition

by Ron Coleman. P&P Press Limited, 1999

An exploration of the concept of recovery by Ron Coleman, including how he gave up being a chronic schizophrenic and went back to being Ron. In ‘Recovery – An Alien Concept’ Ron attempts to reflect on the past and learn the lessons of history in the psychiatric system, by exploring recovery and encouraging professionals, clients and carers to begin their own personal journeys towards recovery.

In these pages the reader may feel the pain of those for whom the present system has failed, feel the inspiration and joy of those who have recovered, and the desire to make recovery a reality for all in this new millennium.

Meine Stimmen – Quaelgeister und Schutzengel. Texte einer engagierten Stimmenhoererin

(“My Voices – Pest and Guardian Angels. Texts of a Committed Voice Hearer”)

by Hannelore Klafki, Antipsychiatrieverlag, 2006.

This is the document of an unusual woman. It includes her passionate texts on hearing voices, her unveiled biographical memories, her texts critisicing psychiatry and her expressive sculptures.

“…my voices educated me to become a power woman. At some point I decided to stop being a victim.”

Hannelore Klafki died too early in September 2005, so this book is in memory of her life and work within the hearing voices movement. Only available in German.

Aufbruch aus dem Angstkäfig – Ein Stimmenhörer berichtet

(Escaping from the Cage of Fear – A Voice Hearer’s Report)

by Andreas Gehrke, Paranus Verlag, 2003.

For over 10 years Andreas Gehrke fought with intrusive voices from heaven and hell. In more than 15 psychotic episodes they held him in their power.

This book is an amazingly precise and enlightening account of his struggles with his frightening world of voices – and his escape from his “cage of fear”.

It is only available in German.

DVD: Knowing You, Knowing You (Working To Recovery, 2010)

In this moving account, Eleanor Longden tells her own story of recovery and discovery: her journey through the psychiatric system; from being told she would have more chance of recovering if she had cancer; to becoming an award winning psychologist working in mental health.

In the DVD Eleanor talks candidly about her experience of abuse, self harm and voice-hearing.

This DVD is challenging, inspirational and full of hope for people who have these types of experiences, their families, friends and workers.

11 responses to “Personal Experiences”

  1. David Kreate

    I am 48 years old and have been living with schizophrenia for 30 years. I currently work as a recovery specialist in a peer center. The idea of beining honest about my experience and understanding is liberating.

  2. Pram

    I have a 49 year old son. who has been suffering from schizophrenia for more than 39 years . As a child he was brilliant a mathematical genius , high achiever. When in university doing engineering became ill when he was living on university grounds. It started with anxiety. he has been to hospitals many times and dreads them. Voices are his constant companion , so much so that he is hardly able to do any thing. he has some erroneous beliefs. We can not discuss with him. His voices are his constant companion so he is loosing social skills. He lives with us, he believes that people can see through his eyes and hear with his ears . Due to unreasonable fears he does not want to any where. He is still very articulate and looks after himself but absorbed with voices How can we draw him out. He is on medication , which he takes religiously due to fear. The fortnightly injection that he takes makes his voices louder. what can I do to help. he is not married and lives with us. David what helped you. My son is very prviate person

    1. Roderick

      I hear voices, and I’m 48 years old un married with no children. I live with my parents and I was once a very high achiever. Top of my class, 3 sport athlete, and an artist in creating song lyrics and guitar music composition. The voices have crippled me and I have become very anti social. All I can really tell you in light of a positive solution to your son’s condition, is keep trying to get him involved in anything you can think of. With no responsabilities, and no one needing you for anything, people become totally docile and afraid that the voices will use any and every inter action with other people to exploit the incredible amount of disappointment that comes with this condition. First and formost, you must understand that for centuries all humans who have ever complained of hearing voices have automatically been labeled as crazy.

    2. Rose Cole

      Hi,

      I have had a similar experience to your son, in regards to high academic achievement, high IQ and am a degreed scientist. I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia but it is onset only with my intense anxiety (fear). My medication is not effective at curbing this particular side effect of my illness.

      I am trying to compare my own experiences with someone who is intellectually similar to me. Does he experience any experiences with sleep deprivation, paranoia about government, clicking of teeth, or doing anything strange with keyboard/cell phone, etc.? As you can see from my writing, in spite of my diagnosis, I have relatively little side effects verbally. I don’t believe in aliens or anything either 🙂 Anyway, it’s a long shot, but it is striking how similar his symptoms are to mine and I thought it was worth a shot to see if any of the (above) symptoms listed correspond to his illness.

      Much regard,

      Rose

  3. Laura

    I find it easy to talk to someone you can really trust like a very close friend and I’m lucky to have very close friend, who works as a charity manageress. When I first told about the good and the horrible voices she was very understanding about the whole thing I was going though because the charity deals with people of all ages with mental heath issues emotionally. I have being going since 2008 and every time she sees there she’ll ask if I’d like to talk to her in private, which always put me ease. If she can help me in anyway, she’ll defiantly do her best. If the voices are horrible she’ll let me stay in the her private room, until I feel safe around other people in the living/dinning room.
    Thank you for letting tell you all this, as it’s something I don’t like sharing this with others.

  4. Sue

    I am very concerned as a grandparent for my granddaughter, she just informed us that she hears voices of someone screaming loudly at her( the voice in her head) and she has been hiding her emotions and going into her room and crying when the voices start screaming!!! My EX daughter-in-law was in and out of several hospitals for having bipolar, and mental health problems along with being addicted to drugs and my son won custody of his 3 children and they all live with us. I want to get this under control now due to that fact it is affecting her at school and her teacher is also bullying her, I think it is because of her voices she cannot control talking out loud while in school.Thank- you for any information to this matter:)

  5. Roderick

    The voice in your head or voices as we all call them. Are the most misunderstood and probably one of the true myths of our society. Every creature or I should say living thing on planet earth hears a voice. That is the only way God can tell all his creations what there suppose to be doing. If he doesn’t tell a plant or an animal to drink then that living organizm will die.
    If he doesn’t want that living organizm to live then he doesn’t tell it what it needs to do to survive. Just realize that when people talk about God or the Great Spirit, The father the son, and the holy Ghost, they are refering to one in the same the creator and the puppet master of all living things. Even the ones that can’t be seen by the human eye, they still must be programed to do whatever they are told to do inorder for them to survive.
    I’m not a religious person and I don’t attend church. But I know with absolute certainty that there is a power much greater then anything any human will ever be able to understand. I’ve been suffering with the knowledge I’ve obtained from the voice I hear in my head for 11 years now. I know they will never go away, because they have been telling me for a decade that they were hear to take everything away from me, and even though I did my best to keep trying and refused to accept the message they keep sending. They are way beyond the point of coincidence, and I’ve lost everything inside me. Inantomate objects come and go, but you will never get your self-confidence, your belief, your faith, or find your true calling in this life, unless the voices go away and tell you what you need to be doing before they leave. Good luck, I’m crazy so don’t read to much into what I say.

    1. Andrew Swiftr

      I’m not sure that you are crazy, in fact. The points that you posit are entirely possible, though difficult to observe. I don’t think anyone has the right to tell you you’re wrong until they have firm evidence that you are wrong, do you?

  6. izarar

    cela fait des annees que je me défend de ces voix chaque jour qui sont des gens que j entend dans mon cerveau tous les jours dés le reveil (quand ce n est pas durant la nuit ils m insultent et me menacent ils n ont aucunes raisons ils émettent un bruit infernal sont inhumains ils n ont pas le droit ils existent et provoquent meme la discorde dans ma famille car je déclare la vérité à mes proches depuis le temp que je les entend détruire ma vie je les accuse de tortures ici en france là a cette heur n ont cessé de crier ce sont des raz-mottes ils n ont aucunes bonnes idées et ne cherchent qu à me chasser ou que j aille j ai fait l expérie nce de partir loin et je les entend encore ils ne pensent qu à m hurler dans le cerveau humiliant sans s humilié eux-meme se prennent pour des juges qui ne sont que des bourreaux sans jamais se juger eux-meme puisque je trouve qu ils ne sont que déstructeur cherchent à détruire ma vie pretextant un circuit social de droit au minimum ils sont minables imbus malfras menteurs épieur curieux malsains et sadiques pervers je demande de l aide je déclare qu il y a appareil dans le cervea

    1. Rose Cole

      Hi,

      No parle vous Francais, however I would like to hear more about your story if you receive this message. I too believe there is such a thing as a brain implant and would like to know more about who you think it works. Do you experience sleep deprivation, paranoia about government, clicking or grinding teeth, use keyboard or cell phone for other qwerty communications?

      Regards,

      Rose Cole

  7. Initially NO

    I had the theory that anything was possible if I just worked, tried hard enough to get there. Coming from a family background that made me somehow ‘different,’ having a parent who was often suicidal and raging, but frequently loving meant I had a lot of stories and nightmares I just couldn’t talk about that were related to her trauma, made possibility like a thick brick wall of no entry. I felt alienated most of my life. I got into abusive relationships because I didn’t think there was much else to have. I felt I had to learn to be more like those who controlled me, so I could be better accepted. Then, I started to hear voices and felt like I had company that while not often friendly at least focused on me, rather than ignoring my existence.
    By putting thoughts I didn’t identify with outside myself, I didn’t fall into rages like my mother and two sisters, I neither fell into depression like my brothers. Instead I got told I was wrong for alleviating others suffering by not expressing anger and tears. I was instead annoying them by, ‘not making sense.’
    I find it strange that our society can discuss symbolism of movies and art in detail. I can study the science of emotions via Method Acting, yet mainstream mental health services and the community freak out and yell at me when I’ve expressed something outside the range of their understood sense. They would afford music and visual art so much more time than they would a human being like me going through an emotional upheaval triggered by abuse and loss.
    My first memoir was written while studying Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT. Because I found psychiatric medications harmful rather than helpful I did not receive a publisher. But since I got training in Desktop publishing from RMIT, I was able to make my book myself and sell ‘Percipience, outside the range of understood sense’ on Amazon in 2009 in-between hospitalisations for ‘psychosis.’ I had already written the book, so it was not a big effort to do the manual labour of publishing while suffering effects of neuroleptics. I then wrote ‘Naked ladies’ about the episodes I had after my father’s death and feelings of continuing alienation and denial from my society. I then went to study illustration at university, but the pressure of full time study, no deep human connections and denial of my ability as a writer put me into another hospitalisation. This was my worst episode.
    ‘Naked ladies’ was published with Chipmunka in 2012 and since meeting my partner, going to hearing voices groups, gaining employment and getting off the CTO and neuroleptics I have studied Art Therapy, felt my experiences validated and have much anchoring me to reality, much that accepts me and does not ask to ‘try harder’ and ‘change’ to suit others. It can be really confusing when people say something doesn’t ‘make sense’ because they are afraid, ignorant, or discriminating. It can really make a person wonder what reality is and wonder what it is they have to do to make others satisfied.
    I have written another book, ‘Importance’ that I have sent out to some Australian publishers. They are not ready for what I have to say. They don’t want to understand it. They want to publish books by Doctors who apparently have ‘authority’ over my experiences.
    I also self-publish a series called, ‘Beings.’ It is automatic art put into comic book format. The way I sketch is without cognition, straight from the mind’s-eye from the feeling. The conscious part of me doesn’t know what image will appear. The end result in books is a psychological journey in picture and thought-bubbles of societies questions and my reactions in senses, in feelings. If you don’t like reading words much, I think this kind of book is great to flick through.

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