In preparation for an exhibition on the World Hearing Voices Movement, we are really happy to have heard from the Hearing Voices Group in Kampala. The group is still going strong, running every Monday in the Butabika Recovery College within the hospital.
It is facilitated by a team which includes two peer support workers, and it clearly has a huge impact on it’s members.
The following are quotes were collected by facilitators and passed on to us. We’d like to thank Bob, Yudaya and the facilitators for being so generous and sharing these with us.
‘Without the hearing voices group I would not have survived. Now I am alive. Now I have friends.
The moment I started telling people around me what was happening it helped me.
At first it was so hard to say what I wanted to say, I would just cry. Slowly I started to talk about the voices and it was like starting a fresh.
I used to think that the things I knew were useless, now I know that sharing can help others.’
‘I have experienced voices for a long time, since the age of nine. I thought it was normal, that all people heard voices. They would command me what to do. Even when I was hungry they would tell me not to eat, telling me the food was poisoned. I came to realise that when you share with others these voices reduce.
In the past I couldn’t say no to my voice but through sharing I learnt a tactic of talking to my voice and it has helped me so much. I learnt to control the voices.
Through the sharing group, you realise that you are not alone, there are many other people coping with these voices. Now I can share and help others with voices.’
The following is a poem written by Yudaya:
Hearing voices, Hallucinations, Amayembe
Hearing voices, Hallucinations, Amayembe, name it what you want, but to me it is one.
To all the voices hearers, wherever you are I salute you, not because you are Generals but because you are trying to cope with the situation.
Perceiving voices is not as easy as you may think, it is a real experience and you are enslaved in it, you can’t consent, neither resist it.
It is as if you are on a remote control connected somewhere in the unknown.
Voices, Hallucinations, Amayembe, name it what you want.
One day I wake up as the first lady, the next as the goddess and the other tells you that you don’t deserve to live on this planet, go up the highest mountain near you and jump and catch the right hand of God.
God knows the next destination, so if you see me smiling to myself or sad or talking to myself, don’t ignore but just try to understand and help to make a better universe for all.