The stigma behind hearing voices

There is nothing punny about this title today because I want to get serious. I want you to take a brief moment out of your day to evaluate how you actually feel about the “crazies” in this world. You know, the ones who talk to themselves in public, who are often homeless and helpless to their minds. I want you to understand that this person could be me, seriously. I’ve already been there halfway. Maybe a story for later.

I hear voices 24/7 and I’m not ashamed or scared of it but are you?

We fear the unknown so let me help ease your mind if this happens to be you.

To begin, most of us who hear voices and talk to them aren’t crazy. Duh. Most of us are level headed and functioning ordinary people who you would never suspect having Jack and Jill perched up on a branch just chilling and talking in their head. This is despite the fact that the word crazy is defined as being “mentally deranged” and often aggressive. All I can tell you is that someone with a mental illness is more likely to be the victim of abuse than the abuser.

Though these voices are annoying and distracting, they have also become friends for many of us and the medications that sedate them also sedates us.

My pulse begins to race when my mind, which usually sounds like a subway train full of people, is a lot like a quiet and still meadow blessed with grass and flowers. I notice that the noise is gone. The voices, my friends, are all gone. Suddenly I’m alone, anxious, and paralyzed by the blank canvas that is my now called my new-ish mind.

I snap back to reality within a few minutes and make a new game plan on how I should spend my moments with a blank canvas but it takes time to adjust to what I imagine other people must feel on a daily basis.

I don’t have the luxury of living a life without voices who will tell me jokes or even just talk amongst themselves (yes, there is more than one). When the voices are bored, the subway train full of people rushes back in through my veins and into my brain. Then in the rare moments of clarity, peace, and quiet, I just let it be.

By no means am I pitying myself because I know that I stigmatize myself everyday because of this.

I feel like it’s this big scary secret I can’t tell anyone because hearing voices is what “crazy” people do in movies, not your friend. Now I hope that everyone and I who experience this on a daily basis can finally open up to the world and break the stigma that hearing voices or seeing people or whatever makes us crazy and violent. Because that person you see on the street who is talking out loud to themselves may have been helped if no one brushed them off or thought they were scary for saying, “Someone is talking to me right now.”

xoxo,
Joanne

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