Update from April 16, 2018: I submitted an updated version of this post to NAMI and they posted on the NAMI blog.
No one ever asked me what I had heard from my voices. I think it’s a tough topic to talk about. If you have never heard of your own voices, you might not know what to say. Voices are not normal. Regardless, I remember them. Some voices are more memorable than others, just like real people.
On a sunny day, I heard “him” for the first time. Later on, I would name him Joe who reminded me of my crush at the time. I woke up in my room and was getting dressed. All of a sudden, I heard a young man talking. I was not sure if he was talking to me. I thought, “Let me walk outside of the house to see if I can still hear him.” I stepped out of the front door and there was silence for about 5 seconds.
Then, he said, clearly. “Can you hear me?” I stood in front of the door, locked the door and start walking towards work. “Yes.” I said quietly and smiled. “Don’t smile. You are going to look silly if you walk on the street, talk to yourself and smile on your own.” Okay. I thought in response. I transitioned my communication to Joe from speaking out loud to in my mind only. That did not bother me. Actually, I did not notice the transition. “You need to ask someone for help,” he said. I still can’t believe that my first voice warmed me about the situation I was in. “Jennifer?” I thought again. “No, it has to be a single guy.” I thought, “Are you joking? Is this some sort of joke?” I don’t remember how the conversation ended. The voice disappeared when I reached work.
I had a completely reasonable “conversation” with Joe. We did not talk over each other. No one yelled. He did not make me upset. He did not give me commends to hurt or kill myself. Just like people, there are all kinds of voices.
My psychiatrist recommended Hearing Voices, A Common Human Experience to me when I asked him to help me learn more about my condition. The book covers many different perspectives on hearing voices, from mental illness to spirituality, from distant past to now. It is an insightful read.
Every time I think about my schizophrenic experience, I am amazed at what my brain can do, even when it’s broken. Perhaps, in the future, we would find out that it’s not really broken, but just behaving in a way that we don’t quite understand right now.
Human brain is incredible!