Things are chaotic right now. Every time I see something about the Oregon community college shooting I’m triggered but at the same time can’t look away. The voices have been back intermittently fighting with each other about mass shootings which makes it hard to concentrate. One voice suggests I kill myself so the other voices won’t convince me to kill others. Note: This is all talk and I have no intention or desire to act out what these voices say, neither is it the first time it’s came up so I do know how to handle it if it gets dangerous. However, what is new this time is the voice about suicide calling me a hero. It’s strange and I’m afraid of scaring people or it being misinterpreted.
Along with the voices, I’ve been incredibly apathetic and feel empty inside. This has lead to my lack of blogging and me wondering if I should stop blogging all together. There seems to be no purpose to anything so I can’t even get motivation to study. And just my luck it’s during midterms week. Sometimes it seems the world is conspiring against me, and I mean this in a non paranoid kind of way.
Anyways, I don’t have much to say.
So I had DBT tonight and we were talking about assertiveness within the module of Interpersonal Effectiveness. This is where I dropped out years ago, so I don’t know a lot about Interpersonal effectiveness. I’m not an assertive person, mostly passive sometimes passive aggressive. We learned some acronyms depending on what your priority is in the interaction. I’ll do a separate post on that later. I’m not a good communicator. Tonight I kinda figured out why, I asked how to be assertive and use the DEAR MAN skills with someone who can be super aggressive and verbally attacking you. They pretty much said you can’t, I told them how I maneuver around it using my sister as a mediator. They said that was effective and skillful and I should take credit for it. I was surprised. So one parent can be verbally abusive/aggressive and the other is kinda on her own planet/neglectful- this was especially true growing up it’s a little better now. No wonder I never learned to communicate, I was kind of in impossible situations. Now I can try it but with more receptive people and maybe some with my parents if they are willing to engage.
I had an academic advising appointment this morning, two actually but the second got canceled due to jury duty. I theoretically could transfer to a four year university in Fall 2016. Am I ready? I don’t know, I feel like I’d need to do some serious work to be ready in a year, but do I really want to waste an extra year when everything’s already completed? Just to be safe? Will I get complacent and never go? Is the time now? Am I stable enough? What about moving and insurance and medication and therapy? Can I line that up in a year? I’m considering it, any readers opinions or tips would be awesome.
The side voices were episodic voices they mostly had to do with suicidal and homicidal things, a specific trigger was school shootings (no idea why). Since being on Latuda there have been a couple school shooting and no re-emergence of the voices. I was hesitant and you never really know when they’ll show up. But I was happy a usual trigger wasn’t applicable anymore. Last Thursday there was a shooting on one of the campuses I attend, I attend my classes Monday and Wednesday though. Full lockdown, one dead, 2 more injured, and they still haven’t caught the other person involved. Turns out they all knew each other and the 3 victims were students leaving their classes. So it happened on campus and wasn’t planned. But still no voices!!! I’m stoked and now think that they may never return. That’s progress!
My blogging buddy Addy over at All that I am, All that I ever was wrote a post on one of his voices and what triggers her. I thought this was an awesome idea to help people who don’t understand voice hearers to get some insight. I have three sets of voices and two sets I have not heard from except maybe once, since starting the Latuda. I’m going to break this up into the 3 voice sets for easier reading.
The side voices are some of the worse. They are generally angry and scream a lot, sometimes with or at each other and sometimes at me. A big trigger for the side voices is any school shooting, also any mass shooting too. Amber Alerts too. These voices are destructive and usually want me to kill or hurt myself or someone else. News stories also trigger these voices. It usually goes something to the effect of “that was a good idea. Why didn’t you think of that? What’s better guns or knives? Argument between the two of which is better. Where should we do this? Arguments of where and the whys of the places they come up with. Why haven’t you killed yourself yet? You’re such a baby. ______ did it and she was only 15. No one will care, you are just deceiving yourself. DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!” These are the voices that get me hospitalized as they wear me down and I can only ignore them for so long. They are also the one’s that best respond to medication. I haven’t heard them at all in over a year, That’s Great!
This year’s theme is living with schizophrenia, but you’re welcomed to blog on any topic in mental health you’d like.
This year, we’re inviting you to join us and the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program for the 4th annual blog party next Friday, October 10.
WordPress deleted my post yesterday which I am still irked about it was a pretty good post. I’ll try to duplicate it the best I can. A day late but whatever. Yesterday was World Mental Health Day and the theme was schizophrenia. I do not have schizophrenia but I do have one of the schizophrenic spectrum disorders called schizoaffective disorder, which has symptoms of schizophrenia and of a mood disorder, there’s still argument if mine is depressive or bipolar type. Some common symptoms of the schizophrenic spectrum disorders are delusions, psychosis, paranoia, cognitive/behavioral dysfunction, flat affect, problems connecting socially, etc… I’m mainly going to focus on psychosis since that’s the main symptom I have and by that I mean hallucinations. Most my hallucinations are auditory (voices and such), but I have had visual, olfactory (smelling things that aren’t there) and tactile (feeling things that aren’t there.) Now to answer some of the most common questions I get…
What is it like to be psychotic and how do you deal with it? I have had few true breaks from reality so usually on different levels I know what I am experiencing is not real. That doesn’t make it less annoying or scary but it helps me cope. I’ve heard voices for at least 10 years, my memory sucks and it’s probably more but for sure 10 years. So I am somewhat use to it and have learned different ways to cope. One way is telling myself it’s not real and trying to ignore the voices. Another when it is too much is to blast music in earphones to try and drown out the voices. I have sets of voices and I generally know what to do with each set and when it’s getting to severe to cope on my own. I take medication daily, including antipsychotics, and sometimes it needs to be adjusted when the voices get real bad. I know not to converse with them in public and certain sets I try not to interact with at all, because it never ends well. Sometimes I need to go to the hospital.
What do the voices say? There are three sets of internal voices and then the externals. Internal voices are voices I hear that come from inside my head, external ones sound like they are coming from outside myself like people talking around me or to me. First the internals there are the side voices, the back 1’s and the back 2’s; they get their names from where they live in my head and where I hear them from. They don’t have official real names like “George” or whatever because then it gives them more power to be real in my opinion, but I use these names as identifiers as to which voices I’m talking about. The side voices are command hallucinations so they command me to do things usually hurt other people or myself or trying to convince me to kill other people or myself, they also say demeaning things about me. There are two of them and they come in episodes. Out of the voices that lead to hospitalizations these are the most frequent. But they also never have anything good to say so I know to ignore them the best I can. The back 1’s are the chitter chatter voices, they were always there up until February when I found a med that knocked out the side and back 1s so far. The back 1s would be talking 24/7 sometimes about me or what was going around me, they narrated at times, sometimes giving advice or feedback, making jokes, really varied but mostly just annoying because they never shut up and sometimes I would need to concentrate like on tests for school. There are always at least 2 voices with the back 1’s sometimes more. The last set of internal voices are the back 2s and they are voices that come and go. They may be dissociated parts of me and they yell a lot over each other about who gets to get heard. The external voices are (so far) all people who have existed in real life and the content varies but it usually surrounds death; telling me to kill myself, telling me to come join them (people who are dead), telling me to kill other people. I’ve had two episodes that were not surrounding death and they were rather weird because they tied in with a visual hallucination and I was having a hard time telling what was real, one lead to a psychotic break and hospitalization.
How do you know they’re voices? Some people ask how I know they are voices and not just thoughts or negative self talk. With the externals that is easy to explain, they come from outside me and sometimes with visual elements. With the internal voices it is because other than the back 2’s they are pretty constant and sometimes go on while I am doing that internal thinking or talking to myself. They have the same profiles, just like a normal person would the voice sounds the same, the personality is the same, the gender is the same. Some of them have triggers and it’s easy to put together a voice re-emerging because of a situation. And they aren’t me, I just know.
Do you have any other questions?
This is my vlog on my voices and where they live and what they are like. I need some ideas for future vlogs or this feature will disappear, any ideas? Comment bellow.
WordPress Daily Prompt 10/24/13: Tell us about a time you couldn’t quite get your words or images to express what you wanted to express. What do you think the barrier was? For bonus points, try again.
ALL THE TIME!
I sometimes have a vision in my head of how I want to represent something or how to explain it. I will do one example that has to do with the voices in my head. I have mentioned before in posts some of the characteristics of them and where they live. I would like to do a model, but I suck at drawing and wouldn’t quite know how to do it in 3D which would be the best way to explain it. I think the barrier is that it’s just weird, it’s a weird and very personal thing that most people don’t have so they don’t get it.
Side Voices: The grey ones are an oily like substance and there are 2 of them. They are located just below the surface by my temples.
Back 1s: The pink and blue stick figures are the back two voices. They are also right below the surface kinda behind my ear are at the base of by brain/skull.
Externals: These are the white saying clouds, which are voices that I hear outside of myself.
Back 2s: These are a set I can’t draw well because they are deeper within the head and more ambiguous and less is known about them,
So, in celebration of World Hearing Voices Day, I wanted to tell you a little about what my voice hearing experience is like. I have a variety of voices and along with that I have a variety of experiences with the voices. None of my voices have names but I refer to them by where they are located in relation to my head. All the voices have personalities and profiles that are consistent.
The back voices 1:
These voices are constant, they are always there and I am not sure when they even started. These are the voices that I have positive or neutral experiences with. There are at least two voices, a male voice and a female voices, and sometimes more. The voices sometimes talk to me, at me, to each other without me being involved, to each other with me being involved as well. They give me feedback and advice as I go through life, mostly positive and constructive advice that is appropriate. When the voices first began they were very suspicious of other people and how these other people would react to and feel about them. They told me to not say things both about them and my life as well. Them talking at me, is more like telling me what they think I should do or how they feel about me or situations. When I refer to talking at me, they don’t want a response. They also talk to each other a lot, this is probably the majority of the way they interact. They like to joke around and talk about other people. Sometimes it is confusing to others when I start giggling as a response to nothing anyone else can hear. I rarely talk out loud to them but I still communicate. These voices have known me along time and know EVERY THING about me, so I trust them more than just about any “real” person in my life. I picture the people living in my mind only as stick figures, not visual profiles but they have extensive personalities. The male is more of the joker, he sometimes says off color things, he likes to talk more than the female. The female voice is more supportive and sensitive, she is usually quieter but can keep up with the male voice when needed. I really like these voices and am not sure I would want to get rid of them. Medication doesn’t affect them but sometimes I am so use to them it is like background conversations where you have to key in to listen. Like when a group of people around you at a restaurant are having a conversation and you know they are but would have to concentrate to try and listen to what they are actually talking about. It can be frustrating if I am trying to take a quiz or something and they get louder or start acting like fools. They also sometimes argue with each other but not much with me. There are other ones that come and go, that I like to think of visitors or guests to the main two voices. These voices live in the back of my head, near where your skull stops and your neck begins, they are just below the surface.
The side voices:
The side voices are also internal voices but they are more mean and aggressive. There are only two and they are male sounding, however the picture I have of them is as a greasy oily liquid. They live on the sides of my head near my temples and ears, one on each side close to the surface (similar to the back 1s). I do not like these guys and they don’t like me either. They are not constant and can sometimes be calmed or quieted by medication. They mostly yell at me, talking about how I am a bad person or about why/how I should kill myself or others. Their time is spent either talking/yelling at me or arguing with each other about methods and means (death.) They do not really want to interact with me and it is often no use arguing with them. I can occasionally bargain with them and sometimes get too wrapped up and will scream at them or start to consider what they are saying (sign I need to go to the hospital.) I try mostly to ignore them and can sometimes get through episodes without having to go to the hospital, I try and tell myself to ignore them and they don’t know what they are talking about. After long periods of repetitiveness, loudness, and disruption I often end up tweaking my meds to control them better; sometimes this is done in the hospital sometimes outpatient. I would be very happy if I never had to deal with these guys again, but I am learning better how to tolerate them and when I need extra intervention (more support/medication change/or hospitalization.) I think when most people think of people “hearing voices” they think of this type of experience. I am however in control and have awareness when I am losing it.
These voice I hear are external and do not come from within me. I will sometimes look around to see where it is coming from as if I am hearing it outside myself. The externals happen in episodes only and there have been only 5 or 6, in my life. The externals represent real people, sometimes living and sometimes dead. Some are people I have met or known in real life and others are not. There is usually a visual aspect to it as well, sometimes in the form of ghosts, shadows, or just what the person looks like in real life. These freak me out the most; I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t had many experiences and each are different unlike with the internals or what but it is still very scary to me. The externals are not always negative experiences, they actually have been about half and half. Even if they are not negative it is hard for me to handle and I freak out. Externals are more confusing because they have a basis in reality, they take on the appearance and personality of the person in real life… it is harder to tell if they are real or not. I have had a couple psychotic breaks, where I don’t remember anything of the time period and both involved externals. Externals are similar to the sides in that sometimes I can get through episodes of them on my own and other times I need some extra intervention.
The back voices 2:
This is a set of voices that have the least amount of consistency to them. They live in the back of my head but unlike the back 1’s and the side voices they live deep inside my head. There are a lot of different ones, they all are female but different ages and different personality types, that’s how I know they are different. These are there more often than the side voices but not all the time like the back 1s. I’ve tried to ignore and block these voices for a long time because they almost represent parts of me. I know the externals are separate people, the sides are nothing like me (plus male) and the back 1s also don’t really have my personality. It is scary because some of the stuff they say isn’t good but I can relate to it on some level. They are there for a reason and there is some connection to them. The things they say are sometimes cryptic and confusing. These only talk to me, they do not talk to each other and usually there is only one present at a time, if that. It gets very hectic when there is more than one present because they all want different things and start screaming to get heard. Imagine listening to 3 screaming voices all trying to tell you something different, they seem to think who ever is the loudest I will listen to so it just gets louder and louder. I’m beginning to try and explore these voices more, there isn’t a lot I know about them between trying to ignore, block, and deny them. There is a possibility they may be some form of dissociation, alter/parts/identities whatever you want to call them. (If you wish to know more about this, it is in password protected posts called Internal struggles, comment and I can send you the password.)