Talking about the voices in my head

Photo of an eyePlease note: do not read this blog if you feel vulnerable to triggering issues.

I’m Laura and I’m ill. Wow – that’s the first time I’ve ever admitted that ‘out loud’ so to speak. Since a life changing event last year, my life has been in a steady decline – my mental health has spiralled downward so rapidly that it has at times made me dizzy thinking about it.

It started gradually; depression and anxiety taking a vice like grip on my life and slowly tightening the screws until I snapped. It became harder and harder to get out of bed, panic attacks were becoming as commonplace as breathing and my ability to look after myself tapered off completely.

I was lucky. My GP was fantastic, she was so kind, compassionate, and understanding. She took the time to explain to me what was happening to me both mentally and in terms of the support I was receiving. But all of this was to no avail.

Self harm became a larger part of my life than I could have ever have imagined. A previously alien concept to me, it completely took over my life. The need to hurt myself was overwhelming to the point where I was completely out of control. I became a frequent visitor to Accident and Emergency where the kindness of the medical staff was my saviour.

 owned up to my GP and there began the intervention of the Intensive Home Treatment Team

I was a danger to myself and my suicidal thoughts culminated in a near suicide attempt. I owned up to my GP and there began the intervention of the Intensive Home Treatment Team. They visited me every day in my home and tried to ensure I was able to look after myself. At this point my weight had dropped to a dangerous level and my body had begun shutting down but I didn’t care.

Shortly after this came my first overdose. I was in hospital for nearly a week. It was a close call, I was told afterwards. A week after I was discharged, the Intensive Home Treatment Team decided I was too much of a danger to myself and I was admitted to a secure psychiatric unit for treatment.

Up until this point I had managed to keep everything (and I mean everything) from my family

Up until this point I had managed to keep everything (and I mean everything) from my family. The call they received from the nurse on the unit was the first they knew. They still don’t know a lot of things. It’s too hard for me to admit to my actions at the moment, writing this blog is a massive step for me.

I was discharged from hospital after about three weeks, back to the care of the Intensive Home Treatment Team, and my CPN.

Things have changed and they are improving

Things have changed and they are improving. I’m slowly getting back into my job. My employers have been fantastic and the support of my friends, both online and in real life has been a vital lifeline.

I am awaiting a start date for DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) and art therapy and am receiving treatment at a specialist self-harm unit as a day patient. I am also on regular medication, although I am still awaiting the stabilising effects of this, and have regular interventions with my psychiatrist and the local community mental health team. My relationship with food is also improving, albeit slowly.

But with the cessation of one issue, another one raises its’ head

But with the cessation of one issue, another one raises its’ head. One I have yet to admit to the professionals. I have been asked many times, ‘do you hear voices?’, ‘do you see things?’, and I have always answered vehemently ‘no’. Yet this has now changed. Is it that the thoughts have grown in substance so much that they have now become voices? Or is it a new thing?

Either way, it is a frightening experience and one that I am still struggling to come to terms with. To an extent the voices are controlling my actions at the moment. It is almost like an auditory version of the proverbial devil on your shoulder, making it impossible to share my fears with the professionals at the moment. Hopefully this blog is the first step towards being able to do so.

My biggest critic, discriminator and stumbling block to recovery is still myself

My biggest critic, discriminator and stumbling block to recovery is still myself. On the whole, my experiences with talking to others about my mental health have been positive, yet the demon that is the mental illness is forever chirping in my ear.

I have begun expressing myself through writing and art and I’m hopeful for the eventual journey towards self-acceptance and the ensuing improvements to my mental health. Acceptance of myself and my illness is my eventual goal and I hope talking about my experiences will help someone, somewhere along the way.

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Comments

such a brave lady

I have been so moved by Laura's blog. Laura, you are one brave lady! A lot of your story Rings true to my own experiences. Thank you for sharing it with us all. X

Laura,s Blog

Im wondering if this is the Laura i know and if so this blog shows what a couragous person she is also it maybe her or someone very close she hes talking about , I say very well done Laura for trying to bring these issues forward and hopefully make more people aware of the various Mental health issues that ordinary everyday folks keep to them selfs .Wll done you

hi, if you think it is me,

hi, if you think it is me, please just ask? I honestly don't mind. And thank you for your kind words - they really mean a lot. Laura

Hi Laura I just wanted to say

Hi Laura I just wanted to say how brave you have been in writing this. You're not alone in finding it hard to open up about your feelings and what is happening to you. Opening up is so important and learning to be kind to yourself too. You can make a recovery and being honest with the people who are trying to help you is a good place to start. I hope you can start your therapy soon and I wish you all the very best.

well done!!

you've taken such a huge step, you should be really proud of yourself. do you mind me asking how old you are? im 21 and my story is very similar to yours, as soon as i feel one problem is solved another arises. my gp was also an amazing help to me, still is after 3 years, ive never heard of intensive home care so maybe my story isnt so severe. i wish you the best and hope you get better really soon. ashleigh

Hi Ashleigh, no I don't mind

Hi Ashleigh, no I don't mind at all, I'm 28, so we're not too different in age. Keep plodding on hun, you'll get there.

Hi Laura, I was very moved

Hi Laura, I was very moved reading your blog. I don't know you but I am happy for you that you are speaking about your experiences in a way which will help you. You will get there :-) I have seen the great comments posted about you blog on the facebook page and hope you have seen them too. Best of luck. xx

Talking about the voices in my head

I don't know whether the voices that you are dealing with are the same as mine, but when I was having experiences like that, along with hallucinations and some really bizarre paranoid thoughts, they put me on atypical antipsychotics, and everything (voices included) shut up almost immediately. My behaviour settled down right away, as I wasn't being influenced by all these odd things any more. Good luck with your treatment - the DBT will help dramatically, I believe.

Thank you

I too have "hidden" the true extent of my situation from my beloved family for years now. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone. I wish you the very best.

Laura's story

I wish you the very best of luck. I had DBT and it changed my life-but you have to keep working at it, practising and utilising the skills you will learn. Your day service providers should be able to supplement and work with your DBT practitioner so that you get the most out of this and get living again!

Laura's blog

As the mother of someone who suffers from very severe depression with psychotic episodes, I would like to thank you for your courage in writing about your illness. I am delighted that you have had such strong support from medical professionals and do hope that you continue to make good progress on the road to recovery. Blogs are an excellent way of showing fellow sufferers that other people are going through the same anguish as they are. Thank you.

Thank you

Thank you for all your kind words, both here and on facebook and twitter, I've been so overwhelmed by people's kindness. I would wholeheartedly recommend writing a blog to anyone; it's quite a cathartic experience, and even though my blog is semi - anonymous, I do feel like I've taken the first step towards being more open and honest about my mental health. Ashleigh - I'm 28, so we aren't too different in age really; keep chipping away hun, you'll get there in the end. And anonymous? If you think it's me, please ask me - I honestly won't be offended, and it's quite easy to say, 'yeah that's my blog'. Thank you for your kind words. Laura

Thank you

Hey Laura I had the same experience at 28 - I'm 29 now, so still 'in it'. I might have written your blog - except instead of having intervention from the health services, I had a boyfriend who swooped in and decided to look after me. In hindsight that was a bad idea. I ended up with TWO breakdowns instead of one, the suicide attempt, the daily panic attacks, the massive weight loss, the intrusive thoughts which are just like someone screaming for your attention when you are halfway through doing something else. For me, and after a lot of time out, the thoughts happen, but it's not like they were - like being hit over the head. And they are slowly coming less frequently. I don't think I'll ever be entirely rid of them, but I think they will mostly go, it's just going to take time. I've got PTSD as a result of repeated and varied abuse in the last two years. That's what most of the thoughts are related to. I didn't have them before this! You mention that you started to slide after a life changing event. If you and I are on the same page, then all I can suggest is just take it easy. I had to learn it wasn't my fault - that I didn't fail, I'm not useless (there's that self-discrimination that so many talk about), I was put in impossible situations and expected to tolerate them. Hopefully, one day you'll suddenly realise that you haven't had an intrusive thought all day.

age dont matter

i am a man in his vintage years who suffered the same as laura over the years never knowing what the next days pain and suffering will bring ,wither i will in the house or in the hospital getting patched up again.laura's blog tells the story of all suffers of severe mental health suffers and there is a light at the end of the tunnel eventually.

Hiding from your family...

Hi Laura Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I have suffered with depression for years (I now realise back into childhood) but went dramatically downhill when I fell apart 4 years ago. For the last 18 months I've had voices too. Something I'm only just really coming to terms with. I have ardantly hidden my mental health problems from my family all along. I even hid the voices from my partner. I've told her now, and it feels like such a huge weight has been lifted. Just the pressure of not having to cover up my inability to focus on anything else when they're at their worse. It sounds like you have a good relationship with your GP - so take it a step at a time, do what you can, when you can. You're doing great. Take care and stay safe x

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