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Faith
Happy Holly Days


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I thought Voices in head "normal" was a fascinating and eye opening article.

quote:

Hearing voices in your head is so common that it is normal, psychologists believe.
Dutch findings suggest one in 25 people regularly hears voices.

Contrary to traditional belief, hearing voices is not necessarily a symptom of mental illness, UK researchers at Manchester University say.

Indeed, many who hear voices do not seek help and say the voices have a positive impact on their lives, comforting or inspiring them.


It certainly challenges my view of such voices. I would be fascinated to hear about anyone's experiences with benign voices, what they say, and what impact this might have on your worldview.

By the way, I am aware that the subject matter might lend itself to humourous responses. As this might inhibit people from sharing their stories, can I make a plea in advance for people not to chip in with gags? Thanks.

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Mr. Billion
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I think Socrates said on several occasions that he heard the voice of a god talking to him and warning him away from foolish decisions, though he may have meant it metaphorically. He said when he was being executed for being a smartass that the god wasn't warning him away from allowing himself to be killed because standing up for his principles required taking the heat in this case.

quote:
Hearing voices in your head is so common that it is normal, psychologists believe.

Dutch findings suggest one in 25 people regularly hears voices.

That seems contradictory. If only 4% of people experience this, it's not really that normal.

quote:
Ms Campbell said: "It doesn't seem to be hearing voices in itself that causes the problem.

"What seems to be more important is how people go on to interpret the voices."

That seems to make sense. As long as the person doesn't actually believe that the voices are some sort of external communication, it's not likely to be harmful.

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Minstrel gone caroling
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All right. I'm in the 4%, and have been since I was a kid. Usually my "voices" wordlessly sing rather than telling me anything, though. The very rare occasions they have spoken have been warnings. Apparently I just have a very musical subconscious. I rather like it; it's never been distracting because I can tune it out or turn it off if I need. Though it was an odd realization when I was about 4 or so to be informed that not everyone has an internal soundtrack. (It's not an all-the-time thing by any means; it's actually fairly rare.)

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Miles Invictus
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When you hear voices, do you literally hear them?
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BlueStar
Happy Holly Days


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I do remember a quip of something along the lines of "Why when people hear voices do they tell them to do things like kill prostitutes? Why not "Hey, why don't you go help the missus with the dishes?"

Guess it's probably that we only really hear about it when the "voices" have been blamed for something newsworthy.

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Pseudo_Croat
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Sometimes I hear music in my head, and sometimes I think I hear my mom or my dad calling my name. Does this count as "hearing voices"?

- Pseudo "do you hear what I hear?" Croat

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Richard W
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Very occasionally I've heard a sudden burst of loud music when I'm drifting off to sleep. It's kind of the aural equivalent of that "tripping up" thing.
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Phaedra
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Faith. I think there is a distinct difference between the internal dialogue that goes on in my head a lot of the time and a voice that seems to be 'other' than myself.
For instance I might become aware of asking myself do you really want to do this?...or how do you feel about that? or castigating myself in my head for being a twit about something or saying what the hell I'm going to do it anyway. This is different from the odd occasion when I've heard a voice that I don't identify as me.

I remember the first time it happened I was walking through town with a lot on my mind and a heavy heart. My internal dialogue was a bit persecutory and going along the lines of I'm so this or I'm so that. From nowhere I heard a deep male voice say "and you don't have to be like that". It shocked me so much I stopped dead in my tracks and caused a bit of a people pile up behind me.
It was a very odd experience. I heard the voice but I also felt it resonate from deep inside so it's hard to describe. The first time was about ten years ago and it's happened no more than five times since. On each occasion I'd been feeling very stressed.

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Troberg
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Finally, it's clear that it's normal. At last I can listen to the voices and go up on the roof with a sniper rifle! [Smile]

I don't hear voices, but occasionally a thought hits me that does not feel like it's originating from me, usually with a completely different angle on a problem than my ordinary thoughts. Usually, it's a brilliant thought, so I just chalk it up to inspiration due some neurons who havn't previously met suddenly shaking hands.

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Learning to live with the voices.

I went out with someone once who regularly listened to voices in her head that were not her own, she said they were mostly benign, but sometime critical and nagging - my conscience nags at me, but I can't imagine being nagged at internally by anything other than my own thoughts.

Troberg - I think the idea was to withhold the gags/stereotypes [Wink]

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Troberg
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quote:
Troberg - I think the idea was to withhold the gags/stereotypes
It was not me, the voices told me to write that!

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/Troberg

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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OP:

quote:
By the way, I am aware that the subject matter might lend itself to humourous responses. As this might inhibit people from sharing their stories, can I make a plea in advance for people not to chip in with gags? Thanks
Troberg, are you being deliberately obtuse, or...?

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Faith
Happy Holly Days


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Minstrel & Phaedra,

Thankyou for sharing your firsthand experiences. They are fascinating. Like Jay, I find it difficult to make the mental leap to truly imagine what that must be like. Although I imagine it must be like Minstrel says - you never know anything different.

The closest I come to hearing voices is that I replay and imagine conversations I've had/ would like to have with people. I do that pretty much all the time I'm not speaking or playing music in my head.

ETA: Jay, thanks. To be honest, although I dearly hoped otherwise, I feared someone would do this. I just hope the comments don't offend anyone who has shared their experience.

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Brad from Georgia
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I hear music and there's no one there, but I'm not sick.

Brad "I'm just in love" from Georgia

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Llewtrah
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The only time I heard voices was during a bad trip on super-skunk in Amsterdam. Although I knew what was happening (there were 2 voices arguing in a paranoid fashion and the rational "me" was a listener), I disliked it enough to quit the wacky-baccy.

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robbiev - singin' off key
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I was under the impression that most everyone heard voices in their head (as in, when you "think" you hear the words. Just as a random example, if I'm walking down the street and I see a really nice Corvette, I think, "I'd like to have that."

I was told one time by a friend who is a phycol...psycol...head doctor that the difference between a normal person and a ummm...less then normal person is a normal person knows it's just voices in the head and someone who is a sociopath or has other problems thinks the voices are real, almost as if someone was physically standing there talking.

A better example is when I get mad at someone, I might think, "I'd like to kill them," but a sociopathic murderer might think that same thing and really think someone was telling him to kill the person, and might try to kill them.

But then again, that's just something someone told me.

Robbie -now where did I put that rifle?- V

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Midgard_Dragon
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I think there's a difference, robbiev. Everyone has an internal dialogue with themselves, but people with mental disorders hear voices, and other people, talking in their head, not just their own internal dialogue. At least, that was my understanding.

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Elwood
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When playing music live, I used to hear instruments and parts that weren't there. I mean I actually heard a string section or an extra guitar, not just imagined it. I think it might have stemmed from working on arrangements mentally where eventually my mind starting doing its own, indistinguisable from what I would have formerly simply imagined.

Now that I'm on anti-psychotic medication, the imaginary instruments are gone unless I deliberate create them, but there's definitely a part of me that misses fullness of how music used to sound. It feels like a part of myself is lost, rather than clarity of thought gained.

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Minstrel gone caroling
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Miles Invictus:
When you hear voices, do you literally hear them?

That's hard to explain. With me it's got all the same qualities of actual aural stimuli, except for not coming in through my ears. Maybe my subconscious is poking at whatever part of my brain processes sound.

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Canuckistan
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Very occasionally I've heard a sudden burst of loud music when I'm drifting off to sleep.

That happens to me once in a while, too. It's only when I'm aware of it that it goes away, though. I always thought it was rather cool.

I've only ever heard voices proper once, but I was on medication at the time, so I figured it must be that.

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Izzy Quigley
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I don't physically hear voices, but I almost constantly have conversations and play out dialogues in my head, almost without realizing that I'm doing it. I'm a writer, so I always sort of thought of it as "internalized writing."

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diehard
Deck the Malls


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I used to hear voices it wasn't good though as the article said that Faith linked to, it was at an extremely difficult time in my life. I was being treated for all forms of abuse by a neighbor and it was overwhelming I was suicidal and couldn't sleep they were so loud. The voices were as if someone inside was talking to me, I had no controal I had to seek help they were taking over my life. I am now on several psych meds and in therapy, no I do not have schizophrenia but the bad voices are now gone and I am now stable. But I do hear regular voices and music now and don't feel threatened by it, it feels as if it is not only coming from inside but as if someone is calling me at times or a raido is on when no one is around.

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Llewtrah
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quote:
Originally posted by Canuckistan:
quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Very occasionally I've heard a sudden burst of loud music when I'm drifting off to sleep.

That happens to me once in a while, too. It's only when I'm aware of it that it goes away, though. I always thought it was rather cool.

I've only ever heard voices proper once, but I was on medication at the time, so I figured it must be that.

Some dreams involve hallucinations either before (hypnogogic) or after the dream (hypnopompic). hallucinations include hearing, smelling, seeing and tasting things. Usually these only last a few seconds but can continue for longer and sometimes you can prolong this state deliberately (I've managed to - and that feels really cool, but I wish I could record the music!).

Hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are quite normal. I've heard full orchestral scores while drfting into and out of sleep. Other times I've heard someone speaking my name. Some people wake up, convinced a family member is calling them.

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strange_little_girl
The First USA Noel


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How do other people experience thoughts if not through some kind of internal dialogue? How do other people manage to read if they dont hear the words being spoken to them?

Yes, I hear voices. The only time they have came from external sources was when I was severely stressed or sleep deprived.

Most of the time the internal voices are totally normal. Other times, theres so many or they get so loud that they are intrusive and frightening. I've heard that dialouging with the voices can be a usefull form of therapy but personally I prefer chlopromazine in low doses to quieten them down but over the years have done loads of self destructive things to get them to go away.

I dont have schizohrenia and am not psychotic. A psychiatrist said once it was pseudopsychosis when you heard voices but knew they were not from some external entity.

THis has been a difficult post to write as I generally keep this kind of thing hidden from the people around me, but if people keep their experiences hidden the stigma will never go.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by strange_little_girl:
How do other people experience thoughts if not through some kind of internal dialogue? How do other people manage to read if they dont hear the words being spoken to them?

I don't always think in words. As for reading, I don't read individual words -- I read sentences, sometimes paragraphs.

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I'mNotDedalus
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Based on the amount of time I've been studied by and/or been immersed in the field of psychiatry/psychology, I can offer these failing anecdotal plots and opinions, but I must stress that I'd never want them to be viewed as empirical data of any kind.

I've never met an institutionalized patient who had any sort of “benign” experience with auditory hallucinations or any other such symptom of schizophrenia. I’m a bit curious, though: if an individual was seeking a medical consultation for “benign” symptoms (music playing, flashes of sound upon falling asleep), the doctor would be forced to ask, "Are your symptoms, in fact, 'benign' if you're here? If you're in my office, does this suggest that these symptoms are interfering with your day-to-day conduct?"

Of course, based on my own ill-founded frustrations, I'd bet that more than a few psychiatrists would gladly take this patient's money and prescribe the leading anti-anxiety or anti-psychotic that any of the local Drug Reps have supplied abundant samples of during the weekly lunch conference. Wait, do you have insurance? This is a childish response to the field; nevertheless, my symptoms are not benign and I acquiesce to the treatments, as I can no longer sustain a life that keeps me locked in my room for three months at a time, living in fear of my family, mirrors, driving, "strangers," "the neighbors," etc.

Schizophrenia is a gambler’s trap. You're always playing the odds against rationality: "I suppose there's a 0.0013% chance that my parents are slowly poisoning me each night at dinner." Or: "By quantum standards, Hollywood may have hidden cameras in the bathroom mirror for the entire Western World to view my nakedness. A 0.0000002% shot... 0.0000001% if I include the Eastern block." Any voice in this context is an external alien who affirms the irrational bet, making a marked point of you informing no one of your statistical discoveries.

People ask what the auditory hallucinations sound like, I suspect, because we all fear being out of our faculties (though few do foolishly romanticize this experience). After all, we each only know our own minds, what our internal monologues sound like, how our thought patterns progress or digress. And when faced with tragedies of our own making, there is much sense in questioning the cards your mind is holding. Psychiatry’s only honest aim is to aid those people who have genetically & behaviorally developed patterns of thought that inhibit conduct; keep them from living their lives (of course, there are rival schools that first place the blame on behavior, etc.)

This subjective analysis of conduct, of “mentally sound” lives, frustrates me to no end. I’ll moan, "How do you take relative fruitfulness into account!?!" or “Out East, they'll tell ya' all life is suffering, schizophrenic or not!” and spilling my spoiled brat yoke, generally end with: "You people know less about the human mind than the entire scientific community knows about black holes!"--Which an argument could be made for, in our present—especially when you’re being paraded in front of a group of kid doctors, in their late-twenties, who have read less about the subject than you have. There is some relief in James D. Watson's remark that the science of the 21st Century will most likely reap the largest discoveries about the human brain/consciousness.

But returning to the secondary question of what auditory hallucinations "sound" like, or how do you distinguish them from "normal" thought discussions. The only akin analogy I can find is during the experience of reading. When reading Dante or Blake or Dickinson, their images will strike your mind so vividly: How did they get there? One moment, there was your own life; the next, an alien source has injected its show onto your conscious memory screen. An invasion from an exterior source, but still human in its root. This is a description I've devised whilst medicated. When I'm off, though, it simply isn't an experience you detail in such a manner. You're just accepting the odds and the pokes at that time.

I think that bears repeating: for the most part, when I’m off medication, I’m accepting these visual and auditory delusions. There’s no rational analysis on my part, no differentiation with the “medicated” me (who I’ll largely trick myself into believing as the real “sick” me). And when I am medicated, I tend not to spend much time dwelling on the symptoms, as this new fangled reality proves to be horribly confusing and frightening.

In the end, the personal experience of schizophrenia is only just half of issue: there is the stigma of being labeled as one and having people know (of course, the illness jumps in and tells you that everyone knows, nay, knew from the get-go and they're all watching your every move, don't move! Don't you move, motherf*cker! For your transgressions, you're only allowed 16 footsteps a day, in your room, and if you’re good by week's end, you get three more, etc.)

Look, I rarely talk about this with anyone, and I'm divulging this in the context of this thread's conversation for the benefit, I suppose, of distinguishing between a wonderfully active imagination/subconscious and the jellied prison your mind has the potential to become, given the right recipe.

Poof!

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Troberg, are you being deliberately obtuse, or...?
I'm sorry, I was on a roll and tried to brush it off with a joke. It was bad taste. Will not happen again.

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/Troberg

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frogpond
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quote:
Originally posted by Llewtrah:
quote:
Originally posted by Canuckistan:
quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Very occasionally I've heard a sudden burst of loud music when I'm drifting off to sleep.

That happens to me once in a while, too. It's only when I'm aware of it that it goes away, though. I always thought it was rather cool.

I've only ever heard voices proper once, but I was on medication at the time, so I figured it must be that.

Some dreams involve hallucinations either before (hypnogogic) or after the dream (hypnopompic). hallucinations include hearing, smelling, seeing and tasting things. Usually these only last a few seconds but can continue for longer and sometimes you can prolong this state deliberately (I've managed to - and that feels really cool, but I wish I could record the music!).

Hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are quite normal. I've heard full orchestral scores while drfting into and out of sleep. Other times I've heard someone speaking my name. Some people wake up, convinced a family member is calling them.

I have these sort of hallucinations every once in a while - usually when I've been napping in the middle of the day. What is really bizarre about the experiences to me is that part of my brain thinks someone is really in the room speaking to me, and part of my brain realizes that it is a hallucination at the exact same time. I don't understand how my mind does this!

I did have to phone my sister after one of these episodes because part of me was just certain that she had been in my house calling for me. I knew it was irrational but couldn't help it.

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jw
The First USA Noel


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I've never heard 'voices' in my head, but 2 members of my family experienced levels of MD bordering on schizophrenia, mainly from reacting to compelling 'voices' they heard. They both required hospitalisation and medication to aid their bodies reaction to these experiences. They were also in danger of self-harm.
No-one can say for sure whether it was right or wrong to drug them to help them 'recover', for the want of a better word. They both still hear 'voices' but try to ignore them.
It seems to me to be a very fine line between hearing benign or malignant voices that trigger mental instability.

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On my old guitar sell tickets, so someone can finally pick it.

Posts: 799 | From: Dublin, Ireland | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
robbiev - singin' off key
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
I think there's a difference, robbiev. Everyone has an internal dialogue with themselves, but people with mental disorders hear voices, and other people, talking in their head, not just their own internal dialogue. At least, that was my understanding.

"Internal dialog" is a better term.

This particular guy was actually referring to the internal dialog you/we are talking about.

He was saying that everyone hears it, but a person with a mental disorder doesn't understand that it is "internal dialog" and not actually someone or something actually speaking, although he did also say someone with a problem probably hears more than a "normal" person.

However, even though this guy is a psychiatrist, I assume that was just his opinion, so it sure doesn't mean it's right.

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Every time I see a good looking woman, I think, "0oooh. There's another one I'll never have!"

Corvette. The louder you scream, the faster I'll go.

Posts: 1820 | From: Memphis, TN | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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When I was suffering from severe depression, I did hear "external" voices. By external, I mean I knew they came from inside my head, but I felt like my brain was split in two. There was a good part and a bad part, and when I suffered a mood swing or massive depression, the bad part would take over. I actually pictured it as a blackness in my mind and a hollowness in my bones. During these episodes I would hear a voice telling me how bad I was and how ugly I was. It would tell me I was worthless and didn't deserve anything. If I caught myself being happy, it would scold me. If I felt desperate with no way out, it would encourage suicide. (I don't remember the exact words the voices would use, although I used to.) If you've ever read I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, I think the voices I heard were kind of like the ones the girl in the book hears. I often agreed with the voices, but sometimes I said "No, no, you're wrong, it can't be this way." (I responded in my thoughts.)

Eventually the voices just disappeared as my despression lessened. I haven't heard them for several years. I now know that the voices were probably a form of internal dialogue that I used to convince myself I was worthless. Since I no longer believe that, the voices have disappeared. For several years now, I've allowed myself to be happy and I know I have a right to be happy and enjoy myself.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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emmastarr
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I occasionally hear voices which I experience as if I were hearing someone actually speak, i.e it only becomes clear they are in my head through the context of nobody being present who could have said such a thing.(my psychiatrist desribes this as being "quasi-psychotic" whatever that means)

In my experinece as a mental health worker people experience them in a myriad different ways. I know people who can't function when on psychotropic meds because their voices structure the whole day for them.

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Nion
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by robbiev - singin' off key:
quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
I think there's a difference, robbiev. Everyone has an internal dialogue with themselves, but people with mental disorders hear voices, and other people, talking in their head, not just their own internal dialogue. At least, that was my understanding.

"Internal dialog" is a better term.

This particular guy was actually referring to the internal dialog you/we are talking about.

He was saying that everyone hears it, but a person with a mental disorder doesn't understand that it is "internal dialog" and not actually someone or something actually speaking, although he did also say someone with a problem probably hears more than a "normal" person.

However, even though this guy is a psychiatrist, I assume that was just his opinion, so it sure doesn't mean it's right.

Yay! I'm normal!

I talk in my head all the time. Makes for great problem solving. I like to analyze things in my head. I don't get to talk much at work, and thinking about anything and everything can help 9 1/2 hours go by much quicker!

[slight hijack]
I have the ability to play songs, sometimes entire songs, in my head. There are even times when some sort of event or experience in life will trigger a song to play in my head. I've asked a couple people if they can/do the same thing and they just look at me like I'm weird. Can/does anyone else do this? Just curious.
[/slight hijack]

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It can't rain all the time.

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diehard
Deck the Malls


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Originally posted by Cervus:
quote:
When I was suffering from severe depression, I did hear "external" voices. By external, I mean I knew they came from inside my head, but I felt like my brain was split in two. There was a good part and a bad part, and when I suffered a mood swing or massive depression, the bad part would take over. I actually pictured it as a blackness in my mind and a hollowness in my bones. During these episodes I would hear a voice telling me how bad I was and how ugly I was. It would tell me I was worthless and didn't deserve anything. If I caught myself being happy, it would scold me. If I felt desperate with no way out, it would encourage suicide.


Cervus did you feel as it was as if you were disassociating? Sometimes that's what happened to me when the voices were extreme. I actually did hurt myself and ended up hospitalized they were very hard to try to controal.

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Daddy "You are my "Special Angel" 1942-1999"

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Chickee Daizy
Live and Let Madai


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Very occasionally I've heard a sudden burst of loud music when I'm drifting off to sleep. It's kind of the aural equivalent of that "tripping up" thing.

This happens to me too, almost every night! And that I know of, I've never met anyone else (in real life) that does this.

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Some people are like slinkies...They don't really have a purpose, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.

Posts: 907 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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