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Does anyone have any direct experience of 'hearing voices'?

(13 Posts)
helptohelp Tue 07-Aug-07 22:19:23

I am a fairly regular poster but have name changed (badly!) as this isn't really my secret to be sharing but I do need some help.

My dp recently confessed to me that he hears voices and has done as long as he can remember, although he actually has very few childhood memories.

I have known he's been depressed to varying degrees for several years and we have had alot of problems, largely due to the issues he has from a very traumatic childhood event. But he has never told anyone about the voices until now. I really want to help him, I have offered to go with him to see a dr if he wants which he says he does.

We have talked about it a little and he's joked about it a couple of times! I am fascinated and bemused by it, I really want to understand but I don't think me asking a string of questions is what he needs from me.

I'm finding it hard to get my head around it all. Do I think of it as him and the voices are seperate entities or its all him or what?! How do I relate to this? I've personal experience of depression and alot of things but this is all new to me and I would really like some advice or just stories of other peoples experiences of this to help me understand it better.

I love him, this doesnt change how I feel about him infact it makes some things easier to understand, I've always said he was like 2 different people, 1 loving generous, caring wonderful man and 1 complete w#*ker! But I need help to get my head round it so I can help him as best I can.

tissy Tue 07-Aug-07 22:24:22

do the voices bother him, or does he just accept that they are there?

Hearing voices can be a sign of a psychiatric disorder, but only a small part of a much larger picture.

Without knowing what he hears, and what he thinks/ does about what he hears, it's difficult to come to any conclusions.

Does he want tyou to go to a doctor with him?

TotalChaos Tue 07-Aug-07 22:30:44

Yes. Every so often (says every few weeks) especially if overtired I hear voices (usually when in bed at night)- it's like I'm listening to somebody else's conversation - rather than feeling anyone is talking to me/suggesting I do something. Had this for donkeys years, it's never turned into anything more serious or particularlly bothered me. I've never bothered getting any "help" for this. I do have a history of depression, so possibly it's all connected.

saltire Tue 07-Aug-07 22:44:03

Last summer I went through a phase of hearing a voice. All it did was call ym name, I would then call downstairs and ask DH what he had called me for, only for him to reply that it wasn't him. Since we moved I haven't heard it though!
Sorry not much help am I?
Tissy is correct, it can be a sign of a physciatric disorder, perhaps he really needs you to go with him and see a specialist

helptohelp Tue 07-Aug-07 22:52:35

He says he does want to me to go to the dr with him but whether he actually will or not remains to be seen.

The voices do bother him. Says there are 4 or 5 of them all telling him different things. Not all the time but alot. He has conversations and arguments with them. When he's concentrating on something like watching tv they are not there. I think he has done things he doesnt want to because they have told him to. But not like they are telling him to do random things more everyday decisions and they will push him one way when he'd rather go another iyswim.

I have done some searching and read up on it a bit, I'm suprised by how common it is and how many sites, networks and organisations there are dedicated to voice hearing. This has reassured me somewhat I'm just not sure how to relate to it all.

summer111 Wed 08-Aug-07 10:18:19

If the voices are bothering him, there is help that he can get from either a Psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. There are alot of different theories about the voices - some professionals consider them to be the individuals inner voice coming out - a bit like the way you'd talk to yourself in your head, so to speak. They can also be regarded as a symptom of a more complex psychiatric condition. A psychiatrist may prescribe medication to alleviate these symptoms. If dh is clinically depressed, anti depressants may help lift his mood, a consequence of this may be that the voices then disappear/dissipate. Some people do not like the idea of taking medication or may suffer side effects of this which they find disaggreable. As an alternative, working with a clinical psychologist may help him to understand the root of his difficulties and he may learn how to control the voices. There are various techniques that can be learn to help manage the voices that you could suggest to him in the meantime, examples are:

Activity - occupying yourself with an activity when the voices are present can alleviate their effects
Postponement - telling the voices to leave until a later time in the day can also work well.
Distraction - some people can tune them out by listening to music on a personal stereo, if they are becoming irritating.

From what you have described, it seems like there are a number of issues that he could receive professional help and support with. The fact that he has now confided in you is really relevent as he trusts you and wants your support with this. I'm sure with a little encouragement, you'll be able to get him to see his GP as a first step, even if it means you having to make the initial appointment for him.

Best of luck.

helptohelp Wed 08-Aug-07 21:58:31

Thanks for that It does seem like it is just his inner voices, self doubts etc that we all have only he is hearing them literally. He has said that his ipod helps alot but he needs to get some new songs on as he's getting bored of the ones he's got so its not working so well. I think I'm gonna give him a little time to come to terms with someone else knowing and me talking to him about it and then bring up seeing a dr again, even if its just to get a referral for the depression at first.

I was really hoping there would be someone who actually hears these sort of voices thermselves or who has experienced it with a member of family or close friend or the like who could help me understand the realities of what its like for him. Although last night he said to keep asking questions as although he feels abit annoyed at the time afterwards he really does feel like its helped so hopefully can continue to talk about it with him and it should help us both.

madamez Wed 08-Aug-07 23:00:12

I have had the occaisional spell of it, usually when very tired (does your DP have any sleep issues?) There are theories to the effect that iimaginative and creative people hear voices and accept them as their own imaginations in overdrive - equally, certain belief systems regard hearing voices as a sign of psychic powers. I'm an atheist, but if you and your DP both have beliefs that could accomodate the idea of his voices as psychic abilities, consulting a psychic might provide another way of coming to terms with and controlling the voices (many psychics are perfectly sincere and can offer a coping strategy that does no harm and enables the voice-hearer to live comfortably with the symptoms). If both of you are atheists, though, don't go down this route as it will anoy you to no purpose. Of course auditory hallucinations can be a symptom of psychological disorders that may well respond to the correct medication so if they are causing him distress it's a good idea to consult a doctor.

helptohelp Wed 08-Aug-07 23:23:57

Hi madamez. I have seen a tarot reader in the past (set up by my mum), not really a believer but found her very helpful at giving insight into my relationships, felt more like counselling only more useful than any proper psychiatric help I've ever had! Not sure how dp would feel, probably not his thing but then he always surprises me so who knows.

He is permanently tired rreally, works nights and before that worked shifts that alternated weekly so sleep pattern all to hell. Says he slepps so they go away but some nights/days he cant sleep as they keep him awake.

I see pain as colours, always have and always used to think it was normal. Im kind of seeing this as similar - he hears feelings as voices iyswim. Although his is obviously more serious and a problem but similar in being just the way our brains process things. But as he is depressed and has very low self esteem and is very insecure then these are the voices he is hearing as these are his feelings.

Although I am aware that it can be a sign of something more serious, I'm not really being as naive and making light of it as much as it may seem but will cross that if we come to it, atm will assume it is not. But he has just agreed to go to the dr with me once children back at school so we can go together without them, as long as i do all the talking!

madamez Wed 08-Aug-07 23:49:56

HtH, well my worst bouts of voice-hearing were when I was doing shift-work and was very sleep-deprived, so I reckon that's probably a huge contributing factor to what's happening to your DP. FWIW I think that a fair number of tarot readers, psychics etc, provide caring counselling at low prices, which makes their clients feel better and does no harm, so therefore I don't see anything wrong with that (psychics who charge huge sums of money and advise people to stop taking their medication or make huge life changes against other advice are a different matter).

bumptobabies Thu 09-Aug-07 00:32:58

Hello, i in mental health at a homely crisis house in north london, people come with varying degrees of wellbeing and if your partner needs an opurtunity to work with the voices let me know it is free and we can work on stratagies re the voices and he dosnt need to even have a diagnosis the house works in preventing crisis too and we accept people from all over the country. one of the best ways of working with voices is to acknowlage them and ask himself on a scale of 1-10 how loud are they today, maybe keep a diary of particular triggers eg lack of sleep poor diet. there are hearing voices groups, im at work this wkend (the house is only open wkends) ill try and find out some more info.
try not to worry they dont have to dominate.
we are a service offfered by barnet voice if you want to look up online called kaya house

summer111 Thu 09-Aug-07 10:16:22

You asked about the reality of hearing voices for your dh. I'm a mental health professional and have run hearing voices groups for clients in the past. As you can imagine, it's a complex subject but if you were to imagine yourself having a conversation with someone and another person was constantly whispering in your ear, that's what it can feel quite a distraction. Voices can be 'good' or 'bad', so the effects of these are therfore dependent on what type of voices someone expereinces. I've had clients who have heard very positive and complimentary voices which has resulted in them being very happy for them to remain. Others expereince their voices saying negative things to them which in turn can be quite distressing. If the voices are there constantly, they can impact on someone's concentration and therfore effect their ability to focus on daily activities - they can be so real that clients respond verbally to them in a conversation so to speak.
It's great that you have both agreed o speak to the GP in September. I do think some professional help will be helpful but be very cautious about seeing someone who isn't properly qualified to deal with this subject, given it's complexity.

summer111 Thu 09-Aug-07 10:18:03

please excuse my typos, I must learn to preview my messages and improve my typing skills!!

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