I still don’t understand exactly what the voices in my head are. I only hear them a few times a year when I’m under extreme stress, and usually when I’m exhausted. I’m aware they are coming from inside of me, but they are never the sound of my own voice.
Recently, in search of answers I became captivated by Eleanor Longden, who gave me a new perspective in her Tedtalk. While I may not have gained a full understanding, I have more compassion for myself and less fear of the voices. The video is fascinating whether you have auditory hallucinations or not; her unique interpretations of the purpose of voices and her resulting conclusions about how we should treat all humans are inspirational.
Sometimes my brain creates images for the voices. I am a visual thinker, and it helps me focus on the message and not the fear.
Several months ago, exhausted and on the verge of sleep, I was startled by a male voice warning me graciously, “You are going to die tonight.”
I propped my head up, trying to discern if it was a dream. I could “sense” him four feet to the right of the side of my bed; he was wearing a suit, and was quite dignified.
“Oh shit,” I thought, “I should probably clean my house.”
I was so exhausted, would it be okay if I just died with this pile of laundry at the foot of my bed? He delivered the message again.
“You are going to die tonight.”
My heart started to race. I thought about my daughter sleeping two rooms away. This can’t be true, I decided, it must be my brain sending a message to add something to my diet other than grilled cheese sandwiches. Or to lift weights heavier than the remote control.
A few moments passed, and he relented, “Okay, maybe tomorrow.”
I let my shoulders slump back down into the bed and my body relaxed. If I die in my sleep, I thought, there’s nothing much I can do about it anyway. If by chance I get another day for final gestures, I’ll take it. Even the voices tease me about my procrastination. I fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning I didn’t forget to appreciate that I was here, breathing and laughing. I thought of my friends who aren’t so fortunate – whose voices are much more menacing and persistent – and I wished for them to have more peace. I said a special thank you for those who loved me. I also jogged and ate fruit instead of cheese and carbs; the guy was wearing a suit after all, the least I could do was consume another food group while wearing jogging attire best reserved for my indoor treadmill. It’s a start.