Why Do I Hear Voices
Did you know that up to one in ten people hear voices? It’s not as rare as you may think and can result from stress, exhaustion, drug abuse or mental illness. Hearing voices due to mental illness means that you may have been diagnosed with a mental health issue such as schizophrenia or bipolar. However, some people choose not to identify with their diagnosis instead of accepting the voices as an extension of themselves. Whether you decide to recognise hearing voices as a mental health issue or not, it is worth considering talking to someone about the voices to understand why you hear them.
Mental health professionals may refer to ‘hearing voices’ as ‘auditory hallucinations.’ However, referring to the voices as a ‘hallucination’ is a reminder that what you are hearing is not real, existing only in your mind and therefore can be something to overcome if you wish to seek help in expelling these voices.
Different types of voices
There are many different types of auditory hallucinations, including:
- People talking to you
- People talking about you
- Hearing music
- Hearing animal sounds
- Hearing background noises – background chatter
Some people may find the voices in their head comforting, and the voices may help you stay in touch with your emotions, keep you on track and represent a familiar presence that guides them through day-to-day life.
However, other people may experience negative emotions through the voices they hear. For example, they may encourage them to hurt themselves or others or making cruel comments toward yourself or other people. Either way, this is highly upsetting, and those who suffer a negative impact upon their lives due to voices must seek professional help. These voices may become more upsetting and hurtful in difficult times and under stress. Understanding how to block out these voices in stressful situations is essential to protect yourself and others.
Managing the voices
Whilst some people can manage the voices; they may never go completely. However, finding coping methods may help in the long term, as you come to understand why you hear them and build a positive relationship between yourself and the voices.
- Understanding the voices will help you feel more in control, allowing you to recognise when they are causing problems in your life. Once you can identify these moments, you develop the power to stand up to them and create a healthier relationship.
- Take control. Try blocking them out by listening to music, exercising or cooking. Try out a few new distractions to see what works best for you. Allow yourself time to listen to the voices and focus only on the ones that make you feel happier. Focusing on what brings you joy allows you to put your thoughts into context; a power that not many people have.
- Talk to someone who understands, whether that be someone else who hears voices or a professional therapist. Talking aloud about what you hear in a non-judgemental zone is an excellent way to gain perspective on what and why you hear things. You will also feel more accepted and comfortable by admitting to what you hear and increasing your self-esteem! Resulting in a positive outlook on life and hopefully positive voices.
- Take care of yourself! Try to focus on getting a good night sleep and a complete balanced diet. Looking after yourself on the inside is vital in keeping your moods stable and maintaining a positive outlook on life. Taking the time to relax is also crucial in maintaining your mental health and reducing stress and anxiety.
As well as following the above steps, you may want to consult a therapist to help you overcome the voices and guide you on your journey to managing them. Consulting a therapist like myself is a great way to learn what strategies would work best for you, therefore targeting the voices more effectively. In a 2015 survey, it was found that only 16% of those experiencing auditory hallucinations sought professional help, and those who did not seek out help underwent far more traumatic life experiences and had a negative experience with the voices they were hearing than those who spoke to a professional.
If you want to understand the voices and change your outlook on life to be more positive, please don’t hesitate to contact me today to book in for an in-person or online appointment. I can help you learn to live with the voices and transform them into a support guide to a positive lifestyle.