Living with Schizophrenia
- Hearing voices is commonly linked with schizophrenia. Yet treating the voices as a symptom rather than an experience can worsen the condition.
- For some patients, learning that these internal voices are a meaningful response to traumatic events from the past can facilitate healing.
- Society has a long way to go before it fully shakes the stigma associated with schizophrenia. One place to start is by asking not “what's wrong with you?” but rather “what's happened to you?”
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When I left home for the first time in 1999 to go to university, I was brimming with hope and optimism. I'd done well in school, expectations for me were high, and I gleefully entered the campus life of lectures and parties. To all appearances, I was a feisty, energetic and capable person with everything to hope for and aspire to.
Beneath that veneer, however, I was deeply unhappy, insecure and frightened—frightened of other people, of the future, of failure, of falling short of the punishingly high expectations that I had placed on myself. And, possibly most of all, I was frightened of the emptiness that I felt was inside me. I was skilled at hiding all this, of course. This aura of invulnerability I had created was so complete that I had even deceived myself. There was no way anyone could have predicted the catastrophe that was about to unfold.
This article was originally published with the title Listening to Voices.