All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

It’s hard for people to understand what it’s like to hear voices

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Vanessa has been raging hard today. There’s barely been a minute that she hasn’t been assaulting me with her unique brand of vicious abuse. One moment I’m the most useless human being to have ever lived, the next, I’m the most pointless human being to have ever lived. I should kill myself. I should carve wanker, evil fiend and bumder into my flesh. I’m weak. Pathetic. Worthless. I’m insignificant. Mediocre. Wretched. On an on, over an over, her abuse has slowly been driving me to despair.

She gets like this from time to time. And when she is like this there is nothing I can do to counteract it. There’s no amount of ignoring, there’s no amount of distraction, that will make a difference. I just have to put up with her. I just have to listen to her. On and on, over and over, her relentless, unending abuse slowly driving me to complete insanity.

It’s hard for people to understand what it’s like to hear voices. It’s hard for people to grasp the endless, ongoing quest for a tiny scrap of peace. I have four people, four unique voices, four virtual human beings, talking to me twenty-four hours a day. They never stop. They never give up. They just keep endlessly prattling on, vying for attention, vying for prominence, vying for affection. And when they’re like this, it is devastating.

Deep down I know I’m not useless, I know I’m not worthless, weak, pathetic, mediocre or wretched. I know that I’m not an evil fiend. But when they’re like this. When Vanessa is this loud, this repetitive, I have to stop and question her validity. I have to question whether or not she is right, because it’s all I’m being told. Usually I have Meadhbh to help me fight her, usually I have Meadhbh on my side, but today, Vanessa has been too dominant. She has eclipsed all other voices and subjected me to an endless, ongoing stream of continuous, vicious, abuse.

It has affected everything I’ve done today. Listened to the radio; I can barely hear it she’s so loud. I went for a walk; but that only triggered her more. When I watched a movie; she just interrupted at every opportunity, unrelenting in her quest to destroy me, to make me question everything I believe about myself. Everything I’ve done, from housework to prattling about the unit, has been scored by this incessant, ongoing soundtrack of hateful words, abusive outbursts and vicious attacks. Even now, as I valiantly try to type these words, she keeps hurling insults in my general direction. Attacking everything from the way I type to the words I choose to use. Everything analysed. Everything critiqued. Not a moment missed to abuse me. It’s just who she is. It’s just what I have to put up with, day-in, day-out.

And it’s on days like these that make me hate my voices. That makes me want to medicate them into oblivion. It’s pointless to talk to Vanessa, to reason and rationalize with her, because she never gives any leeway, she never wants to stop abusing. Meadhbh is different. She is conducive to change. She listens to me. Takes into account how I’m feeling. She is able to communicate with me in ways that Vanessa isn’t. Vanessa just attacks. That’s all she does. Whenever she talks to me it’s just insult after attack after abuse after criticism. When Meadhbh talks to me it’s different. It’s a two-way conversation. That’s how I wish it was with Vanessa. I wish we were able to communicate, to move past the abuse, to have some form of dialogue and discussion. But she doesn’t want to. She chooses not to.

I know deep down that Vanessa is linked to my PTSD. She is, after all, the voice of my abuser. She speaks to me in the way my abuser used to speak to me. With that same condescending, superior tone. She believes she’s better than me, that she knows the real me; exactly as my abuser used to think. I know that when my PTSD is triggered, Vanessa is too. The two go hand in hand together. They live off each other. Grow stronger off each other. But there’s little I can do with this knowledge; there’s no answer, no easy option to sever the connection between the two. Either one of PTSD or Vanessa is bad enough, but both together is destructive, potentially mortally so. When Vanessa is in full swing, as she’s been today, it would be all too easy to slash my wrists on her command. Just to get her to shut up. Just to get that sliver of peace I so desire.

But I don’t. I don’t slash my wrists. I don’t carve words into my flesh. I just put up with her. I just try to get on with my day, to concentrate on the next activity, whilst listening to this endless stream of abusive content being hurled in my direction. If people knew what I put up with. If they knew what it was like to hear voices, how loud they can be, how ceaseless in their efforts to undermine me, they would be astounded. They would realise just how strong I am. But they don’t. Instead they look at me as if I’m mad, as if I’m insane. He hears voices, they say, he’s a fucking nutcase, they say. But I’m not. I just hear voices, an experience that 4-10% of the population share. It doesn’t make me insane; it just makes me human.

So with Vanessa being as prominent as she has been, my day has been wasted. All I’ve done is listen to her whilst trying to ignore her. The movie I watched slipped away from me, the radio has blathered to itself and my housework errands were given up on. It’s just been Vanessa and me today. The double act of abuser-victim; of victim-abuser. And it’s been exhausting. Hopefully tomorrow she will calm down. Hopefully tomorrow she will realise that this incessant critiquing of my life, of my being, is utterly pointless and will lead to nothing but ruin. But deep down I know that’s what she wants; to ruin me. To destroy me. So all I can hope for is that if it continues, if this repeats itself tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, I will be strong enough to counteract her commands. That I will find the strength to keep on fighting as best as I can.

Note: all songs featured in this post were chosen by Vanessa. My valiant attempt to placate her; to give me one moment of peace.

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5 thoughts on “It’s hard for people to understand what it’s like to hear voices

  1. Do not believe Vanessa. Believe what you and I know deep down.

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    • Although it’s difficult sometimes, I never really believe anything Vanessa has to say. I know the sort of person she is and what she’s trying to do.

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  2. This was really interesting. Out of curiosity how do you pronounce Meadhbh? Also you mentioned four voices, who are the other two and what are they like? – Please don’t feel obliged if you don’t wish to answer. I’m just a curious cucumber! :D xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meadhbh is pronounced as Marie. It’s the Scottish Gaelic spelling of the name and is a name (and spelling) that Meadhbh is very proud of. She loves that it reflects her Scottish heritage, and relishes in the fact that hardly anyone knows how to pronounce it without asking! :)

      Meadhbh is my primary voice. She’s been talking to me since I was thirteen years old. She’s in her late teens and loves (amongst other things) dragons, the fantasy genre, The Legend of Zelda video games, animated movies in general and Disney, especially the Tinkerbell/Fairies franchise as she looks like one of the characters. She’s a fairly intelligent person and loves winding me up, but in a playful/mateship way rather than an abusive winding up. She was quite abusive for a while (between 2007-2013) but she’s reverted back to being the supportive, friendly voice she was during my teenage years.

      The other voices I hear are Audrey and Vanessa, who are both in the early twenties. Vanessa is the voice of the woman who abused me and is pretty much always vicious, cruel and abusive when she talks to me. She has her moments when she’s subdued, but they’re few and far between. She loves musical theater, Harry Potter and the Nintendo video game Super Smash Bros. Audrey is a strange beast. She is sometimes supportive and kind, sometimes cruel and abusive. On the whole, these days, she is a supportive voice but she can get really vicious when she wants to be. She loves literature, the arts, painting and political debate. She also loves it when I read to her, which I’ve recently started doing again after over a year of not reading. I don’t have a good relationship with Vanessa at all, due to her abusive mentality, but my relationship with Audrey has been improving over the years to the point I enjoy spending time with her.

      My fourth voice – and only male voice – is Shay. He’s a prick. Really, truly and honestly. He’s very arrogant, very misogynistic and so full of himself it drives me nuts. We have so little in common that we don’t have a very meaningful relationship and I rarely spend time with him like I do the girls. He just bellows away from time to time, telling me what I should be thinking, telling me what I should be doing, and there’s no debate or argument about it. I must do these things and there’s hell to pay if I don’t.

      I introduced my voices to my blog a few years ago, so you’re welcome to read the post Introducing the People I Hear, as I go into a bit more detail than I have here. I should probably have just posted that link first, so I hope I haven’t bored you with my epic reply to your comment. As for being a curious cucumber…there’s nothing better to be. We all need to be a little curious from time to time, how else would we learn anything? :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me and sharing these such personal details. You have far from bored me Mr Addy, as always I love reading what you have to say and enjoy learning more about you :) x

        Liked by 1 person

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