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Hearing Voices in My Head on the Train

Hearing voices in my head is a symptom of my schizoaffective disorder. Hearing voices in your head is scarier in public places. Here's how I deal with them.

Hearing voices in my head is something that happens to me often. I have schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. This means I experience mood swings and crippling anxiety along with hearing voices. I know the voices in my head aren’t real, but they’re scary anyway. I heard schizoaffective voices in my heaed today. They started while I was on a train platform, waiting to go home from the hospital where I meet with my therapist.

Hearing Voices in My Head Scares Me

I didn’t have too far to go—just one stop. But I just missed a train as I was running up the stairs to the platform. I wonder if I could have avoided the voices if I had gotten on that train.

I had to wait about 10-15 minutes for the next train. By then my schizoaffective voices were in full swing: loud, bold, insulting. For a while, when I’d heard voices in my head they’d been really quiet and I was starting to think they would stay that way.

I think the voices seemed louder than usual this time because I was outside when they started, with street noises adding to the volume. It was snowing, and the voices heckled, “The crazy girl is afraid of the snow. Scaredy cat, chicken fat, she doesn’t know what she’s looking at.”

They went on and on.

By the time I got off the train, the secondary symptoms of hearing voices in my head kicked in. I felt as though people around me were talking about me, even though I knew they really weren’t. I sometimes get scared that people can tell by looking at my face that I’m hearing voices in my head. They can’t.

Stopping the Voices in My Head

Finally, I got home and I was able to take my on-demand anti-anxiety medication. That takes the edge off the voices. Coping with hearing voices in my head doesn’t stop with medication; other mental health routines help, too. I drink a big glass of water and eat a snack. I put on my favorite Tori Amos DVD. I usually call my mom or dad if my husband is at work. So I called my dad and talked to him.

He asked me what the voices were saying. I told him they mocked me for being afraid of driving in the snow, and that they also teased, “She hears noises in her headroom,” and “Smoking is bad for your weekend.” I explained to him that the voices make up words and phrases.

I was putting it off until after the voices were gone, but when they were almost gone I called customer service for a magazine subscription I wanted to cancel. I thought it would be stressful, but when I got off the phone the voices were gone.

Hearing Voices in My Head Could Be Worse

I’ve heard of people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder thinking they are interacting with actual other people who aren’t really there when they hear voices. Think about genius mathematician John Nash in the movie A Beautiful Mind. He experienced visual as well as audio hallucinations and he hallucinated a whole network of people with whom he had friendships and who, eventually, went on to control his life until he got treatment.

When I had my first and only psychotic episode, I thought there were people following me in a delusionary world that seemed real. I was lucky to get immediate treatment and access to atypical antipsychotic medications. The ones that don’t cause weight gain don’t work for me. One I tried took away the delusions but caused me to act, well, crazy. One time I even broke a window of my parents’ house when I was locked out instead of just ringing the doorbell. The weight gain is hard, but I deal with it, just like I deal with my schizoaffective disorder. It’s also a matter of fewer broken windows.

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

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