Hearing voices that might be critical or negative can be very challenging. Especially if a regular or ongoing experience.
Very easy to become preoccupied with paying attention to the point where it is a distraction..
The internal dialogue takes centre stage in a persons' conscious moments. Folk become agitated and frustrated.
Distraction strategies can sometimes help ,though finding ones that work for each person might mean trying different things out and being patient too.
I briefly worked with a gentleman in his mid 60s,. He often got annoyed and frustrated when his inner voices became more vocal., more aggressive, louder. His medication helped to a degree but at peak times, when stressed out or upset about other issues for example, it wasn't so effective. He would become sullen. Short tempered. Usually a genial and easy going man, his smile had disappeared. He looked tired and haggard.
He didn't really want to talk and focusing on what anybody said to him was extremely difficult. He already had some hearing issues so this challenge became more pronounced. But long stretches of silence didn't help either as it simply forced him to choose to pay more attention to the inner activity.
A vicious circle if you will.
He hadn't left the house for several days and had become tentative and nervous about going outside. The November weather had been wet and wild , storms had passed across the city overnight, felling trees, dislodging roof tiles. He said he know how they felt. But , after a cup of tea and with a break in the weather, the sun shone weakly and he was gently persuaded to come out for a local stroll. Get some air and stretch his legs. If he didn't like it we could always come back. So off we went.
We had only walked a little way when a sudden and renewed downpour forced us to take shelter under a bus stop.
"Let's go back," he said.. This is awful."
Through the streaming rivulets of rain on the plastic I then noticed the warm glow of a light through a window. It was the local Library..I pointed. .He laughed.
He said he hadn't been in one since he was a boy and there was no real point in going in. We needed large print books because of his eyesight and they wouldn't have them anyway. The sky suddenly darkened, the rainfall doubled in intensity. We agreed 10 minutes or until the rain stopped. In we went..
Ahaven. An oasis. Nice and quiet, books galore. Some preschoolers were in a small story telling circle in the next room. Every few minutes someone came in and someone left. It was snug and cosy. we browsed the shelves.
At one stage, I noticed he was staring intently at an illustration on a cover that I recently discovered was the artist above, Vladimir Kush. Then he opened it up. "What do I have to do to join?"
That day we left with three books. The following week we watched a rather brilliant documentary on Surrealism. He shared that as a young man he had briefly attended Art College in Bristol and had ambitions to being an artist. Instead he had fallen in love with a fellow student and she becoming pregnant, got married, taking a job in a local factory in order to pay the bills. But she had died from a sudden illness a year ago. It was mostly her voice he heard. A souvenir. Still tangible.The pain of grief. The bittersweet consolation. A connection of sorts that still somehow resonated.
But he also had another voice, a male voice that told him terrible things about himself, he said, obscene things that were too awful to share. Lies and terrible accusations and none of it true.
He bought some art pads and coloured pens. Began to sketch out dreamy sky images, filled with blazes of colour. 'Doodling" he called it. But it was very satisfying to do. He would go upstairs to his room and return to drop it on your lap.
You could see signs of his inner turbulence if his sketches were splashed in deep reds and purples,jagged shapes and scared eyes looking back from the paper, Other sketches were blues and greens, celestial oceans and strange beings, like human newts, swimming and flying. He worked by lamplight. . Slept better afterwards and on waking, examined and thrown on the table to join the others.
It is very troubling for a mind and a person to experience ongoing and critical voices without this having some negative impacts on thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
We traced the origin of this particular voice back to its' source in discussion some weeks later.
Also the unresolved issue relating to false accusations had its' roots in an early family experience where he had been wrongly suspected of theft from his workplace. An experience that had been very stigmatising for him. They had arrested him at work and in front of his peers.
His father-in-law worked at the same company and for a while refused to speak with him, causing much family discontent over subsequent years and many an argument. And despite being cleared in court some months later, the damage had been done. He was still very upset about all of this. Other people had turned against him or teased him. He lived in a close knit community. He lost his friends and finding a new job was difficult. So he and his wife had packed their bags and moved North. Contact with their families diminished. They had to start over again. Build a new dream in a new town.
Surrealism: The gossamer, dreamlike nature of it. The organic possibilities where time and space are bent a little out of shape.
Symbolic representations appear, subtle and not so subtle, suggestions are made and drawn upon by the viewer.
It works on many neurological and psychological levels..It engages areas of neural activity and occupies pathways and portals that are rarely brought into service. Looking at images and art works can be very therapeutic. Give your mind something to do. Give it a chance to
Activist/ Health worker/ 20 years. Specific interests : wellness/ voice hearing/ coping/ exploring/ sharing/ stigma reduction.