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Teen Ambassador Blog- 'Voices'

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Teens supporting teens with their mental health and wellbeing.

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If you have read my other blog post you know that I have suffered a lot with my mental health, what you read on my previous post was just a small snapshot of how I have suffered over the past few years. I wanted to dive a bit deeper and talk more about my psychotic episodes and how hearing voices affected my depression and anxiety the most.

In total, I used to hear three voices at a time, sometimes all at once or one after another. Either way, I was never left alone to listen to my own thoughts. I started to hear my first voice around a year into my mental health journey. At this point I had truly hit rock bottom, my anxiety was the worse it had been, my paranoia started to become a daily struggle and my depression had really started to make me feel the worst I had ever felt. I told my first therapist that I was hearing a voice in my head. If anyone has ever experienced this, you know that it is not like hearing yourself talk in your head, you genuinely believe that this voice is standing right behind you whispering into your ear. I was so sure that there was someone talking right behind me, I regularly turned around to see if anyone was standing there. Hearing this first voice did contribute to my paranoia, I was so certain that someone was trying to talk to me in order to kidnap me, hurt me and kill me.

The first voice I heard was a man, and he most of the time would tell me that people were after me. He told me that they had tapped into my phone and could see where I was planning to meet people, that people knew what bus stop I got on and off and were waiting for me. He continued to tell me that someone would break into the house to get me whilst I slept, which lead to me staying awake all night to make sure I could protect myself. I told my therapist at the time, and she referred me to another therapist team to review me. During this time, I gained another two voices. The second voice was a lady and she was the ‘nicest’ one out of all of them. She used to tell me to be careful of that person, do not cross the road there or get out the car because this will happen. When I heard her voice I felt a sense of calm because I was sure she was trying to protect me. The third voice I heard was a rabbit- he mainly used to tell me that no one would care if I killed myself, that my boyfriend at the time and my family have ‘more people in their life and they can handle it if you die’. He constantly told me I wasn’t good enough to be alive, and that I looked awful, fat and that people were constantly laughing and talking about me. Those are just a handful of things that the rabbit would say on a daily basis.

My anxiety was getting progressively worse. I was not going out at all and I was distancing myself dramatically and at this point my best friends only knew that I was suffering with anxiety- I had not told them the full extent of how I was suffering. My mum slept in my room for many nights in order to make me feel safe. I was not going to sixth form because I was so sure I was going to die on the way there. The rabbit would tell me to kill myself and then laugh straight after until all I used to do was cry.

I started to talk about the voices more with my new therapist which aggravated the voices even more, especially the rabbit. He started to continue to tell me that I should hurt my family and my friends, that it was okay if I stabbed them or attacked them. He would, on a regular basis, tell me my entire family were secretly planning to kill me, and I did not feel safe anywhere at all. Not even at college, my home or my own bedroom. At this point I had started to see this rabbit occasionally which is when my therapist at the time referred me to the Early Intervention team who deal with psychosis.

I used to be very narrow minded when it came to people saying they heard voices and automatically assumed that they were ‘crazy’. It is really important to know that no one who hears voices are crazy, hearing voices can be caused by a number of things, such as anxiety or depression and can be more serious in cases of schizophrenia. When I was referred to the Early Intervention team, I was put on anti-depressants and it was increased twice before it was able to make a full impact on helping me get rid of the voices.

There are a few things that have helped me cope with the voices and I still use to help with my anxiety. I listened to music on a regular basis to try and drown out the voices or to calm me down. I read a lot and frequently listened to ocean noises before going to sleep. My mum and dad were kind enough to buy me a fish tank, hoping that watching the fish would help to make me less anxious. If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of sea animals, so being able to watch my fish swim around the tank was a godsend. I know not everyone has a fish tank, but even if you have other pets, holding or stroking them has been proven to release stress and tension and can help with anxiety. Finally, I spoke about my feelings more and on my bad days would write all my feelings down on a piece of paper and then proceed to rip it up afterwards, as a metaphorical way of getting rid of it.  Doing more things you love can help massively, whether that be sitting in silence, reading or having a bath.

At the time of writing this blog, I have not heard one of the voices for over three months, and while I do still get anxious and I have my bad days, I can handle them much better than before because I know I don’t have to worry about upsetting the rabbit, or having to hear that people want me dead. If you have or are hearing voices, it is important to know that they do not define who you are. They do not speak the truth.

You DO deserve to live, you DO deserve happiness and you ARE loved.

Olivia Boddy

Colour Your World Teen Ambassador

Samaritans: Call 116 123 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

 

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