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Hearing Voices: My psychiatrist said "Tell me what you think would help you".



Well-known member
Dec 11, 2007
Hearing Voices: My psychiatrist said "Tell me what you think would help you".

Exrtract from Daily Mail article "The terrifying ordeal of a brilliant student who started hearing voices and then fell into the abyss of insanity"

Full article here

....I said I thought my medication was making the voices worse, and asked if I could stop taking it. But she insisted I had to continue.

When I admitted that I felt suicidal as a result of the way I was being bullied at college, she sent me back to hospital for a further seven week.

For the next four months I struggled on at university, as well as having another two brief psychiatric admissions. By the time the summer vacation arrived, I knew I could not carry on battling both against the voices and the cruelty of the students.

I returned home to my parents, my self-confidence totally destroyed.

My parents were wonderful - really supportive - but confused, because there was no history of mental illness in my family.

Over the course of the next few months, I was referred to the local psychiatric services in Bradford. My first appointment was with a male psychiatrist called Pat Bracken, who I later found out had worked with men and women tortured and raped in Uganda, and with child soldiers in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

He asked me why I had come to see him and I replied obediently: "I am 18 and I am a paranoid schizophrenic"."

Later on in my treatment, Pat told me he thought my answer was the saddest statement he had ever heard from a young girl - but at the time all he said was: "Tell me what you think would help you".

I asked him to reduce my medication. To my amazement, he agreed immediately.

We talked about the voices and he suggested I stop seeing them as a symptom of mental illness and start looking on them as a way of finding out about myself. This encouraged me to tell him about my first experience of the female voice.

Up until now everyone had treated me as if I was completely passive, but Pat showed me a way of helping myself to get better.

Over the course of the next seven months I saw Pat for regular weekly sessions, gradually reducing my medication until I stopped the drugs completely.

During this time, I discovered that if I engaged with the voices, they became less frequent. I also learnt to challenge the more threatening voice, refusing to do what it told me and telling myself it was no more than a symbol of my own externalised anger.

One by one the voices gradually disappeared, until I was only occasionally hearing one.

Three years on, I am healthy, happy and perfectly stable. Schizophrenia is a frightening and misleading label which stigmatises people. While the doctors insist I was schizophrenic, I don't know if the label really applied to me.

I think, like many young people leaving home for the very first time, I was stressed and unhappy. Going to university, and the lack of support there, tipped me over the edge. All I ever did was hear voices.

Now I have learned how to deal with them.

I am now studying for a doctorate in clinical psychology, as well as working on a medical team that helps teenagers suffering from the sudden onset of psychosis.

I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn't found a psychiatrist who understood how to treat me.

If I do hear a voice now, I am no longer frightened because I understand why it's happening. My mother's signal for knowing she's stressed is an attack of migraine. Mine is the voices.


Well-known member
Founding Member
Dec 18, 2007
Very interesting, thanks for posting that :).

I too became ill at university and started hearing the voices a year later - stress does make the voices worse as my psychologist and I have recently discussed. I was never bullied at university or college, but I was bullied at school and I'm convinced that helped bring on my symptoms after bottling the emotions up for several years. Engaging with the voices - I'll bring that up next time with my psychologist :).


Well-known member
Founding Member
Jan 7, 2008
I hear voices when under stress, i've found it interesting to ask psychiatrists to define voices, i don't experience voices when theres no one around but "He experiences people talking about him in public places" thats what a psychiatrist wrote in a benefit support letter
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