My wife is hearing voices and I need some helpful advise

T

themountaineer

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Hi

My wife has recently (within last few days) told me she is hearing voices, and has been for since circa July.

They seem to be fairly positive so far, and usually they are trying to tell a message, but she never gets to find out what the end of the message is as she gets distracted by external sources (like me walking in the room and talking to her). The voices are generally carried through other sounds, for example the noise of the motor of the refrigerator, or a nearby construction site making noise. Her voices told her not to tell anyone or it will be more difficult or worse for her. She is starting to cut her self off from the world in order to listen to these voices to find out what the message is, she can sit in silence for hours. More recently the voices have been waking her up at circa 4am, so her sleep patterns have been disrupted and she is also not eating well as she is getting distracted from eating. She does not want to seek medical/ professional help, as she thinks she can get the resolved in her head in time, and she is concerned that a diagnoses could wreck her career.

I am being as supportive as I currently can, and giving her space when she needs it, and plenty of quiet time. I am almost there in convincing her to talk with a Dr / Specialist, and hopefully will get an appointment booked next week.

I have encouraged her to join a forum to talk with other people who are experiencing the same, but she said it will make it worse for her as thats what she has been told. I said I could join the forum (like I have today) and be a conduit if that helps.

What else can I do to help in this situation, any ideas on how I can make this easier for my wife? Should I tell her family, friends, or manage this between us?

Any helpful pointers on how we both can cope through this would be most appreciated.

Many thanks
 
LORD BURT

LORD BURT

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Hearing voices is both a symptom of schizophrenia, and also it isn't. In the fact that one can hear voices for a brief time, and be mentally well.

I would advice an honest one-to-one with a medical professional to lay your fears to rest.
 
Gajolene

Gajolene

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Brat is right. Hearing voices crosses a great spectrum of mental health disorders. Not all are permanent and some can be fully recoverable. Keep a diary of moods, events, and specifics for the psychiatrist for when your GP can refer you. What kinds of things is she doing?. It helps for us to know. And we can help you better.
 
T

themountaineer

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Thanks Brat and Gajolene

I am not convinced it is schizophrenia (but I will let a specialist come to that conclusion).

In answer to "what kind of things she is doing?" Is that in terms of coping strategies or general behaviour. If the former, just dealing with it in her head, and quite well too, no anxiety with it, quite calm and relaxed. If the latter, she has good days and bad days, when she has had a good sleep she is back to her old self, if she has been having trouble sleeping she becomes very distracted by the noise in her head, needs lots of quiet (no music or tv on), closes her eyes and crosses her hands and sits in silence for ages trying to deal with it. She can still function perfectly well though, although she has become less social recently as the distractions are more stronger, she will be having a conversation then will cut off and stare into space for sometime.

She had an illness last year that gave have her post viral fatigue, she has not been the same since. The virus effects the nervous system and with the stressful job she has, I think it has taken its toll. I am hoping some time out and some mild meds to help her sleep routine normalise might help. She used to be vibrant and happy, but a light has gone out. She said she does not feel depressed, but she does not see that she had stopped doing lots of things that use to interest her, socialising less, looking on the negatives more than the positives etc.

I'll keep a mood diary, good suggestion.

Thanks for reply, it feels good to get it of my chest too, no one wants to see people suffer.
 
LORD BURT

LORD BURT

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You know, you come across very well. I think she will do well in your hands.

I do hope that it is something temporary, and not too distressing.

With regards to medication - it is a bit of minefield, and honestly, best avoided. (imo)
 
Gajolene

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I can understand why your so very worried. Severe anxiety and panick can have this effect. She sounds very overwhelmed by current life. Her physical illness will undoubtedly effect the other and increase that stress exponetially for her. We have an instinct to withdraw when this happens.
Yes medications should have some serious side effects when dealing with med resistant individuals, especially combining physical meds with mental health meds, during the adjustment periods coming off or going on. She really needs someone with her physically for as much time as possible to watch for adverse effects. She shouldn't be left without someone to watch over her for a while to ensure her saftey. Keep posting and sharing your story.
 
Foxjo

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great advice there from members above!
I suffer from voices when im stressed or anxious or emotionally overtired. I have seen a physc doc and he haa assured me im not schizophrenic.

I too was terrified that my professional reputation would be ruined at the start but over the years I can see a shift in attitudes towards mental health in a good way.
certainly some counselling would be a good idea to help your wife with her anxiety and stress levels. medication would depend on the doctor. Does her doctor have a good attitude to mental health problems?

Lots for you to think about. Keep strong. remember your wife cannot help being ill and shes still in there somewhere.
big hugs xx
fox
xx
 
cpuusage

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This book is quite good, it's a simple practical guide about helping people having unusual experiences -

Beyond Belief: Alternative Ways of Working with Delusions, Obsessions and Unusual Experiences by Tamasin Knight -

http://www.psycope.co.uk/resources/beyond-belief recommendation.pdf

Another excellent book is 'Hearing Voices: A Common Human Experience' by John Watkins. (available though Amazon)

Hearing Voices: A Common Human Experience by John Watkins - News From Nowhere Radical & Community Bookshop, Liverpool

There is also Intervoice & HVN -

Intervoice: The International Hearing Voices Network

Hearing Voices Network: Welcome

i'd advise caution with the medical route - there is a place for diagnosis/medications & medical interventions, but often all they want to do is label & medicate. There are other ways of understanding, approaching & addressing things.
 
T

themountaineer

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Thanks Foxjo, your words are very reassuring.

Thanks CPUsage, I will check the books out.

Interesting what has been said about avoiding the meds route. I personally do not think medicine is helpful for mental health issues depending on the severity, anxiety and depression I think can be overcome in most cases through other means (cbt, hypnotherapy etc). I have no experience of knowing anyone with hearing voices (up until now) and I started leaning my thinking towards meds, although my wife said she does not want anti depressants or anti psychotics, just something that can help her sleep without being disturbed. I think that is the most distressing part for her, is lack of sleep, as it makes her overtired and her symptoms worse.

Thank you all for your kind words of support, it is really encouraging to hear.

My challenge now is getting her to see someone, a dr or counsellor. She works closely with a mental health team herself through work, and that is why she does not want too see anyone, as she feels vulnerable that if they know her job is on the line.

You have all been amazing so far, thank you x
 
Foxjo

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Please tell your wife that for sure my voices are worse when I'm overtired. Im sure that causes most of my havoc and mayhem in my mind is needing more sleep than "normal".
Im sorry that she feels that she cannot tell the mental health team she works with. im sure a lot of those would admit to being under stress at times. in todays work place she shouldn't be discriminated against for having a mental illness but you never can tell I guess.
I really home you both get the answers you need.
...and medication is ok once the right diagnosis has been made.
Hugs
Fox
x
 
Gajolene

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Are you sure it is voices she is dealing with, or could she possibly be going through flashbacks, sudden startling and obsessive memories resurfacing of a past trauma.
Just wondering, because with PTSD the flashbacks are so real when occuring it could seem like voices when it is not. Just a thought, I'm a PTSD survivor and the way you describe how she is trying to cope with it rings a bell with me. My sons also have voice hearing and delusional disorders. Just trying to get a clearer picture of what your going through with her.

You sound like a very supportive and loving husband btw. Keep posting and let us know.

Also wanted to say. Don't dismiss meds althogether, sometimes there really is no other option, and as with me it may be only a temporary necessity to help her function and cope along with some therapy, or psychoanalysis approach from time to time for a few months. With my boys there is no other options and it is necessary, they have severe conditions, and currently need them permanently unless something revolutionary comes along to change that..
 
E

Eigau

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Hi there, welcome to the forum. I'm am a voice hearer and I have found a way to live with my voices. I would like to add to Brat and Gajolene.

The details you have provided are very helpful. One definition of voice hearing is the hearing of sounds and/or voices in the absence of an external stimuli that one has no control over. However this definition is inaccurate. Voice hearing can occur with or without external stimuli and one can have varying degrees of control over voices.

In my opinion, t's important to know that voices can say things to get you to listen to them. The longer you listen to them the more control you give them. So it's wise to be balanced. Voices do need time to express themselves and this should be done in small, but regular amounts.

It is normal for voices to not want a person to tell others about them and sometimes telling someone comes at the cost of something else. Then any coincidental event that occurs that "seems" to correlate is immediately aligned with the cost they stated. This can cause a spiralling into paranoia.

You are doing an amazing job acting as a "conduit". This is a good role for you and makes you a kind of bridge to communication. I do encourage you to keep doing this. It's important to know that your wife sounds far along and she may have difficulty trying to get her balance.

It's important to know that It is likely that a doctor will immediately think mental illness when hearing of the situation. So for some part you may have to push or enter into your own investigation if you believe it is not mental illness. If you are able, I suggest seeing a neurologist and get PET and fMRi Scans of your wife's brain, then repeat in five years time for comparison. Sadly, these are not cheap.

In my opinion, telling others depends on their level of understanding of voices. EG If they are religious they may be shocked and not give constructive help.

In the meantime, I suggest researching the various kinds of voice hearing experiences. Subjects such as earworms, hypnogogic/ hypnopompic hallucinations, psychology of hearing voices, Rufus May, Ron Coleman, Debra Lampshire, and Eleanor Longden may be insightful.

It's important to realise that whatever you or your wife believe about the voices to find constructive information on how to work with voices. I believe the above subjects will open the door and help you when you decide to talk to others.

Take care, Te
 
T

themountaineer

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Are you sure it is voices she is dealing with, or could she possibly be going through flashbacks, sudden startling and obsessive memories resurfacing of a past trauma...
Hi Gajolene, I did query if this was Post Traumatic Stress, her "flatness" in life seems to coincide with PTSD, it could be the aftermath from her illness last year that had put her body / Mind in PTSD. So it is a possibility. Today I uncovered more about the "voices", it is quite difficult to actually describe them, it is not like it is a clear voice male/female. It is more a manipulation of external sounds that she translates into voices in her mind, so today for example listening to the wind rustling through some trees in the forest started to communicate with her.


In the meantime, I suggest researching the various kinds of voice hearing experiences. Subjects such as earworms, hypnogogic/ hypnopompic hallucinations, psychology of hearing voices, Rufus May, Ron Coleman, Debra Lampshire, and Eleanor Longden may be insightful.

It's important to realise that whatever you or your wife believe about the voices to find constructive information on how to work with voices. I believe the above subjects will open the door and help you when you decide to talk to others.

Take care, Te
Hi Te and thanks for your advise, I will research on those subjects, names you have provided.

It seems now she has told me about her experiences, she now uses this as a reason/excuse to spend more time listening to them. As before, she was concealing this, so if I interrupted she would have to respond, so for example if we are heading out into town she would cope with this and come into town with me. Now as I know, she is saying she needs to be left alone to sort noises out, which of course has more of an impact on our lives, bit more so on hers, I feel she is now getting more sucked into what is going on in her mind and therefore becoming more cut off. But in fairness she has had a good day today, and yesterday, but two days ago she was not in a good place. I am not sure if this works, but I am trying to encourage her to take some self control of the situation, by communicating back whats going on in her head along the lines of "look I am a bit busy at the moment, I am going out for a meal, we can finish this later if I have time". Her reaction to that was it does not work because if she tries that it gets worse for her. I could be way off track with my suggestion, and as I don't truly understand the nature of this as I am not in her mind experiencing this, I still think they maybe some type of reasoning with the communication, basically acknowledging their existents, but kind of saying to the voices/messages, look I'm in control here, if your message was so important (her voices in her head are messages that never get to the point) you would have got to the point already instead of drawing it out, so you will have to wait until I back from work/meal/shopping/walk etc to finish this is up. (Like I said, probably off track here so please no offence to this, as I am sure it is not quite as easy as that in most cases).

Again thanks for all your kind words and support, very heart felt.
 
E

Eigau

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Hi there, she has made a pertinent point. Voices can be taxing mentally and the tendency can be to let go of as many things as possible to cope. I imagine that like my first episode the voices are telling her so much detail that she cannot keep up. And if she is a curious person she would want to find out as much as possible to figure it out on her own. Voices can be critical and hostile, but they can be constructive and respectful also. So it can be a bit of a juggling act.

In my opinion, you are acting as a fixed point in reality for her a beacon of light so to speak. I do recommend tactfully reasoning with her, because you want to keep the lines of communication open. At some point down the track, it may be good if you try to start a dialogue with the voices (Your wife becomes a conduit), but only if your wife feels safe doing so. Always monitor your wife's body language and words for changes as you do so. If you open a dialogue with the voices monitor your own body language and try to stay in a neutral position, especially if something is said out of the ordinary.

Keep reassuring her and being a beacon of light. Try to remember these events either recording them in a journal or on here for future reference. And please look after yourself too, you are an important part of the voice hearing journey.

Take care, Te
 
T

themountaineer

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It is normal for voices to not want a person to tell others about them and sometimes telling someone comes at the cost of something else. Then any coincidental event that occurs that "seems" to correlate is immediately aligned with the cost they stated. This can cause a spiralling into paranoia.
Hi there, she has made a pertinent point. Voices can be taxing mentally and the tendency can be to let go of as many things as possible to cope. I imagine that like my first episode the voices are telling her so much detail that she cannot keep up. And if she is a curious person she would want to find out as much as possible to figure it out on her own. Voices can be critical and hostile, but they can be constructive and respectful also. So it can be a bit of a juggling act.

It is interesting you have said two things which my wife has also said using the same words "telling someone comes at the cost of something else" and "the voices are telling her so much detail that she cannot keep up"

She did say she was getting overloaded with information, and her head felt full, fuggy headed with no space to think.

This evening she is saying they are not voices, but cannot describe what she is experiencing. I am not sure what to believe, she was quite specific a few days ago when she said the voices told her that it will cost her if she tells someone. Maybe because I have been asking some questions to try and get more specifics, she is starting to close down on me and saying they are not voices, so I stop asking (trust me, I am not asking that many, maybe two or three questions a day). This evening she has not been so good, she seems tired but cannot sleep, and needs to be alone.

In terms of keeping a journal, I am not exactly sure what I should be keeping in it, what type of things should I be documenting?
 
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