essay (narrative): Hearing Voices By Bryan Babylon

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 Hearing Voices 
Talking about hearing voices to someone who does not hear them is hard. It is hard to explain how my voices place me into a world with people always talking all around me. Whispering. Talking about me. Cautioning me. Commenting about my behavior. They are not thoughts, they are literal voices. They sound like they are coming from outside my head. They are as loud as if there are other people in the room with me.
People think I can ignore them if I wanted to or was not so lazy. There is no way to do this. My voices are not like something I can turn on and off. They are an almost constant companion. I hear them for probably seventy percent of the day. I hear them the most when it is dark. And people wonder why I have trouble sleeping at night. While I myself can not ignore my voices, I do do things to make it easier for other people to be around me. I do not act upon anything my voices tell me. I do not talk to myself. I try not to respond when I am not sure if someone is actually speaking or not. I try not to say "what, what did you say" when no one said anything.
Sometimes I can not tell if some one is really talking or it is the voices in my head. I have the problem of "recognizing" people that I have never actually seen before, (which is its own private hell), so some times when I hear my name being called in public I turn around and can not tell whether I am being paged or being crazy. I hate this not knowing. When I am in public, I tend to ignore everyone around me. I figure if something is important you will tap me on the shoulder or get in front of me so I can see you speaking. I wonder how many people I have snubbed this way.
I have several different voices. The main ones I call my Family. By Family I mean whomever I live with and spend most of my time with. This includes my literal - biological family (as now), but also at different times has meant my network of friends. Family has also meant roomates that I was never particularly close to, but lived with. I hear them like they are in the next room. I hear them through the walls. I hear them through heating and air conditioning ducts. I hear them through the discourse between open windows. The voices of my Family are very distressing and hurtful. They are almost entirely negative. They make fun of me. They discuss my faults. They talk about how they only pretend to like or love me. They plot against me. They plan ways to get me kicked out of the house. And they mess with my head. They tap and scratch the walls to make me think I am hearing things.
Next come The Girls. I call them The Girls because they are young females. My age. The Girls come out in the daytime and in social situations. The Girls do not have regular voices. Their voices change all the time. They must be voices I pick up from radio and movies and people on the street that I casually overhear. I only understand what they are saying some of the time. Most of the time what The Girls say is a hazy blur of indistinct syllables and half heard words with the rhythms and inflections of conversational chatter. But sometimes they will remark on me with little criticisms, or say something about the world around me. The Girls are only distressing if I am already stressed out - like if I have an appointment - or if I am having social anxiety. The Girls rarely talk when I am speaking with someone else. They are the voices I hear when I am waiting in line. When I am riding the bus. When I am at the library. When I am out walking.
Then there are what I call the UFO voices, after a book by Stephen King called "Gerald's Game" in which the heroine hears voices. The UFO voices are all the things I hear that are not actually there that do not count as my Family or The Girls. UFO voices include people calling my name, footsteps behind me, peoples thoughts, birds, cars and bicycles. Stuff like that. The most distressing of the UFO voices is when I hear other peoples thoughts. They are usually thinking about me. And not nice thoughts either. I hear other peoples thoughts especially when I have to be in a group setting, or cooperate with other people. I hate this, and it causes me problems.
Unfortunately I have no way of coping with my voices. Ive tried turning the radio to static. Ive tried telling them to shut up. Ive tried ignoring them. I have not tried tinfoil! I am on two anti-psychotics, and they are not effective against my voices. I and millions of other people in the world just have to deal with our voices.