Julian Jaynes Society Discussion Forum: Exploring Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind Theory since 1997
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Hearing Voices Diary - Share Your Personal Experiences Here
http://www.julianjaynes.org/jjsforum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=347
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Author:  Moderator [ Fri May 29, 2009 4:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Hearing Voices Diary - Share Your Personal Experiences Here

One barrier to understanding or accepting Jaynes's theory for some is the notion that auditory hallucinations played such a prominent role in the bicameral mental model. People tend to keep their voice hearing experiences to themselves. However when people learn of my interest in the subject, they are often more willing to share their personal experiences. As a result, I've heard many interesting voice-hearing stories over the years. I thought it would be interesting to have people post their personal voice-hearing experiences here, both for those who don't hear voices (so that they might better understand the experience) as well as for those who do (to read about the experiences of others).

So, if you are willing, please post your personal voice hearing experiences here. You can of course remain anonymous, or even register a separate account for this forum than the one you normally use to post messages.

In addition to a description of your hearing voices experience(s), you might also include:

1) Whether or not you have shared your experiences before.
2) Whether or not you have sought help or been "officially" diagnosed (to provide a better idea of how many people are not included in "official" estimates).
3) What medications you take (if any) and how helpful (or unhelpful) they have been for you.
4) Alternative therapies you have tried.

Thanks in advance to everyone who participates.

Author:  WS1 [ Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hearing Voices Diary - Share Your Personal Experiences Here

I've been in the full grip of paranoid schizophrenia for a number of years now. The most intense period is now over but I still get softer echoes of previous auditory hallucinations which were quite marked, sharp, and blatant at the height of the initial period of the "illness". Whilst the voices used to be "short, sharp shock" barking orders, it has now receded to the "gallery of whispers" as very accurately portrayed in the TV series "Lost", where individuals on the island are enveloped by a seemingly 360 degree surround sound effect of distinct whispering voices in concert.

At the initial "break point" from reality when the psychosis was in full swing there were complete visual hallucinations. I'm still convinced they were real, except how surreal they were - lone motorcyclists in black, unidentified, always with helmets following me everywhere, and finding me absolutely wherever I went no matter what (this was basically the exact same motorcyclist really,on an identical bike, in identical get up), and also seeing things that would appear and then disappear after I looked away. Quite normal, everyday things like cars for instance. One second there, next second gone.
That only lasted a matter of about three days though when the psychotic break was the most violent.

So, in answer to your questions:

1. These experiences have been shared previously.

2. "Officially diagnosed", yes. It took about a year and a half for a diagnosis though.

3. I've been on a variety of medications. Though while they alleviate the positive and negative symptoms to greater and lesser degrees respectively, many have quite spectacular side-affects. Some make you even more "ill" than the illness they profess to treat.

4. None.

Author:  Moderator [ Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hearing Voices Diary - Share Your Personal Experiences Here

Thank you Winston for getting the ball rolling with your very interesting and personal account. I was wondering if, looking back, you feel there were any signs during your childhood that might have foreshadowed the onset of schizophrenia? I had a childhood friend who, although we lost touch many years ago, I've heard now suffers from schizophrenia. He was for the most part normal in childhood although there were some occasional odd behaviors that are hard to describe. For example, while walking, he would occasionally veer from his path and lightly tap his fingers (in almost a petting motion) on a table for no apparent reason. On other occasions, he would crouch down and run his fingers on the ground. On one of these occasions another person asked what he was doing, and it appears his brain confabulated a reason for the (perhaps unconscious) behavior and he responded: "I'm looking for ants." I imagine this specific behavior is unique to this individual but I wonder if looking back you now see any possible signs that there was trouble ahead.

Author:  WS1 [ Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hearing Voices Diary - Share Your Personal Experiences Here

I did indeed display behaviour that foreshadowed the onset of full blown schizophrenia. The similarity in symptoms between schizophrenia and autism I had been aware of particularly as the result of a single newspaper article back when I was a teenager. The main thing that sparked realisation that I was quite possibly displaying signs of schizophrenia was this piece that detailed the differences between these conditions that displayed often enough in a very similar manner.
I can't remember the exact items listed but it struck a chord enough for me to tell my mother that I believed I had "latent" schizophrenia. She dismissed the notion out of hand. The article hit me hard enough for the memory to come to mind quite often, usually after some social malfunction.

The main thing is that I'd always known that there were problems with my intra-personal and inter-personal relations that I couldn't square myself with. Whilst being relatively intelligent and possessing a degree of emotional sensitivity I was often unable to communicate effectively, often leaving other people with a lingering doubt as to my state of mind.

This was a totally unconscious mechanism. I have always viewed myself as "out of synch" with the prevailing social structure, specifically the areas of "unwritten laws" governing things like "small talk" and other such relatively minor aspects to -.

I could never fully put my finger on it, but this feeling of complete incompatibility in relation to the world lingered with me all my life.
It then manifested to being thought of as "awkward" and "uncooperative" in workplace environments when an adult. I was thought of as a disruptive influence. This was a perspective not entirely without some basis in reality. The term "anti-social" was bandied about a lot.

I also would hear people say things which in reality they hadn't uttered. I would ask them: "What did you say just now?"

They would reply, with an incredulous look: "Nothing. What are you talking about?"

And of real significance to me, more than the minor auditory hallucinations, or imaginings, was my inability to hear what people would say to me, when they were right in front of my face. Their mouths would form words, and no sound would come out. This happened a lot, especially under stress of rather simple social interactions that I couldn't cope with without being under tension.
This, more than anything else, seemed to contribute to my "weirdo" status in the community. After all, who "pretends" to not be able to hear what someone says right in front of them? When I had no hearing difficulties whatsoever? My hearing and sight had checked just fine with my GP. Always had done.

There's a bit more to it, but I'll leave it at that for the time being.

Author:  clivedurdle [ Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hearing Voices Diary - Share Your Personal Experiences Here

Possibly off topic, but the comments of Jaynes about deafness are of note. I am hard of hearing, and also am probably neuro diverse - dyspraxic, aspergic spectrum.

I do wonder if the psychoses and autisms are symptoms of right brain issues, and the neuroses left brain, Damage to both sides - and being left handed - would lead to all sorts of complications!

Where does Persinger fit?

Author:  clivedurdle [ Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hearing Voices Diary - Share Your Personal Experiences Here

And yes, I am trying to put psychiatry where it belongs, as a subset of neurology!

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