A Poem on Hearing Voices by Chris

My friend Ying, was at a poetry evening, and one of the guys read an amazing poem on hearing voices. She kindly asked Chris, if we could share it here and he agreed. So here it is. Hope you find it as powerful as I did.

 

A POEM ON HEARING VOICES.
Having mental illness in family can be hard but the rewards for over coming them are so much greater then overcoming simpler things.
When i was 17 i had my first psychotic episode, and since then iv’e been diagnosed with psychosis, schizophrenia, bi-polar and depression, i hear voices, i have hallucinations and I have delusions
ahh Life is just a dream, woawo, lucky you, lucky lucky me

These days it starts with a gaze into the outer world, a blank stare into realms I’m not quite sure exist,
I can be staring at anything, such as, the alien species that hides trees
their limbs and their faces moved by the wind in such a way that they come to life
their waving hands simply stating “I see you, and I know you see me”
or I could be watching how the curtains breath at the pace of mother earths breath slowly hypnotizing me into a trance where I start to believe god himself has the curtains on strings or maybe
I’ll just be staring at the boring ground, where spiritual life reaps like you wouldn’t believe
as i walk with my head down i flow through a river of damned and tortured faces
lost souls trying to find peace and banished spirits trapped in purgatory trying to claw their way into me until
“Hey chris, got a spare smoke?”
“uh, uh yeah bro, help yourself”
Life is just a dream, woawo, lucky you, lucky lucky me

The voices that i hear aren’t as bad as the media will have you believe, but theyre pretty bad.
Imagine having no privacy because the people sitting next to me can read your mind
They don’t tell you your thoughts to your face tho, they tell you outside and down the road a little bit.
Imagine having no secretes because i feel like I’m under constant inspection, I’m to scared to even think a bad thought because something listening
Imagine trying to go to sleep and somewhere outside, you can hear people talking about you..there’s
whispers in the wind and vocal cords seemingly attached to passing cars
ambient noises vocalized into the voice of fear,
rustling trees like gossiping woman
and people in the distance speaking my thoughts
and then i hear about people who say that they can hear gods voice, or that they heard demons or angels telling them things…
Life is just a dream, woawo, lucky you, lucky lucky me

The problem with mental illness is that the people who know most about it aren’t the doctors who’ve spent a life in school
it’s not your psychiatrist or the leading team of psychologists..
It’s the people, that are living with them, its the people, who hear voices, it’s the people who believe theyre being followed and that their lives are at stake,
It’s the people who at this very moment are suffering from diseases that should of be labeled gifts a long time ago its those people…
it’s those people that hold the answers, not someone who’s lived a straight edge life and only knows what the text book says cuz no matter how smart you are
and no matter how much you have studied, until you lose your mind and believe that you’re Jesus, you only know half the story
Life is just a dream, woawo, lucky you, lucky lucky me.

Giving Voice to the Void

I read the keynote speech from Karlo Mila-Schaaf that she presented at the Building Bridges Conference in Wellington.

An inspiring story it tells of some of her own experiences , her diagnosis with mental illness and her recovery.

She has kindly allowed us to place it on our website. You can read it by clicking  here.

Here is a little excerpt:

How do you explain why voices are talking to you from under the floor? How do you make sense of dreaming in ways so real that it does not feel like a dream, that you are being burned or hung in front of a large, maddened crowd, in Mala’ekula every night? (Mala’e kula is the Tongan royal burial ground).
How do you explain having the voices of your friends and enemies in your head, saying things louder and clearer than anything else around you? How do you make explain the fact that you can hear the pigs and farmyard animals around your house in Tonga talking to you in ways that you understand?
How do you explain people’s faces contorting and shape-shifting into other things? The Maori psychiatric nurse, for example, who shakes his head and he turns into a ruru, an owl, right in front of you? None of this makes any sense according to anything you have ever known or understood to be true. When you see your grandmother kneeling on a tapa, greeting the sun and you run out of your house to see her, forgetting that she is dead, and wondering, when you run outside and see no one, you’re wondering, what is happening to you?

My sister told me that someone she knew was hearing voices and she didn’t know how to deal with it, or her. What was the best way to react, she asked me. I said to her, “Don’t tell her the voices are not real”. It’s not helpful. It never helped me. The voices were there. I could hear them. Being told that I was delusional was not helpful. It just undermined the truth of my own experience. “Tell her that that sounds very frightening,” I said. “Tell her, that if that was you, you’d be freaked and frightened and that she is being very brave, dealing with this, because it must be impossibly frightening to deal with.” I said to her, “Affirm her bravery and courage and agency in what must be one of the most difficult and frightening experiences she has ever had to confront.”

You know, I can’t think of any worse response to facing this kind of incredibly frightening situation and then being at the height of this vulnerability, the most vulnerable and frightened you will ever be in your life, being slammed with a diagnosis that then cages you and captures you and pins you to the ground, saying thou shalt never move from this spot again, you will never recover from this, and you are now doomed with a diagnosis that you will never escape from, or recover from, go to jail, do not pass go, you will never be normal again.

Because this is what we do to people who experience psychosis, who see things they shouldn’t be seeing and hear things they shouldn’t be hearing. We give them some kind of schizo diagnosis, to separate them out from the rest of us, and we leave them on the other side of that bridge”

To read it in its entirety, please click on the link above.