I know in some of my other posts I've described my hallucinations, but I'd like to post a series about the specific hallucination I've experienced myself as well as a few other schizophrenics that I've met. Hearing voices is known as a "positive" symptom. Not because the voices are positive but because it's a symptom that is "added" to your illness. For reference a "negative" symptom would be something your illness takes away as in loss of pleasure in life or what psychiatrists call the "flat affect" (Basically an emotional shutdown).A huge majority of people with schizophrenia hear voices, and they can be helpful, absurd, scary and even mischievous. In some cases the voices will talk to each other which can be downright annoying. Not everyone hears the same things. Sometimes the voices are muffled, or in my experience, they can sound like tuning a radio station...You can't quite figure out what they're saying but their presence is obvious.
During my stints in hospital I had the chance to meet a few schizophrenics like myself. In one instance this old lady who I ate breakfast with refused to take her medication because the voices she heard were very helpful and in her own words "up-lifting". She claimed that without the voices she wouldn't be able to function whatsoever. I found out later that she was also being treated for depression, and I put myself in her shoes. I suppose if I was deeply depressed I wouldn't mind a voice that encouraged me to carry on with life. Another fellow patient (who I shared a room with) would often argue with his voices. He never asked them to leave him alone, it just seemed that he genuinely disagreed with whatever they were saying.
As previously mentioned the voices aren't always happy, nor are they simply a nuisance to some people. The voices I've had have never been very pleasant. The majority of the time they are very critical of me, insulting me and generally making me feel bad about myself. Those voices I can handle, and have learned to cope with. It's the other variety that have caused serious damage in the past. The so called "scary" voices that, in my case, ordered me to do horrible things. Before being diagnosed I struggled to ignore the voices that were telling me to carve things into my skin, physically hurt or kill people around me, and commit suicide. After a long time resisting the voices, who had some sort of hold over me, I gave up and tried to kill myself. I was blessed though, and received the care I needed before all hell broke loose.
What I find to be most incredible is the power the voices have over people with schizophrenia and psychosis. Most people don't let other people's words and voices take a stranglehold over their entire existence, but when you give into the voices that seem to be speaking to you and only you it is difficult, even treacherous to ignore them as ignoring them can turn them against you, and a very precarious situation indeed if you allow them to take control of your life.
"Once I rose above the noise and confusion
just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high
Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I'm dreaming
I can hear them say
Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more"