“I would not tell people when my voices were still very loud”

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Mae Harden is interviewed by Philly.com about her years of attempting to medicate away the voices she was hearing in her head, while hiding the truth as much as possible. “But I still kept one secret. I would not tell people when my voices were still very loud. I would not tell people how, if I was home at night, I’d actually have to go out in the street because it was way too loud in my house,” Harden told Philly.com. After 40 years of unsuccessful treatment, Harden found the Hearing Voices Network.

The United States Hearing Voices Network now has about 20 groups clustered along the East and West Coasts, reports Philly.com, and is gaining popularity in 20 countries.

The key to coping with voices, local hearing network leader Berta Britz told Philly.com, “is to acknowledge them – a direct contrast to all the psychiatrists over the years who told her to suppress them.”

“Professionals have often been afraid of people like me who hear voices… They taught me my experience wasn’t real and whatever was going on I had to fight it,” said Britz. “But I’ve found that when I tried to drown out my voices with distraction, avoidance, and listening to National Public Radio all day, they just got louder.”

“Harden said her life turned around about a decade ago, when Montgomery County began offering a more collaborative recovery system,” reports Philly.com. “A new, female, psychiatrist stopped trying to force medication on her. Together, they worked out a plan for Harden to live independently and maintain some stability.” The article also discusses how Harden’s fear that she would be forcibly treated simply for hearing or admitting to hearing voices made the voices much worse.

Those troubled by hearing voices learn to manage the cacophony (Philly.com, October 7, 2014)

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