Advice on Coping With Voices

Luisa Castagnaro, MA
16
249

This is a discourse on how to understand and handle the psychology of voice-hearing. In 2005, at the height of my voice-hearing reality, I wrote a prize-winning poem, “The Sound of Madness,” which I shared in my first Mad In America article, “Creatively Managing Voice-Hearing Through Spiritual Writing.” I would now like to go further into the origin and mechanics of voice-hearing, denoting how my experience with this phenomenon necessitated developing an understanding of the dynamics of good and evil which resulted in the quieting down of the voices. Now, at the beginning of 2016, this understanding has reduced their audibility by 98% without any increases in medication.

My journey with psychiatry began about 38 years ago when I experienced a nervous breakdown from a broken relationship, which resulted in seven days of insomnia followed by behavior where I was a danger to myself (as in attempting to throw myself out the window). I have been taking medication ever since, though more in order to sleep than anything else. Over the years, my diagnosis has changed from schizophrenia to manic-depressive to now schizoid-affective. I don’t believe in any of these diagnoses and have essentially surpassed any form of unscientific pathology psychiatry likes to project.

Now, where did my voice-hearing come into this and how did I overcome it? The cause was metaphysical and esoteric, not something arising from an “ontological defect” as psychiatrists are so prone to determine as the causes for all the mental disorders.

My entry into the world of voice-hearing was unique. I have been a practitioner of yoga for 29 years, not in the way of the current popular hatha yoga, but through the wisdom, readings and meditative practice of jnana and raja yoga. At the outset, I worked with a guru or spiritual teacher to learn the basics of how the ego attempts to foil the Higher Self, though later changed my practice into a unique path of self-exploration that has given me an independence and freedom not focused on the person of one master, but rather on my personal choices.

I was officially initiated into kundalini yoga while on medication, which is a highly unusual sort of situation since most yoga teachers are careful not to give awakenings to individuals with mental disorders. My awakening took years to unfold, insofar as I had to clear much debris stuck in my “subtle anatomy” due to the medication. Regarding the term “subtle anatomy,” psychiatry rejects that concept because it is still stuck in the gross matter aspect of neurochemistry, which is only a small fraction of the energetic field of any individual. Depending on which school of thought one aspires to after graduating from the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm to the quantum field paradigm, one can begin to understand what is meant by “subtle anatomy.”

So from a metaphysical perspective, I began hearing voices due to subtle energetic changes to my third eye chakra, which was open due to my kundalini awakening. An ex-friend had made some holy oil in a careless manner so that it was contaminated, and she placed it on my third eye. Shortly after this experience I began hearing one of the voices that, together with two other voices, would end up torturing me for about ten years, non-stop, day in and day out, pressing my buttons, chattering away and sabotaging my every move – in short, getting in the way of everything. One voice would not stop saying “ugghhh” or “because of her” to bring out my own personal sense of superiority/inferiority around an imaginary rival, while the other two voices, who sounded like the aforementioned broken relationship and former guru, availed themselves of pressing my buttons in the voice-hearing universe.

Let’s backtrack a bit. What are voices? Do they come from the inside or the outside or possibly both? Psychiatrists say they are all inside your head, but you hear them outside your head. So what is the case? What is their source and purpose? How do they read your mind all the time and know what to say to irritate you? Well, there is reason to their madness – it’s for making you mad. Here we enter into the territory of the unseen realms of reality, which according to the Kabbalah, comprise 99% of reality. That’s right; what we consider tangible, including all the dark energy and dark matter of the universe, comprises only a small fraction of reality. So what about these unseen regions? As long as science and its dark child, psychiatry, continue to insist that reality is only that which is visibly measurable, we will get nowhere fast.

Voices don’t exist inside the brain, literally, because the brain is energy and the mind is non-local. Dr. Erin Schuman has proven this in her work, “Theory of Neural Broadcasting,” whereby the firing of the synapse can occur without an electrochemical component, creating a radiant field that resonates into the surrounding cells; in other words, this energetic component proves that the brain is holographic as these non-local fields expand through the brain. Further evidence is provided by biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, who showed in his experiments that people could become aware of when they were being stared at from behind. And yet another body of evidence can be found in accounts of near-death experiences, out of body travel and dream precognition.

So how can we bring this to our understanding of voice-hearing, a seemingly most paranormal of phenomena? Well, there is such a thing as clairaudience, or hearing as a sixth-sensory activity, just as there is clairvoyance and clairsentience. This is where psychiatry fears to tread, because anything not tangible to the five senses is not seen as paranormal but as pathological. This is the mistake psychiatry makes, of lumping all extra-sensory experiences into the pathological category, when there are distinctions to be made. Yes, some perceptions may be hallucinogenic, but some are not, and there’s the rub. The wisdom acquired from introspection, friction and experience, which refines those distinctions so that they can be made with all the more discrimination – these are the fruit of the suffering to be tasted and known by the voice-hearer.

Parenthetically, some metaphysicians who were never diagnosed with anything have safely entered the world of meditative visions and think nothing strange of it; the moment one speaks, however, or brings it up to a doctor who is unfamiliar with this territory of human experience, talk erupts of seeing a psychiatrist. Hence we see the young children who talk to their parents about hearing or seeing angels or unseen friends, who are then put on medication.

But insofar as the voices I experienced are concerned, the source had to do with a kind of initiation I had to progress through as a spiritual aspirant and yogini in my cognition of the constant battle between good and evil forces that this game of creation is perennially engaged in. Had this ex-friend of mine never put that holy oil on my third eye, I would not have plummeted into the depths of often satanic voice-hearing that resulted in three hospitalizations, but I also might not have grown in the maturity that comes with distancing oneself from the drama of life and learning not to take it all so seriously.

So why would voices seem to be out to get you, as they sometimes seem to be? Perhaps the answer lies in paradigms that confront rather than reject the reality of antagonistic paranormal forces. These paradigms suggest that negative voice-hearing arises from dark forces. In Zoroastrianism, which some believe influenced Christianity, there are two forces – the Good or Ahura-Mazda, the mere uttering of whose name brings about a positive frequency, and the adversary, Satan or Ahriman. Dark forces exist, and they are seen in the lesser choices humans make between good and evil; this is due to the gift of free will bestowed upon us from our benevolent Creator.

These dark forces occupy an unseen dimension of the astral realms and are just as much outside of you as they are inside your head. This is not understood by pedestrian logic. The metaphysical logic is that such dark forces taunt you if you have ever done something to upset the cosmic balance in your life. The choices we make forge our destiny and reincarnation as the patterns imprinted on our psyches which cannot be worked through in one lifetime. So on the one hand, if voices make you feel unworthy, they would not be saying it if it had absolutely nothing to do with you. It is nothing to feel guilty about, but something to forgive yourself for.

What helps toward that end is realizing that, on the other hand, voice-hearing has nothing to do with you in the sense that feeling unworthy is essentially something that comes from your ego and hence is not real. Each individual is a fractal of God and is thus perfect in substance at the core. Since it is essentially a loving or friendly universe, it is to one’s upliftment to always make the choice to bring about more fruitful consequences, and hence we act for the good; thereby the Hero’s Journey, as Joseph Campbell would call it, unfolds.

So why would anyone hear negative voices?

Since evil exists, at least on a relative level, and we have not always done good things through the course of our incarnational cycles, there may come a time during those lives when a voice-hearing reality erupts. It can happen to anyone. Calling it pathological is irrelevant. If you get a grip on your voices, knowing full well that they are children of the ego and essentially have nothing to do with you, that is half the battle. Tell your psychiatrist, “I am not my voices, I am not my mental disorder for that matter, I am not even these thoughts I am having, but rather, I am the Knower of these thoughts.” Then see what your psychiatrist will say. Tell him or her that Dr. Deepak Chopra elucidates about the “Knower” in his “Higher Self” audio program. The Knower is known through meditation. Do more meditation and you will take less medication.

Now, what are some tactics used by voices, why should they even do it and what can you do about it? These forces seem to thrive on the energy of emotional pain that’s produced when they drive anger and helplessness into voice-hearers by saying things that press their buttons or relegate them into deeper realms of the ego’s reality. The basic tactic used by voices is that of Schadenfreude – that is, the vicarious thrill at the suffering of others or dejection over their successes – since this comprises a dark streak, however faint or strong, in every human being.

When the hearer is in the midst of personal agony over hearing the voices taunting him or her, here lies the moment when the voice-hearer can turn it around by affirming one alchemical thought of change: “I am worthy of love and respect. I am a fractal of God and I do not take things personally. I approve of myself.” These powerful affirmations, said with conviction, will set the voices going home.

If voices tend to distract the voice-hearer all day, causing exhaustion and resulting in not getting anything done, I recommend getting a timer, and focusing for ten to fifteen minutes at a time on a given project. This timed process can begin with reading self-help books or other activities. I have found that reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose” is a great way to squelch voices, as long as you observe in yourself what Tolle says concerning what the ego does to remove you from your bliss. If you can admit to yourself what it is about you that is making you miserable and fix it by knowing it is not you – that you are, in essence, beyond any of the lies of the ego – then negative voices will have less to do with you. In being responsible for yourself, you stop accusing the voices, and hence they have little left to do but leave you alone. You must feel all of this at your core. Affirm it, dance it or sing it when nobody’s watching or listening to you; but God and your Higher Self are listening and watching, and angelic guidance is afoot to set it right for you and alleviate your suffering.

If anything, living with noxious voices is one good way to keep busy. Recall the movie Gremlins where the little creatures had to keep on being entertained or fed beer; in this respect, negative voices are like Gremlins, and if you keep your mind on your work, you are less inclined to feel miserable. It is thus important to get a good night’s sleep so that you can brave the day of negative voice-hearing, or get on with life, as it were. Finally, console yourself by remembering that voices are virtually unconscious, a mere force reacting to your reactions.

Once you transform your reactions to their taunting into non-reactive responses, and try to emulate unconditionally how a sage or truth seeker would respond, the voices stay a bit quieter. You have to wield this effort from inside your heart-mind. I once read in a Kabbalah newsletter that the dark foils the light in order to bring us back to the Light. Much as the voices may not be directly aware of this, they do work for the higher Good, because even evil is orchestrated by a force beyond good and evil, which is ultimately the non-dual God.

Healing From Voice-Hearing

I turned 56 in May, 2015, and it has been about 15 years since I started hearing voices. I hope the suggestions in this piece can help desperate voice-hearers become more understanding of the forces behind their agony, and perhaps bring a more enlightened perspective to the chemically-lobotomizing tendencies of their psychiatrists who treat voices with more medication. It was rough for about 10 of the 15 years I heard them full blast (especially in my golden years, my forties, which have come and gone in a flash). I was ready to commit suicide at times, but thought I could not let them win. Why give up a precious human life for a hallucination?

I attribute the healing I experienced, or my eventually coming to terms with the crazy logic of the voices, to intrapsychic changes that allowed me to transmute this toxic reality into a manageable one. These changes have plastered the voices inside their own universe, incapable of resonating with the higher state of consciousness resulting from spiritual growth. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down and know you are more powerful than your voices.

As I write these closing paragraphs, the silence is deafening – the voices are basically gone. I have proven to be victorious, even if this has been an unseen battle. However, as far as I can see, the battle is never really over as long as we have emotional attachments to the things that make up our lives. I occasionally still hear low-decibel Morse code-type subliminals and repetitive musical segments that “mischievous spirits,” as a healer once called them, repeat to bring me down when I start doing well with my schedule of activities. To this, thank electricity for being able to play music over these sounds. It is important to remember how impermanent all of this is, as the Buddhists say about this world of passing, illusory forms. The same is true for voices.

Finally, my most comforting affirmations have been found in a bookmark of St. Teresa of Avila’s words, given to me in a spiritual bookstore: “Let nothing disturb you; nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices.” These words apply to all forms of nervous disorders and should be emblazoned in every introductory psychiatry book in medical schools. Would that the spiritual dimension were integrated into the wasteland of neurochemical explanations of Self!

My basic advice on stopping negative voice-hearing is to invoke the hero within yourself, starting with vanquishing everyday obstacles, bit by bit, and taking your power back from the dark forces that try to trample over the vulnerabilities in your mind. Make your weaknesses your strengths, one step at a time, and finally one day you will see that you will have arrived, and the voices will fall silent once and for all.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this. I have something to share not quite on topic but important. Check out this TED ED video on the math behind Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The implications of what happens and what the possibilities are for those who are dealing or have dealt with – my best words I guess are altered states. It is framed for math and physic teachers but the implications for the entire spectrum of psychiatry and occupy psychiatry and all other =groups and fractions is astounding! I couldn’t copy the link. My bad. But please check it out!

  2. Thanks for your perspective and story, Luisa, it’s interesting to hear different perspectives. My “voice hearing” experience was a bit different than yours, and I took a different approach to understanding it. I researched science and medicine first, so I could medically explain what caused my “voices.” And I’m still looking into the metaphysical and spiritual aspect of my “voice hearing” experience, but not worrying as much about that, as I figured it was best to trust in God regarding the spiritual nature of my “magical mystery tour.” I felt correcting my medical history, so I would be able to get appropriate medical care for my children and I in the future, was of paramount importance. But absolutely, I do agree the psychiatric industry does need to move past the notion that only the physical exists, there is a “seen and unseen,” as you stated the Jewish Kabbalist’s have believed in, researched and studied, for centuries. Not to mention, various factions of the Christians have, and do, believe in the “unseen” as well. As, no doubt, do many of the other religions, and the physicists and some of the psychologists.

    In my case, I found my “voices” started just after I was put on a drug cocktail known to create “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. And, other than that inner voice of reason, which I personally believe to be God, the Godhead, or the Holy Spirit, my “voices” did go away once I was weaned off the drugs. So I know from my medical research and records that, that was the medical cause of my “hearing voices.” And since I’ve noticed today’s gold standard treatment recommendations for “bipolar” are, in fact, a recipe for how to create “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. I do so hope the psychiatric industry reconsiders, and changes, today’s treatment recommendations for “bipolar” soon. And also systemically acknowledges that the neuroleptics alone can create both the negative and positive symptoms of ‘schizophrenia,’ via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome, and the central symptoms of neuroleptic induced anticholinergic intoxication syndrome. Since currently the psychiatric industry stills seems to believe the neuroleptics are “wonder drugs,” rather than “torture” drugs, as the UN has stated.

    Although, you are much further along in your spiritual understandings than I, as mentioned, I’ve largely been trusting in God with the “mysterious,” although I have read the Bible, the Quran, I’ve yet to read the Talmud, which I’d like to do, and I still know only a little about Kabbala. I’ve also only research a little into Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Gnosticism, and the other religions as well, so am no expert on them either. I’ve also researched just a little into metaphysics, quantum psychics, parapsychology, Jungian psychology. There’s just so much information, and so many theories, when it comes to the “unseen.” And the truth to me, at this point, seems to be that many people have interesting theories. But it does not seem any one belief system, be it scientific or spiritual, has all the right answers. Thus, trusting in God, that the unknown should remain unknown, because that’s what’s actually in the best interest of all of humanity, is somewhat my current theology.

    But this does mean that respect for all perspectives, and the right of intelligent / all people to respectfully and peacefully disagree, should be the order of the day. Which is, unfortunately, quite the opposite of the opinion of today’s psychiatrists, and their theology that all who disagree with their personal beliefs or DSM theology, have “anosognosia,” which is a symptom of their “serious mental illnesses.”

    I’m quite certain we’d all be living in a better world if we all, including the psychiatrists, acknowledged the limits of our knowledge base, and learned to live together in a mutually respectful manner instead.

  3. I just feel I’ve met a “soul sister” reading this article. So much resonates with me and i was just about giving up on sharing my experiences of “forces both dark and light” within a mental health environment. It is time now for us all who have realised that not all diagnosis labelled a “mental health disorder” is anything other that a misunderstood disorder in or of realms ignored, unseen and unacknowledged. Subconscious forces ultimately want as much to be healed as we do and like you have discovered lead to a deeper understanding of who we are. My 7 years of OOBIES and other phenomena eventual produced my own book “A New Human” and what happened the first time I offered in to those who assume the role of caring and providing a safe place for thse suffering from Mental Health Problems, the organisation here in the UK called MIND, it was dismissed as being “quote2 “wacky. Reading you was like reading myself and is so so validating, and I’m not wacky, simply someone who has emerged from nightmares with all shades of dark light and brilliance. Thank you so so much!

    Avril http://www.multidimensionalreality.com

  4. I don’t want to clog your log but need to add, the voices I heard which was on rare occasions were benevolent and gave me warnings (they also physically produced material phenomena so I would sit up and take notice) when where I was and the relationship I was involved in was causing me many psychological problems (I’ve learned much since and now understand that this relationship was karmic but had got to the stage of becoming psychically abusive, there is much denial around about “Psychic Attack” but it is a very real phenomena but one which needs to be understoood in order to be dealt with, denial helps no-one.) For me, like you, the more I grew spiritually and avoided the large amounts of La La Land by practicing discernment the faster and clearer my path became. My book was “driven out of me” over 14 years to write it and it’s only 158 pages, I resisted and burned thousands of pages during this process but it eventually emerged and hides nothing but it also offers suggestions for solutions. I self published and have 100 gathering dust in my bedroom. I checked the chipmunking publishing but when I read the CEO offering one hour one-to-one session for just under £5000 I decided they are not for me.

    This whole mental health and multidimensional realities area needs seriously addressing with large amounts of humour, but turning it into a commercial enterprise and using people’s “mental vulnerability and need to be heard” is not the way. We need altruism and working together there are very real forces that have much power who are hell bent on preventing the psychiatric/pharmaceutical empires from being overhauled.

    People like you and others are the pioneers of putting this in front of the public. The more we can collectively “come out” the more those suffering from mental health gain the strength to question their treatment but also take personal responsibility for researching all aspects of their “condition” the sooner this overhaul will happen. Fear has to be “gone through” not avoided.

    Luisa there is also many forces disguising themselves as “light” and misleading swathes of vulnerable people. I encountered them on my journey. But those 7 years taught me more than anything or anyone else including those charging thousands of dollars for their time and whilst my health suffered, that was necessary to slow me down and give me time to integrate all i had undergone. This path requires commitment, passion and urgently needs the altruistic approach. I am prepared to give my books away to anyone who demonstrates a genuine need. But they are not for the faint hearted or those who simply wish to be entertained or skirt around the issues.

    But this is actually not about me or my book but about us collectively lifting the carpet and discovering all the treasures within the dust, dirt and debris of psychological confusion.