My friend...

So, I recently got back into contact with a friend that kind of stopped talking to me last August (long story but it's not really anyone's fault). Anyway, she told me that last November, she tried to commit suicide. Obviously I was shocked and upset, but then she explained why. She said there was this girl, her name was Samantha, but that she wasn't actually real. She was a voice in my friend's head that would tell her things like "you're worthless", "kill yourself", "you're better off dead", and calling her ugly. I know the best thing for her is to find help, but I know that she won't because of embarrassment and because her mother wouldn't have the money for help like that.?

Its so so unfair on her, and I feel responsible for being with her just in case she needs someone to talk to. Any ideas as to help her overcome this or at least convince her to talk to mother about seeing a therapist or psychiatrist??
Thanks :)

Wow your friend needs professional help and she needs it now. She shouldn't be embarrassed to talk to her mum about it. Her mum loves her and would be totally freaked out if she knew. She HAS to get help before "Samantha" talks to her again. If she won't talk to her mum can you talk to her and tell her what's going on??

She said that it was a relief to tell someone, and I'm guessing that's what she needs and advice on how to ignore "Samantha" if possible. I do agree that she needs help. I'll try to talk to her again ;/

I recently learned a lot about hearing voices phenomenon. It's not uncommon. The U.K. and I think Australia has the best support networks for people with this issue. It can be very helpful to find a group of other people who also hear voices and meet with them.

Here are a few links I was given that may be helpful for your friend:

http://www.voicecollective.co.uk

http://www.intervoiceonline.org

http://www.workingtorecovery.co.uk

http://www.icra-wholelife.org

Hearing a voice, or sometimes many voices, or sometimes music, or sometimes other things, anyway, often, this can happen after a traumatic experience. My personal theory is one part of the brain is disconnected from the rest, but is still there, and is communicating in the only way it knows how. Sometimes the voice says nice things, sometimes it says negative things. Sometimes the voice says you must do something or something bad will happen, in which case, a first step is to notice bad things don't happen, the voice doesn't have any magical predictive powers any better than random chance, so the voice looses credibility.

Important steps in recovering from the distress associated with hearing voices: Meeting someone who takes an interest in the voice hearer as a person. (That would be you!)
Been given hope by normalizing the experience and showing that there is a way out. (Which there is, as other people have successfully dealt with it, some with the help of medication, others without.)
Becoming actively interested in the hearing voices experience.

Another interesting story I heard is one can actually negotiate with the voice. One person was able to negotiate with the voice and said they would listen to the voice from 7:30pm - 8:30pm every day if the voice would leave them alone the rest of the day so they could get their work done, and the voice agreed.? Another time the voice said it wished it was somewhere else, so the person said, well in that case, why don't you leave, and sent the voice elsewhere. One person wrote a letter to their voice, asking it politely to turn down the music it was always playing, and play some music that she liked.

I know one person who takes medication to quiet the voice (or voices, I'm not quite sure which) in her head, and that seems to work for her.

Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in this type of mental disorder (if it can be called a 'disorder', some people are objecting to that term). They are very familiar with it, know many people who experience it, it's nothing new to them, so tell your friend that the psychiatrist doctors won't be shocked at all, as it's just everyday stuff to them, and they see you as a person, and no one is "crazy", though some people may struggle with mental difficulties of all sorts, there's always someone inside, and you're a good friend to her. Just continue to be her friend.

Oh and understand the two realities. There's the reality we live in, which is created in our brains. And there's the reality that's actually "out there", which can only be detected with scientific instruments, such as a radio is needed to detect radio waves, eyes detect light waves, ears detect sound waves, skin senses heat and touch, and the brain puts it all together and creates this world for us to live in and interact with, and the brain colorizes the world, even though the world "out there" doesn't really have colors the way we see them, there's actually just a continuous electromagnetic specrum of waves out there.

And in your friend's reality, there is also this voice, Samantha, and it's real, as real as anything else is real, to her, so accept it as a real part of her reality, and accept her as a person and as a friend, and that's what she needs, is someone to takes an interest in her and still accepts her, someone she can confide in.

Your friend needs encouragement to counter the negative voice in her head. Just calmly say she's not worthless, she should not kill herself, and possibly think of the voice as a bully, who acts mean on the surface, but is actually wounded and hurt deep down, and you want to get to that source of hurt, that fear, that whatever is underneath that bully the voice is, and make friends with the voice. Talking with a good therapist may help with this. Also talking with a psychiatrist doctor may help, as the psychiatrist may have some ideas, and may offer medication your friend can try, which may or may not help, the only way to find out is to try it. It may work wonders. It may do nothing. But it's worth a try.

Anyway there are a lot of people out there who have been through traumatic experiences and have developed this problem, and even some who have not had any traumatic experience and have developed this problem anyway. A paper I have here says only 16% of people who hear voices can be diagnosed with schizophrenia, so it's not necessarily that. "Hearing voices are experienced by many people, who do so without becoming ill."

There's a lot of useful info out there, mostly from the U.K. and Australia. And a lot of ways to deal with this type of problem. Be her friend can be a very important part of supporting her right now. Give her this information and give her hope that there is a way out, that the voice can be tamed, and that there are many well trained people with lots of experience who know how to deal with these kinds of things, and she'll be fine if she can hang in there and you can help her find the people who will be helpful to her.

Best wishes!

Thank you so much Del677, I really, really appreciate the effort you put into helping my friend. :)?

You're welcome. Thank you for being a friend.

 

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