15 Tactics to Combat Hearing Voices

I have schizophrenia and hear voices. It is difficult living with something that you can hear and speaks to you which isn’t really there. My aim is to eliminate the voices or make them manageable. These are some tactics which may help someone who hears voices. If you are trying these tactics, you may not be able to do all of these techniques at once. Try taking one or two of them a day and practicing them. Write down important things that have to deal with managing the voices because every instance of hearing voices is different and my list doesn’t have all the answers.

 

  1.        Medication. Medication is often times a crap shoot. Each medication can affect someone differently, and finding the right medication can be tricky. The best way to get the best medication is simply through trial and error. If you are suffering hallucinations or delusions then medication is your first and often best bet for recovery. If your medication makes the symptoms worse or side effects become unmanageable then get help straight away. Do not see if it will change over time, as most likely they wont if symptoms and voices are worsening, although side effects usually get more manageable after awhile. Call your doctor and see if they can squeeze you in, tell them it is very important that you talk to or see a doctor. Remember that every medication affects someone differently. What works for someone else may not work for you. Keep trying different medications and don’t give up. Eventually you will find one or more that suits you. Always take your medication on schedule and don’t miss doses.
  2.        Avoid drugs that aren’t prescribed. Be careful of alcohol use, especially with certain medications. Alcohol and medication affect the same receptors so it is wise to not drink on medication because the medicine will have a weaker effect. Different drugs upset the balance that medication provides, and can mess with your mind and body. Even little things like caffeine or nicotine can change how the voices act, so be careful what you put in your system, especially if you’ve never tried it before and don’t know how you will react. Street drugs may cause you to relapse, so just don’t use them. Each time you take a drug that isn’t prescribed you are running the risk of a relapse.
  3.        Music and white noise. Music is an important ally, as music is contrary to the voices. Listen to music that you enjoy and gives you some sense of empowerment. Music can say something different than the voices, and makes it feel like it is on your side against the voices. Some music can be twisted by the voices, but concentrating on the words or tune can bring relief to the never ending torrent of thought that the voices are. Make a playlist of songs you enjoy and listen to it. Singing or playing an instrument also focuses your mind as well, and is a great way to blow off excess energy. Singing a simple song or humming can also give you a safeguard against the voices. Even thinking a song in your head can help. Having white noise helps quiet the voices. It is a simple trick that may help someone who hears voices. Try sleeping with fan on or having the ticking of a clock to distract you from the voices. Having white noise will help you fall asleep.
  4.        Talk. Don’t talk to the voices, talk with someone real. Talking with someone takes more concentration, especially if you are interested in what they have to say. If the conversation loses your interest, try focusing on every single word the other person is saying. Focus your mind on every little detail. Remember to talk to real people, don’t get sucked in by the voices. If you are alone, talk to yourself, and only yourself. Saying your thoughts aloud helps you focus your words and thoughts, and separates you from the voices. A simple habit, but it may help you find relief and relaxation when the voices are unbearable. If you cannot talk aloud, try texting or writing instead.
  5.        Stay busy. Staying busy is important. You don’t have to do something 24/7, but being distracted quiets the voices and helps you ignore them. Set plans and follow up on them. Cultivate hobbies. The voices are loudest when it’s quiet and nothing is happening, so try to do something that takes up your energy. Feeling tired after being busy will also help you sleep when the voices are loud, distracting, or disturbing.
  6.    Don’t believe the voices. They’re not real. The voices are hectic and manipulative. Sometimes they’re just confusing, and to believe them is a surefire path to madness. Remind yourself that they are only symptoms of an illness, and nothing more. Don’t believe that they are something deep and personal about you. Think of them as a bad cough, or just noise. Believe in yourself, not the voices.
  7.    Be open. Always let the people in your life know what you are going through. You are not alone. Letting people know what’s happening in your life helps them to help you. Don’t be afraid of social stigmas. It may be challenging at first, but getting someone to understand can be a worthwhile victory. Do not fight alone against the voices. Everyone needs a friend. You can also go to support groups where you can meet other people who are going through similar situations. I met schizophrenics and talking with them has been one of the best parts of my illness, and good parts of schizophrenia is very, very rare. Other people will take the time to understand you.
  8.    Be careful of your mood. Watch what you listen to and where you are. Being in the darkness alone can make the voices scarier, while being in the light with someone can make them less frightening. Put good, positive things in your head. Don’t ruminate on unpleasant things, whatever they are to you. The voices will seize on the negative things about you and your surroundings, so take care of your mood.
  9.    Take care of your body. Clean yourself and your surroundings, do not give into depression. Making yourself and your surroundings look nice can be a morale booster. Eat healthily and exercise. Doing these little things can make you feel good and increase your mood. Staying healthy is important, it gives you accomplishments that the voices cannot take away.
  10.    Have a mantra. Praying helps me. It gives me a sense of connection and clears my mind when the voices are rampant. It is like holding a railing near a steep cliff. The railing is there if I need it, and is always the same. Sometimes the voices make fun of me for praying, but it’s important not to give in. That means that saying my mantra upsets them, and is contrary to their will. Having a mantra helps me focus, and praying gives me a sense of connection and reminds me of my family.
  11. Read. Reading takes up more brain power, so the voices don’t usually speak when reading. In the worst of my schizophrenia it was hardly bearable to read, so I read aloud. Reading aloud helped me focus on my own words and the words of the book. Reading something about schizophrenia and mental illness may provide more insight into your fight, so learn where you can. Reading and learning something different may distract you from the voices if it piques your interest, so always exercise your mind and learn.
  12. Time. It will take time to heal. There is no magic solution to schizophrenia. It may take weeks for medication to work completely and years to fully recover. Time heals all wounds, so do things while you are waiting. Don’t let the voices take over your life. It will take time to heal. Don’t spend too much time trying to specifically get better. You will get better, in your own time. Remember to do things while you are healing.
  13. Therapy and treatment. Therapy is a good way to spend your time. You may learn more techniques to combat mental illness and talking with someone about your battle really helps. A doctor is on your side and wants you to get better. Find a specialist you can open up to and understands you. It may take awhile to get to know someone, but liking your therapist or doctor often provides the best results. A good way to find a doctor is to ask a nurse or doctor friend or in-law who they would send if their own family member was afflicted by the same illness. Take your treatment seriously.
  14. Be with your pets and loved ones. Animals give unconditional love easily, so love your cat, dog, lizard, bird, or whatever as much as you like. You’re loved ones will always be there for you. When you’re going through a hard time sometimes being with someone you love is all you need.
  15. Build a safety net of real people and ideas. Be with the people you care about. Think of them in your darkest hours. Find a way out of negative thoughts by having beliefs and ideas that are uplifting. These tactics and my family and friends are my own safety net. These tactics may be a good starting point for you, and can help you construct a safety net that is unique to you. Be sure to remember and write what you think of down! These tactics have helped me, I hope they help you.

One thought on “15 Tactics to Combat Hearing Voices

  1. Hi Lukas. I was reading your blog while looking for some relaxation during my stay in Nepal. A very interesting and well written piece. You have developed quite a few strategies to cope with the voices. I hope you have an audience that can profit from your advise.
    Take care. A hug from your opa.

    Like

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