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Patient Voices: Hearing the Voice

Hearing the Voice

Hearing the Voice is a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing led by researchers at Durham University and funded by the Wellcome Trust. The international research team includes academics from anthropology, cognitive neuroscience, history, linguistics, literary studies, medical humanities, philosophy, psychology and theology, and works closely with clinicians, voice-hearers and other experts by experience. The fruits of their labours are now available for public access on the Understanding Voices website.
These Patient Voices reflective digital stories were created by voice-hearers in order that others might better understand their condition, experiences and lives. If you are affected by these stories, there are comprehensive support resources available on the Understanding Voices website.

Hearing voices isn’t all bad
Wenda has heard voices for twenty years. Initially, medication worked well and she didn’t hear too many voices for around 17 years. In the last four years the voices have increased dramatically, and she has been using DBT, Tai Chi and Kung Fu to manage them. But those voices can also bring something else – they can be supportive, positive and guiding, and they reaffirm her faith. Her psychologist says that he does not see any signs of EUPD, and that she has an unspecified psychosis.

Finding meaning after psychosis
Jason loves travel, music, dancing and initially disregards two episodes as the ‘Brazil thing’ or the Czech ‘thing’. He didn’t talk about it – the global conspiracy, the robbery, the arrest, the paranoia. Maybe it was just the travelling? Unfortunately it wasn’t, but fortunately he received great care after being sectioned on a 136 order – care that enabled him to become a lived experience advisor, a life coach, and to help increase understanding and awareness.

My name is Stephen
Stephen hears voices. How does that make you feel? Scared? Nervous? Do you remember something you read in a newspaper? It wasn’t always like this for Stephen. He was an army reserve, a landscape gardener, a runner. Then someone spiked his drink, and the voices began, Alcohol didn’t help, but music did. It helps him express all those feelings and experiences of voice hearing that are so difficult to tell people. His name is Stephen. Will you listen to his voice?

Am I dangerous?
For Nikki, Schizophrenia takes away so many things – friends, childhood, music, fashion. In their place it brings voices, stigma, misunderstanding, loneliness and a desire to make it all stop. But then she is introduced to the Voice Collective. Her experiences are validated by those of others and she bcomes less alone, more empowered and able to make a difference.

My granny’s pictures
When Christakis and his brother were children, their parents were killed a car crash. Their grandmother took care of them, telling her own stories through her art and sharing pencils and paper with others so they might do the same. When she develops dementia and begins to hear voices, Christakis realises that now is the time for him to share paper and pencil with her so that she too may create art that tells her story before it is lost.

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