Imaginary Enemies

Lulu newI should have figured that when the monologue became a dialogue that I was in some serious trouble. “The Voice” started to speak up again.

“The Voice” may be experienced uniquely for each individual. It may just be a whisper, a buzz, or a feeling. No matter, each person Dx or not has “The Voice”. In my personal experience, “The Voice” is literally that, a voice. It comes from within myself, as if I am host to two conscious minds in one physical being. It is not a hallucination, as I recognize the existence within myself. They coexist and are more than aware of the other “personality”, if you will.

I am familiar with my own conscious mind which produces these monologues that I translate to print. It forms the words milliseconds before they come to life. It repeats important information to commit it to short-term memory. It can take on a physical manifestation to transport me into the past, with all of my senses intact.

“The Voice” was born from the same conscious mechanisms that produces monologues. Suddenly, dialogues existed. These two conscious voices in my mind would deliberate everything. Sometimes, they would viciously argue. The noise was deafening. I was a woman divided.

“The Voice” fueled the fire. In depression, it perpetuates incredible delusions. It whispers, “You know you are worthless. Look at all of your failures. That’s why no one loves you, not even your family. Everyone is better off without you.”

It blames my action or inaction for all of the woes in the world. It convinces me that I am responsible for creating misery in and burden on my loved ones. All of my greatest fears are realized. My delusions are reinforced and substantiated as being reality.

In hypomania, it overcomes the other conscious voice. It is strong enough to occasionally be the only voice. It rationalizes each decision and refuses responsibility for the consequences. “I am the most awesome person in the world. They are only jealous, because I am superior. I am amazing at everything and have nothing to prove to everyone. This should be common knowledge by now.”

I become above the rules, because I alone am the exception. I am invincible, and “The Voice” reminds me at every impulse. I explode when enraged and it’s the other person’s fault. “We were having a good time and they had to be a jerk. Give it to them!” I go on a rampage because people have personally wronged me.

At one point, in the worst of the fits with The Voice, I deemed the dialogue as having three participants. The Voice had split and fused with a portion of my moral, conscious mind. And in between, there I was, watching the battle rage almost totally outside of my physical being.

My physical form started containing a world of it’s own. Everything from the outside went through a perceptual filter. It often came out too distorted to make heads or tails of what the truth actually was. How can one possibly know the reality of their own life when it Is completely relative?

The noise in my brain was overwhelming, sometimes to the point of maddening. Always, even when The Voice didn’t have an observation or remark, there was the background static of a detuned radio. Occasionally, it would pick something up, but it was always like being on the edge of a broadcast zone. Outside sounds would echo, a biting remark, a provocative line in a song, etc. It made focusing nearly impossible.

Eventually, these dialogues passed through my lips, as if they could no longer be contained in such a small space. I attempted to channel it into my writing, but I would have spent my entire day with my head buried in a journal. Sometimes, I did. I would allow these dialogues to exist in tangible world if it meant my head would be a little less noisy.

I made sure it always occurred while I was alone. At least I had that much control. I was always on foot in those days. Many of these conversations came to life en route to and from work – a brisk mile walk both ways. And I’m kind to call them conversations. Often, they were confrontations and / or arguments.

Sometimes, I, or at least some version of me, would beg it to shut up. Leave me alone!!!

How can I go away when I AM you?!

When I started Lamictal, my mind was suddenly silent. No static, or echos. I could actually fully be present in the moment I lived in. And The Voice suddenly disappeared. Oddly enough, I was scared. All of those things had been present for so long, I felt as if my brain had been deadened.

The Voice couldn’t be stifled. When I found myself engaging in silent dialogues once more, I knew something was amiss. More medication, and it was silent once more.

Today, The Voice plagues me occasionally. Typically, it is during a depressive episode, as it began before. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen during a hypomanic episode. But, The Voice has a low volume at best.

I now have clarity if thought and quality of reason to beat The Voice at it’s own game. You are not real, and I am not listening.

© Tallulah “Lulu” Stark and A Canvas Of The Minds 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tallulah “Lulu” Stark and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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5 thoughts on “Imaginary Enemies

  1. oh my, this explains what I went through before Lamictal also. sometimes it was several voices always with an underlying song or two as well as static. I called it brain frizzles. My brain felt like it was being twisted in many directions. I, too, wanted to outrun it. I knew that I couldn’t because it was me; I was it. I could never escape. Now my mind is mostly calm. I’ve gotten used to it and when I do have occasions where the voice(s) reappear, I can consciously squelch them or let them dwell for just a bit. Usually a nap takes care of them.

    • When my sister described a similar experience, I was taken aback. She ended with, “You must think I’m totally crazy.” I told her, “No, just the opposite. You made me feel more sane.”

      I’ve talked this over with doctors because I was seriously scared this was splitting through dissociation. Dissociative Identity Disorder – more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. But, there is a criteria missing. My self is aware of The Voice and vice versa. At best, it’s delusions.

      What they failed to mention was that this was a commonly occuring phenomenon! For years, I thought it was just me!

  2. A powerful piece of writing on a terrifying (to me) subject. I will be thinking about this for a long time.

    For me, the constant radio static in my head is annoying at best, maddening at worst. The meds help, but the only time my head is truly quiet is if I take doses so large that they zombie me out. So I live with a continual cacauphony. I’m used to it, really, and every once in a while I find the chorus that resides in my skull having pleasant conversations. I breathe a sigh of relief then, and enjoy the moment, knowing that sooner or later the radio will go back to crackles and buzzes.

    • That’s pretty accurate. But, usually The Voice has nothing kind to say. I’ve come to think of it in a Jungian philosophy. The Voice is a physical manifestation of my shadow. Except, it takes it beyond manifesting negative characteristics to magnifying them to delusional proportions.

      The static was really only momentally silenced. It still remains, but it’s white noise now. I really think of it as a detuned radio. As I navigate through my life, it sometimes becomes deafening. Other times, it actually picks up something pleasant. The remnants of a familiar voice or song. But, I no longer have a jumble of noise. It’s as if some kind of filter was put in place when I started Lamictal.

      I’m so sorry you have to suffer with all of that mixed up noisiness. It is distracting and so very overwhelming. I feel as if that is what made a serious contribution to my irritability and reactivity. I do hope it gets better.

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