How one schizophrenic perceived the voices in his head
Here’s an interesting article from More Intelligent Life, a lifestyle magazine published by The Economist. The author is one John Sterns, who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which is a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He describes his symptoms as follows:
I hear voices (“auditory hallucinations”, technically). They come from all directions and fill my mind with hateful, self-destructive demands. One comes from above the crown of my head and commands, “You must die”. Another rests on my left shoulder and says, “You should be dead”. A third whispers insidiously into my left ear, “Kill yourself”.
But the most persistent and long-standing of my voices, which began when I was eight years old, pounds on my left shoulder like a jackhammer, repeating, “I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself.” It never ends. My response to this particular voice was to develop a permanent cringe in my right shoulder. I am now spending thousands of dollars to correct compressed discs in my neck that have caused me chronic pain for nearly 30 years.