Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Hearing voices and speaking to them

We are new to the forum and our 27 year old granddaughter is under doctor care. She hears voices constantly and talks out loud for all the voices she hears. She is nearly always happy talking to these voices. But it is constant. Please help me understand. I don’t know how she isn’t exhausted. Thank you

Hi @debl and welcome to the forum. I’m sorry for the reason that brings you here, but all of us on this forum understand what you are going through.

My daughter was 32 when she started talking to her voices so that others noticed her doing it. At that point, she lost her live-in custodian job, and had to come home to me. She had no idea anything was wrong with her, she believed she was gifted in hearing special beings who watched over the city. At first she seemed happy, then the voices grew stronger and more negative, and she started screaming at them, alone in her room, almost 24/7 for most of the past 3 years. So sad, the transformation in a lovely, giving, kind woman…

A twisted path of police, forced hospitalizations, several types of meds, and several different diagnoses, lead to a diagnosis of schizophrenia and a long lasting injectible anti-psychotic court ordered by a judge. This medicine is a miracle maker, and my daughter has returned to her sweet, loving self, has a part time job, and she is 90% symptom free (she still talks to voices, but softly and only sometimes… maybe only 4% of her awake time now).

This is a terrible illness, schizophrenia. And even worse, sometimes the person who has it, is unaware they have any odd behavior at all (anosognosia is the term for lack of insight). Both together, a person’s life, and the lives of their families, are forever changed.

I recommend that you read all you can on this forum, know that it isn’t your fault or anyone’s fault that she is having this problem, that often it starts for women between 25 and 35 years of age, and you educate yourself with other sources too. NAMI is a great place for support. “I’m not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” by Dr. Amador is a great book to gain understanding, and a tool to communicate (LEAP) with your granddaughter.

You are not alone in the confusion this illness causes. I used to wonder too, how my daughter wasn’t exhausted when she was talking constantly to voices, so loud that she got hoarse on a regular basis…

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Whst is the court ordered injectable? What is the medication?

Haldol dec shot (100 mg haloperidol injected in the arm muscle near the shoulder once every 4 weeks). The court didn’t order the specific medicine, just that she be medically examined and medicine compliant if he let her out of jail pending her court hearing in 3 weeks. From jail, she went to the hospital, was put on the same medicine that worked during a 2017 hospitalization (except that she came off of it when released from the hospital in 2017).

That was the start of her beating her psychosis. It’s now been pretty much sanity since Dec 9th, 2018.

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Thank you. My daughter is getting an Abilify shot. It worked for her before the psychotic break seven months ago. Hopefully it will work again now.

Oh @Katee I do so hope along with you that the Abilify shot works for your daughter again.

It was a year between the first time my daughter had her Haldol shot and the next hospitalization and her 2nd Haldol shot. It worked just as well the second time as the first time despite all the months in between. So it is very possible Abilify will work again for your loved one.

Yes, I’m hoping it makes a difference!

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Reviving an old thread I somehow missed, or forgot to reply to:

First, I always find it a little odd that people assume that hearing voices is ‘bad’ and must be a terrifying experience. They can be benign or helpful and even pleasant and reassuring. Think of them as you might dreams or drug experiences. You have good dreams and bad dreams; good ‘trips’ and bad ‘trips’. I would reassured that she’s having more of a pleasant experience.

Second, there are other problems here I’d be more concerned about than the voices, and they’re something you could actually help her with, as opposed to the voices themselves which may or may not be curbed with medications. I would treat this in a similar way to a child who develops an imaginary friend. Problem one is she speaks to her voices in front of people and it can upset them and make them less likely to be her friend. Ask her if she can do this in private. Problem two is they are monopolizing her time. Ask is she can limit her time with them and if she wants to speak with them, speak with them quietly in her room.

Before I started taking medication, I went through an evolution with my ‘voices’. First, I didn’t know who they were and why they wouldn’t go away. Second, I started a dialog with them in private in my room in an attempt to get them to go away. I made a deal with them that they weren’t allowed to follow me to work. Third, I eventually fleshed out a speculative narrative about them and gave them names. They were a male/female team of FBI agents similar to Sculley and Mulder of ‘The X-Files’ (this predated the show). Fourth, I attempted to give them up and even said a bit of a goodbye to them. This worked for a while, but I eventually rebounded and ended up in the hospital. Eventually I came to see I needed medication and thoughts of them faded. I’m still not sure which parts if any were ‘real’ about them, but I view them as something I needed to get through my recovery process, just as a child may need imaginary friends to get through some stage of development.

While I wouldn’t encourage this behavior, I wouldn’t shame a person for hearing voices. For me it was more about taming and integrating the voices to a point I didn’t need them any more. Other people’s experiences may vary. But either way, benign or threatening, I think having a dialog about them might be helpful. They are often a barometer of what a ‘sufferer’ is thinking and feeling and ‘speak’ in ways they can’t.

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My son talks to his voices quite a bit and almost always is angry when talking. In fact, he shouts a lot at them. I’m hoping he can get on a medication that can take these away.

I understand your feelings @peanut . At first, my daughter liked her voices and thought they were valuable. Then things got mean, and she was mostly yelling herself hoarse in her room at them sort of 24/7. It was sad and scary for me. Once successfully medicated (court ordered) she stopped talking to her voices except occasionally and always quietly, usually alone in her room.

When she was really hearing them a lot, it was odd to observe, especially as she never admitted her voices to me, even when she was talking to them right in front of me. I believe that only medication can stop the voices for some people.

I wish you and your son the best.