Hearing Voices and Losing Focus

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I can’t function when this happens. I recently failed out of college, and ever since, I am not sure I am okay. I keep “checking out”, as in I suddenly will lose my ability to focus on anything, my brain gets very foggy/tired, and I will lose a lot of muscle tension and not be able to hold anything or stand up very straight. A couple nights ago, I was crying very hard and in a lot of pain, when I heard Hound speak up. (Hound is an internal voice in my head. He started as an imaginary friend and just took on a life of his own. I don’t mind him; he never threatens me, makes demands of me, etc.) He said “Shhhh. You’re okay. I’m going to take care of it.” and I “checked out” into that foggy state; I stopped feeling anything and went limp. This isn’t the first time Hound has told me that he is the reason behind my dissociation (if that’s the right word).

This morning, after I woke up, I closed my eyes again and relaxed. I wasn’t quite awake, but I wasn’t asleep either. I heard another voice, a very cranky old woman who was berating me. Then another one, a little kid. Then another kid, and a teenager, all talking about different things. I saw myself in a room full of silhouettes, the voices. Then I heard a familiar English accent; it was Hound. I called out to him, and he picked me up and carried me out of the room, locking the door behind us. He apologized, saying he was sorry and that I wasn’t supposed to see that yet. The impression I got was that the voices lived in my head, and he was hiding them from me.

Between that and my constant checking out, I’m beginning to worry about myself. I feel like I am losing my mind one piece at a time, and it’s starting to greatly interfere with daily life. If I check out, I can no longer even hold a conversation. I would really like to seek some help, but I don’t want to ask my parents to pay for therapy if I don’t really need it. That is especially since I failed out of school; they are not exactly happy with me.

A. You did not detail what led to your problems at school. I suspect that your failing at school and your latest symptoms might be related. Both are signs of a potential problem. To address your question directly, you need to be evaluated by a mental health professional.

It is unusual to hear voices and to be “checking out.” Hearing voices might be indicative of psychosis. Psychosis is a break from reality. Psychotic breaks can be stopped if caught early. Medication can disrupt psychosis and restore the mind to healthy psychological functioning. The importance of early treatment of psychosis cannot be overstated.

Psychosis is a possibility but so might be a neurological problem. Brain tumors, cysts, drug usage, alcohol withdrawal, and so forth, can cause psychosis-like symptoms.

Your mental health and perhaps your physical health are being compromised. Don’t ignore your symptoms. As you noted, they are greatly interfering with your life. It is imperative that you undergo a psychiatric evaluation as soon as possible. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Feb 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Hearing Voices and Losing Focus. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/02/03/hearing-voices-and-losing-focus/