A: As helpful as online quizzes and educational websites can be, the only way to get a definitive diagnosis is to see a mental health professional in person for an evaluation. As I’m sure you have learned, sometimes hearing voices is considered a symptom of psychosis which could be related to schizophrenia, severe depression or bipolar disorder. Sometimes it is part of a dissociative disorder due to severe trauma. However, most of the time it is just our own mind having a dialogue within itself. This sounds more like what you are describing here.
In psychoanalytic (Freudian) terms it could be called having a harsh super ego. In cognitive psychology terms it could be considered negative self-talk or cognitive distortion. Thinking about and developing an understanding of our own thinking patterns is also called metacognition.
It sounds like you have developed an overly critical way of talking to yourself and evaluating your world. This can come from our environment (parents or upbringing), significant life experiences that have influenced us or it can just be a personality trait that we possess. However, you can train yourself to change the way think, which will eventually influence how you feel and act. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Change your thinking, change your life?”
There are many self-help books available to help change thinking patterns or you could seek the help of a therapist. Negative thinking can eventually lead to more severe issues such as depression or anxiety disorders, so I hope that you will do what you can to change these patterns now.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts