From the U.S.: I am 31 years old and female. When I was 23 I would work at a retail store night shift, would hear mumbling, laughing, vulgarity and talking all night, at the time I assumed it was just other people or co workers working in the aisle next to me. I would go outside and smoke at 3 am in the morning, the parking lot was empty, would still hear them, but, no one was there. Parking lot was empty. This happened night after night.

At the same time when I was around 23 I would get up in the middle of the night and hear music playing, would walk outside of my apartment, knock on neighbors door, I guess no one had music on. During this time in my life I would have these experiences maybe for a few weeks, on occasion a once out of six month thing.

When I was 26 my dad died, I became more depressed, and hearing voices became something that started happening more frequently. Over the years, I feel like, its just been getting worse, its a rare day when I don’t hear them honestly.
It’s like spending years having 2 people talking in the other room, constantly being watched.

It’s always the same 2 people but I don’t know who they are. One is an old male and the other is a middle aged female. They often laugh and talk to one another, vulgarity, profanity, mocking, they might comment to each other regarding something I do. During times when im “less stressed” I hear them but its very distant the background, like 2 people talking behind closed doors. When I am more stressed, I tend to hear them very loudly, and its persistent.

Some days when I get home from work all I do is listen to loud music the entire night to drown them out. I tend to struggle with social phobia. They never really talk to me directly or tell me what to do, they always talk to one another in third person, but, its constantly the feeling of being watched, all the time. I don’t really know what to make of things, I know this has been going on for a long time and I’ve ignored it because I’ve been afraid that if I tried to talk to anyone there’s no real help available anyaway.

Honestly, I’m agnostic, sometimes I feel like they could be ghosts, sometimes I feel like maybe I’m just depressed and its a chemical embalance in my brain, honestly I don’t care at this point, I just want them to go away. Lately I’ve just started drinking in order to deal with it, which, isn’t a healthy pattern in my life. I’ve thought about going to “couseling”…but im afraid of feeling like an idiot and I don’t know if I should take that step or not, I’d almost rather initially address the issue annonymously where I don’t have to feel embarrassed (too much) via online question.

It’s just at the point in my life where I can’t ignore it anymore I feel. Just would appreciate a feed back, opinions, not really sure what to do or how to approach this. Wondering if anti depressants might help improve things?

I’m sorry for writing so much for a simple question, I just would like any professional advice on how to deal with this, its effecting my life, I honestly dont want them in my life anymore. Please respond it would be greatly appreciated.

A: This isn’t a simple question and there is no need to apologize. I think you know what I’m going to say: Go get professional help! You’ve been trying to deal with this on your own for years and it hasn’t worked. Drinking may be a way to “self-medicate”, but it won’t help resolve the core problem either. You need the practical help, support and encouragement of an expert.

No professional therapist is going to think you are an “idiot”. Therapists don’t judge people. Our job is to help them. In your case, I urge you to see a licensed psychologist and/or a psychiatrist. People with that level of training are more likely to have the know-how to help you. If the psychiatrist you see only provides medication, not talk therapy too, then please also see a psychologist. You deserve to have someone in your corner who can help you deal with the current situation as well as your past experiences with these voices. Please. Really. Make an appointment with a psychologist today. You deserve it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie