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Schizophrenia’s Voice

I remember the exact images of that day. It was my birthday. I opened the door of the car prior to it being parked and my uncle told me he would inform my mother. Bring on the dread and fear as he tells my mother, who loses it, throws my uncle and aunt out, and everyone else. I run up stairs and lock the bedroom door, while I hear my mother swearing her mouth off, telling me she will send me to my father who’s going to throw me out on the street, that she should tear me apart, limb from limb, piece by piece. There I sat at the window, looking down at the street where I lived, where I sometimes played with friends, and wondering to myself, “Maybe I could finally make her happy by jumping from this window.” I really hoped that I had the energy to do that, but I was in tears at the violence that would come ahead, how I would try to protect myself under the duvet, but my mother would simply tear it off and beat me even more. I knew all this would happen, you see, as it often happened. Then she broke the door down, and my predictions went into motion.

I first started hearing voices around the age of 6 or 7. I never believed in the bogeyman, in demons or ghosts as a child, but I used to stand at the bottom of the stair case at night, and whisper to the voices that I wasn’t scared. I would hallucinate seeing figures coming to get me, which would only disappear if I closed my eyes. Sometimes I felt I heard them breathing, waiting for me to open my eyes. Going to bed, I often saw figures running around stabbing my cousins (we lived with them for some time) in their beds, the blood spraying across the walls, and then their dark eyes meeting mine and running towards me. I cried myself to sleep quietly, fearing they would hurt me, or worse, my mother would for waking her up.

At school, I experienced violent thoughts and images, about attacking others, and often I would lash out as commanded. “They hate you,” “They don’t want you,” “You’re worthless.” Words similar to what my mother would say to me when she was angry, words that often echoed as a voice that only I could hear, one that only I could talk to. I don’t know if this was psychosis, but I know it wasn’t my imaginary friend. It was something malevolent that I didn’t like talking to, but if I didn’t talk to the voice it would get angry, and that instilled the fear that my mother had borne into me like a knife with a jagged, rusty edge that won’t come out.

I never told anyone about the voices as a child, and to be honest I’ve never even told my psych yet, but perhaps if I offer this as something to read she may understand better. I don’t know. Just thinking about it makes me tearful, as this was part and parcel of something that no one helped me with as a child. Perhaps it was a manifestation of my mother keeping an eye on me, or perhaps it was something more innocent. A voice shouldn’t threaten or scare a child, should it?

10 years later and I’m living in London, my mother has remarried, and I now have a stepfather. I’m not happy as I was pulled out of school in Blackburn just as I was about to start my most important years of study. I don’t like my stepfather one bit, there’s something seedy about him, add to the fact that I don’t know him. I speak English as my first language and Punjabi or Urdu as my second language, and not very well at that. I feel depressed and lonely, as I sit in my room reciting lyrics to songs that talk about misery and depression. The music helps a little, but for some reason I am at an all time low.

My mother no longer beats me, as that stopped around the age of 10 or 11 years of age back in Blackburn. It was a violent end to violence. During my primary school and secondary school years I stopped hearing voices, and live life as a happy- go-lucky sort of guy, until I come home dreading the filth that will pour out of my mother’s mouth about me being a disappointment, worthless and she will ship me off to my father. None of this happens after the remarriage, it’s all love and kisses. “Can I get this for you? Can I get that for you?” It’s all peachy and fine, except it’s not, and London is making me feel more isolated and more alone than ever before.

10 years later, and I hear a voice that tells me “We’re going to be OK. I’m going to take care of you.” My fears rise, my hands and armpits sweat, tears start to flow down my face as I don’t know what’s happening to me. Why am I hearing this voice? There’s no one in the room but me, yet I hear this voice. I’m depressed and this time suicidal. I go to my doctor and I explain my symptoms, but I never mention the voice. I fear if I do, I will be locked up and the key thrown away. That’s the solution that’s often presented about those hearing voices on television programs. Why risk it? I still have college to go, a world to see.

I don’t want to be locked up. My doctor tells me it’s nothing; I do not need to worry. Whatever is troubling me will go away. I just need to go out more with friends, become more socially active. In my head I hear the voice telling me he’s talking lies, he doesn’t want to see me, and that he’s wasting my time. I agree with the voice and leave empty handed.

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Schizophrenia’s Voice

Personal Story

A personal story contribution is a story told by someone who is living with mental illness, a caregiver or family member, or a professional who treats mental illness. We believe in the importance of the patient's voice, and those most impacted by the effects of mental illness. These stories are a vital part of the mosaic that makes up the complexity of living with mental health concerns.

APA Reference
Story, P. (2020). Schizophrenia’s Voice. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Jan 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Jan 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.