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I think I understand something better. - Melodramatic, corsetted mistress of the obscure — LiveJournal
February 14th, 2011
09:10 am


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I think I understand something better.
This is a post I have been letting float around in my head for a while, but never got around to actually typing out.

I think we have all seen or read about 'hearing voices' and 'the voices told me to' or 'the devil made me do it'. This was always something of a 'wtf' for me and I don't know how much of this is media drama and how much is based in fact.

But let me back up a bit. Has anyone else ever experienced this: you spend some time doing something very visually repetative (say, playing Tetris) and then can still see it when you close your eyes? I know I have (Tetris is just the one I remember best). I could 'see' the basic layout of the game and there was the ... suggestion? essence? impression? (not sure what word works best here) of motion but no details. I couldn't see individual blocks or anything like that. It was kind of like the afterimage of the game (motion and all) imprinted on my retinas. I thought the phenomenon was rather facinating.

But it seems to work with sound, too. If I listen for long to something with an even tone (say an audiobook or a lecture) sometimes I can still 'hear' a voice talking. There's no words, no real sounds at all, just the impression of a voice: the inflection, the tonal changes, the rhythms - in fact everthing EXCEPT actual word sounds (how that works, I couldn't tell you. And believe me, I have tried to figure that out). I can even recognize the 'speaker' sometimes.

If this happened often (it doesn't) or to someone more unstable than I am (at least, than I think I am) I can see how someone might try to force some sense into it. Why this hypothetical person might decide they were being told to kill someone, though, is still beyond me. On the other hand, this might happen rather more than anyone knows about, but MOST people don't get noticed because, frankly, they don't end up killing anyone (or even trying to).

I dunno. But I find it just as facinating as the visual version.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:February 14th, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
Why this hypothetical person might decide they were being told to kill someone, though, is still beyond me.

People who suffer from schizophrenia don't really decide anything relative to what, as you say, the voices are telling them. Some of them are able to recognize that most people don't experience the same thing, and are able to voluntarily seek treatment, but their reality is incomprehensible to us. Some might be able to rationally, intellectually, understand that the delusions are not real, but they still believe they are real. I don't think anyone who doesn't have the illness can possibly understand that dichotomy.

Edited at 2011-02-14 05:45 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)
Well, there is that.
[User Picture]
Date:February 14th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
I always pictured schizophrenic hallucinations more like when you "wake up" in the middle of the night and are actually asleep but could swear that you're awake and really having a conversation with your ex roommate about who's turn it is to walk the aardvark.
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
I get those. With paralysis even. They were pretty worrisome until I noticed that there were way more details in those dreams than I can hold in my mind while awake. After that I decided to just relax into them and enjoy. Downside? I stay more asleep, so I rarely remember them anymore. :(
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:February 15th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah. I have 'heard' a voice call my name. Too short to recognize and not possibly real, but...

And waking from a frustrating or angry dream? Yeah. Still feel that way.
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