As I sit here tonight, I can hear what seems to be a man’s voice. I can’t make out his words, but sometimes I can make out his tone. So here’s the big reveal, I hear voices. I’ll try and explain this the best way I can. It started a little over a year ago. It’s interesting because I can’t recall a specific time or day that it actually started. It just kind of went from not being there to being there, if that makes any sense. Sometimes it’s worse than others. Sometimes it has kept me up all night. I don’t know why it started or if there was something that I did that caused it, because believe me I’ve asked myself that question many times. In many ways I’ve grown stronger from what I’ve been through this past year.
So let’s rewind to a little over a year ago. I was attending Jeff State Community College and only had a couple semesters left to go before getting my associates degree. I was going to be taking all online classes this semester which I really didn’t like because going to class made me feel like I was accomplishing something. I’m still amazed that I walk freely down the halls of the campus now, still a bit nervous and uneasy, but nowhere near the state I was in even years before that. I don’t remember why I was at the campus that day. I think I needed to turn some forms into the office or something, but I remember seeing a poster on the bulletin board that mentioned a work study. I thought to myself, this would be a great way to get to come to the campus each day and I would likely enjoy the work.
I went to meet with the people that set up the work study stuff. Initially, they had me interview for a position in the admissions office. I was really nervous during the interview, but I remember being honest with the lady. I told her that I struggled with anxiety. She had told me that the pace could get rather frantic and whatnot with the phones ringing and a higher volume of people coming in during times of registration. She was really nice and after the interview she talked with someone and they told me I’d be interviewing over in the health/science building. Without making this a super long story I met the office supervisor who is a super sweet lady with a great personality and I also met my boss who would be showing me what I’d be doing. I remember when I was asked if I’d ever run an autoclave. I had no clue what an autoclave even was.
Anyway, my boss ended up being a very laid back person and even when I was learning what I’d be doing and made some mistakes or kept asking the same questions because I was concerned about doing things just right, he was always helpful. Several weeks into the work/study I was really enjoying what I was doing. There was nothing glamorous or special about it, but I liked getting there in the morning and seeing what needed to be done. If there wasn’t a lot going on I even tried to find stuff to do like reorganize cabinets and tidy things up. It was really a good environment. All the people I worked with or around were great. There was this girl that was also doing a work study who seemed to have a knack for locating me, even when I didn’t want to be found, but let’s not get into that.
I also need to say that it was around this time that I was in close to the best shape physically that I’ve ever been in my life. When I would go for runs I could feel myself improving and my weight was close to the lowest it’s ever been. I would even bring work out clothes and when my day was done at school I’d go for a run at the park across the street. It seemed that many things were going really well. I was getting more deeply involved in a men’s small group that I was a part of. Life was good. I felt like I was headed in a very positive direction.
At some point, things began to change. I truly wish I could pinpoint it. It really seems like it was a subtle progression that really just crept in on me. It’s not like I woke up one day and it was all different, but it most certainly felt that way when it started happening. Maybe it started with being suspicious that someone was trying to break into the pool house. I’ll never forget pulling into the driveway one day and I somehow was convinced that someone was looking out the pool house window at me. I remember sitting in my car for several minutes, I suppose trying to grasp what was going on in my mind. It was around this time that I started becoming convinced that my neighbors were talking about me and could even hear me sometimes. I slowly progressed into feeling like I didn’t have any privacy. I would go cut grass for my cousin and think that his neighbors were saying things about me, even though deep down I knew it wasn’t true. Logically, this whole time I was trying to ascertain what was going on with me. Why had my thinking begun to change?
Then there came the muffled voices. I would come home and get out of my car and could hear what sounded like a man and a woman talking. Most of it sounded like they were underwater or like a radio station that you couldn’t quite tune in. Then I would hear particular words that came out of the muffled voices. “He won’t come to the hospital”. I hear the word “miscarriage”. “Terminal” “New York” “East Coast” “I’ve got to tell Michael”
It was obviously concerning to me that I was hearing what seemed like bits and pieces of conversations. Then things started to get really strange. I heard a specific name. It was a name I wouldn’t just think of off the top of my head. A few days later, I end up meeting someone with that name. So I thought, okay, that’s just a coincidence. Stranger things than that started happening. I would hear a word and then someone would say it in a conversation. You have to understand that these were particular words or phrases that someone would not typically say in a random conversation. During this whole time I started to experience the strangest sensation of reoccurring deja vu. I promise you that I’ve never in my life experienced the things that happened to me and they will go down at the weirdest stuff to ever happen to me.
All of this was a progression. I could feel myself becoming more paranoid in general. You couple that to the fact that I was experiencing things that I really don’t think anyone believed and it was everything I could do to hold it together. I would be at school in the prep room where the autoclave was. I would be in there trying to study and I would be hearing things. One time I heard the name of an eating place that I’ve never heard of before. In fact, I googled it because I didn’t know that it was actually an eating place. To this day I don’t know if somehow I was picking up thoughts from other people or what. I would put my head up against the wall or refrigerator, feeling like if anyone saw me doing this I don’t know what they would think.
Many times the voices would be talking about what I was doing as if they were narrating my life. Sometimes though, actually often times they took the form of people I knew. My best friend was the voice I heard the most. I came to the conclusion after a while that I believed my subconscious decided what form a voice would take. I’ll never forget my birthday last year. Secretly, I’ve had one birthday wish for probably as many years as I can count. I’ve always wanted to walk into a room or a place and all my friends would be there and yell “Surprise”. I don’t really talk about it much because I’ve always felt that if I tell everyone, yeah I want a surprise party that it kinda ruins the idea of it being a surprise. Kinda like look, you wanted a surprise party so here ya go! Where’s the fun or joy in that?
Anyway, last year was my 30th birthday, so I had a little bit higher hopes that maybe, just maybe this would be the year. As the day progressed, I slowly began to realize that things weren’t looking to hopeful for it. So I ended up throwing myself into being busy. I ended up just wanting to get through the day. This somehow caused me to end up at my cousin’s house while the sun was going down and I’m holding a flashlight in one hand and the lawnmower in the other. So I finish and head back home. Well I had decided that it was more economical to put the mower in my car versus the van I’d been using. That was all good until I got home. I think it was like 10 at night and of course I pop the trunk only to realize that the mower is stuck. I mean literally the mower was not really meant to fit into that trunk, but somehow I got it in there. I spend what feels like an eternity pulling it every which way and feeling like a complete fool.
That’s when I heard a voice. It was as clear as crystal. “He does not need to feel ashamed about that”. It was my best friend. Finally I get the mower out of my trunk….breaking the trunk light in the process. Needless to say, that day did not turn out like I thought. So yeah, sometimes the voices have said encouraging things, sometimes they can be derogatory. In that year’s time I went to many different doctors. I had just about every test ran on me that you can have and they all came back normal.
Of course, during all that time I was on a number of different meds to try and treat these “voices”. It’s not secret that the class of meds used to treat these situations pretty much all have weight gain as a side effect. I ended up gaining 10 pounds per month for several months while I was on different ones. This caused me to become very depressed. My clothes were not fitting any more and I could feel myself getting winded a lot easier. I ended up gaining a total of about 70 pounds in a year. I’ve vowed that I will lose this weight because I’ve done it before. I won’t be taking any of those meds though, I can assure you of that.
So wow, you’re probably thinking. This person sure does talk a lot. I really do apologize for the length of these blogs. I’m finding it really therapeutic though to type these things. Whether people read them or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I’m trying to make positive changes and do things that promote a healthy state of mind. I’ll say this about the voices. They are still there, but the affect that they have on me has started to change and I hope it will continue to change. Maybe they are there, maybe they aren’t, but all I know is that I’m hopeful for new beginnings. Thanks for hanging around.