Day 2 is going well, I am sticking to the healthy eating plan and instead of eating to satisfy a craving, I am eating to fuel my body and mind. A whole foods, densely nutritious plan. I love that I am learning to think of my body as a temple and as an engine that needs the right energy, vitamins and minerals to function at its best. I am aiming for the best of gut health, heart health, mental health and to boost my immune system. After breakfast I went on a great cycle ride, so good to get fresh air, sunshine and exercise.
Yesterday was tough, I heard some bad news and mental health symptoms surfaced, including hearing voices that were destructive to me and I felt very heavy headed and anguished. I was quick to speak out and looked after myself well. I was able to help settle the voices by acknowledging them and reassuring them that I was going to be OK. I think the voices step in as a form of protection for me, like they are ready to take over if I need to bail out. I was able to stay at the front and keep them from taking over. With Dissociative Identity Disorder, the voices are thought to be parts or alters, other personalities wanting to help me through a rough time. I have found the best way to help myself is to talk back to voices / parts, kindly and with respect.
The best advice I can give to friends/family/carers is to not ever accuse the voices of being a bully, don’t tell them to go away – they come back stronger if you do. Acknowledge them like you would any other person and treat them with compassion. Help the person to ground by reminding them of things in the here and now. Use grounding objects and things that involve different parts of the brain, such as playing catch with a ball, or a game of cards. Distraction only works once the voices have been acknowledged, otherwise they could sabotage it. Help the person to settle the voices and then move on to distraction techniques, but monitor this to ensure the voices are still not wanting to be heard. If they come back, reassure the voices again. Distraction techniques can include – naming an animal for every letter of the alphabet; count back from 100 in 3’s or say the alphabet backwards. Talk about things that are in the present. For me, it helps when someone would say, you are ‘Tracey’ and you are ‘age’, you are ‘xyz’, you have nephews etc., it helps me come back to the front and not regress further into the back of my brain where the trauma sits. Self-care is also of paramount importance, for me, having a hot drink or bath soothes me quickly.
I have made a useful coping strategies page here, please feel free to check it out.
I was sent this amazing video by a friend, it is literally like hearing the mirror of my experiences. I wanted to share it so it can help anyone experiencing voices, or anyone that knows someone who hears voices to understand further and to be able to help them out when they are struggling. Please see this wonderful video below by Eleanor Longden.
www.hearing-voices.org an online support network for people hearing voices, run by people hearing voices.