> I just have this feeling that I am going to be senile
> when I am old. I am going to hear voices. That's all.
> I listen now for their approach, and sometimes I can
> hear faint whisperings in everyday sounds. Under the
> noise of the vacuum, I think I can hear murmurs. In
> the hum of the computer fan, I almost catch a word or
> two. I wonder; when I am old, will I hear complete
> sentences? I certainly hope so. I can't think of anything
> more maddening than whispers you can't quite make out.
> I am practicing being very still and listening without
> letting anyone else know. I think I will be ready when
> it comes.
You know, as much as i would like to label the above truly bizarre, i can't, simply because what you describe is a very serious disorder. The situation is either a side effect of manic depression, or borderline schizophrenia.
It develops slowly, unbeknownst to the patient, who sometimes considers the whispers and the sometimes clear recognition of phrases in various sounds interesting and funny.
It usually starts after a major psychological shock, but various precursors include stress beyond limits, intense concentration in any one subject (Ph.D. students are often victims) and in general it relates quite well to major changes in one's life.
It usually starts as whispers coming from strangers who may be talking to other people and not relating to the patient directly. The patient usually develops quite an affinity towards the 'new' reality of sounds and starts 'listening' to pick up new ones. The first grave mistake.
The situation develops rapidly from the point of whispers to complete sentences, usually cursing/swearing and/or teasing/ridiculing. The gestation period for the disease is unknown, but it usually develops into full force schizophrenia in about one to two years.
Sources of sentences may include: Conversations in other rooms. Conversations from outside such as street talk. Phone calls. Dog barking. Text from books. Unusual symbols in books and or tv. The tv. The movies. Most known sources of sound can produce messages.
The sentences develop from simple words, to complete phrases. The messages are sometimes insane, other times completely meaningful. Sometimes the phrases are both non-sensical and sensible. Usually, the patient starts 'obeying' the voices and in this case, major disaster lies ahead. Directives from the voices can vary from simple teasing, to direct dangerous goals, such as testing oneself in danger, or putting oneself in danger to test the truthfulness of the messages. Weak subjects usually fall pray to suicidal tendencies.
In its final stages, the disease takes complete control of the patient's mind, and alters reality to the extent where communication is impossible. The conveying of messages between a patient and a normal person is completely impossible. At this stage, the patient can be safely labelled as 'schizophrenic'.
Patients in advanced stages can be dangerous, because they can misconstrue the meanings trying to be related to them. They are usually hostile and can 'fire up' on the slightest provocation or upon silly subject lines.
The patient's reality is one of total confusion and chaos. Thousands of messages are being relayed to them from various sources, and the brain usually tries to sort through them by attaching meanings to the voices trying to order them. In the beginning stages this can be done, but as the disease progresses, it becomes more and more difficult. Finally, the patient abandons all effort to sort through the chaos, and quits sanity. The brain at this point has been altered considerably. This stage is usually the last and most dangerous state. The patient at this stage has problems relating to society and usually abandons everything and becomes a bum.
The brain has a unique capacity and affinity to absorb new messaging and information, and this is precisely the trick that this disease uses to incapacitate the brain's mechanism.
Gradually, through the last stages of the disease, all meaning is lost, and gets altered by a gross version of reality where chaos rules. That being the case, the patient finds no interest in performing any of the mundane everyday tasks, and usually starts running away, in an effort to find peace and quiet from the voices.
The voices usually command grossly ridiculous tasks to the patient, such as starting major crusade efforts on various subjects. Saving the world, saving others, starting to preach, or becoming a messiah. The patient usually claims he/she understands the meaning of everything, and from within the reality framework of the disease, it is partly true.
It is speculated by psychiatrists that the first symptoms of the disease start because of synapse malfunction. Specifically because the dopamine re-uptake is being thrown out of balance. Yet, even psychologists do not know the exact reason WHY synapses fall out of balance in the first place. There is some indication that stressful work on ANY subject, can cause major shifts in the synapses, after prolonged application.
The most successful medication that applies successfully in the case of the voices is usually trifluoperazine. The levels of trifluoperazine are cumulative, so doses have to be maintained for long times to have effects. Mild cases can start at 5 mg a day, while some of the advanced cases may need 30 mg a day for the medicine to take any noticeable effect. But there are problems, as usually the patients do not take their doses, fearing various other insinuations and meanings that come from the drug itself.
Usually the more progressed patients, may need to take large doses for a year or two to see any improvement. Sometimes, the treatment is combined with Lithium, as many times the disease starts as a side effect to manic depression. In many cases, Carbamazepine helps as well, battling the side effects of trifluoperazine which are epileptic seizures and tardive diskynesia. (Parkinsonism)
There has been some non-scientific speculation as to unknown forces being at work, and there have been documented cases which have been labeled as 'possession'. There is no scientific evidence that malignant forces are in control, but patients usually claim that 'someone' is out there and is talking to them. In fact, this 'someone' is either God, or Jesus, or some other major deity, usually quite malignant to the character of the patient.
There have been undocumented cases where the disease has been relayed to severe meme infection, coming from various societal doctrines or dogmas. But in most cases, the patient grabs and holds onto some familiar doctrine as a last resort, in order to establish order in his/her reality chaos.
The patient's explanation is that some sort of revelatory explanation of reality is given to them, and it is hard to shake this belief or to attempt to bring the patient back into this reality without inducing extreme suspicion (to the patient). In fact, any coherent explanation will be taken as non-sensical and sensible at the same time, as the disease forces a major reshuffling of idea bases every once in a while in the patient. At this point, the patient is prone to believing anything.
Gradually, the patient loses all contact with this reality, and operates in his/her own mode, which is totally incoherent. The amount of meaning that can be conveyed to the patient is enormous. In fact, the situation is very similar to a gedanken experiment, where a normal sane person comes into contact with a source that explains everything.
The explanations and meanings do not have any coherent meaning to the outside world, yet to the patient are very important. Examples may vary: They include details like which foot to use when entering one's house, to paying always attention to every word one says in order to not 'disturb' the reality further. Some patients stop speaking altogether.
Others isolate themselves and don't care about anything. Others become monks or priests. There is a huge percentage of priests coming from this realm, without realizing that they in fact suffer from a very serious disease. They take it as 'the voice of God'.
From the patient's perspective, there is a huge conspiracy on them. It is usually malignant, and centers around them as being 'suckers' or 'idiots', having been manipulated by external forces which they cannot control. In fact, many of the messages and voices relayed to them, pertain to this very conspiracy.
Reconditioning and returning to reality is very hard. By the time the patient has reached the stage where everything communicated to them has a 'special' meaning, it is usually too late.
The most important decision on the part of the patient is their desire to WANT to return where they previously were. And this is usually not the case, as they prefer to live in the known chaos that the disease brings, rather than in the unknown chaos that we label as everyday life.
What is my personal opinion as to the cause of the disease? Brain infection from something that has been surviving in our minds for thousands of years and predates the humankind. Beware. It has no good intentions for humankind.
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