Hearing Voices Simulation
An essay about the “Hearing Distressing Voices” simulation audio.
Hearing Distressing Voices
This paper is about the experience I had with the “Hearing Distressing Voices” simulation audio. It is an account of how the distinct nature of this experience aided me in understanding the nature of hearing distressing voices and how this could help me when working with schizophrenic patients.
My experience started with the opening of the audio simulation. The first real feeling I had was an immense feeling of detachment from the real. Pat Degan talks of the differences that may exist between the voice of conscience, hearing of a song in the head and hearing distressing voices (Degan, n.d). Immediately these voices began playing, I was detached from my usual activity. I was at first walking in the neighbourhood but after some time, I realized that these incessant voices kept gnawing and gnawing. I really attempted to concentrate on other things—greeting passers-by, being off the road but the voices kept at it. They were almost as if it was a persistent mock. I had to pay attention to the voices and what they said. Like Degan explained, I attempted to do something to rid myself of hearing the voices (Degan, n.d, 11:30).
When the voice says “I came for you…”(Soundcloud, n.d., 9:29), the scary thing for me was not even the voice itself. It was the accompanying auditory experience that made the whole experience seem like I was an object and there were hands reaching out to scramble for me. There was no way I could stay indifferent to these voices. I had to be activated in body and the whole of my sensory experience to make meaning out of the voices. One of the unique qualities that Degan (n.d) talks about with regard to hearing distressing voices is its being authoritative often. For long spells, the voices carried authority, fear and dread. I realised they also sounded like they were defining my destiny—and that was a scary thing to think about. The thought that I was the only one who could do it and no one else was quite burdensome. This was reinforced by the more authoritative “You are guilty!” (Soundcloud, n.d., 46:15).
Application to Schizophrenic people
My experience in this simulated activity would help me with schizophrenic people in a number of ways. First of all, I would exercise the patience with the knowledge that the one hearing these distressing voices has no choice but to hear them. It is not really true that these voices can be switched on and off at will. They seize the whole person. Degan (n.d) says that this happens to the extent that one cannot be indifferent to the sounds even if they wanted to. Secondly, this experience may also help me to understand the different behaviour that schizophrenic people may display. The voice qualities they hear are different. Sometimes it is the calm reassuring voice; sometimes it the hoarse authoritative one. These would trigger varied behaviour from the patients.
This experience would also help me in developing a better culture of empathy to the schizophrenic patients. According to Degan (n.d), the “person first” perspective that allows us to relate to the person as a person and not as a diagnosis is vital in making us more empathetic to people bedevilled with hearing distressing voices. Listening to the voices while attempting to perform other normal tasks has opened my eyes on how much empathy I must have for people who hear distressing voices so that understanding their behaviour would come natural to me. Finally, it would also help me to design all-round coping mechanisms for schizophrenic patients. With an increasingly warped sense of their reality and a convoluted perception of their role in it, the schizophrenic need all-round coping measures and not any specific handling of them as a group. These people are unique. The voices they hear are unique, and there can never be one solution that caters for all. Each must be handled with their individual differences in mind.
Degan, P. (n.d). Information about Pat Degan; psychologist with schizophrenia. https://s3.amazonaws.com/kajabi-storefronts-production/sites/41305/themes/840829/downloads/yGux5HXQh6wdkm5jK3gP_Video_1.mp4
Soundcloud. (n.d). Distressing Voices. https://soundcloud.com/sfox-5/01-distressing-voices/s-Fm7cw (Links to an external site.)