Auditory hallucinations, otherwise known as hearing voices… To the uninitiated, distraught family in the maelstrom of mental illness, a loved one’s auditory hallucinations can be bewildering, perplexing, even frightening. So they can be as well–and especially–to the loved one who hears them. Among all of schizophrenia’s so-called positive symptoms, auditory hallucinations can be the most confounding, and certainly the most stigmatizing.
There is new consideration for the reality of a loved one’s heard voices. Some are even suggesting that one’s capacity to hear and cope with one’s voices could be an artful adaption strategy for recovery from mental illness.
At 17, Eleanor Longden had a promising future ahead of her in the United Kingdom. Then she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. After a lifelong battle with the voices in her head, today she has a masters degree in psychology and a new lease on life. Now a member of the International Hearing Voices Movement, she describes her experience in this short (6 minute) TED Talk, which can help families better understand a loved one’s sometimes harrowing, but ultimately heroic experience with voices.