My Story Part II

    Where were we? I never felt that I was out of the ordinary, per se. I mean, we’re all unique, I guess. I knew there was an issue when I began hearing a voice outside my head and there being no one around to have said it. It began with simply saying my name. Repeatedly. As I mentioned earlier, I had a very active inner dialogue; I would speak to a voice that didn’t sound unlike my own, but that voice eventually morphed into two other voices. If you’re keeping score, that’s three voices. Two internal and one external. So, as I write this, I’m experiencing one of the voices narrating my actions and telling me what I should be doing next. It clogs up my brain. It’s taking a long time to write this out, as I can’t concentrate on the progression of each word. I’m going to leave this bit in as I do my revisions. But back to the three voices: I’ve never had a voice tell me to do any harm to myself or anyone else. It’s typically the opposite. I receive encouragement and directions to help someone. For example, if I am walking up to a door at the same time as another person, I get the narration, “You’re about to open the door. You should hold it for them.” 

    That’s the next level of my progression. By now I’m in my first year of college, starting to be challenged mentally in class, and I have two voices in my head discussing lunch. That’s whimsical and definitely not typical, but I do have a memory of the professor discussing the skunk cabbage and its ability to raise its temperature to melt snow. It also stunk, thus the name, “Skunk Cabbage.” Me trying to tune out the meal options in the cafeteria for that day didn’t make for conducive learning. 

    At this point, I had yet to seek help for anything but depression and anxiety. I went about my life as though the voices were just part of the daily grind. I began being worn down; however, shortly after the loss of several close family members, I went to the on-campus therapist. We talked. It helped. I was able to talk through my grief, but the voices were still a heavy presence. I was referred to a psychiatrist and more medication was piled on top. It helped with mounting anxiety and the looming depression, but it became harder and harder to function in school. My grades spiraled out of control. 

    I went on a trip to Belize with one of my biology classes and felt amazing. Leading up to the trip, I wasn’t anxious about it at all. While there, I made memories that I hope to carry with me forever, but things didn’t stay up for long. I got back and quickly started crashing. I was going down fast. I called my mom, and she came down and stayed with me for a few days in a hotel. I was emotional and nearly catatonic. That was my first big break from reality. The next would be even more drastic.