Blast from the Past: The Paranoia, The Voices & The Scary Lady

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Something nudged me this week, telling me to read through old journals and old (unpublished or deleted) blog posts. And as I'm doing my best to srengthen my connection with my intuition, when I hear that inner (wise goddess) voice, I listen to her. So, I've been spending some time reading the words that a past me wrote.

The difference between my old words and my current words really shows how much I've changed; how much I'm healing. Not in terms of material things or career wise, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually, I am a whole new person.

So, I've decided to share some of my past words. Starting with the below, which I wrote around 2016/2017.

*Trigger Warning* Before continuing, please note, this post contains some emotional content as well as discussions of self-harm which can be a potential trigger

The Paranoia, The Voices & The Scary Lady

Do you hear voices? Or see things that aren’t really there?

I do (or I do too)

I’ve been wanting to share my experiences of this for a while now, but the fear of what others would think of me, prevented me from doing so. But, as I'm healing and learning about the importance of being open and honest, I've come to the conclusion that: what others think of me is none of my business, and this is my reality and it's important for me to talk about it. Therefore, I am going to talk about it.
I see, hear and believe things which others don't. I am aware that I am the only one seeing and hearing these things, however it doesn't make it any less real. It may not be real to others, but it is real to me. And so, I struggle to control how I feel about it or what happens when they pop up. I still feel intense fear of what the voices and visions can do to me. In the past, I have ended up harming myself because the voices told me to do so, well because of two voices. They tell me how to do it too, and I comply, because I feel such intense fear of what will happen if I don't do as they tell me to. 

Sometimes I end up crouching down in a corner and trying to hide from what I'm seeing and hearing, sometimes I cover my head and face with my hoodie or duvet and simply hope for the best.

Let me explain in more detail...

The Truman Show Paranoia

I go through phases, where I believe that I'm living life much like Truman did in the movie 'The Truman Show'. I truly believe that there are hidden cameras everywhere, all around me, and that I am always being watched & monitored by some higher power and my loved ones. I've seen them in the corners on the ceiling in my room, but I know that nobody else can see them. I also believe that anyone who knows me is involved in this Big Brother type delusion.

I once snapped at my ex-boyfriend and asked him to tell me the truth about his "plans", simply because I was sure that he, along with an ex-work colleague, had a master plan against me ~ all part of 'The Elly Show' or something along those lines.

The Voices

I consider myself lucky to "only" hear three voices, but I think my definition of "lucky" needs to be revisited.

The first, loudest and most brutal voice is a man ~ he hates my guts. This voice is always putting me down and shouting at me to do horrific things to myself. This voice has landed me in hospital once or twice, simply because he shouted at me angrily and instructed me to cut my arms, wrists and to not stop.

The second voice is a woman ~ she doesn’t hate me as much as the male voice, but she does everything he wants. So, if he tells her to yell profanity at me and tell me to hurt myself, she will happily do it. Needless to say that she’s not a friendly voice either (She’s a fucking bitch actually). I like to call her and the man, my “mean voices”. I refuse to let them name themselves, as I fear that if this happens then it will be easier for them to take even more control of me.

My third voice is a little, fairylike, girl voice ~ whilst the other two voices are very loud, clear and confident, this voice is the complete opposite; she is vulnerable, weak and her voice is fairly faint and distant. She is also always locked up in a birdcage. It looks like she’s been abused a lot; she cries often and is usually sitting on the floor of her cage, hiding behind her knees.

At first, the voices consisted of the mean female voice and the vulnerable child (fairylike) voice. The mean male voice came later, and when he did, he took over and things deteriorated rapidly. This male voice ended up taking control often ~ he's really cruel.

I made a drawing a few years ago, to portray the female and the child voices. I’ve never been brave enough to draw the male voice, as anytime I give him too much attention, it becomes easier for him to make me do things. Whenever he does take over, he makes me do awful things, but always only to myself, like cutting myself with a razor or stabbing myself with a pencil. I do my best to avoid these situations.

Drawing by me: Mean female voice and vulnerable child, fairylike, voice

The first time the Little Girl helped me

One particular bad day, I heard the small vulnerable girl voice trying to stand up to the mean male voice. This episode started off with the male voice shouting at me to cut my arms ~ I did what he told me to:

"Go on, cut your wrists, cut here and here. Cut the other arm too! CUT DEEPER! You're so fucking useless; you can't even harm yourself properly! ARGH. You keep leaving gaps in between the cuts; you need to cut, cut, cut, everywhere! Press harder! You fucking idiot, you're so useless and such a burden; you can't even kill yourself properly! What are you good for?! You stupid cow. Shut up, SHUT UP! STOP CRYING!!! I'm so sick of your shit, you fat cunt. Just kill yourself already. You're worthless and a burden to everyone you come in contact with! You disgusting piece of fat shit. Is there barbed wire here? Let's wrap some barbed wire around your arms"

(Luckily, I don't have access to barbed wire!)

And so, through screams and tears, I continued cutting my arms with my favourite self-harm tool; a razor blade.

Then, for the first time ever, I heard this tiny, distant, shaky, fairylike voice:

"No, my love, you don't want to hurt yourself. Stop this. Please! You don't actually want to hurt us. Don't listen to him, he's not a nice person; he doesn't know what he's talking about. He doesn't know us. You do not want to do this. Don't do this, don't kill us this way. Please, stop hurting yourself. Please listen to me, give me strength and let me grow louder. I need your help, you can't keep ignoring me."

After hearing this vulnerable girl, I managed to call for help. I felt sorry for her.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the first or last time I self-harmed this way ~ it was the first time I heard the vulnerable voice stand up for me and help me though ~ there were many other past and future episodes, and for most of those future times, I did call for help thanks to that little girl. Calling for help isn't my forte, doing so is progress.

The Scary Lady

There’s a woman who lives with me too, she’s always lurking. Unfortunately, this is something else only I experience (I’m special! Just not the good kind). Nobody else sees the bitch.

This scary thing turned up out of nowhere, approximately one year ago.

One day, I woke up thinking “hmm, this is strange, I feel okay this morning” ~ this is unusual for me as I usually wake up feeling like a toilet brush on a bad day ~ unfortunately though, this feeling didn’t last long. After my usual morning routine, I then decided to wash the dishes. Mid dish-washing, I heard footsteps approaching me from behind. This was especially freaky as I was home alone.

I looked behind me, to check, and there was nothing.

I turned around again and continued washing the dishes.

Then the footsteps started getting louder and closer. I turned around to check behind me again.

Once again, there was nothing.

I continued with the dish washing, when suddenly I felt somebody breathing down my neck. It was so real, to me there was somebody there. I started screaming and collapsed on my kitchen floor crying. Shaking. I eventually sat up with my back to the sink, and quickly scanned the rest of the house from the kitchen floor.

And then I saw her. There she was; the scary lady, sat on the sofa, laughing hysterically because she'd scared me. But I knew nobody else could see her; it was all in my head, but that doesn't mean it wasn't real to me.

This is still one of the scariest experiences I have ever had.

From this day, onward, I’ve had to learn to live with this woman, whom I now call 'The Scary Lady'.

She showed up that day and hasn't left me since.

There was a phase when she would stand in my room and watch me fall asleep. This was also the phase when I couldn’t close my eyes due to the fear that she would attack me if I wasn’t always watching her; I'd sit or lie stiff, frozen with fear, under my covers, whilst trying my hardest to stay awake and monitor her.

There are times when she climbs into bed with me and sleeps next to me.

She often follows me when I leave the house and is always out to get me. Thus, I’m always on guard, watching, waiting, scared; she still scares me, not like that first time she appeared, but she does still terrify me. I’m slowly getting used to her being around, but I am always on edge. Thanks to this, I've had to make some changes to my routine, such as:

  • I’m never alone in the dark, because she will get too close to me when I don't have a clear view of what she's doing or how close she is to me 
  • Going out alone is a rare occurrence nowadays 
  • I’m always checking around me to see where she is 
  • Not shutting the shower curtain ~ as I can feel her on the other side of the curtain when I shower; if I keep it open she doesn't appear 
  • There is now a mirror on the kitchen sink, so that I can always see behind me when in dish-washing mode. Using a mirror like this is a good trick; it's helped me, so I do recommend it if you think it could help you too 
  • I have fairy lights in my room, which I can leave on at night ~ this helps me check if she's there and keep an eye on her if so. 

I call her 'The Scary Lady' because, well, she’s scary and she’s a lady. She’s also tall, pale, and has short, curly, red hair. For the first few months that she was around (and now from time to time), she always had this creepy grin on her face, which reminds me (very much) of Twisty the (not so friendly) clown from American Horror Stories ~ I was kind enough to add a photo of the fucker here, for your reference (Sorry! I just want you to get a better idea of what this is like).

Twisty the Clown's grin reminds me a lot of 'The Scary Lady's grin

It gets worse

The paranoia, the voices, and 'The Scary Lady' always become louder, clearer and more real when my emotions and stress levels are more intense (which is too fucking often at the moment).

When my emotions, anxiety and stress are peaking, then they are all (paranoia, voices, the scary lady) at it; extremely loud, even more real and even more cruel. The voices tell me to do barbaric things to myself, and shout abuse at me ~ with the exception of the little girl, who seems to always be looking helpless and sad in her cage, in the corner. 'The Scary Lady' sometimes appears alongside the voices, and stands there laughing and taking part in the mockery. It’s a mindfucking experience, I tell ya!

It’s all been quite traumatic and life changing, but they’ve all been around for so long now that I’m not sure how I’d feel if they disappeared. I know, I know ~ crazy, right?! But they have become part of my life, I can’t remember what it was like to not have these voices, paranoia and visions. Ideally, I will find a way to live with them and challenge them, rather than put up with their abuse. However, I’m not sure I would be okay with them disappearing completely; I'm scared that I cannot cope with being alone now.

Things have changed...

I'm now in recovery and no longer hear these voices, I haven't seen 'The Scary Lady' in some time, and my paranoia is almost non-existent. Yes, I still feel low and anxious, but it's like someone turned the volume down and I can hear myself over the noise poluttion now. The words you've just read, are not my reality at the moment. Actually, I now hear my intution a lot better; I'm much more connected mind and body, which is wonderful. There was a part of me that didn't think recovery was possible, turns out that it is.

A request

When you see someone talking to themselves on public transport, or a poor paranoid soul walking around looking scared or shouting things or talking to themselves, don’t judge them ~ don’t point, don’t laugh, don’t put them down. Understand that they have a whole world in their minds that you can't see; a truly disturbing & terrifying world that you know nothing of. And that they are simply doing our best to cope with it.

On many occasions, people have told me "It can't hurt you, it's not real" Or "It's okay, it's not really there", but here is the problem with that peeps, it may not be real to you but it is real to me, and when you say that it isn't real; it actually invalidates my reality. I know you mean well, so please don't see this as me having a go, just me sharing my experience and highlighting that nobody likes being told that something they are experiencing is not actually real.

"Each one of our brains is different, and so is the reality it produces. What is reality? It's whatever your brain tells you it is."
(Dr David Eagleman)

So, open your minds, folks. There's a gazillion worlds out there that you know nothing of...

And if you do, I see you, I hear you, I understand. You're not alone.

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