Saturday, June 21, 2008

Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) interview

Extract from interview with Brian Wilson, voice hearer and musician. Note reference to abusive father ....

Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) interview

"Brian Wilson founded The Beach Boys in 1961 but, despite the group’s success, his life has been plagued by mental health problems.

21 June 2008

EDP24 News (UK)

.... Carl and Dennis are long gone; Carl died from cancer in 1998, Dennis drowned in an alcohol-related incident in 1983. Somehow Brian outlived them. That seemed unlikely for much of the 1960s and '70s. His gargantuan drug intake - LSD, marijuana, amphetamine and cocaine - shattered his mental equilibrium permanently, his weight ballooned, he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, he began hearing voices in his head.

He is much recovered but in 2004 he confided to American TV host Larry King: “I can still hear things like 'I'm going to kill you', but I don't hear very many other kind of thoughts. Just usually negative thoughts…”The mental health issues dated to his childhood, however, and owed much to his tyrannical father Murry.

In his autobiography Brian wrote that “playing the piano… literally saved my ass. I recall playing one time while my dad flung Dennis against the wall… That was just one of many incidents when I didn't miss a note, supplying background music to the hell that often substituted for a family life”.

Be it the drugs or the upbringing, the result was a dysfunctional personality. Stories of his eccentricity are legion and have been repeated ad nauseam. His revival during this decade has been wondrous and unexpected. It is a far cry from the 1970s and '80s when he lived under the influence of the controlling Dr Eugene Landy, whose method of therapy involved restricting Brian's contact with his family and friends and demanding complete obedience. In short, he has suffered more than most for his talent. I wonder whether he might have preferred a happy life to a brilliant one. The 'genius' tag has attached itself to him for the past 40 years, I suspect rather like a millstone at times. So does he ever consider this to be a burden; how does the word 'genius' make him feel? “It makes me feel I'm very clever or smart.” And do you agree with them, Brian?“Yeah, I do. Yeah!”

Full interview here

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Britain's child victims of the chemical cosh

Independent on Sunday (UK)

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Powerful anti-psychotic drugs designed for adults are being used to treat children, including those with learning difficulties. Brian Brady and Nina Lakhani report

The number of powerful psychiatric drugs prescribed to England's children has risen by more than half in four years, government figures have revealed.

GPs in England are handing out prescriptions for anti-psychotic drugs for children as young as seven at the rate of 250 a day, according to figures obtained by The Independent on Sunday.

Latest data compiled for the NHS show that tranquillisers designed to treat serious conditions including schizophrenia in adults were prescribed to young people 57,000 times in 2003. But the total had risen to more than 90,000 by 2006 – a 59 per cent rise in three years. The figures do not include drugs dispensed in hospitals. Experts believe the increase is partly down to early detection and treatment of serious mental health problems in children, but there is also concern they are being used inappropriately to treat psychological and learning difficulties. Shortage of staff and resources are further factors.

The drugs, which are designed to treat symptoms such as visual hallucinations, hearing voices and delusional thoughts, have serious side effects including weight gain, tiredness, sexual dysfunction and lactation. The safety and effectiveness of these drugs, which were designed for adults, have not been fully tested on children.

'No one ever talked about side effects with me, not once'

Lucy Bennett, 19, from Exeter, lives with her seven-month-old son Harvey. For a year she lived in psychiatric hospitals with medication the only option.

"By the time I was 15 I had every problem you can imagine. I was into drugs, alcohol, boys, and had stopped going to school. After years of growing up with my mum's mental illness and alcohol problems, I was on a road to self-destruction. I finally told a psychiatrist in A&E I was hearing voices after which I was admitted to hospital straight away.

"I felt terrible. I was all over the place, so when the doctors and nurses told me the medication would make me feel better, I took them. In some ways I did feel a bit better. I was a complete zombie and sleeping all the time which meant I didn't care about the voices any more, but they were still there.

"Within days I had started leaking milk from my breast. It was awful. I swapped medication and within three months I had put on three stone. I was so depressed at being a size 16 I started making myself sick. I ended up with bulimia as well.

"As soon as I decided I didn't want to take the drugs I was sectioned and forcibly injected. I ended pretending the voices had gone just so I could get out. Drugs were the only option. I had a psychology session for an hour a week and a few family therapy sessions but that was it. No one ever talked about side effects with me, not once. I ended up having to get information from my mum and other patients.

"Three years later I am medication free and learning new ways to cope with my voices. I have a great community psychiatric nurse, who lets me keep some medication for emergencies, but I'm in control now. There is no way I could look after my son if I was still on the medication. I know they can help some people but they didn't help me. I should have been given the choice."

Full story here

You can comment on the story here

Friday, June 13, 2008

We're all to blame for staying mum on mental illness


From Canadian Newspaper the Globe and Mail, June 5, 2008

"There is something we need to cry out long and loud: Joshua Lall was mentally ill.
Before the murderous rampage that left two of his children, his wife and a tenant dead, the 34-year-old Calgary man reportedly was hearing voices and feared he was possessed by the devil.
Mr. Lall's family said he had told them he was having a "mental breakdown," and according to an e-mail written by his wife he had been stressed out and unable to sleep for a long period of time - all classic signs of severe untreated mental illness and the psychosis that can grip those with depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

There are those who do not want to say Mr. Lall was mentally ill for fear of besmirching his memory. Apparently, there is one thing more shameful than being a mass murderer, and that is being crazy.

There are those who fear that openly discussing the role of mental illness in these killings will perpetuate negative stereotypes about those with mental illness.

Yet by tiptoeing around Mr. Lall's apparent sickness, by not daring to speak aloud the words "mentally ill," we are perpetuating the stigma that was likely a driving force in this tragedy.

Mr. Lall was sick. He was exhausted. He was hearing voices. He was probably frightened half to death....

See full article here

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taken from a discussion about hearing voices on an Anti Meth site, see full discussion here.

............this is what "LIFE 101" says about it...

Inner Voices

What the inner voice says
Will not disappoint the hoping soul

It doesn't take much inner listening to know that "in there" there are many voices: speaking, singing, shouting, and whispering. At times, I'm sure I have an entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Some of the "voices" speak; others flash images. Some communicate by feelings, while others communicate through a sense of "knowing."

When I say "voices," I include all of these--and any forms of communication I failed to mention. These voices have information--all of it useful. Some you can use by acting on; some you can use by doing precisely the opposite. It's a matter of knowing whether or not a given voice is on your side.

How do you know?


Listen might not be the best word. Perceive might be a better word, or look within, or be aware of your inner process. I'll use listen, because it goes along with the analogy of "voices," but know that when I say "listen" I also mean watch, sense, perceive, and be aware of what's going on inside. Start by listening and keeping track of which voice says what. You can assign them characters, if you like.

Here are four of my inner favorites:

The critic. I see this voice as a vulture. Pick, pick, pick, nag, nag, nag. Nothing anyone does is good enough. (Except occasionally when somebody else does something undeniably outstanding, then the vulture says, "Well, you'll never do anything that good." Doom and gloom fly with the vulture. It feeds on unworthiness, and its droppings are the doubts, fears, and judgments that keep us from moving toward our goals.

The praiser. The praiser I see as an eagle. It proudly tells us all the wonderful things we are, have, and do. It generously praises the being, accomplishments, and activities of others. It's the one that lets us know we are worthy no matter what, and that our worth does not need to be proven, earned, or defended. We are worthy just because we are. All that we are is fine just the way it is. It flies on the wings of grace and gratitude. It nurtures our very soul.

The dummy. The dummy is a turkey. It's the one who answers quickly and loudly, "I don't know," to almost any question. The turkey is the one that keeps us doing all those stupid things we do, and then say, "Darn! I knew better!" We may know better, but no one told the turkey. Turkeys do not fly. If you leave them out in the rain they will drown. They have nothing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.

The grower. The grower is like an egg. An egg? Yes, as W. S. Gilbert said, "As innocent as a new-laid egg." That's one of the attributes of growth--each moment is new, fresh, and innocent. An egg also contains all the potential for future growth. As Hans Christian Andersen pointed out, "His own image was no longer the reflection of a clumsy, dirty, gray bird, ugly and offensive. He himself was a swan! Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan's egg." Our grower knows who we are and the kind of bird in the egg (HINT: It's no vulture). It has sufficient self-love to keep itself warm and cozy while gestating. It knows the hatching will take place at precisely the right moment. It is content and divinely patient until then.

As Robert Burns wrote of his egg, "The voice of Nature loudly cries, / And many a message from the skies, / That something in us never dies."

It's a good idea to listen to what the voices say, not to how they say it.

As Lord Byron reminds us, "The Devil hath not, / in all his quiver's choice, / An arrow for the heart like a sweet voice."

And Freud, a century later, wrote, "The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing. Ultimately, after endlessly repeated rebuffs, it succeeds. This is one of the few points in which one may be optimistic about the future of mankind, but in itself it signifies not a little."

If all these birds in our brains are too much for you, perhaps you could use the metaphor of tuning a radio, or changing channels on a television. Once you tune into your own network of wisdom, you'll have guidance that's sure, clear, and direct.

I thank you for your voices, thank you, Your most sweet voices.

Monday, June 9, 2008

It can be irritating to get a catchy song stuck in your head. Imagine if the music sounded so real that you were sure it was coming from a stereo

Interview: Music of the hemispheres news service

23 May 2008

Ewen Callaway

It can be irritating to get a catchy song stuck in your head. Imagine if the music sounded so real that you were sure it was coming from a stereo, and the tune never went away.
This is what it's like to suffer from musical hallucinosis, a mysterious condition that usually strikes elderly people with poor hearing. Ramon Mocellin, a psychiatrist at Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia who treats patients with the disorder, tells New Scientist about the condition.

Are people with the condition mentally ill?

Hallucinations, which simply put are perceptions without a stimulus, can be symptoms of mental illness. Auditory hallucinations, in particular hearing voices, are one of the diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia. It is, however, the nature of the hallucinations and the patient's understanding of them that point to the underlying problem.

In this group of patients, the experience of hearing music when there is no external source of music is often accompanied by some degree of understanding that these experiences are not "real", that they originate from their own mind. In schizophrenia, or other mental illnesses, hallucinations are experienced as real, in the external world.

Unfortunately, as most people would equate hearing or seeing things that are not there with mental illness, many people with these symptoms do not seek help because of the shame and stigma that continues to surround mental illness of any type.

Full article here

Thursday, June 5, 2008

‘More real than reality’: a study of voice hearing

I've just come across this recently published paper by INTERVOICE supporter, Lis-Bodil Karlsson from Sweden, see abstract below:

"Hearing voices can be considered as elusive or illusory hallucinations in the sense that they are perceptions that have no external reason or even that they are divorced from reality. The aim of this article is to describe how participants in different focus groups account for and understand their voice-hearing experiences. The study shows that voice hearing can be such an overwhelming experience that it can even be experienced as ‘more real than reality’. Voices are strong and powerful experiences that sometimes convey memories from the past or difficulties that the voice hearer would prefer to forget but in fact has had to confront. The voices also influence how the voice hearer sees his or her future. This study contributes to our knowledge of the world and language of voice hearers from the perspective of social work."

International Journal of Social Welfare Lis-Bodil Karlsson (2007)
‘More real than reality’: a study of voice hearing

I have heard voices for sixty years and nowadays teach people how to do it

From Mindfields College Blog

Catherine Walker
// Apr 24, 2008 at 9:15 pm

"I have heard voices for sixty years and nowadays teach people how to do it. There are many myths surrounding it and very little knowledge.

You will not hear voices because of a ‘curse,’ but because you have a special talent that you don’t understand or know how to control. Think of it like a phone that keeps ringing and you feel impelled to answer in case it’s important. When you take control of your life, you buy an answer machine and delete the junk calls. You only answer the phone when it’s fun.

It never caused me any problems, but it did trouble others who thought I had some sort of infliction. I decided when I was twelve that they were the ones with the problem, not me.

These days people understand it better and for the last few years, I have made a part time business from hearing voices. There are those who want me to tell them what I hear when I talk to their pets, so I work as an animal communicator and even have some clients, who let me help them on a regular basis with their horse or their dog or cat.

If you hear voices, remember that you can choose whom you talk to and you can choose whom you listen to as well. With appropriate help, you can switch them on and off when it suits you to.

Hearing voices should be a pleasure and it should improve the quality of your life. If that isn’t the case, tell the voice in your head that it is time it found something useful to do and find someone that you feel comfortable with to have a chat with instead."

See Catherine's TalkingHorse website here

Anthony Hopkins: 'Golden Voice Saved Me From Alcoholism'


Anthony HopkinsFormer alcoholic Anthony Hopkins stopped drinking after he was rescued by a 'golden voice' from his subconscious. The Oscar-winning actor admits quitting alcohol in 1975 was a lucky escape.

He says, "For me, giving it (alcohol) up was finding the airlock, the escape hatch. It all happened one Monday morning in 1975. It was as if a voice said, 'Ready! Go!' It was that clear, the voice of gold. The best part of myself, my subconscious, came to rescue me. I don't know how. I had no religious connection or a connection to what I thought was God."

"And then that Monday: Boom. And it was over. It was like a great pilot light was lit. No explanation except, I guess, I was open, willing and ready. When I look back I think I was so lucky to get out of that one. It was all about fear and horror. Definitely the horror - going down the plughole."

Read more about Anthony Hopkins and other well known people's voice experiences here

More blog and site links to INTERVOICE

Further links are being set up to our site ....

A Lithuanian site has described and linked to the INTERVOICE site.

Unfortunately most of our info is in English, though there is information available in other languages we could do with more.

If anyone can help with transalting and/or adding content to our site in other languages than English, we´d be pleased to hear from you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The power of the blog: INTERVOICE website gets lots more hits this week

Normally our site gets an average of 100 new visitors daily.

Yesterday and today has proven to be exceptional.

Following descriptions of the INTERVOICE site and links to it being put up on a blog page known as Presurfer and then on a Canadian blog called Web Junkie and then two German news sites Speigel and Ehrensenf we got over 900 unique visitor hits in one day.

A record!

The only time we came close to that was on the 21st April following the broadcast of The Doctor Who Hear Voices on UK TV station Channel 4 when we got almost 400 hits.

Thanks for getting the information out there folks, even if you think it is all a bit weird.

Mark Stachiew, the Web Junkie said:

When people hear voices in their minds, psychiatrists usually prescribe medications for them to make the voices go away, but not everyone who experiences auditory hallucinations thinks they are a bad thing. In fact, there's a website where the people who hear voices in their head can gather to trade their stories. It sure beats where they usually gather to meet in person which is the asylum.

So he really misses the point.

Whilst Presurfer hosted by Gerard Vlemmings from the Netherlands, describes itself as a daily Dose of Diversion. A weblog about the weird, unusual, funny, strange and informative sites that can be found on the Internet.

Well read the site and make up your own minds!