Thursday, September 11, 2008

Healing Voices

Will Hall talking about the Freedom Center, his voice hearing expereinces and alternative mental health ....

"Since I was a child I've struggled with extreme emotions, voices and powerful out of body experiences. I remember falling to the ground once in third grade, writhing in agony because I believed something was grabbing my back. I saw cartoons projected on the ceiling, and my fear was sometimes so strong I fell mute. I often hid away, alone, overwhelmed and unable to describe what was going on.

At age 26, I hit a breaking point and wandered the streets of San Francisco all night hearing angry voices telling me to kill myself. I ended up on a locked psychiatric ward. For the next year, I was in and out of hospitals and homeless shelters.

My diagnosis was schizoaffective schizophrenia, and the treatment was powerful anti-psychotic medications. What the doctors had to offer didn't help me, however. I left the hospital with more problems than I had going in, and I had to cope with the trauma of restraints, seclusion, plus a stigmatizing label that offered little hope for the future.

With nowhere to turn, I started to search for an answer on my own. In 2000, some friends in the Northampton, Mass., area let me stay with them, and I got a job in a local convenience store. Then I worked in a bookstore. The daily routine of a job, getting away from the memories in San Francisco, the small town tempo--it all helped. Step by step, over these difficult years, I learned a different way of responding to my madness. "

Full story, 29th August 2008

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