Internal Voices Dilemma
By Peter Hawes
Funny story, so a lot of you guys know about my work on external voices that I eventually cured myself of.
Turns out there’s a lot more to the story then that. (isn't there always)
So it has come to my attention that I still hear internal voices.
Whats that Pete how could you not know? I can imagine you all asking
Well its simple cause I have always had these since as long as I can remember but my only comparison was external voices that I used to hear like someone talking to me in person.
A few of you might have heard me on stage saying stuff like I think 50 to 60 thoughts at once.
Oddly scientifically one can only think one train of thought, sure it can bounce around on subjects but its one thought pattern like a string.
I used to think these thoughts were just obsessive thoughts as they were something I had no control over and would just sort of go on a loop.
Only found out four or five months ago they were internal voices.
Funny how we are all learning and growing still, probably myself more then most as I know I have a lot to learn still and a fair amount to grow.
How can I describe these to people? I guess the best way is to explain that they are like consistent thought patterns I cant change the focus of and quiet strong too.
There’s a few that put me down and call me bad names and refer to me in 2nd and 3rd person and I just figured this was my low self esteem but I cant change the focus of these thoughts they are on a loop.
Theres some paranoid self destructive ones. Recently toying with the idea that I may not actually be as paranoid as I think I am but rather its these internal voices I thought were thoughts.
Theres a fair few useful ones that come up with ideas for business and glass and psychology.
But till recently I thought these internal voices were thoughts. so often when they would go on about things my thought process was, I wonder why I would think that? so then I would look for evidence to support the thoughts rather then disprove it to figure out why would I be thinking that if there wasn’t an element of truth to it?
Ive been toying around with distinguishing the difference between these voices and thoughts and I think I've figured some stuff out.
To give an example. Think of a chair. Now think of a rocking chair. Now whens the last time you saw a rocking chair? Was anyone sitting in it? Who was it? What color were there pants?
Notice how your thoughts followed a string of direction?
Only one of mine does that I deem my own thought and within my control the rest I cant shift focus on or really have any impact on there content.
So I try shift the content and if I cant I assume they are either emotive based thoughts or internal voices.
if I look at what I am feeling and try shift the thought with a thought of the same emotive context and it doesn't shift, then that's how I know its an internal voice.
Example if I am anxious about an appointment tomorrow with my Dr and I am thinking quiet anxiously what if he sections me and I cant shift this thought as its based on anxiety but I should be able to change the focus for example what if he puts me back on meds. etc. Basically my thoughts in that example are somewhat emotionally motivated but I still have an element of control over them thus they are my thoughts fueled by my emotions. But If I cant shift or control them to any level I deem them internal voices.
Of course when they refer to me in 2nd and 3rd person that's kinda a dead give-away too.
So that's how I've been identifying them and its been helpful
My next step has been to try communicate with them but this has proven to have no success as even though they comment on things in my life like the people or events I am not actually sure they are aware of my presence or input or at least they don't interact with me.
But where this stuff can become troublesome is when one focuses too much on it as I myself feel that I have become very lost in them at times believing they were thoughts and therefore questioning my lifestyle and choices based on these internal voices which I feel are very influential.
Example someone important in my life lets say a partner. Now all of a sudden I am hearing internal voices..
“She never does any dishes you always do the dishes, come to think of it you do all the work Pete, she is taking advantage of you.”
Now I believed those were thoughts so looked at why I would be thinking that and people let me tell you from my work in psychology you can put evidence together to disprove and prove the same theory very easily. This is called a bios study.
Now because I was thinking like that I would look for evidence to support that and discount anything else like the fact she gave emotional support or did that load of washing.
My mind was very based on why am I thinking like this? So with that question in mind I would look for reasons to support my question.
But months later I found out those thoughts are actually internal voices and this example illustrates how confusing it can be to get lost in them.
Its much harder to detach and dissect internal voices in my opinion as there somewhat more subtle then externals.
Mindfulness has helped me a lot as has visualizing a carousel and that my thoughts are in the middle and the others are just going round so I focus on my thought pattern and detach from the rest and mindfulness has been extremely helpful at helping me do this.
Another visualization that helps is visualizing a root system or a bunch of strings with the thickest root or piece of string being my thoughts and I detach from the rest.
As has awareness what is my thoughts and what are internal voices.
I think it is important when dealing with any sort of views to keep a balanced opinion and try find evidence to both support and deny those beliefs and opinions. I haven’t always been like this I have always had very black and white thinking in all things and been very opinionated so this is good practice for me with the voices and I guess my interactions with other people, too be able to look at all sides of the topic and keep a balanced view.
I will say given I have always heard these 50 to 60 internal voices since as long as I can remember although at times there has been 20-30 internal voices, I must say this provides a strong case for birth trauma as my first trauma was at birth and then at 12 hours old.
Anyway these are my lessons I am learning as I progress in the journey I hope you can all take from it something that works for you or at least expand the discussion somewhat so we can all help each other.
Remember guys we all have tried different ways of dealing with all this stuff and combined we are a collective of knowledge and experiences and the more we get the communication flowing the more we can get some knowledge and experiences out there that might help others or at least bring awareness too.
I know I've written a lot on these mental health subjects but seriously we are all learning and growing from each other so feel free to write something you think would be helpful to your peers even if its something you’ve figured out yourself that helps you or even just your story as someone’s story can be a powerful thing because at the end of the day it says..........................
You are not alone
and you would be amazed how powerful that is for people to hear in fact that s what started it all for me the feeling I was not alone.
So lets all grow and learn and evolve in our own lifetime together as best we can through the collective of knowledge we have gained from all our experiences.