So, here’s a question for my writer friends. Not that I’m excluding those of you who are strictly readers because you can certainly wade in on this as well. Here it is:
I see a lot of writers saying things like, ‘I write to quiet the voices’ or ‘The voices won’t shut up.’ Any and all variances you can imagine are put forth by writers on Facebook and Twitter daily. Now, I get what they’re trying to say, really I do. I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed by ideas and dialogue, but do you ever stop to consider what people who ACTUALLY hear voices might think when you say this?
Well, let me tell you. As someone who is both a writer and has a mental illness which causes me to have auditory hallucinations (voices) I get pretty pissed off. I know you don’t mean to piss me or anyone with mental illness off, but really, think about it. You hear voices? Really? No, you most likely don’t. I’m sure you hear the thoughts rumbling around in your head and they can play out pretty intensely to the point where, like I said, you are overwhelmed by ideas. But you hear voices? Pardon my language but…bitch please! NO you DON’T!
If you were to really hear voices you’d be on a drug for that. Hearing voices is not fun. It’s TORMENT!
And let me tell you, auditory hallucinations would probably make you the opposite of creative. I’ve known lots of other people with the same problem and the voices don’t whisper brilliant ideas. They don’t help with your writing in any way. In fact they are distracting and disturbing and mine at least, are severe assholes. It’s extremely hard to write when I’m hearing voices. It’s hard to do anything at all. When I see anyone referring to this as a kind of creative spark I think it both diminishes your faith in your own personal creative flow, and insults me.
I’m not under any kind of false impression that people are going to stop saying this anytime soon, but please, if you read this and you’re a writer please consider talking about your creativeness in another way. It’s not romantic or artistic to ‘hear voices’. It’s a suffering that can only be understood by someone who has actually experienced it. It’s a kind of mental torture the likes of which I hope you never know. If you’re actually hearing voices – and I say this in all seriousness – please see a doctor!
If you’d like to know what it’s REALLY like to hear voices you can read a post I wrote a few months back called, A Day with Psychosis. If you read that you’ll see what ‘hearing voices’ does to a writer. I hope that if you’re a writer that next time you catch yourself talking about the voices, you’ll stop and think first. It starts there.