Last night when I was in bed reading the book I just bought The Buddha & the Borderline, I heard someone say, We want you to take down your blog! I told my husband when he came back into the room. He asked me where I heard the voice from, and I told him it was a female voice that sounded like it had come from outside the window of our bedroom. John said to keep track of what I hear so that I can discuss it with my psychiatrist at my next appointment in a few weeks.
This morning while I was chanting, I heard someone say, Why doesn’t she just move back in with her parents? Sometimes it seems as if there are people who are talking about me or even to me, just not to my face. Occasionally I really can hear people talking in the parking lot outside, but most of the time I can’t make out what they are saying. When I hear voices that are just in my head, they tend to be clearer.
I remember back in late April when I woke up one morning, and my voices told me to move back in with my parents or they would kill my husband. They had decided that was the best thing for me to do. I never did, and don’t intend to. Yesterday I started writing my book. I only wrote one page about my attempted suicide while I was at UC Santa Cruz. I figured that could be the prologue. I came up with a title too. It’s called When It’s Quiet.
I don’t intend to live my life according to what my voices want. I never will. I need to be more disciplined, and continue to take things day by day. I keep chanting, and I will keep moving forward.
This morning while I was chanting I heard a voice that sounded like it was coming from outside my bedroom window. They said, Either give up chanting or give up the book. That’s not unreasonable is it? I kept chanting. I have not given up on my book either. It reminded me of when my voices were trying to get me to negotiate an agreement with them a month or so ago. They kept telling me to either stop chanting, or to choose between chanting and earning an income. A couple of times I actually did try to make an agreement with them. It didn’t work. Nothing changed, and I realized afterward how ridiculous it really was. How can you negotiate with invisible people, people who only exist in my head? There is no way to reason with them. It doesn’t work. I have tried repeatedly to make sense of the situation, but I have never been able to. My therapist has told me not to try to reason with the voices because they aren’t rational. This is very true.
I was driving to the bookstore this morning after I finished chanting. In the car I was thinking about how I would start my memoir and how I would approach certain aspects of my past involving other people. As I stepped out of the car, I heard another voice say, See how foolish you are? Meaning that it would be foolish to try and write a memoir about my experiences since it might identify other people who were a part of my life during those times. I don’t plan to identify anyone by name. I haven’t decided yet about locations, or even whether to use my real name. So far, I’ve kept my identity pretty much hidden. It’s almost as if my voices are afraid of being identified.
In the past, I’ve often thought that maybe I really don’t have schizoaffective disorder. Maybe I just became telepathic in 2002, and there really are people following me around, talking to me in my head. The voices have said this to me as well. I’ve never mentioned this to anyone because no one would believe me. One time I tried to convince my husband that the voices I were hearing were real. He didn’t believe me. I think this is why when I tell him what I hear, he always says, “You know they aren’t real don’t you?”. I always reassure him that I know they aren’t real, that they are just symptoms of the illness, and that I continue to ignore them. There isn’t much else I can do.
I heard another threat this afternoon while I was cooking chili. I like to make chili with different ingredients, and my husband likes the variety as well. There are so many different types of chili, trying to find a suitable recipe can take some time. I finally settled on one with lots of cumin. The cumin gives it a curry-like flavor, but also a little spice too, which is good. I add just added the tomatoes, onions, garlic, beans, and beef when I heard, Take your blog down by the end of the day! It always sounds like they are yelling. Maybe my voices are threatened by my blog. I’m not sure why. It always seems so dramatic and sometimes I get caught up in the drama.
I knew I had no intention of deleting my blog, although it’s not something that would be difficult to do. I have to make sure not to dwell on what I hear. If I think too much about what I hear, I tend to try and make sense of what they say, or to rationalize something that is completely irrational. That’s one of the reasons this blog is so useful for me. It helps me get my thoughts out of my head and written down. This is also a way to clarify what I am thinking about and to share with others.
I went to my monthly Buddhist discussion meeting last night, and it was very encouraging! One of our group members discussed his memoir that he recently published, and said it was going to be made into a movie. How exciting! At the end of the meeting, he brought up an important point about how we relate to other people, even those people we have difficulty with. Buddhism teaches that every person has the Buddha nature within them. This means that everyone has the potential for Buddhahood, even if they are not always manifesting that potential. We have the Buddha nature inherent in our own lives, and to deny another person’s Buddha nature is the same as denying our own. This can be difficult to keep in mind, especially when we are in the midst of a problem with a difficult person.
Last night I heard a voice say You better watch it! I was in bed writing in my journal, so I ignored the voice, and talked to my husband about it for a little bit. This morning I heard a voice ask me why I want to write a book. There are several reasons why I want to write a book. Mostly, I want to tell my story. I also hope to be able to encourage other people who suffer from the same illness. I sent my proposal to a few more prospective agents yesterday, so now it’s time to wait.
Last night while we were having fried chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner, I heard a male voice that sounded like it was coming from outside our apartment. It was fairly loud, although I know that John didn’t hear it. He said, “Just drop the book idea, and no one gets hurt!” My first thought was Oh no. Another threat. This time about the book. I don’t like being threatened, I never have. Usually, I get angry. I didn’t say anything to my husband. We were watching TV and eating, so I just tried to ignore what I heard. Later, when when we were in the car driving to my therapy appointment, I told John what I had heard at dinner.
He wanted to know why I let it bother me when I know the voices aren’t real. Even though John always reminds me, and I know they are all symptoms of my illness, they still affect me. I can’t help it. Sometimes my reaction is automatic. When I hear a voice or voices, especially if they are loud and threatening, it is hard not to react. It usually takes some time to forget about what I have heard, and continue on with whatever I was doing before I heard the voice or voices. I also know that if the voices weren’t threatening me about writing a book, they would be threatening me about something else. It’s just something that I have to deal with.
John said it was like playing on a sports team and having someone come up to and say, You suck! You should give up! How do we react in a situation like that. Do we just go ahead and give up? Or do we fight back, and not give in to the negativity? Sometimes the negativity can be overwhelming. This morning I found a great quote in my Buddhist book that seemed relevant. It is one of my favorites.
When your determination changes, everything else will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success. On the other hand, if you think “This is never going to work out,” then at that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight, and then everything really will move in the direction of failure.
We must be determined. Determined not to be defeated by ourselves or by anyone else.