Life

Life

Postby Jesse » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:30 pm

I have been having issues for a long time now, and honestly I don't know why I am posting this here except for the fact I have shared this with no-one else. In some ways I am at my wits ends, and something has to change I'm really just not sure what.

I am extraordinarily hesitant to post this because of the stigma associated with mental illness, and I have not even told any of my closest friends or family. And I would like to ask in advance for permission to have this post deleted after I have received some advice.

My problems mostly stem from the fact I have a bunch of voices in my head. Rather that I can't seem to force myself to admit they are my own thoughts and not some external entity/s. My reasons of course seem well examined to me, but I'm sure there's reasonable arguments against my logic as well.

The thing that doesn't measure up to me, is that the voices are mostly extraordinarily coherent, and intelligible and as much as I have looked I can't seem to 'tie' them to my own will, or train of thoughts. I can be fully engaged in thinking about something and lo-and-behold there's a voice speaking like another person in my mind. (these are not auditory hallucinations, they are thoughts).

Of course I have also reasoned there is no 'me', or 'them', merely thoughts and my labeling them me and other is the source of the problem, but there is a huge difference in knowing this and experiencing it.

Also when I am going to sleep it really seems to get worse, there is just this static of what seems like random sentences, lots of people talking and random vivid images.. often times of scary faces etc. Occasionally it will persist all night long into my sleep, and I will get woken up by them constantly and be extremely agitated.

I am not interested in seeing a psychiatrist or taking anti-psychotics, mostly because I want to solve this issue myself and be done with it for good.

The main issue is that at times it becomes so frustrating because I can't control it, and often can't ignore them. Some of them do taunt me and if I let it affect me it just spirals down to the point where I get so depressed and angry I can't even leave my bed. My anger has gotten so out of control over it at times I have just wanted to end it, honestly. There is no way to describe the anger/depression except to call it literal hell.

There of course have been helpful voices which have given me ways to deal with it, but often times I just can't put this advice into practice, and I know writing this how absurd it seems, obviously I should be locked in a white room with a straight jacket on, but hey that's life.

I am just looking for advice, maybe from someone who has experienced something similar, and/or some outside perspective.. It's not easy dealing with something like this alone, so.. Thanks.
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Re: Life

Postby GarcherLancelot » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:05 pm

I think you should just see counsellor(psychiatrist,psychologist etc.),no point taking the entire burden on yourself(although you did share with us).. .
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Re: Life

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:48 pm

Dear ghost01,

I would recommend that you go see a psychiatrist. The fact that you can still recognise that the voices are just your thoughts is positive, but if your condition proceeds any further you will not be able to make this distinction and then the real problems will begin. If you are "lucky" it is possible that with a mild treatment the symptoms will fade and give you time to enter some sort of "therapy" (that includes practice) to deal with the deeper issues that are giving rise to these symptoms.

This way you will avoid having an episode that may land you in a psychiatric hospital druggged to the gills for an extended period of time.

I can understand why you may have some aversion to seeking professional help but you can always "shop around" to find somebody that you feel you can trust. If you have an episode you will not be given a choice. They will just lock you up (if you are "lucky" because of you don't have health insurance you will just end up on the street without any help at all).
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Re: Life

Postby viniketa » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:10 pm

ghost01 wrote:The thing that doesn't measure up to me, is that the voices are mostly extraordinarily coherent, and intelligible and as much as I have looked I can't seem to 'tie' them to my own will, or train of thoughts. I can be fully engaged in thinking about something and lo-and-behold there's a voice speaking like another person in my mind. (these are not auditory hallucinations, they are thoughts).


This is not too "weird". I and many I know have had similar experiences. I understand, it is not tied to own "will", but that's OK as long as one is able remain in equanimity and simply observe.

ghost01 wrote:Also when I am going to sleep it really seems to get worse, there is just this static of what seems like random sentences, lots of people talking and random vivid images.. often times of scary faces etc. Occasionally it will persist all night long into my sleep, and I will get woken up by them constantly and be extremely agitated.


This is more unusual and will become more debilitating if it continues. If you have a close spiritual adviser, such as a guru or teacher, I would certainly urge you to discuss this. Since you state you are coping alone, I assume this is not the case. If there is no one else you feel comfortable talking to, I'd certainly advise some sort of counselor, and agree that a psychiatrist would be better than choosing a random "psychologist". The latter are often not well-trained enough to recognize possible signals of an underlying physical condition. A psychiatrist is an actual M.D.

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Re: Life

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:31 pm

are "you" and the voices able to converse with each other, like an ongoing dialog?
There is a buddhist story about a guy who was haunted by a demon every night,
and he asked a master what to do about it.
the master told him to grab a handful of beans and put them in a bowl
and then when the demon appeared, to ask the demon how many beans were in the bowl.

So the guy put the beans in a bowl and went to sleep and that night when the demon appeared he asked the demon how many beans are in the bowl but the demon couldn't answer and after that never came back.

So the point is that the demon didn't know because the guy didn't know.
The demon was a manifestation of the guy's mind.
You know that these voices are a manifestation of your mind.
but the voices don't know that!!!
So how can you prove it to them?


If they talk to you and you can talk back to them, maybe you could put a bunch of pennies or beans in a jar (don't count them first) and then ask the voices to tell you how many there are, and then see what happens. Demand that they tell you the answer or else leave you alone. fair deal!

But maybe seeing a psychiatrist should be an option.
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Re: Life

Postby Jesse » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:00 pm

Thanks everyone for the feedback, I appreciate it. There's no risk of me having an episode though, I am very good at hiding what goes on inside my head.

I know what is normal, and I simply do not let the world see anything but that, normally.. and on days I can't manage that I do not go around people.

I do not see a point in seeing a psychiatrist because they can't do anything for me, I have all the perspective I need, but a psychiatrist can't make me choose to view reality differently, they can't make me choose happiness rather than misery, etc. I know if I want to get 'better', I'm on my own and so it is.

The only close spiritual adviser I have is also a voice inside my head, and is one of the reasons I was hesitant to give up talking to these voices completely, though I have chosen to do so recently. Engaging them in conversation only makes matters worse. Yes I know the voices are just my mind, but it's sort of like saying I know there is also no me. Knowing it and experiencing it are two separate things.

The bean thing is a funny idea, but I've tried many things just like it. "they" don't care, it's really a matter of me ignoring them, and not engaging them back, but it get's tiring and frustrating like I said earlier and that opens a whole nother' can of worms, namely depression/anger.. sort of dwelling on my own self-pity for my situation, and this get's really bad.

The thing I have realized is dwelling in self pity is far worse than the actual situation, It's just really hard sometimes to not do it.

Again, I thank everyone for their sympathies. It's appreciated. :smile:
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Re: Life

Postby Matt J » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:03 pm

Ghost,

Your experience is not unusual, although it may feel like it is. And no one is going to confine you unless you are violent or suicidal. No doctor can change your worldview, but they can help with the symptoms. I know many people who suffered from anxiety, and once on proper medication, describe the anxiety dissolving like a cloud. At that point, they were able to practice the dharma. A do it yourself approach only emboldens the ego, in my mind.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
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Re: Life

Postby Jesse » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:22 am

Your experience is not unusual, although it may feel like it is. And no one is going to confine you unless you are violent or suicidal. No doctor can change your worldview, but they can help with the symptoms. I know many people who suffered from anxiety, and once on proper medication, describe the anxiety dissolving like a cloud. At that point, they were able to practice the dharma. A do it yourself approach only emboldens the ego, in my mind.


Thanks, the thing is most of this medicine is just plain poison. I have tried varying anti-depressants for my mood and it's a trade-off, one I'm not willing to make for my own reasons. Do it yourself isn't anything to do with the ego, it's just plain reality. No one can solve your problems for you.

To be honest, perhaps I was looking for someone to validate my own beliefs rather than provide a dose of needed reality, but I appreciate all of the feedback anyway. I know how to fix my 'problem', it's just a matter of willpower.

Thanks again all.
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Re: Life

Postby ram peswani » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:37 am

ghost01 wrote:it's just a matter of willpower.

Thanks again all.




Apply your will power. Just be in Awareness without reaction with will power.

Whether it is a ghost or your own thoughts, both will definately die away with each moment spent in awareness without reaction.

Try it, results will be fantastic.
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Re: Life

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:10 am

ghost01 wrote:There's no risk of me having an episode though, I am very good at hiding what goes on inside my head.
I am sorry ghosto1, but it seems you misunderstood what I meant. The effect of an episode is not judged by what others "see" and how they react to what they "see", but what happens to you. You cannot hide your episode from yourself. If you lose "control" or "awareness" of the fact that the voices are just your thoughts then YOU will suffer the episode, as a consequence of which... The unfortunate consequences of having an episode and being hospitalised because of it, are nothing in comparison to the consequences the episode will have on your mind. It will make Dharma practice impossible.

To be honest, perhaps I was looking for someone to validate my own beliefs rather than provide a dose of needed reality...
Yes, well, the ego is like that, isn't it?
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Life

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:21 am

Hmm sounds like OCD mixed with some Psychosis.
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Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
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Re: Life

Postby Yudron » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:31 am

ghost01 wrote:I

I am not interested in seeing a psychiatrist or taking anti-psychotics, mostly because I want to solve this issue myself and be done with it for good.



I'm really glad you wrote this. I can't diagnose you, but it's possible you might be developing schizophrenia, or another another disorder of the brain/nervous system. If that is the case, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to solve it yourself. You sound like you think these symptoms are the result of some kind of weakness or flaw that you have. If a friend of yours developed a brain tumor, would you say they should treat themselves? Well, some mental illnesses are caused by physical changes in the brain--not tumors--but just as serious. Untreated schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can be fatal, and we can already see that you are considering suicide. Anti-psychotics, if you need them, are much better than they once were, they have much fewer side effects.

Please show yourself some mercy! You are ill right now and you need a good doctor, there is nothing to be ashamed of. You deserve to receive help and relief from these symptoms. You are not bad or weak. Being treated won't prevent you from addressing your own psychological issues as well.
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Re: Life

Postby Thrasymachus » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:35 am

I strongly advise against seeking any professional help, your instincts are right. Mental health and other medical professionals are not there to help you. SSRIs and many other psychotropic drugs which a psychiatrist would likely prescribe are known to increase suicidal ideation. However, psychiatrists rely on Pharmaceutical companies for their education on what they prescribe, so of course they will never tell you or if they do, they will try to deprecate the risks.

It is important to note that many societies considered hearing voices as a gift. In most tribal societies you could have been a shaman and attained a relative position of authority. The great philosopher Foucault wrote a monumental work, History of Madness showing how the concept of madness evolved in Western society. Every different society in each epoch has its own conception of madness, and the people who are in these societies act out the symptoms believed to be prevalent. When the collective definition of madness changes in a society, the behavior of the mad changes to adapt to that new consensus! It is well known that in Hong Kong until 1994 there was no such problem as anorexia as defined in the USA(the few Hong Kong residents with eating disorders only complained of bloated stomachs), till one teenage girl died in a bus of the American form of anorexia. Since it was unknown in Hong Kong to have that, they sought expertise from American diagnostic manuals to find out and explain what ailed that woman, a big mistake. After the local media gave air to these American mental health works and fleshed out the Ameircan concept of anorexia for the Chinese public an anorexia pandemic broke out![1]

You should seek out the Hearing Voices Network:
UK
USA
The UK network has a webforum you can register to and talk to people with the same issues and see how they cope with it.

I first learned of them from the informative podcast Unwelcome Guests Episode 620. It contains an interview with Gail Hornstein:
Unwelcome Guets wrote:... her book Agnes' Jacket which details first person accounts of people deemed 'insane' by their society. Far from being the meaningless ramblings of crazed mind, as many mental health professionals would have people believe, she suggests that these stories contain salient criticism of the profession and its practitioners and are often deliberately suppressed because this is an unwelcome message. The excerpt of her interview ends on a positive note, detailing self-help groups such as the 'Hearing Voices Network', groups that formed spontaneously in US and UK as internet technology facilitated mutual support free of institutional supervision and control. She reports that these groups have facilitated the complete recovery of some schizophrenics whom the mental health profession had classed as hopeless cases who would need lifelong medication to control their symptoms. The show contains the first half of the 57 minute interview, though the full interview is available for download below.


Hornstein was always interested in reading first hand accounts of the mentally ill. She eventually went to college to major in psychology, eventually becoming a Professor. She says that the mental health profession ignores the actual accounts of the mentally ill and no one is interested in such a subject! Instead they only study professionally administered opinions given by their own! You can listen to the full interview here, since that Unwelcome Guests episode has only the first half.

[1] NYTimes: The Americanization of Mental Illness
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Re: Life

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:45 am

Thrasymachus wrote:I strongly advise against seeking any professional help, your instincts are right. Mental health and other medical professionals are not there to help you. SSRIs and many other psychotropic drugs which a psychiatrist would likely prescribe are known to increase suicidal ideation. However, psychiatrists rely on Pharmaceutical companies for their education on what they prescribe, so of course they will never tell you or if they do, they will try to deprecate the risks.
This is not 100% true. Some psychiatrists actually care about treating their patients illness and some psychiatric drugs work really well to counter the symptoms of mental illness.
It is important to note that many societies considered hearing voices as a gift. In most tribal societies you could have been a shaman and attained a relative position of authority.
Anthropologically speaking this is ture, BUT I imagine that ghost01 does not live in tribal society and the consequences of untreated psyhiatric illness in modern societies are quite differnet to those of tribal societies. PLUS if you bother watching a few documentaries on oracles you will find that the majority of them state that even though they are regarded highly in their respective societies the experiences themselves are actually a source of suffering for them. It's not easy being possesed by a god.
... her book Agnes' Jacket which details first person accounts of people deemed 'insane' by their society. Far from being the meaningless ramblings of crazed mind, as many mental health professionals would have people believe, she suggests that these stories contain salient criticism of the profession and its practitioners and are often deliberately suppressed because this is an unwelcome message. The excerpt of her interview ends on a positive note, detailing self-help groups such as the 'Hearing Voices Network', groups that formed spontaneously in US and UK as internet technology facilitated mutual support free of institutional supervision and control. She reports that these groups have facilitated the complete recovery of some schizophrenics whom the mental health profession had classed as hopeless cases who would need lifelong medication to control their symptoms. The show contains the first half of the 57 minute interview, though the full interview is available for download below.
That's excellent to hear, but have you considered that maybe ghost01 does have access not to these sorts of facilities and services? If they do have access to them then obviously it will be a good idea to try them out first.

And let us get something straight: NOBODY here has claimed that ghost01 is insane.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Life

Postby Thrasymachus » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:04 am

Greg, people operate in social systems. It does not matter what the intention of someone is. An American can have good intentions and pray; people still have to die in wars and suffer in the global South and elsewhere to subsidize his lifestyle. Similarly, the only worthwhile mental health professionals are the dissident ones who criticize their profession. The field has alot of bad history and purpose. If you fulfill the purpose of the field, you are maiming people mentally. In Disciplined Minds, Jeff Schmidt deconstructs the role of the salaried professional in society. They are trusted with more autonomy in the workplace than other workers, because it is known that their primary function is to reproduce the social order. Salaried professionals pat themselves on the back for being seemingly liberal in politics, but in the area they actually wield social power and control, their work, they are conservative as can be. Even according to Buddhism we should know that mental illness is not inherently real! And even many Westerners like Foucault have come to this conclusion using the method of comparative historical research and dialectic. I have been writing about this type of stuff all the time. Most of you sadly stick to a too fundamentalist Buddhist approach and thus you live in discursion in this modern world. There is a huge literature out there documenting what I am saying, many have criticized the mental health field and identified its social role.

Anyway there is no need for you to speculate how ghost will react to my post, soon enough he will log on. Infact you are projecting the dominant negative stereotypes on hearing voices, when he tells us it is of some benefit:
ghost01 wrote:The only close spiritual adviser I have is also a voice inside my head, and is one of the reasons I was hesitant to give up talking to these voices completely, though I have chosen to do so recently.


This does a good job as any single source of showing the ineffectiveness of anti-depressants:
Bruce E. Levine wrote:Alternet: Are Antidepressants a Scam? 5 Myths About How to Treat Depression
...

Myth 1: Antidepressants Are More Effective than Placebos

Many depressed people report that antidepressants have been effective for them, but do antidepressants work any better than a sugar pill? Researcher Irving Kirsch (professor of psychology at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom as well as professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut and author of The Emperor’s New Drugs) has been trying to answer that question for a significant part of his career.

In 2002, Kirsch and his team at the University of Connecticut examined 47 depression treatment studies that had been sponsored by drug companies on the antidepressants Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa, and Serzone. Many of these studies had not been published, but all had been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so Kirsch used the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to all the data. He discovered that in the majority of the trials, antidepressants failed to outperform sugar pill placebos.

“All antidepressants,” Kirsch reported in 2010, “including the well-known SSRIs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors], had no clinically significant benefit over a placebo.” While in aggregate, antidepressants slightly edge out placebos, the difference is so unremarkable that Kirsch and others describe it as “clinically negligible.”

Why are so many doctors unaware of the lack of superiority of antidepressants as compared to placebos? The answer became clear in 2008 when researcher and physician Erick Turner (currently at the Department of Psychiatry and Center for Ethics in Health Care, Oregon Health and Science University) discovered that antidepressant studies with favorable outcomes were far more likely to be published than those with unfavorable outcomes. Analyzing published and unpublished antidepressant studies registered with the FDA between 1987-2004, Turner found that 37 of 38 studies having positive results were published; however, Turner reported, “Studies viewed by the FDA as having negative or questionable results were, with 3 exceptions, either not published (22 studies) or published in a way that, in our opinion, [falsely] conveyed a positive outcome (11 studies).”

...

Most pharmaceutical drugs are the same. Infact they should be compared and tested against natural and cheaper alternatives like exposure to the sun long enough to synthesize Vitamin D, exercise, supplementation with vitamins and minerals, meditation, etc.

Probably the best thing for him to do is to contact the Hearing Voices Network in my estimation, the mental health field only pathologizes people. I know first hand from experience and from lots of reading and listening to critiques of their profession which in any society based on equality and freedom would be criminalized. Ghost01, in my experience and from lots of reading and listening to relevant podcasts, interviews and documentaries you did the best thing by minimizing contact with mental health crooks.
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Re: Life

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:25 am

Thrasymachus wrote:If you fulfill the purpose of the field, you are maiming people mentally.
Really? So when I (as a psychologist and mediatation practitioner) give mindfulness based stress management courses so that people can have an alternative to taking drugs in order to overcome their anxiety, I am maiming people mentally? Based on my experience in the mental health field I can assure you that some conditions (and especially when the condition has reached crisis point) cannot be dealt with purely on a psychological level. Sometimes psychiatric medications are 100% necessary. Unfortunately that is the reality. That is why I am saying to ghost01 that they should not allow their condition to develop to the point of triggering an episode. At that point neither psychological support, will-power, affirmation or any other approach will help them. At that point psychiatric medication is the only treatment FOR THE SYMPTOMS (cf this post viewtopic.php?f=80&t=10595&view=unread#p134689 ). Take note, I never said that psychiatric medication is a cure for whatever is causing their distress.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Life

Postby Thrasymachus » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:45 am

I will just say for the benefit of anyone: many people have shitty lives due to social and economic conditions, circumstances of birth, etc. I for example, have always been poor and dealing with a bad family dynamic. The mental health canon has no mechanisms to realize that people have dysfunctional families, poor paying jobs that also have an associated low social status, lack of community, no true friends, etc. Thus since it cannot factor in social conditions caused largely by capitalism, since the medical field is structured to ignore that people are sacrificed as externalities to economic growth. If things were otherwise, health professionals like psychiatrists, therapists, physicians would have to be at the forefront of fighting economic growth by primitive accumulation, capitalist maximization and other methods. The mental health field systematically teaches its victims that their lives are bad because of their personal failings manifested as a diagnosis. That is a grave crime... The system is designed, so that when you are down, if you are poor, you are mentally damaged, it is your fault. Too convenient.

In closing I want to say that this is a thread to discuss ghost01's issues surrounding hearing voices and we should not get into this big aside. I just shared what I shared, since many try to court him to seeking help through the official channels of a profession that has been discredited by many and which I personally have found over more than a decade to be of little benefit compared to talking to a stranger or friend.
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Reason: Ad hominem removed. Warning issued.
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Re: Life

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:44 am

ghost01 wrote:Do it yourself isn't anything to do with the ego, it's just plain reality. No one can solve your problems for you.... I know how to fix my 'problem', it's just a matter of willpower.


ghost01 - Much of what you and Thrasymachus relate about psychiatry is true; having already given the obligatory advice to see your physician, I will not give it again.

However, the idea that all is a matter of individual "willpower" is dangerous. First, from experience, physical wear & tear has a way of diminishing mental resolve. Second, if you are correct and willpower is all that is needed, neither Buddhism nor any other religion will be helpful, as all require you to abandon will. In Buddhism, will is called "intention", and 90% of practice is practice in abandoning intent. Intent is to be replaced by equanimity, hence ram peswani's advice regarding "without reaction" becomes vital. The more "will" (intent), the higher the reactivity.

Thus, a bit of advice on the "voices" (which can be the mindstreams of "others"): do not try to engage in conversation or interaction, do observe in non-reactivity; do not try to analyze or understand the content of what they relate, merely allow it to pass like any thought; do not think of any as a 'teacher' in the classic sense, but in the same sense that your foes are your best teachers. This is not to say that these "voices" are malevolent, but that their intrusion into your mindstream can be disruptive to your own journey. Respect that "power".

Since you are intent on not seeking medical assistance, If you are in a location and situation where you can seek a spiritual adviser, guide, or teacher, I would urge you to do so.

Be well, friend.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Life

Postby futerko » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:55 pm

viniketa wrote:...do not try to engage in conversation or interaction, do observe in non-reactivity; do not try to analyze or understand the content of what they relate,


It's very difficult to give advice about this online. There have been some good points made by all posters, and I agree that one must be careful, not let this get "full blown", and also best to avoid pathologisation by the so-called "experts" except as a last resort.

The one thing I'm not entirely sure about is the idea that ignoring the voices in the hope they will just go away is necessarily the best solution. It depends just how insistent they are and what it is that they are insisting - if they are being "rational" then it's hard to see where the conflict arises - is it possible that something requires resolution? If they are very critical of you, is it possible that you actually feel the same way and have not really accepted that?

My own personal experience with such phenomena would be to say that they are making a demand and that it is only by listening and understanding that they will subside - to ask yourself what it would take to satisfy their demand?
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Life

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:59 pm

Just to be clear, being "non-reactive" is not the same as "ignoring"...

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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viniketa
 
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