The Malice of the Voices of 'They'

Owing to the pain of this –

Ouchies

– I’ve been somewhat in absentia from the blogosphere recently.  Was this gash – which is actually worse than the above suggests, being as it was nearly a removed-tip-of-finger – deliberate?  Was it fuck!  I even commented on the annoying irony of this on Twitter.  On Saturday the lid to a toothpaste tube had become lodged in the sink plughole, and the only way to get it out, aside from amateur plumbing, was to edge it out at the side with a knife.  A certain angle, a lot of force, and it wasn’t just the offending lid that ended up deeply cut to pieces.

I was urged to go to A&E to get this stitched, and I should have; it’s deep, and it’s very, very open.  But I didn’t.  Inertia?  Yes.  Social phobia?  Yes.  But the fact that an XBox 360 Elite has arrived in the house didn’t help either, not that I could use this finger to use the controls.  Neither could I drive initially, nor type, so forgive my lack of posting.

I admit to some malaise re: blogging though – I can’t blame everything on my half-axed physical extremity, given as the blog has gone unwritten for just under a fortnight.  A post that I’d originally started on Wednesday afternoon was to be called ‘The Rollercoaster’, such was my mental state between the last post and then.  Most of it is faff and I could never be arsed finishing it, so I thought I’d condense (ha!) the salient points of it into this new post.

Of course, I am aware that I haven’t written about my last session with C; I shall try and rectify this tomorrow.  In short summary, we are, for now, friends again.  We discussed the previous week’s annoyances, and although I didn’t give him the letter as intended, I did tell him about it.  He actually wanted me to read it to him, but I’ll detail that later.  I was honest with him for a change, but because I’d been too lazy to wash my face from the previous day, when I had worn mascara, I refused as ever to cry in front of him.  I think I might have done, though, had I not been horrified by the thought of having black streaks down my face, so I suppose that’s progress.  A silly reason?  Well, if I was a therapist, I’d laugh at an individual in such a position, so I can’t expect C not to.  On the other hand, I’m probably just a sick fuck.

Anyway.

The main thing of interest since my last post is the development of ‘They’.

‘They’

Poor A has been doing a lot of home-based overtime recently, and the morning of Saturday 31st October saw no exception to this.  That morning, he was in the study working, whilst I was lying in bed trying to fight off the usual Saturday migraine (this used to happen when I was at work each week, but when I became a dolescum, it mostly disappeared.  In the six to eight weeks prior to this date, however, the weekly migraine has returned.  Reassuringly, A asked me to ask Lovely GP if this combined with recent hallucinatory behaviour could be symptomatic of a brain tumour.  Yippee).

For contextual reference, overnight on 26/27th October, I had been plagued by horribly frightening auditory hallucinations all night (see this tweet), indicating to me that the hallucinations had moved beyond ‘just’ Tom and the shapes.  The music was the most terrifying, for reasons I cannot really articulate.  It was only about four or five notes on what sounded like a xylophone, but it carried the same unspoken message of hostility that the shapes do.  Not that the knocking and the whimpering didn’t.

So, anyway, here I was trying to soothe this migraine by lying in the darkened bedroom, when someone who wasn’t A nor Tom told me to get up and brush my teeth.  For some reason, I acquiesced and did as I was told.

Upon completion of this, the ‘someone’ became a ‘they’ – instantaneously, yet simultaneously gradually.  I know that makes no sense.  The best way to put it, I suppose, is that it was like an operatic or orchestral crescendo.  The nebulous ‘they’ then instructed me to go to the top of the stairs.  Tom turned up and told them to leave me alone, but they laughed at them.  I (internally) enquired as to what I should do.  Tom said to go back to bed.  ‘They’ repeated their aforementioned direction.

‘They’ and Tom kept bickering about what I should do but, much as I don’t mind Tom, the collective voice of ‘They’ was so much stronger, and carried a weight I can’t explain.  It was a compulsion.  I went to the stairs.

I have fallen, and thrown myself, down the stairs at my mother’s house many a time, but the stairs there are relatively ‘safe’; they aren’t especially steep, are thickly carpeted and, until recently, had a…shall we say…deceleration zone.  This is not the case at A’s; the carpet is thin, the stairs are incredibly steep and there is maybe a foot of hallway at the bottom before you go crashing into the front door.  That’s if you don’t hit the radiator on the right.  In short, falling down A’s stairs could seriously injure me.  I doubt it would actually kill me, but it could definitely injure me.

Here I was at the top of these steep stairs.  It was almost as if they had morphed into a sheer cliff face – I mean, I didn’t see such a thing, but…I don’t know, it’s hard to describe; it just felt like that.  At this point ‘They’ started telling me that I was to throw myself down the stairs.  Tom tried to intervene, as did the voice of Me.  But ‘They’ were too strong.

When I didn’t immediately throw myself down, they became enraged and started chanting/screaming: “YOU MUST DIE!  YOU MUST DIE!  YOU MUST DIE!” followed shortly by, “THROW YOURSELF, THROW YOURSELF HARD!”.  Simultaneously, parts of ‘They’ were laughing in the manner that the dark monster’s under a child’s bed are supposed to.  Sinister.

I remember little of what was going on outside this mental cacophony, but I do recall that it was a physical effort to not throw myself down the stairs.  I have a very vivid memory of watching my bare toes teetering precariously on the edge of the step, trying – amidst this madness – to will them not to go over.

It’s funny really.  Given the almost perpetual suicidal ideation in which I engage, why not just go with the flow of ‘They’?  But I wanted to fight them.

Still ‘They’ went on, “die die die, throw yourself, throw yourself hard,” in their ritualistic chant.  Still Tom and Me tried, with considerable futility, to dissuade them that this was a desirable course of action.  But ‘They’ either just spat bile at or ignored us.  They called me (both me-me and the Voice of Me) a range of names such as “slut,” “cunt,” “bitch,” etc, but they just audibly sneered, if that’s possible, at Tom.

Somehow I sat down.  By this point, I presume in order to distract me, the amorphous ‘They’, were knocking at the side of my head, exacerbating the headache (as if their bloody noise hadn’t done enough of that).  I put my hands over my ears and started rocking back and forth, but of course that didn’t stop them.  That was a pointless gesture – they’re in my head so, how can covering my fucking ears shut them up?  But it was instinctive, I suppose.

Despite Tom’s best efforts to diffuse the situation, it wasn’t getting any better.  ‘Me’ wondered if taking my gaze away from the stairs would do anything to help things, so I lay my head down on the next step and hid under my arms.  They didn’t stop, but part of me ceased to be entirely sure of where I was, so the sheer compulsion to obey ‘They’ abated – but only slightly.

It was shortly after this that A emerged from the study and asked if I was OK.  He had been talking to himself whilst in the study and his voice had kind of morphed with that of ‘They’, so I didn’t even know if he was real.  Nevertheless, aside from Me and Tom, he was the only voice there with which I was familiar, so I told him what was happening.

A helped me down each individual step.  ‘They’ mocked him, sneered at him and wanted me to hurt him, but somehow, I managed to resist them.  When A finally managed to get me into the relative safety of the living room, he called ‘They’ “pathetic non-existent cunts” and told ‘They’ that he was going to “destroy” them.  Tom laughed agreeably and told ‘They’ to fuck themselves; ‘They’ were both insulted and incredulous.  ‘They’ called A a number of names that I no longer remember, continued to tell me to die, and although they didn’t ‘verbally’ say it, there was an intense sense in my head that ‘They’ found the notion that A could defeat ‘beings’ of such epic power an irritation and a source of amusement.

To cut what is already a very long story a wee bit shorter, eventually ‘They’ and Tom left.  A was disturbed; I was exhausted.  We were both worried about how this would turn out.

In fact, the possibility of voluntary admission was discussed.  My fear was not so much for myself – I don’t really matter to me, after all.  But ‘They’ hate A.  It turned out later that ‘They’ hate C too..  They’re more tolerant of Mum, but they still don’t like her.  ‘They’ haven’t met my friends yet, but I’m sure they’ll hate them too.  So, whilst if I want to do myself in I want it to be my decision and not theirs, and that side of things presents as an issue, my greater concern is that the complete control of ‘They’ over me would lead to harm of someone about whom I care.

I had an appointment with VCB today (more on that in a moment), and A and I both hoped that I could hold out to then before the drastic step of admission, but I did discuss that possibility with several individuals and, with a few qualifications, it was agreed amongst all that if ‘They’ returned with such hostility, that it was probably a good idea.

‘They’ did return a few days later.  ‘They’ were not demanding my death this time, nor the injury of anyone else, but they were chattering insults and laughing scornfully at a low level at the back of my head.  “Whore,” “cunt,” “slut,” “bitch” etc.  They were whispering spitefully and when A started into them again, the insults were then divided between him and me both.  But although distressing and unpleasant, there was no danger from this episode, so luckily I didn’t embark on a course to the bin.

‘They’ were there on Thursday morning when I went to see C.  This was the first time when I verbally spoke to them.  ‘They’ told me they thought he was a cunt, and I said to him, “they don’t like you.”

‘They’ got really mad at this; apparently, I was meant to tell C that he had been called a ‘cunt’ specifically.

“Tell him, tell him, tell him,” they ordered.

“Alright, for fuck’s sake, I know!” I yelled at them.  I’m not sure how C kept a straight face.

But they’ve not been there in a dangerous capacity since 31st October, thankfully, so I haven’t incarcerated myself.  As stated, I had an appointment with VCB today, which I had been anxiously waiting for thanks to ‘They’, but of which I was also simultaneously terrified, given as I am scared of VCB.

I was actually slightly surprised that she herself had the decency to see me today and not palm me off onto some minion.  Perhaps C told her about my threats of advocacy, media and contacting her boss from last time.  Anyhow, as usual I had developed my written list of symptoms from which she – unlike her stupid SHO – allowed me to work, recognising that it’s not always easy to remember everything.  She did quiz me on specifics – “what did ‘They’ say specifically?  Pretend you’re them talking,” or “what does Tom talk to you about?” – but mostly, she allowed me to speak freely about the last few weeks.

Essentially, the result of the meeting was that she wants me to decrease the Venlafaxine back to 75mg – not because of the hallucinations per se, as she actually does not seem to believe they are a side effect of it, but because being on 150mg hasn’t made any difference to the feelings of depression.  I’m not sure I like this.  I basically think Venlafaxine is crap (not to mention evil and insidious), but I’m scared of being on a low dose thereof again, and in particular I am petrified of a pseudo-discontinuation syndrome caused by a dosage reduction, despite VCB’s claims that there should not be any noticeable difference.  I am seeing LGP in the morning so will discuss this with him.

Secondly, and more helpfully, VCB says that the more recent hallucinations and delusions do represent outright psychoses.  Well, not that that in itself is nice – obviously it’s not, but it had a hopefully positive outcome.  She had been expecting to prescribe me a mood stabiliser today, but in light of the information I gave him, obviously decided that “a trial” of an anti-psychotic would be more appropriate.  I know how hideous side effects of such medications are, but frankly I’m glad because things as described above can’t go on.

She has decided upon 2.5mg of Olanzapine; she chose this drug because she thinks it’s better in terms of its secondary indication of mood stabilising than many of the other atypical anti-psychotics, despite most of the manufacturers’ claims that they all mood stabilise fabulously.  2.5mg is the lowest dose of this drug, but that’s fair enough I suppose.  VCB says it can be increased as necessary, but it is of course best to start on as low a dose as possible.  Unusually, she wants to see me in a month rather than six weeks.  Although she (obviously) didn’t bin me, this did suggest some concern on her part in my view.

I asked VCB if the revelations had any impact on my diagnoses, as I was aware that psychoses weren’t generally a feature of bipolar II, and whilst they are seen in BPD, it is usually (as far as I understand it) during episodes of considerable stress, which I hadn’t been experiencing especially during the development of ‘They’.  She said that she still felt the diagnosis was correct, as the episodes of psychosis have been transient, as is seen in borderline, rather than prolonged and sustained.  However, she did imply that she would be willing to reevaluate things in future, should the need arise.

She warned that the main side effect of Olanzapine is weight gain, which is not apparently caused just because the drug itself makes you fat, but because it increases your appetite.  She said that I have to try and develop methods of ignoring any new or unexpected bouts of hunger, which I suppose I can discuss with C.  She also recommended exercise (obviously I suppose), so when I get my windfall from work, I may rejoin the gym.  As a dolescum, I do get to use the local leisure centre for cheap, but it’s usually full of pricks all day long, whereas I know for a fact that the gym and its pool are both almost empty during the day.  In any case, I’ve lost a lot of weight recently, so whilst I don’t exactly want to regain any of it, I suppose I can deal with a little bit more whilst I try to address countering any new-found appetite.

A final side effect is strong sedation, but perhaps it won’t surprise you to learn that this would be a positive thing for me.  Unfortunately, apparently that tends to wear off as one gets used to the drugs, but hopefully I’ll have the lovely Zopiclone in waiting then.

I haven’t got the pills yet; I have to take VCB’s script to the GP’s for them to load it onto the system and then prescribe and sent to the pharmacy.  Had I done so today, I would not have got them until tomorrow anyway, and since I’m seeing LGP in the morning anyway, I can just get him to prescribe them directly.

So all in all the VCB was quite useful today – I just wish she’d make that state of affairs consistent.  Perhaps the best thing about this – and I know this is really sad and childish – is that she’s defied the NICE guidelines on BPD.  I suppose she had little choice given the circumstances, but she always wanted to adhere to them insofar as was possible.  But I think NICE are useless knobs, a waste of public money who sit about saying a lot about very little, so this pleases me.

Other Events

New Friend

On Wednesday 4th, I had the pleasure of meeting K (can we call her K?  There’s no other Ks on this blog, are there?), another BPD ‘diagnosee’ that I met via Twitter.  K is also from Northern Ireland, though now lives in England (she was here on a quick visit).

We spent a couple of great hours chatting over tea – the conversation was lively and wide-ranging, but in terms of mentalism specifically, it was a relief to discuss things with someone who has direct experience of many of the same problems I have.  I’ve relied on the internet for this to date, still do and probably always will – K and I agreed the temptation to catch the bus without the support of online friends would be considerably higher than it already is – but nevertheless it’s great to actually speak to someone in person that understands.

I would normally be very nervous about meeting someone new, as you can probably imagine from earlier ramblings.  However, I actually wasn’t with K, and even had I been, her easy-going charm would have relaxed me very quickly.  So thank you, K 🙂

Georgie

Fucking cunt of evil bastardry aunt Georgie was in situ for the second time within a few months last week.  Why come across the Atlantic twice in such a short timeframe?  Last week was for my cousin’s wedding, that was only organised recently.  Needless to say, I didn’t go.  I can’t presently think of circumstances that would in any way make me tolerate seeing that woman and her shit descendants.

What pisses me off when Georgie is here (and even when she isn’t) is that my mother wanks on about what a poisonous twat Georgie is – Georgie knows everything, Georgie always thinks it’s worse for her than for others, Georgie must interrupt people and be the focus of the conversation, etc – yet as soon as I open my mouth to make any vaguely critical remark about the old battleaxe, Mum rages at me for being so cruel about her.

Fuck that, and fuck Georgie.

Meh

There was another ‘other event’ that I wanted to add but alas its exact nature has evaded me.  Another time – in any case, I think I have drivelled on for long enough as usual.

Did I say something near the start of this post about ‘condensing’ my words?!
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15 thoughts on “The Malice of the Voices of 'They'

  1. Whew, you sure did handle typing well without the use of the finger.

    I am sorry to hear about the augmentation of “They” & “Tom.” Throughout everything I have been experiencing with BP I and BPD, having auditory hallucinations is not something I have had to deal with. I can only imagine how scary it was for you at the top of the stairs so utterly out of control. I am so glad A was at home.

    It sounds like your visit with VCB was positive for a change. I agree stability in her outlook and treatment of your disorders would be accommodating. I can tell you from personal experience that Zyprexa is truly a weight gainer. I was on it three years ago a ballooned up 40 lbs. I have since lost it all, but now I am back on it temporarily to aid in my insomnia. My shrink feels if I can just break the cycle of the insomnia I may get back on track. I told him I was only willing to try it for two weeks (it has been already one week without success).

    Let us know how the visit to the GP goes with your finger. The picture was not worth the actual damage as you have described on Twitter.

  2. I Can only imagine how terrifying “They” are.. Am going to email you now re;some of what you said. A sounds like an absolute star,helping you by dispersing some of the fear. I`m not sure that I agree with VCB-,some of it,but thats why I want toemail you!

    Brilliant that you`ve made a new friend who you can talk to! And yet another Brilliant blog!-Finger or NO finger!…Well done you!

  3. Voices such the big time. I hate my NotGod and the incessant cacophany when he takes over my head and won’t let me get away from the crap he’s speaking. I know exactly what it’s like – you describe it much better than I could. I had a wee repeat of NotGod on Sunday when he told me I had to kill people if I went to mass so I didn’t go to mass which was a bad thing. It’s the fact they don’t go away and keep at it louder and louder and louder that makes it impossible. I hope the Olanzipine is good – increasing the risperidone seems to have been mostly effective.

    I think you’re doing very well. Your ability to be honest with VCB despite how scared you were is impressive. I hope she continues to be useful for you.

    Take care of yourself xx

  4. I remember what the bad voices were like, and it was scary when they want you to do something that will hurt people. When I was i that position, I was staying with my parents while my husband was on a trip. It was right after I came out of the hospital. The voices started telling me to kill my parents. And they hadn’t a clue that was going on, of course, since there were no outward signs for them to pick up on. Only what was happening in my mind. That was when I told my parents that if I told them to call 911, they needed to do that asap. I didn’t tell them why. Be prepared to hold me down, I told them. I didn’t go into specifics. My thought was that if I was held down by my dad, in the back of a cop car or in jail, if I couldn’t control my desire to act I would at least be in a safe place where I couldn’t hurt anyone. Fortunately, it didn’t come to that.

  5. I have auditory hallucinations with my bipolar 1. Usually when I am in a mixed/manic episode. I understand how annoying and frightning they can be. The severity in which yours present themselves is astonishing how you handled them. The whole situation could have been so much worse. you did very well in keeping yourself remotely safe from them.

    They can get so bad you are not even part of your body anymore. All you become is a vehicle for the voices. I am hoping the Zyprexa works for you. Or at least alleviates some of your symptoms/pain.

    Boo:)

  6. What an absolutely lovely way to be mentioned online … thank you so much for such beautiful words about our fabulous tea~based meeting back home! I cannot emphasize enough to the reading populous how absolutely fantastic, genuine, adorable and caring you are in person (as you are online). Such amazing insight for someone so young, dealing with so much, as is evidenced by this blog. And I think it’s wonderful that you’re continuing to share this journey with us, and that we can be a part of what is clearly a painful and difficult time. One which you are dealing with expertly, I might add.

    On that point, kudos for speaking up about the voices. I find the only thing that can counteract the noise is more noise (speaking as a chronic tinnitus sufferer), whatever manifestation of auditory trickery our lymbic system chooses to unleash upon us. So well done you for being so open.

    And for being you!

    K xx

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