Hearing voices is an experience that even children can have. We tend to imagine homeless adults or people living in psych wards as experiencing delusions or hallucinations. But even children and teens can have this experience of psychotic disorder.
One boy from Santa Rosa, California began to hear voices when he was in the fifth grade. It happened to him at school one day. He first heard some stomping and then clicking as though there were people walking up behind him. But when he turned around no one was there. When it got worse, those noises turned into voices.
Finally, when he asked a friend whether he heard anyone else talking, his friend said no. That’s when he realized that he was hearing voices no one else could hear. He felt alone and lost inside of himself. He didn’t say anything to anyone for a long while.
Then, in the seventh grade, the voices only got worse. They interrupted his thinking during class, when he was with his friends, or when he was talking to his parents. He started to skip school so that he could be alone. He started to fake being sick so that he could stay away from other people. But that only made him feel more and more alone. And a depression started to sink in.
Finally, he felt like he needed help. He went to a school counselor who was able to describe that psychosis is a symptom of the mind when there is some kind of loss of contact with reality. It can include either hallucinations or delusions. A hallucination is a form of sensory experience that others cannot perceive. In other words, it could be an experience of hearing voices or seeing things that others don’t see. Delusions, on the other hand, are false beliefs that an individual continues to believe in despite evidence that disproves the belief. Like when you believe that the government is going to take you away from your parents even though there’s no evidence to prove that.
Hearing that made him understand that there might be others who experience this too and that maybe there is help for him. He was glad that he spoke to the counselor who seemed to understand and who didn’t judge him for his experience.
Although he was able to get help and although he attended a group home for boys for a little while, things got worse when he became a teenager. One afternoon he was in his kitchen at home. Suddenly, he sort of blanked out and when he came back to reality, the voices were really loud and he found himself holding a knife to his stomach. His mother walked in and called the police. After the police spoke with him for a little while, he finally dropped the knife and kicked it over to them.
Because he was a danger to himself, he returned to the hospital. But that’s when he realized how serious his disorder was. And with that, he was able to surrender to the treatment – to the medication, attending a boy’s treatment center, and to the weekly therapy. He began to understand that those experiences were helping him. He and his therapist came up with an emergency plan so that if he were not feeling well, he knew exactly what to do.
The therapy, his coping skills, and his medication are quieting the voices in his head. Although he has a psychotic disorder, he knows that with the right help, he too can live a normal life. Those with mental illness don’t have to live on the streets or be prisoners of an institution. With help, he can also lead a fulfilling and rewarding life.
Anonymous. (June 30, 2013). The Voices No One Else Can Hear. LA Youth.com. Retrieved on July 9, 2014 from http://www.layouth.com/the-voices-no-one-else-can-hear/
By Robert Hunt
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