I am going to tackle this difficult topic. I will be writing it in three parts because there so much information to cover. The topic of "hearing voices" needs to be talked about, especially among the 'church ladies'. Too many people are afraid they are the only one who deals with voices. I hesitate to continue because bringing this topic out in the open is like opening up a can of worms. You know how it is, it is like talking about speaking in tongues or predestination. If you ever want to start a little fireworks in a Sunday school class bring up one of those topics and ask a few questions.
I am going to be as straightforward as I can, but I am by no means the final authority on this topic. Truly, God is the final authority on any topic, not a created person like me. So here I go, I will duck in submission to God and when I finish sharing, you will have direct access to Him. Please feel free to take this topic up with Him.
A few weeks ago a troubled teen from our neighborhood rang our doorbell. My boys went out on the porch to talk to him. He and his two friends were looking for yard work. I asked him how he had been doing and he freely shared everything that he'd been going through." You know I was sent away for a few months?," he started. We had heard through neighborhood children that he attempted suicide twice and was sent to a home to help troubled teens. He continued, "I am on meds now and doing much better. I was so depressed all the time and hearing voices."
I wanted him to feel at ease so I thank him for sharing and told him that I have been taking medication for about ten years. "I used to be close to you. I wanted you to know," he kindly explained to us. I understood what he was saying. Like him, I don't like to tell all the neighbors about my personal life, but I have a longing to help people not feel odd. I want them to know they belong. So I spoke a little deeper revealing to him that I have had times in my life that I have also heard voices. I wanted to assure him that he was not alone.
"My boys know all about me. Bet you didn't know they had a crazy mom?," I joked lightly. "Yeah, she is a little weird," chimed in my son. "No, you have a great mom. My parents fight all the time. They have never got along. I don't stay at home much anymore. My friend's parents invite me to come over," the boy responded. After several more minutes of talking, he and his friends were ready to search about the neighborhood for another yard to cut. I told him that he was welcome in our home at any time, and I stood up to give him a hug. It was one of the most meaningful embrace of acceptance I have ever had with a teen. He knew he had met someone who understood.
So, have you ever heard voices? It is okay if you have. And no, you are not crazy. Honestly, what is crazy anyway? Mental...loony-tunes...out-to-lunch...psychotic...neurotic...not like most people. Crazy is a label for people who are different than most, and labels like these serve no healthy, positive purpose. They only put a person down and have the ability to bring shame, pain, and rejection.
The sources and reasons for voices vary. I have stories to tell, but this discussion will not be exhaustive. And, up front, I want to remind you why I am discussing hearing voices in this column about abuse and trauma. It is a fact that many people who have experience abuse and trauma (especially at young ages and repetitively) will experience hearing voices at various times in their life. Dissociative Identity Disorder is one of the most common mental health illnesses that develop due to severe childhood abuse. People suffering from Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia, Severe Depression, and several other illnesses may also hear voices.
WWW.Webmd.com states, "Dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality
disorder) is a fairly common effect of severe trauma during early childhood,
usually extreme, repetitive physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse." These dissociated states are not fully-mature (adult)
personalities, but a disjointed sense of identity of the age the trauma occurred. These identities (also called alters) developed to help the child cope with the neglect, abuse or trauma."
God created the brain and neurological system with an ability to survive. Part of the survival process helps the brain to capture a somatic (body) memory of trauma so an abusive experience is in a protected place of the brain and not remembered in the daily consciousness. When situations are too difficult to be processed properly, the body encapsulates them to keep the events and feelings from effecting behavior and relationships while still living in the abuse situation. This enables a person to remain in a family or in contact with the abuser when they feel like they have no other option or until the time comes when they can get help. Often these memories are forgotten until later surfaced by voices or triggers.
Topics are better studied in light of God's Word instead of being simply discussed with
opinions. Since opinions are often based from experiences, opinions
can vary widely, but God's Word never changes. We may not always have a perfect interpretation of His Word, but over time He can reveal His
truth. His truth is absolute, a firm foundation, and a constant in life. I will be sharing some scripture on voices in part two of this article, along with more illustrations for deeper understanding.