In Our Own Voice
   

Richard

RichardIt started when I was working at Boeing in Seattle. I started having the feeling that people were talking about me and didn't like me and I was suspicious about people's motivations. And then all of the sudden I started hearing them. I didn't say anything about it or talk to anybody about it. I thought it'd just go away and well, it never did.

I spent two years in my car. And not knowing what to do. It's a real icky feeling. You're out there by yourself. There's this battle waging in your head and you don't understand it. People that you used to kind of trust or be close to seem to not be interested in you anymore. I stole a lot of food. The police would pick me up sometimes and put me in jail.

What happens is the voices tell you to do things. They told me to say certain things to people. "Be aggressive. Do this. Do that." You know, and you think maybe if I do this, they'll leave me alone, so you try to do the things they tell you to, do hoping they'll leave you alone, but they don't.

They'd tell you stories sometimes; they'd tell you jokes. This could go on for a whole day. It would keep you occupied because you'd listen to this stuff and you'd think, "What is this?"

The voices more or less take over your mind and tell you that it's a very negative thing to take medications, that you're going to be a drug addict. You're going to never have a life, never get married, never have a job. There's a lot of paranoia, suspicious feeling about the medication, what it does to you, the counselors. Things look different to you when this is going on in your head.

When people are experiencing these symptoms the tendency is to feel you're alone, you're lost, hopeless, there's no way out, life will never get better. I think the best thing to remember is that you know that things can change; life can still be worth living. People forget that sometimes, I think.