Another Beautiful Mind

When Eleanor Longden began hearing things, she soon found herself drugged, sectioned and labelled schizophrenic. Then a psychiatrist taught her how to talk back

Eleanor Longden, 25, started hearing voices when she was a teenager. But, contrary to the usual perception of inner voices, Longden says hers weren't destructive: "It was rather mundane, simply giving me a narration of some of the day-to-day things I was doing. In many ways, the voice was companionate because it was reminding me that I was carrying on with my responsibilities despite feeling so sad inside. There was something constructive about it."

People like Longden who admit to hearing inner voices can generally expect two outcomes: a diagnosis of insanity, and potent medication. But a group of psychiatrists and psychologists believe it's time we reconsidered labels such as schizophrenia and the drugs used as treatment. In fact, they believe we should get people to listen to, and actually engage with, the voices inside their heads.

The network has a growing professional following, Dillon says. "We get a lot of referrals from psychiatrists nowadays, although there's still a long way to go."

Talking heads

* Studies have found that between four and 10 per cent of Britons hear voices.

* Between 70 and 90 cent of people who hear voices do so following traumatic events.

* Voices can be male, female, without gender, child, adult, human or non-human.

* People may hear one voice or many. Some people report hearing hundreds, although in almost all reported cases, one dominates above the others.

* Voices can be experienced in the head, in the ears, outside the head, in some other part of the body, or in the environment.

* Voices often reflect important aspects of the hearer's emotional state - emotions that are often unexpressed by the hearer.

* The "hearing voices movement" has spread across the world. There are groups in countries as far afield as Australia, Finland, Japan and Palestine.

* Well-known voice hearers include Plato, Sigmund Freud, Beethoven, Byron, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Isaac Newton and Winston Churchill.

More Here.


  1. How much of "hearing voices" is just a misinterpretation of the normal thoughts people have in their heads that maybe are amplified by stress?

    I know when I was depressed and had to take anti-depressant drugs to stop suicidal thoughts it was because I felt like I could not turn off the thoughts in my head. At times the normal interior thoughts were almost like voices, and if I weren't aware of it all I could have probably thought voices were talking to me.

    I'm not doubting schizophrenia, I have had interactions with schizophrenics, I just think that the mind does funny things when under stress.

    Of course, maybe the voices really are the devil! (just joking)

  2. I just thought of something. George W. Bush, President of the United States, says that God talks to him.

    Maybe he is schizophrenic. That would explain a lot...

  3. you missed teh likes of Teed bundy and Lennon's killer...why can't I blogline you? write or catch me

  4. I have heard voices in my head since I was a kid! At times I would sit back and wonder whether it is just my thoughts and the like (as verlaine puts it), but more often than not, I realised it wasn't. I don't know why that should be a big issue as long as I don't trip someone over... Thanks for this post.

  5. Hearing voices is one of the first outcomes of exposure from Subliminal Distraction.

    The reason that so many high achieving people hear voices is the same reason that insanity seems to happen to highly intelligent artists and writers. They have occupations that make it more likely they will be exposed to SD.

    What is Subliminal Distraction? It is a recognized problem with human physiology that was discovered when it caused mental breaks for office workers in the 1960's. The cubicle was the solution. Cubicles prevent the subliminal detection of threat movement for concentrating workers.

    VisionAndPsychosis.Net is a psychology project about Subliminal Distraction.