It’s a funny thing having a mind you have to keep in check. It’s something I think I’ve always lived with, for as long as I can remember there’s been a bit of a mean self critical inner voice. Well perhaps voices really. Sometimes it’s my own voice, there’s another one that I don’t think belongs to anyone I know, it’s just there, and that’s the one I have to really keep in check or it rules me to the point I really believe I’m useless and I should end my life.
I think the inner voices are something everyone has, but then who knows, I always thought synesthesia (seeing colours with sounds and flavours with colours in my case) was normal too. It wasn’t until it was mentioned at music college that this was a condition a composer had and not everyone has it I found out is wasn’t “normal”. So perhaps these are all conditions in varying degrees of the creative mind.
So my inner voices. I have my own voice, she’s generally pretty good, she keeps me on the straight and narrow, she tells me when I’m doing well and kicks me up the arse when I need it. The voice that is mine I’ve trained to be the loudest. She also tells me about my intuitive thoughts and I do my best to listen to her. With therapy and work she’s much less of a panicker and less prone to worry these days thank goodness but every now and again I do find my inner voice has an argument with itself, this can be wholly confusing sometimes but we get there in the end. At these times it sounds just like me in my physical voice when I’m being indecisive.
The voice of my mother used to feature a lot but mostly those are gone now after the hypnotherapy I had to calm that down. That was often a bit of a scathing voice of criticism, told me I was fat, not good enough, would generally repeat prominent sentences from childhood memories and these could plague me some days. They don’t so much anymore and it’s a relief to be honest.
The last one is the scariest, that voice is a male one. It doesn’t have any links to anyone I know but it is the most cruel. This is the voice that tells me bad things. Sometimes it’s just “you’re worthless” or “you’re stupid”, those kind of things. Sometimes it will shout at me, plague me, I’ve learned to ignore it most of the time. It will pop up often when I’m feeling at my most confident and try to bring me down. I remember it telling me when I was twelve that no matter how hard I tried I would never be as good as other people, and there are plenty of other prominent memories of that voice from my teen years. It led me to probably make a few bad decisions, including staying in relationships that I shouldn’t have. The voice can often be a bit threatening and sounds like it wants to hurt me. I used to be a bit scared of it, but I can generally keep it at bay now.
The voice comes most days. I don’t live in fear of it anymore but it can still push me off balance if I’m caught unawares. This morning laying in the one who makes me forget’s bed before he’d woken up, the voice came out of the blue. It asked me “Why don’t you just kill yourself?”. It’s not unusual that it does that. In fact it does that a lot of the time. This time I managed to silence it before it went any further. If I allow it to carry on, that’s only the beginning, it goes further giving reasons to do it and demanding I should, then telling me how. It normally wants me to cut myself. It’s probably at its most dangerous when I’m heading down low. This happened in February last time, I took a razor to my wrists. I was drunk, I had just been dumped so my resistance to that scary voice wasn’t really there. The worst part is the shame I feel from acting on that voice. It doesn’t happen often, but how the hell do you explain that to people? You just can’t.
I don’t think the voice is any worse now I’m off antidepressants. I think it’s just the same but I feel more equipped to deal with it. Back when I was first single, nights in the house alone, the voice would tell me to overdose on insulin. It would tell me that no one would give a shit anyway and I’d be removing a burden from everyone’s life. This went on for months and the only way I could deal with it was to distract myself. Going to bed to sleep would only make the voice louder as I lay there staring at the ceiling trying to switch it off. So I’d draw, paint, light fires and burn stuff in the early hours of the morning. It was a strange time. Some people knew I was facing some sort of insomnia but I never told anyone about the dark voice.
Sometimes as it did this morning the dark voice will come out of the blue when least expected. It’s happened during meetings at work and I just have to carry on. Sometimes if I’m meeting friends it will pipe up “you know they all hate you?”, I used to believe it and do all sorts of crazy overcompensating behaviour to try and be likeable because of those moments. It still happens but I’ve started to feel secure enough to ignore it. It’s happened when I’m driving a few times and I just have to switch on music and start singing. I used to be scared of the dark voice, it had a lot of power over me, but I’m not so afraid now, I know it can’t make me harm myself if I don’t act on it. Just a quirk of the creative mind I guess. Sometimes the work I do to avoid the dark voice is my best work. I become so focussed on what I’m doing or creating just to block out that voice that the work ends up being something I can be proud of. I guess in an odd way the dark voice makes me push my creativity. I know one thing for certain though, whilst I’m not scared of dying, I don’t want to die just yet. When the dark voice comes I tell it not today, I thank it for its input and the creativity it’s about to inspire.