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How Much Should I Tell My Therapist About the Voices in My Head?

Therapy has long been part of my life. My parents started taking me to a psychologist when I was 4 to find out what exactly was “wrong” with me. In third grade, I started seeing a therapist who turned out to be a very abusive and toxic person in my life for over 15 years. Ever since I stopped seeing her, I have completely avoided all therapy even though I desperately need it. I have trauma from both an abusive childhood and an abusive ex-spouse that I am having difficulty processing and I know talking to someone will help me. I am slightly worried about seeing another abusive therapist, although that is not the reason I have avoided finding one. My main concern has do to with one of my biggest coping mechanisms.

My head is a very noisy place. I hear voices on a daily basis. I would say there is only one mean voice. Most of them are absolutely lovely. They talk me through difficult moments, keep me company when I’m lonely, and help me process my confusing emotions. Janis Joplin is my absolute favorite artist and her voice is often one that appears in my head during my darkest hours, which brings me comfort to no end. The good voices even do a pretty decent job at blocking out the mean voice, although there are many times it manages to slip through.

My parents made me scared to talk about the voices in my head. They told me hearing voices, even positive ones, meant a trip back to the mental hospital the one and only time I brought it up when I was 12. A return trip to the mental hospital was and still is my greatest fear. Because of that, I have never told any of my doctors about the voices in my head. In fact, I would outright lie to them if they asked me if I heard any voices. It’s only been in the past few years that I have accepted it myself. I still get anxious talking about it even with my closest friends, much less a stranger that I haven’t even met yet.

Right now, I am struggling with the decision about how much I should tell my therapist when I find one. I want to be honest about what is going on in my head. Otherwise, how will I get the help I need? Even though I love most of the voices, I would not mind getting some help dealing with the scary one. But I am very worried about getting a negative reaction from someone who is a professional. I know that I don’t have to stick with a therapist who isn’t right for me, but I am worried that I won’t allow myself to use the positive voices if a professional tells me that it is a harmful coping mechanism, even though I know for a fact that it is the best one I have. I know that finding the right therapist for my complex cornucopia of mental health needs might take a long time, but I think that if I can find the right person, my life will improve. And I know that the right person will be someone who respects me and acknowledges the fact that I am my own best advocate.

Can you relate? Let Nera know in the comments below. 

Getty image by IrynaDanyliuk

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