Mandy’s Story

Parenting whilst hearing voices

‘Being a parent can be one of the most difficult challenges in life, but it can also be the most rewarding experience. Being a voice-hearer is similar. When you combine the two it can undoubtedly be a recipe for pain, stress and confusion (some of the time) – not only for the parent but the children and parenting partner, family and friends. But I’ve found it can also be satisfying, joyful and good for your mental health.

Through learning about the ‘Hearing Voices Approach’, I worked towards an understanding and appreciation of my voices and voice-hearing experience. I hear positive and negative voices, and the negative voices can be very distressing at times. But the positive can be guiding and helpful.

When distressed by my voices it affected my ability to cope with all parts of my life, and my children knew I was distressed, which in turn could sometimes make them upset. This did not happen all the time. In fact my voices were less distressing when my children were around me. Knowing when I needed help and support and asking for it at this time was the best I could do to manage my children and my life.

As my children got older and I begun to get a better understanding of my voices, I felt I was able to talk and educate them about voice-hearing and how a lot of people have this experience and that it is not always bad – in fact it can be a positive experience.

I was also able to explain that for me taking medication did not make my voices go away. I was careful not to talk about the content of what my voices said because it was not nice, and as a parent I did not want my children to know this as it would worry or upset them. So just to say ‘my voices were particularly bad today’ or ‘no voices today’ was often enough for them to get the picture and know what they could do to help if I was struggling. They appreciated my honesty and it helped our relationship, and the smooth-running of our household.

My voices would sometimes help me with my parenting

Sometimes my voices helped me look after my kids; waking me up if I was sleeping during the day when it was time to pick them up from school. And at times they had a great sense of humour, and would come up with fun activities to do with the kids at school holiday times.

When I was feeling numb and distant, my voices would help me to stay focused and in tune with my kids – helping me to ask the right questions when they were down and attend to their needs.

I believe every voice-hearer has the right to become a parent and not to have their parenting rights taken away from them just because they hear voices. With the right supports, education about your voice-hearing experience and a willingness to be a great parent, you can parent very well as a voice-hearer.’

More information on hearing voices

 

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