Hearing voices: The people who say talking back is the only answer

AMANDA Waegeli had been hearing voices since she was a teenager, so when she went into hospital to have her seventh child, she was comforted to have the Virgin Mary speak to her.
But after she went into cardiac arrest on the operating table and had three blood transfusions, literally dying for a few short moments, things turned darker.
“After a few weeks in intensive care, I was physically fine, but mentally distorted,” she told news.com.au. “The voices were loud and confusing, in a negative way. It was hard for me to discern what was real. They said it had been a mistake, I was supposed to die.”
Amanda was put into psychiatric care, dosed with heavy medication and given electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). She was diagnosed with post-partum psychosis, and later, clinical depression and bipolar disorder.
“The longer you’re in the system, the more diagnoses you get,” she said. “Despite being compliant, I wasn’t getting much relief, I was just hampered by side-effects.”
Eventually, Amanda heard about the Hearing Voices Network, a global support group that operates in 25 countries and was established in Australia 10 years ago. The network takes a radically different approach to that of traditional mental health services, encouraging people to listen to their voices instead of trying to block them out.

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