Living With the Voices in Your Head: At least 2.5 percent of the population hears sounds – including voices – that other people don’t Lisa Forestell has heard voices as long as she’s had memories. They have distinct personalities and sounds: There’s a middle-aged male voice that talks to her behind her left ear and two young female voices that perch behind her right. “They’re playful and silly and they try to cheer me up when I’m sad,” says Forestell, a 49-year-old director of community support at Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community, which helps people who have experienced extreme emotional distress, including hearing voices, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. For years, Forestell didn’t talk about what talked to her. “I had learned that if I told people, I’d be sent to a psychiatrist who would want the voices to go away,” she says. “I’m not someone who wants my voices to go away.” But today, mental health professionals don’t necessarily want voices, like the ones Forestell hears, to go away either. In study after study, researchers have found that psychotic experiences like hearing voices are relatively common – and not always a sign of mental illness. US News and World Report (USA), 2nd July 2015.
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