Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Five Ways To Gain Relief And To Cope With Voices

Today my co-workers and I offered support to our peer who was struggling with discouraging voices. She looked extremely overwhelmed and stressed. This was not the first time she sought relief with our help, however, each time we try to offer a caring hand during tough moments like this.  All three of us offered support to her in diverse ways that included:

  1. Repeat positive affirmations aloud, 
  2. Sing a song,
  3. Listen to soothing music,
  4. Give a hug, and
  5. Encourage prayer
One of the few affirmations we repeated was: "I am strong..." In addition to that we reinforced encouraging words by making positive statements about her triumph over the voices. As a group we recited the song: "Lean On Me." And we listened to a loving song on the internet through a cell phone- Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." Also, one of us was led to give her a hug, another recited a short prayer with her. Afterwards, she looked much better, and was able to go about her day; also we felt better knowing that she was in a better place with wellness.

Hearing voices can be tormenting. I remember hearing cruel voices that sounded like evil cartoon characters, however, I was convinced they were real and were coming from the people around me. The voices aggressively stated: "You will never make it!" "You are a dishonor to your family!" and other mean statements that did not make sense to me. Although I do not hear voices today, I occasionally cope with disturbing thoughts. When negative thoughts cross my mind I change my focus on reality at that moment, or create a "good' thought such as what brought me joy recently.

Currently, I work part-time as a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). A CPS is an individual who is living in recovery with mental illness and mentors and advocates on behalf of peers with mental illness. Sometimes my work requires that I find alternative ways to offer support to others who are challenged by their symptoms and daily concerns with others. When helping another individual cope with voices the situation encourages me to act outside the typical role as staff member. This is a challenging task, but can be overcome. Today, my co-workers and I found five strategies to help our peer find relief from the voices. Therefore, I encourage peers, family members, and supporters to practice these five steps, but not in any order, instead go down the list until the individual gets relief.

What are some other ways someone can either cope with the voices alone, or support someone who is suffering with voices?

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