The Difference Between Voices and Personal Thoughts

I can tell the difference between them today. Many days, I can’t.

I look back on conversations I’ve had within reality and don’t know whether to laugh or feel sick. I try not to talk at all sometimes, for fear of saying something that isn’t actually mine. Mostly random gibberish, but sometimes it’s quite rude. I’m glad the few people I talk to during these phases are understanding. Generally speaking anyways. If I can’t even understand myself, who is to say anyone else can?

But what is the actual difference between voices and personal thoughts? Is there one finite thing? If I could, I’d label each thought with a little tag as mine, or not mine. Somehow, I think during phases of psychosis, I may forget how to read those tags anyways. Regardless, I want to try.

How do you tell the difference when all else fails?

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I use the 10 StEPs. See…

But I had to learn the skills of these other mindfulness-based cognitive therapies to be able use the 10 StEPs effectively.


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Welcome to the forum.

I’ve got a lot of noise in my head at times. I can always tell what’s not me.

When I feel like I’m losing the ability to think or something like that I always think something deliberately to try and get a feel for my voice.

Most of the noise in my head gets attributed to other people.

You likely shouldn’t be hearing your thoughts, I don’t because of medications, so what goes through my head are random songs, some bits of poems, they are like memories kind of.

When a voice will come in, it will say my name, it will say mom, or it will say I love you. And no one is there saying it. That’s a voice. That’s not a thought.

I don’t even know my thoughts much. I can’t reach them through the meds.

The 10 StEPs were a lot to take in. I have bookmarked the page for further reference, but it will take some time before I can put them into practice properly.

Deliberate thought; while this may work in lighter cases, much of the time I am too far gone. My personal thoughts do not have my voice, but what I think my voice would like to be. As with most opinions of mine, this is very malleable, and makes things difficult. The inner voice that represents me is just that, a representative.

My voices are internal usually, though outward expressions of my internal struggles may manifest themselves on occasion. If you do not know your own thoughts, are you speaking without thinking? I do not understand this.

A good question. I never know whether the unconnected things that entered my head in quick succession were loud intrusive thoughts or internal voices . When I told my nurse practitioner recently that I had experienced this prior to regular medication she said " thought disorder" .
I have read in the past that these things lie on a spectrum.

I’m just blank I guess, I don’t know.

I have ideas, and I have material with which I write my creative works with.

All my voices on meds are internal, though they used to be around my head, behind my head, and sometimes in the other room.

Seems to me you are struggling with what sometimes are called intrusive/inserted thoughts. I have hade these as well when psychotic. I typically could divide my mind into three different kind of thoughts:

  1. those who felt wholly my own, as thoughts normally are experienced.
  2. intrusive/inserted thoughts. These felt like they were in ‘my voice of thought’ though not initiated by me, rather than having the feeling of being the agent of these thoughts, these seemed to occur beyond my control, it does not feel like I intend these thoughts.
  3. were the auditory hallucinations. These were thoughts that I experienced as belonging to someone else, with their own distinct voice.

I have had a period where I would run meta-thoughts all the time, exactly doing what you describe: tagging them as hallucination, mine and not mine. The difference between 1 and 2 was hardest to tell, hallucinations were so clearly (ha ha) not mine that they tagged themselves. It seems to me you are struggling with a similar difference between 1 and 2, between thought that feels deliberate and thought that doesn’t feel so. In order to tag them, I would rely on what fitted best my self-image, as I recalled it from before the onset of sz. This stance versus the several types of thoughts did help a lot to relieve distress and keep delusions at bay.

There was a period where for me, the normal deliberate thought (1) disappeared almost completely. Everything felt intrusive and your mention of it being like a ‘representative’ of me resonates with me. This is when it became almost impossible to label the other types of thought and keep them categorized. Maybe your situation is like that. I tried to trust the body at the time, for the mind was clearly off. And it is true, in my experience, that one does not need to explicitly command the body in everyday action. In some sense, it can take care of itself. And in my experience this also holds for speaking. I do not have to think a thought and then convey it into spoken words. When I am fully engaged in conversation, I barely experience any thought at all. Yet this is nevertheless called thoughtfully speaking.

You’ve got me so in the head I don’t even know anymore.

I like your analysis.

I just don’t think that with having a thought disorder that we can truly believe that random thought insertion is our own.

At least, they never sound like me, and I like to think that I have great control as my voice has been readily worked on through writing.