Schizophrenia, Voices, and Suicidal Ideation

May 31, 2023 Rebecca Chamaa

For me, psychosis involves auditory hallucinations (hearing voices and sounds) and is the most dangerous part of my illness. The last time I went to the emergency room for symptoms of psychosis, the doctor asked me if I heard voices, and when I answered that I was, he asked an important question, "Do you do what the voices tell you to do?" And unfortunately, my answer was yes. If you can't immediately see the danger in this scenario, try to think of it this way, imagine taking orders from something that is not real. It's alarming. Schizophrenia, voices, combined with suicidal ideation, is even more alarming.

Schizophrenia, Hearing Voices, and Suicidal Ideation

I have friends who also have schizophrenia (some have schizoaffective disorder) who can argue with their voices or ignore what they are saying and what they tell them to do. I wish I had that kind of experience or control over hearing voices because it would show that I had some insight into the fact that I am ill and experiencing symptoms, something I lack during episodes of psychosis. I am consumed and preoccupied with the voices I hear and do what they direct me to do. 

Being unable to ignore the commands of the voices I hear is particularly dangerous for me because the voices I hear have frequently told me to kill myself. The times I have tried to end my life have all had to do with what the voices I heard were telling me. 

Suicidal Ideation Is Present Only When Hearing Voices Due to My Schizophrenia

Daily, I don't struggle with suicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide). On an average day (with the absence of psychosis), my most negative thoughts are to occasionally feel sorry for myself and wonder why I have to struggle with schizophrenia and an anxiety disorder. It's so rare for me to feel hopeless that even entertaining negative thoughts (like self-pity or asking the question, why me) doesn't stay with me long. And those negative thoughts are not persistent or all-consuming. Suicidal ideation is only present when I hear voices due to schizophrenia.

I manage my illness by treating it as my primary job. I prioritize and take my treatment seriously, like taking my medications, seeing my doctors regularly, monitoring my sleep, exercising, etc., because I'm trying to avoid psychosis at all costs. After all, there is a high chance my life depends upon it. 

APA Reference
Chamaa, R. (2023, May 31). Schizophrenia, Voices, and Suicidal Ideation , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Rebecca Chamaa

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