It’s interesting the things we do to have a little more patience.

I know in my last relationship I struggled greatly – it was clear to me this was someone who wanted to be (by all definition) a waste man and needed to waste his time and mine.

I was sick of his lies, and sick of having to temper my own desire to see him or spend time with him.

Previously I’d been blocked and unblocked on various channels of communication by someone else – their effort was to pick me up and drop me when I wasn’t delivering what they wanted and when they wanted it. This game of blocking was an attempt to control my behaviour.

At a glance, it might appear I’ve repeated that behaviour with others but when I’m plagued with voices most of the time, urgency builds as does the noise around me and the frustration at not having a reply one way or another to anything important to me becomes unbearable.

So I close down lines of communication in an attempt to avoid saying something I’d regret. I shut up in an effort to avoid spite. This was something the last guy couldn’t understand – I think he thought blocking and unblocking him was an attempt to control his behaviour,  but actually I was trying to spare myself the mental torture.

For most no reply is no problem. Sometimes it is the same for me, but a great deal of the time I have to sit here listening to voices telling me things that make it hard not to question people’s motives. I dissect everything and drive myself mad – so yes, less communication can be best so long as the quality and timeliness satisfies me.

And if it doesn’t? Out of sight,  out of mind. Blocking, switching my phone off or anything else gives me better control over my own thoughts and feelings.

It’s never a weapon, it’s a way to live with my own demons.

Karma versus revenge

It saddens me that people confuse karma and revenge.

This is my understanding of karma.

Karma is the lesson the universe is trying to teach you – how your actions determine your future, or perhaps what you attract in order to teach yourself. For example, I’ve borrowed money once and never paid it back. Later in life, the same thing happened to me (with someone completely different). That’s karma. I’ve actually learnt a great deal about handling money.

Punching someone in the face because they did something you perceived to be offensive to you is not karma. It’s revenge. Wilfully malicious behaviour intent on someone else is not their bad karma – it’s yours.

Karma is impartial.

Karma is not a magical cash machine or luck machine. Karma works by paying it forward, that your intentions set your path.

Tread with precision, joy and love.

Learning gratitude

Sometimes I get the feeling my life is already over. A fleeting insecurity: that the worst thing to happen to me was worse than imagined and what I’m living now is a lie my mind has created in the last few seconds of life. It’s not easy and it’s not beautiful but if it’s better than the alternative then I’ve built myself a lullaby while the final synapses gasp and fire away, an electric dream to rock myself to sleep.

Gratitude is just perspective and living like that is bittersweet, but in those moments I can feel grateful.


I can’t tell you what it feels like, for the first time to consciously feel a ‘runners high’. It’s fantastic.

I’m mixing up my exercise routine at the moment and trying to add more running to build up my stamina and fitness.

At first it was horrible. I’ve had a rather bad relationship with running since the girls appeared. But a decent bra and some persistence has paid off.

Yoga has transcended exercise for me. I like to stretch in the morning (time allowing) and I try to leave at least 15 minutes a day aside, regardless of any classes to give my body what it needs. It’s like saying ‘thank you’ for keeping on. Here, wiggle into this asana and enjoy the little bit of discomfort that means I’m pushing gently on my boundaries and growing day by day. But more than that, yoga is when I concentrate my positivity, ground myself, push myself and send my love to my fellow humans (with a few special mentions.) My mat is a safe space: I can cry in savasana when I need to and I am learning to let all the negativity just drift out of my head, which is usually a steel trap for all things misery.

Treadmills are hard. I’m easily bored on a treadmill and I’ve not got a desire to cover great distances. But it’s better than being sat on my arse staring blankly at the space where the TV is, trying to discern something over the din of my voices (me three years ago.)

Oh yeah, I feel glowing.

Imagining attachment

All quoted text is reproduced with kind permission from Nevard (Doctoral thesis, 2015), which will be submitted for publication in January 2016.

Who here has a relationship that goes beyond what you’d expect from your voices? I’d ask you to raise your hands but I can’t yet travel through your screen to see you there.

I’m raising my own.

A while ago I took part in a study about voices and attachment theory. For those who don’t know, attachment theory is a way that long-term connections or bonds are described.

The results suggested that almost half of the participants (43%) did have some sort of indicator of attachment to the voices they heard.

22% agreed that they turn to their voice for comfort and reassurance.  19% agreed that they had a terrible fear that their relationship with their voice would end.  21% agreed that they were confident their voice would always love them.

I’m sure I’m counted among these. I can’t say I’m confident the voices I hear will always love me, or even care that much how I’m feeling a good deal of the time but I cannot imagine a life without them.

I do look to my voices for reassurance. And I always have, despite the fact I have had a sometimes negative relationship with them.

But what about hearing voices? Why do they appear, and when? What are the circumstances? It all starts somewhere doesn’t it?

Yes, it does – and this is important. I can’t speak for all people, but mine began when I was isolated. I was traumatised, suicidal and I felt I had nobody in the world. They filled the gap that was left by a life that I had checked out of, and whatever abandonment I felt was replaced by these disembodied voices who would talk to me when I had no one else to talk to. Even the first words that were clearly spoken to me, “We are watching you for your own protection.

Of course, by this time it was already too late. They could offer no protection. But my mind had evoked a facsimile of human interaction.

It’s interesting that while I don’t know what I’d do without my voices, I no longer fear losing them. In the study,

socially isolated individuals feared losing their voice more, however this result lost significance after depression was controlled for.  This suggests that peoples mood impacts on their beliefs about the voice

I’ve not taken any medication for depression. I think that while I’m sensitive to my surroundings, any depression I felt and feel was and is triggered by experiences and circumstance. And I have taken the long and arduous road out of it. But my mood does affect the way my voices are, and more importantly the way I react to them. Take today for instance – I’m on day two after my first ever reiki healing session. I’ve come a long way from totally shunning everything outside of medical science. I didn’t want to believe in anything else because, possibly, I felt cheated by my voices.

This is no longer the case. I believe in the power of the mind. I believe there are things we cannot yet explain in simple terms. Call it God, call it love, call it energy but I believe ritual has a place in recovery.

I digress. My attitude towards my voices has changed. My mood has changed. I’ve been tormented by constant noise for over a month and even though they are still there 80% of my waking hours and even though they can distract me they are not annoying me. I accept their presence.

This may not last. When I’m miserable, though what the voices say may be no different it affects me. The same way a little rain won’t ruin a persistent good mood, but a fragile sort of perseverance can be totally shattered by getting wet.

What does this mean? Well, since I’m opposed to taking meds, for me this means there is one way to live with the voices.

It is important for clinicians to consider that peoples relationships with their voices can be mixed or contradictory, and may sometimes serve a function for the voice hearer

That is to live with them. I rely on them. Joan of Arc did it. I can’t promise to do anything so revolutionary with my voices. I’m certainly unlikely to jump into a suit of armour (but never say never.)

High levels of loneliness in the sample suggest how important it is for clinicians to be mindful of voice hearers general relationships. For some voice hearers the voice may be partially alleviating loneliness.

If voices alleviate loneliness, then, as hard as it is we need to be guided out of that.

I don’t think voices should be treated as a symptom. In fact, these are a massive indicator for clinicians about the health of their patient. I know that when I’m ill, tired, hungry, miserable, lonely or anxious my voices behave differently. Even if I don’t. People with problematic mental health are used to being secretive. We hide in plain sight and try to get on with our lives.

So what are your voices really saying?

Power trap

Do you think that japing my every move somehow brings me lower and lower?
I’ve realised something – bullying and victimisation means that someway and somehow I have invaded your mind to the point I’ve made it my stomping ground

You have to take action. You must.

Who is this girl who defies the norm and does things differently?

Squash her, crush her.

Your mind’s playing tricks bitch because the only thing you’ve managed to do is react

You’ve shown me just how much power I have – every shadow you cast just goes to show how bright I shine – perhaps in a way you can’t define and all it means is your energy is mine

You dedicate time, space and effort to the charge of bringing me down

It’s pathetic – but I get it – you can’t process anything outside of your blinkered vision. Friction brews inside and you get rid of it the only way you know how

By making fun, by being snide. But I’ve won – and though you try to hide your own insecurities by pretending to be superior

It’s not the truth

You belong to me

An ode to bullies. Suck it.
Copyright 2015 JN Ali


It’s normal to find people using sentences you thought were exclusive to you.

Language is not a fixed file of phrases, pages that have been passed down through the ages

Language evolves, and it’s crazy when words you speak dance – dive into someone else’s mind and leap out of their mouth, right in front of you

Is it mockery? Mimicry? Either possibility should not cause panic – in either case it’s pure flattery, whether consciously or unconsciously those words were devoted to you

Be empowered. Be inspired. Don’t analyse – just recognise the force that words can have that yours were so desirable, in spite of our need to be individual snowflakes someone just chipped away a piece of themself and offered it up like a head on a platter.

But don’t let your ego grow fatter, because words, ideas, clothes, hair, tastes change.

We’re all the same.

A little contemplating to try and convince myself to stop panicking everytime I see similarites in others’ behaviour and mine.

Copyright 2015 JN Ali

How to solve a quantum existential crisis in one step

Time is not linear

Nothing is fixed until it’s observed

Is any of this real?

The whole universe might be a fxxxing hologram

Nothing matters

All we can do is think this:

I am experiencing this now

What can I do to make this as positive as possible


Watch the world come flooding back.