Voices with PTSD or is it BPD?

22 Sep

**TW: Cutting**

On and off I’ve heard this voice; its external, it’s male and it calls me names. That was until this weekend when it started to do more than name calling, it began telling me to do things and if I didn’t there would be consequences. For example to cancel my appointment with my community psychiatric nurse (cpn) as I can’t trust them. If I didn’t do this, it said it would hurt me. It didn’t say how, but in such a way I believed it and do I didn’t go to my appointment. My cpn called and I decided to test the voice and explained why I wasn’t there. She told me I had to keep challenging it by doing things (like getting my meds for example) and to ignore the consequences it spoke of.

And so this afternoon I did. I went and got my meds and instantly I was told to cut myself. Now I tried cutting right at the beginning of my illness because I didn’t know what else to do but it hurt and I didn’t like it (this was about 5 years ago). I only have 1 tiny scar as they were very superficial cuts. I don’t want to cut myself but all I’m hearing is name calling and telling me to do it to stop it and so now the thought is in my mind. 

I’ve tried looking in to PTSD and hearing voices but I’m not really finding anything about it and was wondering if anyone else deals with similar and what they do? I’ve tried telling it to go away and imagined I’ve got a volume button that I’m turning down but it still prevails.  

I’ve heard more than once it being mentioned that it’s to do with bpd and I also wondered if anyone had had any dealings with this? My psychiatrist said it isn’t psychosis and the voice really only makes itself known when I’m in a high state of anxiety (or that’s what I’m told by services). 

I’m just looking for other experiences I guess. Thankyou. 


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  1. Angharad “Annie” May

    September 22, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    I have BPD and I hear voices. My voices started like yours as just saying bad things to me, and then progressed to telling me what to do, and if I didn’t do whatever it was then there would be bad consequences. Now my voices urge me to self harm and worse, e.g. suicidal ideations. It’s hard to fight them but it is possible, please believe me. I take antipsychotic medication which I must admit does help. I’m managing things much better now. You CAN fight the voices, you just have to be strong and persistent. It’s a fight, but it’s one you can most definitely win. Please believe in yourself. Take care xx

  2. audrey

    September 22, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I have DID and i hear voices…and much more.
    Look it up because there are many misconceptions about it. Some voices can be hostile, others dont. You can hear many or one. This is a condition caused by severe trauma.
    The psychiatric industry commonly misdiagnoses this as schizophrenia and BPD…and PTSD is nearly always part of it.

    It IS treatable and its real.

  3. Kirsty

    September 23, 2015 at 12:26 am

    I experience voices in a very similar way. I feel they are different parts of me but it’s confusing as I don’t really know who I am anymore. The voices are mostly angry and very threatening. They frequently have conflicting thoughts and suggestions but often say what has been said to me before by other people in my life. I am compelled to respond to them, follow instructions and feel like the only choice is to do as I am told.
    Consequently, self harming and suicide planning is becoming an issue for me again, and whilst I don’t feel in control of this behaviour it does seem the right thing to do at the time.
    I appreciate that I am not helping you at all in how to deal with these ‘voices’ because I am struggling with the same issue myself. All I can say is that I can empathise with your situation completely, and seeing the other comments, confirms we are not alone. I would really like to have been more constructive, (sorry) but you are in my thoughts.
    Try to be kind to yourself xx

  4. Trainee therapist

    September 23, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Have you heard of the hearing voices network? It’s a really different approach to voices. It suggests that when you hear voices, they actually have something to say. Your voice might be scared of going to see your cpn etc, and it’s a part of you literally trying to voice that.

    I heard Eleanor Longden (who is part of the international charity – inter voice) speak at a conference recently and she had severe and many voices, and has been able to pull back and manage those

    Just a different way of looking at things…

  5. Trauma Survivor

    September 24, 2015 at 5:18 am

    I am currently in recovery from Complex PTSD (severe childhood trauma) and I have an idea of what you might be talkng about. BPD is often a result of childhood trauma, neglect, attachment issues and abuse. Please don’t get hung up on that diagnosis. That will get you confused. It won’t help you much with what you are experiencing. What needs to be resolved is the TRAUMA you experienced which is the root cause of the symptoms you experience. IMO, you ideally need a trauma therapist, maybe someone who does Internal Family systems – “parts work” (look up Richard Schwartz) Psychiatrists are not generally knowledgeable about trauma to treat it unfortunately.

    You mention gang rape, but I cannot help but think that these voices are somehow connected to a child part of yourself that wants to be heard. If you can find a therapist that can work with these parts, perhaps this ‘part’ will not need to be engaged in self destructive behavior. This ‘part’ needs to be integrated and become your friend, not your enemy.

    People cut because they are trying to release the immense pain they experience related to trauma. It can be a source of relief. But it’s not healthy. You need a therapist that can help you deal with your intense feelings so you do not continue self destructive activities. A DBT workbook might help you too. A good therapist will help you tolerate your distressing feelings and be present to your pain in a way that does not cause you to decompensate or become suicidal. There are also several workbooks you can buy on DBT and PTSD. You’ll find them on Amazon.

    I’d also rethink your psychiatrist who seems to behaving in a dismissive manner. Psychosis often accompanies trauma and BPD. The way I experienced psychosis was that It happened because my brain went into overload. There was too much to process, too much to synthesize, too much to integrate. It’s not a good sign if you are hearing voices. It’s serious and potentially dangerous and you need a mental health professional who takes it seriously. Safety is always #1. Make sure you have a safety plan in place. Places to go, people to go if you get into trouble. #2 Make sure you have a therapist that can teach you self care and skills such as distress tolerance, being present and dual awareness. This is where you need to start now if you want to get better.

  6. Philip

    January 25, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Certainly voices can be PTSD and are even likely to be. I have had several clients – one hearing a male voice saying “you are a murderer”. This was resolved after six sessions of therapy. Two specifically work well with trauma… one is EMDR an the other is Brainspotting.

    • lippy cow

      June 20, 2016 at 12:33 am

      EMDR is not the best recommendation for CPTSD – if you advise people on EMDR please ensure they have PTSD if it works for 99.9% but it is much lower for CPTSD about as useless as CBT is cos we can’t get past writing down the initial trigger without a full on flashback session – however the medical world calls it flashbacks but it isn’t ‘shellshock’ is more apt, ‘real-life’ is more apt – it is not a hallucination when you are in flashback mode. Maybe more MH people should be aware of this.

      • Philip

        June 21, 2016 at 11:26 am

        Thank you for making these points. More important than the therapy, is the therapist. Some can’t do EMDR well even when trained and some are excellent. EMDR or Brainspotting and other therapies (not usually the cognitive based ones more the body ones) can do an excellent job with CPTSD – if done correctly at the client’s pace. I understand the difference between hallucination and flashback. I also know the then the voice was saying something that was not part of the original trauma, it was not flashback. It might have been a dissociative state though. CPTSD is as the name suggests COMPLEX and so a simple one therapy fits all does not work. Ensure your therapist knows what s/he is doing. You will know quickly if the therapist suits you because you will start to feel better straight away. When on the right path, it feels right.

        • Philip

          June 21, 2016 at 11:37 am

          I will add that neither therapist nor client should make assumptions… but explore gently. There are so many more options than a single ‘diagnosis’ that fits. When you get the right combination of therapist and therapy you will KNOW because it feels right. A symptom or two does not mean a diagnosis fits.
          Parts work can work on different levels and combined with another therapy. So even with appropriate therapy the therapist has to know when to explore and to examine if there is a part there, then what type of part. Does the person view it as a part or is it a sense of blockage only? The therapy has to be meaningful to the client. The therapist should give at least a good metaphor to explain what is happening and it should be understandable and believable. The person must understand and be receptive to the therapy model and the therapist has to listen also.