The Hearing Voices or “MAD” experience is complex, confusing and debilitating for many. Relationships suffer through lack of understanding and difficulty in talking about it in a helpful way. Progress in life becomes difficult and independence is lost, impacting the voice hearer as well as family and friends in many ways.

Perceptual distortions heard as voices assert an abusive relationship over the hearer, presenting a constant threat to and distraction from life. The voice hearer becomes absorbed in the ‘world of voices’, withdrawing from the opportunities the world offers through a lack of confidence, aggravated by the stigma associated with the phenomenon in most societies and communities.

We know that voices react to how we (both hearer and those surrounding them) respond to them. We know that many use the interaction with voices to change the relationship and move forward. There is a good deal of evidence showing better outcomes from dialogue based approaches such as those found in the Open Dialogue Approach from Finland (Focus is on the relationship between voice hearer and those who live with/support them) and the Maastricht Interview and the Hearing Voices Network (Focus is on the relationship between voice hearer and their voices).

Logic dictates that these successes point to a reliable, optimum way for those who experience heard voices and other forms of anomalous perception to take control of the situation, to communicate effectively with those who support them and thus feel empowered to do new things.

Breakthrough is achieved when we realize that the “MAD” experience is lived in the MIND. Voices undermine our natural mind processes, feeding us a high volume of unhelpful, fake inputs to which we attach unusual significance because of the way they arrive. The mind, ’always on’, responds to these inputs creating confusion.

When you can see the connection between these unusual perceptions, beliefs, working truths and how your mind processes them, you can use your natural mind to regain control, find a comfortable equilibrium, make MADSense of what’s going on and LoveLife.LOL !

The tools to break through are in your incredible natural MIND.  Understand the experience and communicate effectively. Rediscover yourself. Join the LoveLife.LOL revolution!

About MADSense

MADSense aims to Make A Difference by bridging the gaps in making sense of the phenomenon and how that translates to the experience in the mind and in the real world expression of self, individually and collectively.

The experience of MADness is essentially one in which the mind is subjected to unusual inputs. Our minds work very well – it is the drama of fending off confusing and mostly malign inputs that we call MADness.

The intensity of the voice hearing experience in the mind, unpleasant as it may be, offers an opportunity to study the contrast between the well mind and the mind under duress. It offers something for all of us.

Good science, funded long term, collaborating globally is what we (society at large) need to unravel MADness depression and other mental disorders and ensure a great quality of life for all of us.

To this end MADSense begins by offering break through insights and services around two themes:

  • We can understand ourselves and how we relate to each other in the context of evolutionary principles. The mind is our interpreter of self and the environment/habitats in which we live.

    NATMind is a functional model of the mind based on the idea that we seek to reliably project the ability to live a quality life. We are we people – we improve our quality of life by sharing life with others. It follows that I thrive when we thrive.
  • Thriving is about being our best selves in a world we co-create. We map our experiences in our minds to develop the story of our lives. This has a logical path when you think about it as mind interpreting world, acting through body to achieve a reliably happy Body | Mind | World equilibrium.

    LoveLife.LOL is a model for helping those who experience unusual phenomena – a way to break through the ‘hearing voices’ and similar extreme experiences. It will develop into a coaching model for living full and happy lives – parents for example have the same need.
Think of NATMind as the science of how the mind brings the outside world in and stores the experience in the brain. Think of LoveLife.LOL as working from our experience of life to express ourselves in the world/habitats we live and share in. 

We hope that MADSense will develop into a global, collaborative Center Of Excellence Of Mind studying the sciences of assuring a great quality of life for all. We all have the right to full and happy lives in a world of dignity, respect, access and opportunity for all. 

MADness has undermined this right – let’s unravel it together. Join the LoveLife.LOL  revolution.

About the experience

The phenomenon and experience affect all of us

About 300 000 000 million people worldwide “live with” the phenomenon most often described as “hearing voices and other extreme states”. Technically, we experience hallucinations as inputs from an (as yet) unidentified source in a wide variety of formats which confuses our usual process of synthesizing a perception from the environment and habitats we live in. Since others around us aren’t receiving the same or similar inputs, it becomes difficult to interpret ‘the phenomenon’ in the world we live in – our shared experience. The mind rightly tags the continuous stream of inputs as invalid – “does not fit” – and madness is the visible distress of trying make sense of it.

The experience detracts from quality of life to varying degrees.  Lives are often devastated, certainly curtailed. Onset for most is in the 15-25 year old range, just when individuality is blooming. Parents/family are faced with having to ensure their child is taken care of. Friends struggle to relate and making new friends becomes difficult. A whole world of professionals work in the field. 

At least two billion people are directly connected through the experience. 
We have struggled for millennia to make sense of the phenomenon and the resulting experience. In an attempt to explain, WE (including you) have developed a wide variety of ‘beliefs’ about what the phenomenon represents, many of which have become embedded in our cultures in different ways. 

Sorry folks, your beliefs about this unusual phenomenon and experience are at least as crazy as mine/ours and you don’t even have the weird info we do. I think I can safely speak on behalf of most of us ‘diagnosed’ crazy folk on this point. Unusual beliefs, yours, mine and ours are fueling confusion. 

Someone you know hears voices. The experience is awful and lonely and they may not be sharing it for fear of what you will make of it and the stigmatization by most societies.
  • INPUTS are imposed on us and confusing - they engage the mind whether we like it or not
  • ‘VOICES’ (we need a new name for them) assert a role in our lives via an ‘other’ world
  • Our INSTINCT is to FIND value in our interactions, we give meaning to voices and seek to verify it
  • The MIND is distressed – the inputs/asserted roles do not fit our (individual or shared) model of the world
  • Our sense of BEING is undermined – it disrespects at the fundamental level of concept of self 
  • The EXPERIENCE is an involuntary, abusive and deeply intrusive relationship with ‘voices’
  • We cannot RELATE this experience to you, nor share it with you – it is difficult for you to help
  • OPPORTUNITIES and choices become limited – ‘living with’ voices displaces real world living
  • LIVES are destroyed, families suffer and the impact is felt in communities and society
The whole world ”lives with” the disrespect of human rights perpetuated and embedded in cultural beliefs derived from the phenomenon – humanity suffers when we accept and act on what voices say. We all own our shared response to this phenomenon.

To make progress, we need clarity. The best place to get that is from professionals in the field backed by good, respected science. We need clear heads and rigor in our language if research is to be effective.

I have dispensed with political correctness in the interests of simplifying our understanding. I try to tell it like it is in the interest of making progress for all of us.

Clarity is good for us who hear voices too. I respect that each voice hearer’s experience is unique. It is the phenomenon and experience that people are trying to understand – the subject of inquiry is madness itself not the individuals caught up in the experience. When we are all on the same side, the few bad players in ‘the system’ will isolate themselves.

NOTE on ‘unusual beliefs’: ‘Voices’ have the value we give them - this is why we have such a proliferation of ‘unusual beliefs’ about them. It should be clear to all of us that if we have to invent ways to find value in voices, then they have no inherent or intrinsic value or meaning. It is a given that our aggregate experience of the phenomenon through history has undermined humanity.

The process of finding value (for us)/meaning (to me) in our experiences is a facet of our evolutionary wherewithal to create and enjoy the habitats we live in. We should not confuse our natural process of finding a meaningful way to participate and contribute in the real world (making sense of) with giving meaning to voices themselves. 

The fact that some of us break through and make sense of the experience in our own lives does not make the experience OK. Finding value in it is not the same as choosing it as a preference over other experiences.

About Greg aka greggieboy

I had a marvelous childhood as part of a loving extended family. We lived in small towns in South Africa and got to experience mother nature at her best – going fishing and canoeing almost every weekend, holidays on the coast and on an uncle’s cattle and maize farm. My brothers and I loved it. I was in the first generation of those in the families of both of my parents who were able to study at university and went on to a successful career that took me to live in Zimbawe, Germany, the UK and the USA. Also a year of school in Australia. You can see my childhood was before color photography, lol.

My onset of hearing voices was at age 55 – late compared to most. My experience of and with voices has been hideous – it is an experience beyond the most vile I could have imagined, let alone explain.

The difficulty in understanding and explaining the experience, aggravated by the confusion in those who try to help you and the unhelpful (and irrational) beliefs in the communities we live in that make the experience so lonely and isolating. I already had over fifty years of a successful and loving life without trauma. I knew without a doubt that my good mind still worked well. Here was this parallel experience that interfered, occasionally overwhelmed – and systematically undermined the life I had before.

Voices are an imposed experience which disrespects me at my very core – it is an insult to the mind, my very being. I acknowledge that it is there and I cannot walk away from it. I refuse to give it meaning or include it in my life since it adds no value at all, to me, to us. It detracts from our quality of life.

Knowing that hundreds of millions suffer from the same type of experience, that it affects all of us, knowing that my mind is my greatest strength, that the resilience I have as a result of a loving and successful life is what enabled me to expect a great outcome and break through the experience is what led to the creation of MADSense.

It begins with taking a strong stance. We all have human rights – they are the basis of how we get along and thrive together with respect for our uniqueness. When people have acted on the experience, when society has ignored the phenomenon and isolated those experiencing it, it has been detrimental to humanity.

We can all assert the principles by which we all thrive:
  • Love is what allows me to be me
  • Respect is what allows each of us, all of us to be the best selves we can be
  • Generosity of spirit is our investment in us, in our future
These are the principles I use to push back against voices. Respect for all of us is embodied in human rights. The actionable principles that I live by to make my voices irrelevant are:

Be kind, do good, and have fun. These are what will ensure that our species thrives in the world and habitats that we create. The lyrics of John Lennon’s Imagine spring to mind – let’s bring them to life. 

Let’s unravel MADness together – individually and collectively. Makes MADSense, doesn’t it?


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