I hear voices in my head. Mostly my own voice, but sometimes other people’s voices too.
These are the voices of real people, not imaginary ones. Sometimes friends, family, other I people I’ve known, or people I’ve heard speak on podcasts or recordings.
I’ve asked people about this and received mixed answers. It seems some people’s brains work this way, while others don’t. I’m curious as to how common it is.
And in case you think I’m crazy or will be soon – I don’t actually hear the voices with my ears, like someone with schizophrenia or another mental illness might. This is called auditory hallucination. I’m talking about internal dialogue in voices other than my own.
Most of my thinking is auditory, as far as I can tell. In my mind there is consistent internal dialogue in my own voice, and it can take different tones or moods and different lines of thinking. There might be a few versions of “me” (usually 2-3 at most) that talk to one another.
Then sometimes other people chime in as well. Often these voices are repeating verbatim what I’ve heard that person say in real life. But sometimes my mind impersonates that person and their voice says something that I think they would say.
For example, I might have an idea in “my” voice. Then the voice of a skeptical friend comes in and questions the idea. We go back and forth, all inside my head, as my mind plays the friend playing devil’s advocate to the idea.
(If you experience this as well, I would watch out for it, because you can start attributing things to people they never said or never would say, just because you imagine it so convincingly.)
As an interesting aside, the voice inside your head that you hear as “your” voice is actually not your voice at all. This is why people dislike hearing recordings of their own voice: it always sounds different than we expect. The only person who hears the voice that you hear – both the internal version and the speaking out-loud version – is you!
But what’s your thinking like? Do you hear other people’s voices too, or just your own? Is it mostly auditory in your mind or something else?
Seriously, I’m curious. Post a comment below and let me know what you think.