If you find meaning in the voices in your head, you have two problems…

Urgh. Sometimes it pisses me off that I wrote that old post about how meth voices in your head start with pareidolia. It was intended to be an informational post, with a hint of dark humour, but basically just some anecdotes from my unfortunate years of living with meth addiction and hearing voices.

Back when I was a tweaker and heard voices, I assumed that most people who heard voices figured out that the voices were only in their heads, just like me. After all, I figured that out while high, paranoid, and delusional. (And I do mean delusional… Delusion is unavoidable when the voices seem so real. ) I assumed most, not all, because in those first few years when I was still a sociable tweaker, I did meet other tweakers who clearly heard voices and did not know it.

But reality came knocking in the form of a post where the comments never end, written by people smart enough to reach my blog after searching for meth voices, but who remain convinced the voices are real. To make matters worse, it’s not only meth-heads who find the post, but also others who hear voices and seek answers but do not want to accept the answer that the voices are internal to their minds.

I can not emphasize this enough… There is no meaning to be found in the voices in your head. No religious meaning, so you are not being contacted by gods or demons or aliens; no conspiratorial meaning, so no government or shady organization is trying to control you – and mind control is not a thing. Any meaning you perceive, anything at all, is delusion. There’s no shame in that, but if you hear voices and find meaning in them, you are delusional. Realizing it is key. It is better to be delusional and know it than the alternative, because that gives you the power to seek help. I am not qualified to advise you on what kind of help you need… I can only say that if the voices are induced by hard drugs as mine were, you need to stop using those drugs. Beyond that, the sensible thing to do is seek help from a mental health professional. I’m one of the lucky ones who didn’t need help because the voices stopped after I stopped using meth, and also every timr I stopped even for a week or so. I remain interested in the subject because I did live with them for several years, which leaves me empathetic to others who experience similar symptoms.

If you hear voices and are convinced that you have tested them scientifically and concluded they are real, or believe others in your household also hear them, or that you recorded them and can hear the voices when you play back the recordings, all of those things are part of your delusions. You simply can not trust your own thoughts about the voices. You don’t know the difference between the voices in your head and the conversations you’ve had with others. Every conversation that confirms them to be real happened only in your head too. If you play back recordings of the voices, you are just listening to white noise and hearing voices that aren’t really there… again. That’s how audio pareidolia works.

I’m writing this because of recent comments I received by someone who is absolutely convinced that the voices are real, to whom I responded only to have him or her claim to have tested the voices scientifically. I see no point in continuing that conversation. This is not something to debate. There is never meaning to the voices and when you claim that there is, you don’t convince anybody, you just come across as a crazy person. Unfortunately the last sentence is probably not entirely true… you may well convince other people who also hear voices. You may find an online echo chamber of people who also hear voices and share similar conspiratorial or paranoid views to yours, since there are some common threads among those who think the voices are real. That is not a good thing.

Seriously, I am out of ways of expressing this… The voices in your head are never real and there are no exceptions. There is no evidence for you to present to anybody to convince them that the voices are real (because they’re only in your head), and you are not special, not some inexplicable exception for whom the voices are real and do have meaning. Seek help before it’s too late. You are not alone. There are many people worldwide who live with voices in their heads. Help is available if you look for it, but arguing with some guy on the internet to try convincing him your voices are real is not the right way to go.


Update: It’s worth mentioning that pareidolia is when your brain interprets random patterns as something distinct. (This can be audio or visual.) With audio pareidolia this often means hearing distinct sounds, such as voices, in white noise. It just so happens that’s exactly how meth-induced voices start, but over time your brain gets “trained” to do this all the time. Vague voice-like sounds, such as the “cross-talk” described by the commenter in the linked comments on my old post, make way to fully fledged voices saying distinct things. (Add to this being high and paranoid, or mentally ill and paranoid, and you get delusion as a natural side effect.) This is why I can presume that hearing voices when you play back recordings of them is just an example of pareidolia again.

Interestingly, there is an entire bunk field called electronic voice phenomena (EVP) where believers actually listen to white noise and interpret the “voices” they hear as spiritual voices. They even use devices based on the idea of Frank’s Box to trigger the pareodolia. Such devices deliberately use either radio scanning or other means such as randomizing sampled voices in software to provide the audio source. Thus their entire field is based around assuming that voices they deliberately create in noise are somehow voices of “spirits”, which I find hilarious. So besides the people who live with either drug-induced voices in the heads or voices caused by some sort of mental illness, there are also people who are otherwise healthy but go out of their way to listen to generated white noise to find meaning that isn’t really there. There’s an overlap, of course, but people tend to be secretive about their drug use so it would be difficult to determine how prevalent drug use and/or mental illness is in EVP practitioners.

A related term is apophenia, which is the perception of connections between unrelated things. This often manifests as conspiracies. Maybe now you can see why I am interested in all these things…

 

Yes, using meth leads directly to voices in your head.

Every so often I see more search strings that lead people here as they try to find out if meth is causing the voices in their heads. It is. My most popular post on the subject is this one. Intended to describe how the voices start with audio pareidolia, the post goes a little further than just that. I suggest you read it as well as the comments, but also, I’d like to add some info around that subject today.

I like to think of myself as a rational, reasonable person, so before I first used meth, I researched it. At that time, around 2005, I didn’t find anything about it causing voices. That’s a pity. Maybe I’d have been sensible enough not to start if I had known. Anyway…

  • Not everybody who uses meth will hear voices, but you have no way of knowing for sure if they do…
  • Not everybody who hears voices knows they hear voices. Some people are oblivious or get delusional right away.
  • When they first start, the voices come and go, but the more you continue to use meth, the more they come and the less they go. Eventually you will hear them all the time.
  • If you don’t stop using meth soon enough, the voices can be permanent. They eventually will not stop even if you quit the meth. That’s why it’s really important to realize that the voices are a sign that your drug problem is serious, and that you need to stop before it’s too late. I can’t emphasize this enough… If you hear voices that aren’t really there, it means that something is going wrong in your brain. This is something to take seriously.
  • You can cope with the voices by controlling them to a limited extent. For example, if you’re paranoid and the voices are saying bad things about you, you can make them say nice things about you. I don’t recommend this and I’ll explain why further on.

If you read the linked post and the comments, you’ll notice that there are a lot of “me too” kind of comments from people who have experienced similar voices. That post has taken on a life of its own in the comments and I’ve left commenting on because it really shows how serious the problem is. There are also people who have lost the plot a long time ago, people who tell you the voices are from god, or demons, or government mind control, or whatever they believe in their psychosis. There are also loved ones of addicts who explain how they have tried to help but to no avail. And there are people who have stopped using meth but still hear voices.

The only time I recommend finding ways of coping with the voices is when you have already stopped using meth, but the voices are permanent. In that case, there are things like a “hearing voices network”. I don’t know where in the world they are and what they do. I know only that they exist. Good luck to you.

But if you’re still using meth, and hearing voices, quitting meth is the only thing to do. I don’t recommend controlling the voices, and here’s why…

The human brain is terrible at multitasking. Multitasking as we know it is a myth. For example, imagine that I have two programming tasks at work. They’re different projects. One is a WCF service written in C#, that uses XML. The other is a Node.js project in JavaScript, using lots of AJAX and JSON. To switch between them, I have to remember the difference between the programming languages used, what frameworks and API’s are involved, what the names of methods, variables and so on is, where to set breakpoints, how each program flows, what features or bugs I am looking at, and so on. Every time I switch tasks, I also have to switch context, and that takes time. The more tasks you have or the more often you switch between them, the more context switches your brain must perform, because you can only focus on one task that takes concentration and effort at a time. The reason you get nothing done if you have too many tasks to work on, is that you end up spending more time switching context than you spend working on the tasks themselves.

Coping with voices in your head is the same. You use your conscious mind to cope with them, whether it is to control and “listen” to them or some other technique. Every time you do so, you effectively context switch to an internal mental task. You disengage from the real world, from everybody and everything around you, and focus on this internal pointless task. Since you hear voices all the time, this means you spend most of the time disengaged from the world. From the point of view of everyone around you, you are doing nothing. You’re zoned out and staring into space, like a zombie. (This is on top of the already numerous symptoms you display from using meth. Pupils dilated, tense and grinding your teeth or cracking your jaw, twitchy, edgy, itchy, irritable, confused, either moody or abnormally and noticeably cheerful and silly, probably not talking too much because you have tolerance for the drug but still probably unable to sit still – or the opposite and not moving at all but focused single mindedly on a single and repetitive task, and so on.) You really do stick out like a sore thumb when using meth. It’s not the paranoia – people really do know something is wrong as you draw attention to yourself. They might not know what it is but they do know something is not OK.

Even if you don’t try to cope with the voices, you will end up “listening” to them, thinking about what they say – it doesn’t matter that you know the voices aren’t real. Hearing them leads to responding to them, directly or indirectly. Even trying to ignore them requires conscious mental effort, and as you hear them more and more while you continue using meth, you further disconnect with the world around you. The longer you go on doing this, the more often you forget that the voices aren’t real. (Sometimes it’s impossible to tell the difference. For example, I’d become paranoid and convinced that everyone I worked with was aware of my drug use. I’d hear them talking about me from elsewhere in the office. I’d hear it in their actual voices, as if from various distances and directions. “Voices in your head” does not suitably describe what you think you hear.) Eventually you will lose yourself in delusions and psychosis.

So this is my advice to anyone hearing voices from using meth: First stop using meth, and then, if the voices don’t stop after two or three days, seek mental help.


Obviously I’m oversimplifying here when I write “first stop using meth”. It’s not so easy, but then not losing your mind is one hell of an incentive to stop. It was for me.

Mind control isn’t real because nobody cares about you, among other reasons.

Recently there were some comments on this blog (starting here) asserting that mind control is a thing because meth addicts are tuned in to the government frequencies (or something)… Don’t pay attention to the original comment too much as I’m more interested in those by the person who replied to him, who believes in those things even though she knows meth voices are only in her head. (Edit: This post isn’t directed specifically at that commenter. It’s for anyone who believes in mind control and other conspiracies about the “elites”.)

Here’s the thing… The “elites” are not who you think they are. They’re just people born rich. Depressingly, that’s the way it goes these days. The Middle Class is falling away as the cost of living increases. The poor stay poor, most of us are joining them, and the rich get richer because money makes more money. Most of us will never be rich, no matter how hard or how many hours we work. Those exceptions you hold up, like Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates… are just exceptions. They got lucky.

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Rich countries are rich because in the past, colonialism was a thing. They stole gold and other resources from poor countries. That’s why the British royal family is rich. That’s why they have those famous jewels; because they stole the minerals from Africa. Almost everybody who is rich, is so because their ancestors ripped off poor people. And almost the only people who will get richer are those who are already rich. With few exceptions, the only time elected officials (who got there because of their background being rich people) care that you exist at all, is when they are making promises pandering to your needs so that you can elect them.

So, if you believe in mind control by the elites, I have to ask… What would be the point?

They don’t need to control you. You are not an issue. Your circumstances, the circumstances of your birth, already put you in your place. You don’t matter. This applies to ordinary people, almost all of them. I’m not even considering the tweakers who may or may not think the voices and other sounds in their heads are real.

Why in the sweet fuck would anyone care what a tweaker does? Whether you’re tweaking on making a plan to get your next hit, or making the perfect case for your meth pipe, or finding the perfect hidey hole for packets of meth in your car, or rearranging your fucking socks, nobody gives a fuck about you. What would be the purpose of controlling you? To see how long it takes on average for tweakers to hide under the bed? Get a fucking grip.

I can see how conspiracy theories like the ones about chemtrails and other mind control conspiracies might be comforting. If the conspiracy were true, it would make you important. If someone were calling the shots and controlling you, even if that someone was evil incarnate, it would mean someone cared that you exist. It would mean that you matter. But you don’t. At least, not to those so-called elites. They’re just rich people, and they’re doing whatever rich people do, without even the shortest fleeting thought about people like you and me. So pull your head out of your ass and get on with life in the real world. Focus on what is real and what does matter, not your conspiratorial fantasies.

On drugs, we adjust and it becomes our new “normal”

There’s probably a psychological term for what I’m thinking of, but I wouldn’t know what it is. Anyway, recently I was reading an interview with the former bassist from New Order – I forget his name and it isn’t important anyway. He had published a book, and during the interview, he mentioned how much he loved using all the drugs he’d used, and went so far as to compare them to each other. When you reach that point, when you find it perfectly reasonable to tell anybody why you love using crack and how it’s better than other drugs, it’s fair to say that you have lost touch with reality.

But I saw the same thing in other people, and even in myself years ago. I went from someone who never used hard drugs at all, and didn’t even know where to find them until my mid thirties, to someone who used methamphetamine every day. And somewhere along the way, it became normal. That’s how it works psychologically. When you cross a line and do something new, even if that thing is abhorrent to you, with repeated behaviour you get used to it, and eventually it is normal to you. Almost everybody I knew also used meth, and lived with addiction as an everyday thing.

One day I realized what had happened, and tried to see how it had happened. I could not. However, it turned out that among my “friends”, this insight was unusual. Most of the people I knew who were also addicts, were not self aware. Meth made them paranoid and self conscious, but it did not wake them up to the fact that what they were doing and the way they were living was not normal. And in many cases, many people… I daresay most meth addicts, will never realize what has happened to them. Most addicts, in my opinion, will never get to the point of admitting they have a problem. And that’s sad.

I remember a woman named Tracy, from when I lived in Muizenberg. One day we were talking, and this was right after my girlfriend left the house, and she told me about her child. Tracy was a little younger than me (I think), in her mid thirties at the time. She mentioned her child, a child that was removed about 16 years before, who she had never seen again. And she was OK with it, preferring her life using meth and seeming not to care about what she had lost. She told me this right before she asked me “Do you want to cum?”. At least she didn’t get weird when I turned her down. Tracey is one of those people who will never stop using meth, because for her it is normal.

Likewise, people on meth get used to hearing voices. I remember when it first happened to me – the first time I heard a voice clearly. I’d gone through a long period of hearing muffled sounds that seemed vaguely like voices that I’d hear during loud ambient noise, like wind or rain. But one day, it progressed to something more. I’d said something stupid, something that embarrassed me, to my girlfriend, right before she walked out the house (with another guy and my money to get more drugs)… And the moment I was alone, which must have been ten seconds after I said (whatever it was – I have long since forgotten), I heard my words and my own voice echo back at me. It was frightening. I sat there in shock, “listening” to my own voice mocking me for the next hour.

After that it progressed… and I heard lots of different voices for a few years until I stopped using meth. But as it was when I first heard them, I always knew they were in my head. It never became normal for me, and I never asked Google and random blogs why or if meth made me hear voices, as so many sad people do. Those are the wrong questions, and I saw it as being quite simply this: I heard voices because I used meth.

But not everybody knows they’re using voices. Remember this one I wrote about a while back… He thinks he hears EVP, and uploads recordings he made in his cupboard onto SoundCloud. That guy will never recover. He is too far gone and probably lost touch with reality a long time ago.

Why am I writing this? I’m not too sure as it just came to me when I had a headache and couldn’t fall asleep last night… But it seems to me that as positive as I normally am about recovery and how easy it’s been for me, the dismal reality is that most meth addicts will never even attempt to clean up. Most of them. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you are using meth, you need to realize what you are doing to yourself, and know how important it is to stop before it is too late and you become one of those people who are lost to meth addiction.


Edit… I just read the comments to this blog, and there was one this past weekend by a reader named Adam, thanking me for my insight. It’s great to get feedback like this, and it makes the process of writing about it worthwhile. With no feedback, all I have is the page views to tell me if anyone actually likes what I write, so I really do appreciate your feedback.

It’s worth pointing out that people like Adam are not the ones I’m referring to who are lost. If you’re struggling, you’re more like I used to be. You’re self aware. You know you have a problem. You might still end up one of the casualties who are lost forever to the drug, but you do have a chance, and I hope you’ll end up clean and happy just like me. The people I’m thinking of are those unfortunate majority who never struggle and never stop, but just use until they die.

I didn’t know true horror until I heard voices in my head.

I’ve written about meth voices before. Unfortunately this blog’s most popular post is on that subject. But I don’t think I managed to express just how scary those voices can be.

I’ve always been into horror, and yesterday I saw this cheesy meme:

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That’s cheesy as all fuck. But imagine hearing voices like that for real…

Although I only started hearing voices all the time after using meth for a couple of years, there was one exception to this – one occasion when I heard a voice early on and didn’t know what it was.

It was 2005. I’d been using for less than a year. Not even much… typically I’d have a quarter gram last two days then and I’d limit myself to using between 7 and 8PM so that I could sleep.

So I laid down to sleep, at around 11PM. And just before I was able to drift off, a woman’s voice spoke directly into my ear, “Hello”. That was it. Just hello. This was before I became a skeptic and fully accepted that I was an atheist. I’d always believed in the supernatural, and “seen” ghosts as a child. (I’m not getting into that now. Just accept that it was sleep paralysis but I genuinely believed in those things.) It was bizarre in that the voice was clear. Crystal clear. (Pardon the stupid pun, but I didn’t know this was a side effect of the drug.) So I leaped out of bed and walked around the apartment, trying to get that feeling, trying to sense the “presence”.

But that time wasn’t so bad. It didn’t happen again for a long time. A year later, I met my girlfriend and we were happy for a while, and I forgot all about hearing voices.

Fast forward to 2012. She’d left me, and then come back, then left me, then come back again… It was a complicated mess and I’d lost count. At one stage she came back, and sat in the passenger seat of my car, waiting there while I went to job interviews.

Then I got the job, but by the time I started, she was gone again. I started this new job, but I was a basket case. My girlfriend, who I thought was the love of my life, had left me suddenly again. And here I was, in a new job where I could remember her sitting just outside in my car. Meanwhile she’d run off to Pakistan this time, with the other guy.

It wasn’t a good job. Everybody there was Afrikaans, except for me. They had this white Afrikaner culture thing going on, and made me feel like I didn’t belong there at any given opportunity. Plus the developer who was leaving, and whose place I was taking… disliked me. He kept asking trick questions about development just to try catching me out, while I refused to answer them even when I knew the answers, because meth didn’t leave me in the friendliest of moods.

But the voices were the worst. I’d be sitting in a room with three other people, but the meth left me in the same mood I’d be while sitting alone in the dark, in the middle of the night. So with people all around me, I’d hear her voice, whispering in my ear, “Jeroooome!” I fucking jumped, so startled was I. And it kept happening. I could not keep it together. I’d be this shaky mess all the time, trying to be functional, trying to look normal in front of the others at work; trying but not succeeding.

Then if I walked outside, to or from the car, I’d hear her calling me. Whispering, shouting, pleading, crying, begging me for help, and telling me she loved me.

Soon it wasn’t just her voice. I’d hear several voices, sometimes dozens. I heard voices all the time and if you can imagine that meme at the top of this post, imagine it in the context of a horror movie when it is scary and not cheesy, then multiply that scare factor by ten thousand. That’s how it feels to live with those voices, like you are inside a horror movie. And that was even though I knew the voices were not real. Many addicts don’t know. Imagine what it must be like for them.

And that, not knowing, is possibly what makes it so much worse. This is why I hate it when these posts get inundated with comments by people who think the voices are real. People who come up with coping mechanisms for the voices, who discover that they can change what the voices say, or who develop delusions and believe the voices are demons, or god. None of those things are real, and it makes me sad when I read those comments made by addicts who have lost their minds. Sad and maybe a little guilty. Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t end up like them, as much as I wish they could all end up seeing reality like me.

The voices in your head are not real

Recently, someone named Ryan commented this

 

(Not sure if the soundcloud embedded link is working with the editor I use. If it does not, use this link.)

I knew I wasn’t completely crazy because of this audio track. I felt what I could not hear. It’s specifically in contradiction with your article. It’s not for children.

That was in response to what is unfortunately the most popular post on this blog, one that I wrote a while ago about the way meth voices start with pareidolia.

I don’t know if Ryan and Spectre Inspector, who posted the clip to soundcloud, are one and the same, but the latter seems pretty far gone. (Edit: It is the same person.) His comments are mostly incoherent ramblings and he seems obsessed with some girl who looks “identical” to a girl from his delusions, and at one point he describes someone he heard singing – “I could not find the source, as best I could tell it came from the closet.”

Rather than writing it all over again… my reply to Ryan was this:

I don’t know what you think you heard, but thank you for making my point. This is exactly the kind of white noise, similar to loud wind and rain, that lends to you hearing voices when you’re on meth. Finding meaning in the meaningless when it is noise is like seeing rabbits (or jesus or whatever) in clouds.

It works similarly to the type of radio scanners and white noise generators used in so called ghost boxes (or spirit boxes). They (the deluded who believe in that) also have videos, and unless they add subtitles and you “hear” the same as other people thanks to the power of suggestion, no two people will ever hear the same voices.

So tell me, do you hear the same “voices” every time you listen to it?
I suspect not – rather the white noise creates a foundation, an audio “platform” on which you build your hallucinatory soundscape.

Thanks again. This is a perfect example of how meth voices start with pareidolia. But beware, because if you use meth long enough, you won’t need it any more. Eventually you’ll hear voices all the time.

I thought my argument was quite clear. Anyway, the Merriam-Webster definition for pareidolia is the following:

Definition of pareidolia. :the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern. The scientific explanation for some people is pareidolia, or the human ability to see shapes or make pictures out of randomness. Think of the Rorschach inkblot test.

It’s worth adding that pareidolia can be auditory as well as visual. (Mentioned in this RationalWiki article.)

My original post described how the voices started for me, when I was high on meth and paranoid, after I had already been using a substantial amount daily for a couple of years. It started with auditory pareidolia, in that when there was a lot of ambient noise, such as rain, wind, a loud train that I was travelling on, and similar sounds, I’d hear faint sounds that appeared to be voices in the background. This progressed for me and after a few months, the voices became clear. Eventually I’d hear them all the time, without any noise required to stimulate my brain into “hearing” those patterns and finding meaning in the meaningless.

That was the entire point of the post! … that the voices start that way. I didn’t know that people out there actually sit around listening to white noise and intentionally search for meaning in the meaningless. I didn’t! And that is exactly what EVP is… People deluding themselves into “hearing” voices in white noise. It isn’t clear whether those people are simply extremist believers, psychotic, or under the influence of drugs like meth, but it is clear that whatever they think they hear is not real.

It saddens me that so many people have commented on that post, to say that the voices are real, and written details of the various delusions they have built up around the voices they “hear”. How come all your delusions are not exactly the same, lunatics? Huh huh huh???

For fuck’s sake people, if you hear voices that nobody else can hear, it is not logical to assume that you are special somehow and that there is meaning in those voices. Instead, logic tells you that something is going wrong in your brain, something causing you to hear voices that aren’t really there.

When that happened to me, it became frighteningly obvious that methamphetamine was doing serious harm to my brain. It became important to make a plan to stop using meth. And fortunately for me, the voices stopped as soon as I was clean for about two days. (I didn’t get sobriety right straight away, but every time I quit, that’s what happened.)

I’m not qualified to give advice to anyone who hears voices without using meth, but I can say that whatever you hear is not real. If you hear voices, it means that something is going wrong in your brain. Finding meaning in those voices is a path to psychosis, assuming you’re not psychotic already. The appropriate thing to do is to get help. An inappropriate thing to do is to go to the blog of someone who tries very hard to explain how dangerous those hallucinations are and how they start, and claiming that the voices are real. They are not. I’m always tempted to delete such comments, but maybe they do serve a purpose – they demonstrate how dangerous drugs like meth can be, as they damage your brain, and that damage might be permanent if you don’t do the sensible thing and try to get help when you realize that you’re hearing voices in your head. I can’t fucking believe I even have to explain this. It’s really quite simple: If you are hearing voices in your head, you have a problem.

I don’t know what else to say really… Is there any way I can get through to people like Ryan? Convince him that he needs help? If you reach the point where you are so convinced that the voices you hear are real, that you place a device in the closet to record them, and upload the tracks of nothing but static and background noise to the internet, maybe you’re lost… lost somewhere in your own head; lost in your delusions. Maybe there isn’t always a way back, not for all of us. And that’s sad. Despite my dark humour (using words like “lunatics” and so on), Ryan is not so different to me. He’s not stupid. He just followed the path his brain took him, his brain that has evolved like all of ours to recognize patterns and sometimes get it wrong. I knew several meth addicts who thought the voices were real, and some of them didn’t even know that they heard voices. Don’t be like Ryan. Get help before you lose your mind.

Another search about meth hallucinations

This one I’m not taking too seriously.
Someone asked via a web search that brought them here:

Why do you hear and see things on meth?

The short answer: Because meth fucks with your brain.

The not-so-short answer: Why do you need to know? That is, what difference does it make if you know the answer? Meth does that! Knowing the answer isn’t going to change anything, and if you continue to use meth, you will still live with the side-effects. Continue for long enough, and some of those side-effects (the voices) might become permanent. The short answer should really be enough… Knowing that meth is resulting in serious and unwelcome effects on your brain should be something that motivates you to stop using meth. (But it probably isn’t.) I’ve written about this subject before, and my best post on the subject is probably this one.

And now for a couple of silly anecdotes…

Although I suffered with severe auditory hallucinations (also known as voices in the head), I seldom experienced visual hallucinations. I’ll mention two of them.

One night, my girlfriend was away with her family. We’d had many dealings with a dealer (her ex) who was on the run from the police, because he had murdered someone. There was a vacant apartment across the road from us. When I looked out the window, I became convinced that every window there featured a man looking at me through binoculars. I imagined that it was the police, waiting for that guy to show up, and I became extremely paranoid and edgy. Of course it wasn’t real and she made me feel really stupid after she returned in the morning.

One day, I was driving on Prince George Drive in Cape Town. In my peripheral vision, I thought I saw the car to my left start to change into my lane, which would have caused an accident. So I made eye contact with the driver, and flipped him the finger as I swerved and accelerated away. He was an oldish colored man, I’d say in his early fifties, with a young girl sitting beside him. From the way she was dressed, this was not his daughter… And he became extremely angry, and gave chase. Fortunately he was not able to keep up. I was a driver who took great risks, driving too fast and dodging between the cars, and his car was a little old, so I lost sight of him quickly. It would have been less funny if things were otherwise.

In both of those cases, what I saw was not real. There were no men with binoculars at all, just some marks on a window across the road that the pattern-recognition part of my brain somehow interpreted as men watching me. There was no sideways movement of that car… Once again a little bit of movement in my peripheral vision triggered some kind of visual pareidolia, and on meth it became an hallucination. I learned to be more careful with responding to anything in my peripheral vision while on meth.

I’m making light of this, but hallucinations on meth should be taken seriously, especially the voices. Some visual hallucinations on meth, even when you have only recently started using, are normal. The voices are different. They start with pareidolia (as mentioned in the post I linked earlier), and then get worse over time. Once they start, they don’t stop until you stop using meth for good.