I am going to tell you a secret that only my Husband and Doctor are aware of; I hear music.
I was a musician for years, playing loud guitar and attending extremely loud shows. I loved feeling the music, but I have found over the years that my car stereo has gotten harder to hear even at mostly full volume. I ask my family to constantly repeat themselves. I can hear the tone of people, but I cannot coherently put the words together anymore. This struggle, whether from all my loud music or from my genetics (My aunt is 100% deaf, my dad is 50% deaf, I have a daughter who is 80% deaf) exists in my everyday life. This is not the secret I speak of though. There is more.
The stress infliction form this year has provided my own case study results, and when things got weird I needed an answer. Here is the secret. I have auditory hallucinations in the form of music.
Sometimes the music has singing, but mostly it is instrumental, sounding a lot like Tschaikowsky in the sense of emotion being carried by woodwinds and brass and cymbals crashing. The music is very classical but fluid and expressive. When fear is not involved by the knowledge of the fact that this is a hallucination, I actually enjoy the music. The phenomenon usually occurs at night before I fall asleep at this time in my life. Last summer was different.
Over the summer months, I had begun having a hard time putting words together. My sentences would become incoherent, as though the stress of life was beating at my frontal lobe and I could not focus on anything else but the problem of being without a home. I would listen to the car stereo, driving aimlessly while looking for a place to feel normal, and the song playing would slow down as though someone was pausing life. It would last about 3 seconds, and by the time I would ask Carlton “Did you hear that?” the slowness had rescinded and the tempo was the same as it had always been. This slowing of my frontal lobe to interpret the sounds I was hearing was frustrating and I thought I was losing my mind, one note at a time.
When we moved into our new house, I became very sick with Sepsis from a bladder infection. Later I would find out that I have an actual condition called Interstitial Cystitis, which is a depletion of the lining of the bladder and has an inflammation effect. This is very painful, and accompanies psychosomatic effects, while there is no real cure that would not cost more in my health points than worthwhile. My body has been inflamed for most of my adult life, and I know that I will need to revisit the Anti-Angiogenesis diet in order to be healthy. Armed with this knowledge, my stress level balanced and I felt pretty good.
As you know, more stress returned. As the story unfolds, there is credit card fraud involved, emptying of my bank account, and not to even mention the emotion of loss that I feel from my “other” family. The “other” family is my blood, but they are not an active part of my community. My family is my community, my “other” family is the family who wants me dead. Blow. Bite. Blow. (Maya Angelou). As I lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling light glowing in the residue of energy, I think about the control I have. I have no control I have no control how I do I control my reaction what should I do can I make this better…..and the music starts. I can hear it. It sounds like it is coming from the hallway. I get out of bed and walk to the door, the music disappears.
I lay back in bed and the music returns again. Slightly alarmed, I listened for patterns in the notes to see if I can match them to anything halfway recognizable. I do not. But the music is really beautiful, and I give up and just listen to my private show, falling asleep not long after.
My hypothesis of why I am having auditory hallucinations comes from a Psychological perspective, as I have no credentials towards the medical sciences. The variable I have found to coincide with the hallucinations is stress. I can allude to the idea of my brain filling in the gaps neurologically while my hearing is at a deficit. Variables are physical and psychological. There it is again; Everything psychological is biological.
I do not like to play Doctor with a degree from Web M.D. and the idea that my migraines and ice pick headaches, aching neck and shoulders, are from anything but hormonal shifts. It’s not a tumor. It’s not an artery issue. Why? Because I do not know that in any certainty. Those are worst case scenarios that create more stress on the body. The idea of those invisible existing conditions are worse than just living your daily life and enjoying the creative brain pattern, created uniquely for you when in times of need.
I think I will listen, enjoy the orchestra, and wait for the perceived feeling of having to survive to pass. I think I’ll take the donut my brain is offering, and enjoy it until I no longer need it.
Thank you for letting me share.
Here are two videos on hallucinations.
Oliver Sacks made a lifelong study of hallucinations and neuropsychology. This is his Ted Talk.
And here is another Ted Talk which I felt explained the connections of why psychologically the brain interprets and prescribes defense mechanisms in times of stress. This particular video focuses on Schizophrenia.