Auditory Hallucinations

They’re at it again tonight.  I can’t quite tell if it’s a Cajun band or some kind of carnival music, but it’s there, distant, but constant, like a party going on a couple of blocks away.  Only there’s no such band, except in my brain.  I hear music when there isn’t any.

My shrink thinks it’s definitely an auditory hallucination-type phenomenon.  I can’t disagree.

I think it’s related to the random phrases of music that I often hear, usually one or two measures in 4/4 metre that repeat themselves endlessly, populating my temporal lobes with maddening frequency.  They’re not phrases from tunes I know or have recently heard, just randomly-generated sequences, and not heard on any particular musical instrument or voice.  I keep thinking I ought to write them down or record them, and maybe at some point they might meld into some sensible piece of music.

But tonight it’s the gypsies playing in the background, far away.

I think it might be related to the fact that I cut my Seroquel dose in half a few days ago, because it was affecting my balance, my speech, my thinking….in effect, I was over-medicated.  So I guess if I have to choose between distant calliopes and stumbling idiocy, I’ll take the former.  But I must say, it’s annoying as hell.

If I do something to create “white noise,” then that gets turned into phantom music as well.  Ear plugs?  Nah.  Just makes it louder, as if it’s trapping the music inside my head.

The only thing that helps is to put on some other music.  Sometimes I put a long playlist on my iPod on “repeat” and leave it on all night.  That does help me sleep.  I’ll do that now.

Oh, brain, brain, why do you misbehave so?

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39 Comments

  1. On the bright side you can be the modern beethoven/Mozart .

    Reply
  2. i used to do this kind of thing, but it was with numbers or letters, randomly connecting, always continuing, never stopping. i always heard the numbers. there were no patterns or rhyme or reason. if i focused on it, they became more clear and drowned out anything else. if i ignored them, then a bit later i would realize they had never stopped, and would pick up where i left them off. for me, this was a kind of dissociation and also a kind of grounding, i eventually realized. not sure how but i was eventually able to pause the counting and finally it just didnt start again. so maybe it is not a true hallucination, but a dissociative process, where your brain is making up something to drown out reality and to help keep panic and feeling overwhelmed at bay? food for thought, if not for anything else. good luck!

    Reply
    • Hmmm, yours sounds different, like an attempt to get your attention. Mine just goes along in the background, annoying but I can’t see that it does anything in particular for me, although in the future I might, like you, have an insight. I’m not feeling particularly stressed right now, the opposite, in fact, so who knows!

      Reply
  3. Howisbradley

     /  September 2, 2013

    I use to have visual hallucinations. I miss seeing the donkey in my livingroom. I really do. I can only imagine what auditory ones would be like. I hope this passes soon.

    Reply
    • Donkey in your living room, hey? Did it leave you anything to remember it by? HEEEE–HAAAAAWWW! Sorry, my imagination ran away with me. Really? A donkey?

      Reply
      • Howisbradley

         /  September 3, 2013

        Fortunately he never left anything behind. It started with a cat, then a dog and finally a donkey. It was frustrating because I’d see them out of the corner of my eye but when I turned to look straight at them they would vanish. It was frustrating but fun

        Reply
  4. I have tinnitus, and THAT’S annoying,…….can’t imagine a whole band. Hope they stop playing soon.

    Reply
    • Same here. Very loud too! So annoying

      Reply
    • Sometimes I wonder if it IS a variation on tinnitus. I do have tinnitus, and yes, it IS annoying–so much so that people have actually suicided to get away from the noise! I think I would take a different route, like having my iPod earbud permanently implanted in my ears and learning sign language, or something. Tinnitus can really drive you nuts. Anybody got any good coping suggestions?

      Reply
  5. Can’t really “like” this post.

    Holy smokes, that sounds annoying indeed. I sleep with music most nights due to my tinnitus.

    Hope it goes soon. And yes, I was going to suggest you wrote it down… 🙂

    Reply
    • Oh c’mon, like it, like it! Just because it’s so annoying! LOL, it’s OK if you don’t….why do you think we have noise in our head? Could it have been all the formalin we were exposed to in our youth, halfway pickling our auditory nerves?

      Reply
  6. I have tinnitus. It sounds to me like high-pitched crickets. Fortunately I have good associations for listening to crickets, so while it is inconvenient, I try to keep a positive frame on it. When it interferes with my hearing something else, I will say, “I need you to repeat that. The crickets are loud tonight.” People look at me funny when I say that, since I live in a place with no crickets. But they are a nice memory of the place where I grew up, and it helps me be less annoyed with my ears or my brain or whatever it is that’s buzzing.

    Any chance you could encourage an association in your mind with a something pleasant? It won’t get rid of the noise but at least it would be less annoying. On the other hand, some noises are just annoying – not a fix for everything, I know.

    Reply
  7. 52milespermonth

     /  September 2, 2013

    I find your writing honest and enlightening- thank you for allowing me to better understand life for a person living with bipolar disorder.

    Reply
  8. I seem to have both… T the same time. There is the Tinnitus always in the background and then periodic melodies. Not the entire song but a couple of bars, over and over again. A least the music distracts from the Tinnitus for a while until the music bugs me because I can’t get past those few bars.
    I usually end up finding the music in You Tube and blasting myself with it (thank heavens for ear plugs,I’m sure my hubby wouldn’t appreciate the wake up call in the middle if the night).
    They’re only temp fixes, but hey, t least I can be annoyed by something different every so often.
    Susan 😮😊

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear you’re plagued with the auditory phenomena 😦 but at least you can find the rest of the tune on Youtube! That must be actually quite satisfying. I like your last line 😀

      Reply
  9. Hi, stumbling across your blog from another person’s blog that I just stumbled upon. I’m soryr you’re having these auditory hallucinations. I never knew this sort of music-hearing could happen with mental illness. I heard of one case of this and this person had epilepsy (it was in oen of Oliver Sacks’ books, and Sacks said the fact this patient was hering music was indicative of them not having psychosis).

    Reply
    • Funny you should say that. One of my psychiatrists diagnosed me with temporal lobe epilepsy, because not only do I have auditory hallucinations of the musical type, but I also have smell hallucinations (word finding difficulty right now for scientific word for “smell”) (thankfully they are pleasant ones!), which localizes that to the uncinate process in the temporal lobe. The smell seizures are controlled by lamotrigine, and the music ones are controlled by higher doses of Seroquel than I can tolerate otherwise, so I have to pick my annoyances. Welcome to my world!

      Reply
  10. savemefrombpd

     /  September 6, 2013

    Annoying. I’m sorry if it’s driving you crazy. (No pun intended).

    I heard a voice screaming inside my head for about a week after a suicide attempt not long ago and it was very frustrating that I seemingly had no control over it. I wanted to just bury my head in the pillow!

    I hope it doesn’t last too long for you.

    Feel good x

    Reply
    • Oh that sounds terrifying! Much rather simple snatches of tunes than screaming! I’m sorry you were feeling so bad.

      Wishes for feeling good now and in future!

      Reply
      • savemefrombpd

         /  September 9, 2013

        Many wishes for you too. Thank you.

        Yea, it was very intense and it happened whilst I was in hospital too. Nobody raised an eyebrow or anything even though I said its driving me crazy and I’ve never had this before!! Anyway. Hopefully not more screaming for me. Xx

        Reply
        • G’mar chatima tova, and may we all be saved from frightening phenomena, whether inside or outside our heads.

          Reply
          • savemefrombpd

             /  September 10, 2013

            Amen Laura.

            Shana Tova and gmar chatima tova to you too. Please G-d, we will be saved from our suffering. x

            Reply
            • Amen. It should be a year of yeshuot and refuot, refuat ha’nefesh u’refuat ha’guf, and all of the suffering we have experienced should be enough already! I’m really ready for good times. OK good times, I’m ready for you, now please, New Year, bring them on, for me and for you and for all of us, please!!!!

              Reply
              • savemefrombpd

                 /  September 10, 2013

                Amen ve’amen. Hamon brachot. Thank you and so the brachot will be for everyone. I sincerely pray for that as much as I pray for myself. If not, I actually pray for others before I pray for myself. Genuinely.

                Refuah shlema l’koolam.

                Have a happy and healthy year.

                Will be seeing you 🙂

                Reply
  11. I have never experienced that. Although there have been a few times (not recently) of intense stress that I felt like I had a crowd of people in my head all murmuring and talking together – I could not make out what they were saying, but the frustration and masking effect of the continual noise made it impossible for me to think.
    I will keep your techniques in mind if it ever happens again 🙂

    Reply
  12. I have that! I don’t have tinnitus or bipolar (that I’m aware of), but weird crap like that happens to me all the time. I think it’s linked to the pineal gland. Pineal glands secrete melatonin and other “happy” hormones. It’s known to connect us with the spirit world too. Whenever it happens to me, I listen carefully to an orchestra and try controlling it like I’m the conductor. It sounds beautiful, honestly.
    All the great geniuses heard music like this, and even Tesla had a visual hallucination of a light bulb or something like that. I say embrace it. If people get scared of these things, they turn to the dark side.

    Reply
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