The voices in my head | Eleanor Longden


The day I left home for the first time to go to university was a bright day brimming with hope and optimism. I’d done well at school.
Expectations for me were high, and I gleefully entered the student life of lectures, parties
and traffic cone theft. Now appearances, of course,
can be deceptive, and to an extent, this
feisty, energetic persona of lecture-going and traffic
cone stealing was a veneer, albeit a very well-crafted
and convincing one. Underneath, I was actually
deeply unhappy, insecure and fundamentally frightened — frightened of other people,
of the future, of failure and of the emptiness
that I felt was within me. But I was skilled at hiding
it, and from the outside appeared to be someone
with everything to hope for and aspire to. This fantasy of invulnerability
was so complete that I even deceived myself, and as the first semester
ended and the second began, there was no way that anyone
could have predicted what was just about to happen. I was leaving a seminar when it started, humming to myself, fumbling with my bag just as I’d done a hundred times before, when suddenly I heard
a voice calmly observe, “She is leaving the room.” I looked around, and there
was no one there, but the clarity
and decisiveness of the comment was unmistakable. Shaken, I left my books
on the stairs and hurried home, and there it was again. “She is opening the door.” This was the beginning.
The voice had arrived. And the voice persisted, days and then weeks of it, on and on, narrating everything I did
in the third person. “She is going to the library.” “She is going to a lecture.” It was neutral, impassive
and even, after a while, strangely companionate and reassuring, although I did notice that its
calm exterior sometimes slipped and that it occasionally mirrored
my own unexpressed emotion. So, for example, if I was angry
and had to hide it, which I often did, being very adept
at concealing how I really felt, then the voice would sound frustrated. Otherwise, it was neither
sinister nor disturbing, although even at that point it was clear that it had something to communicate to me about my emotions, particularly emotions which were remote and inaccessible. Now it was then that I made
a fatal mistake, in that I told a friend
about the voice, and she was horrified. A subtle conditioning process had begun, the implication that normal
people don’t hear voices and the fact that I did meant
that something was very seriously wrong. Such fear and mistrust was infectious. Suddenly the voice didn’t
seem quite so benign anymore, and when she insisted
that I seek medical attention, I duly complied, and which proved to be mistake number two. I spent some time telling the college G.P. about what I perceived
to be the real problem: anxiety, low self-worth,
fears about the future, and was met with bored indifference until I mentioned the voice, upon which he dropped his pen, swung round and began to question me
with a show of real interest. And to be fair, I was desperate
for interest and help, and I began to tell him
about my strange commentator. And I always wish, at this
point, the voice had said, “She is digging her own grave.” I was referred
to a psychiatrist, who likewise took a grim view of the voice’s presence, subsequently interpreting
everything I said through a lens of latent insanity. For example, I was part
of a student TV station that broadcast news bulletins
around the campus, and during an appointment
which was running very late, I said, “I’m sorry,
doctor, I’ve got to go. I’m reading the news at six.” Now it’s down on my medical
records that Eleanor has delusions that she’s a television
news broadcaster. It was at this point that events began to rapidly overtake me. A hospital admission
followed, the first of many, a diagnosis of schizophrenia came next, and then, worst of all,
a toxic, tormenting sense of hopelessness, humiliation and despair about myself and my prospects. But having been encouraged
to see the voice not as an experience but as a symptom, my fear and resistance
towards it intensified. Now essentially, this represented taking an aggressive stance towards my own mind, a kind of psychic civil war, and in turn this caused
the number of voices to increase and grow progressively
hostile and menacing. Helplessly and hopelessly,
I began to retreat into this nightmarish inner world in which the voices
were destined to become both my persecutors
and my only perceived companions. They told me, for example,
that if I proved myself worthy of their help, then
they could change my life back to how it had been, and a series of increasingly
bizarre tasks was set, a kind of labor of Hercules. It started off quite small, for example, pull out three strands of hair, but gradually it grew more extreme, culminating in commands to harm myself, and a particularly dramatic instruction: “You see that tutor over there? You see that glass of water? Well, you have to go over and pour it
over him in front of the other students.” Which I actually did,
and which needless to say did not endear me to the faculty. In effect, a vicious cycle
of fear, avoidance, mistrust and misunderstanding
had been established, and this was a battle
in which I felt powerless and incapable of establishing
any kind of peace or reconciliation. Two years later,
and the deterioration was dramatic. By now, I had the whole
frenzied repertoire: terrifying voices, grotesque visions, bizarre, intractable delusions. My mental health status
had been a catalyst for discrimination, verbal abuse, and physical and sexual assault, and I’d been told by my psychiatrist, “Eleanor, you’d be better off with cancer, because cancer is easier
to cure than schizophrenia.” I’d been diagnosed, drugged and discarded, and was by now so tormented by the voices that I attempted to drill
a hole in my head in order to get them out. Now looking back on the wreckage
and despair of those years, it seems to me now as if someone
died in that place, and yet, someone else was saved. A broken and haunted
person began that journey, but the person who emerged was a survivor and would ultimately grow into the person I was destined to be. Many people have harmed me in my life, and I remember them all, but the memories grow pale and faint in comparison with the people
who’ve helped me. The fellow survivors,
the fellow voice-hearers, the comrades and collaborators; the mother who never gave up on me, who knew that one day
I would come back to her and was willing to wait for me
for as long as it took; the doctor who only worked
with me for a brief time but who reinforced
his belief that recovery was not only possible but inevitable, and during a devastating period of relapse told my terrified family,
“Don’t give up hope. I believe that Eleanor
can get through this. Sometimes, you know, it
snows as late as May, but summer always comes eventually.” Fourteen minutes is not enough time to fully credit those
good and generous people who fought with me and for me and who waited to welcome me back from that agonized, lonely place. But together, they forged
a blend of courage, creativity, integrity,
and an unshakeable belief that my shattered self could
become healed and whole. I used to say that these people saved me, but what I now know is they did something even more important
in that they empowered me to save myself, and crucially, they helped
me to understand something which I’d always suspected: that my voices were a meaningful response to traumatic life events,
particularly childhood events, and as such were not my enemies but a source of insight
into solvable emotional problems. Now, at first, this was very
difficult to believe, not least because the voices
appeared so hostile and menacing, so in this
respect, a vital first step was learning to separate
out a metaphorical meaning from what I’d previously
interpreted to be a literal truth. So for example, voices
which threatened to attack my home I learned to interpret
as my own sense of fear and insecurity in the world, rather
than an actual, objective danger. Now at first, I would have believed them. I remember, for example,
sitting up one night on guard outside my parents’
room to protect them from what I thought was a genuine
threat from the voices. Because I’d had such a bad
problem with self-injury that most of the cutlery
in the house had been hidden, so I ended up arming myself
with a plastic fork, kind of like picnic ware,
and sort of sat outside the room clutching it and waiting to spring
into action should anything happen. It was like, “Don’t mess with me. I’ve got a plastic fork, don’t you know?” Strategic. But a later response,
and much more useful, would be to try and deconstruct
the message behind the words, so when the voices warned
me not to leave the house, then I would thank them
for drawing my attention to how unsafe I felt — because if I was aware of it, then I could
do something positive about it — but go on to reassure both them and myself that we were safe and didn’t
need to feel frightened anymore. I would set boundaries for the voices, and try to interact with them
in a way that was assertive yet respectful,
establishing a slow process of communication and collaboration in which we could learn to work
together and support one another. Throughout all of this,
what I would ultimately realize was that each voice was closely related to aspects of myself,
and that each of them carried overwhelming
emotions that I’d never had an opportunity to process or resolve, memories of sexual trauma and abuse, of anger, shame, guilt, low self-worth. The voices took the place of this pain and gave words to it, and possibly one of the greatest
revelations was when I realized that the most hostile
and aggressive voices actually represented the parts of me that had been hurt most profoundly, and as such, it was these voices that needed to be shown
the greatest compassion and care. It was armed with this
knowledge that ultimately I would gather together my shattered self, each fragment represented
by a different voice, gradually withdraw from all my medication, and return to psychiatry, only this
time from the other side. Ten years after the voice first
came, I finally graduated, this time with the highest
degree in psychology the university had ever
given, and one year later, the highest masters, which shall we say isn’t bad for a madwoman. In fact, one of the voices
actually dictated the answers during the exam, which technically
possibly counts as cheating. (Laughter) And to be honest, sometimes I quite
enjoyed their attention as well. As Oscar Wilde has said,
the only thing worse than being talked about is not
being talked about. It also makes you very
good at eavesdropping, because you can listen
to two conversations simultaneously. So it’s not all bad. I worked in mental health services, I spoke at conferences, I published book chapters
and academic articles, and I argued, and continue to do so, the relevance of the following concept: that an important question in psychiatry shouldn’t be what’s wrong with you but rather what’s happened to you. And all the while,
I listened to my voices, with whom I’d finally learned
to live with peace and respect and which in turn
reflected a growing sense of compassion, acceptance
and respect towards myself. And I remember the most moving
and extraordinary moment when supporting another young woman
who was terrorized by her voices, and becoming fully aware,
for the very first time, that I no longer felt that way myself but was finally able to help
someone else who was. I’m now very proud to be
a part of Intervoice, the organizational body of the International
Hearing Voices Movement, an initiative inspired by the work
of Professor Marius Romme and Dr. Sandra Escher, which locates voice hearing
as a survival strategy, a sane reaction to insane circumstances, not as an aberrant symptom
of schizophrenia to be endured, but a complex, significant
and meaningful experience to be explored. Together, we envisage and enact a society that understands
and respects voice hearing, supports the needs
of individuals who hear voices, and which values them as full citizens. This type of society is not only possible, it’s already on its way. To paraphrase Chavez, once
social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot humiliate
the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. For me, the achievements
of the Hearing Voices Movement are a reminder that empathy, fellowship, justice and respect are more than words; they are convictions and beliefs, and that beliefs can change the world. In the last 20 years,
the Hearing Voices Movement has established hearing voices networks in 26 countries across five continents, working together to promote
dignity, solidarity and empowerment for individuals
in mental distress, to create a new language
and practice of hope, which, at its very center,
lies an unshakable belief in the power of the individual. As Peter Levine has said, the human animal is a unique being endowed with an instinctual
capacity to heal and the intellectual spirit
to harness this innate capacity. In this respect, for members of society, there is no greater honor or privilege than facilitating that process
of healing for someone, to bear witness, to reach out a hand, to share the burden
of someone’s suffering, and to hold the hope for their recovery. And likewise, for survivors
of distress and adversity, that we remember we don’t
have to live our lives forever defined by the damaging
things that have happened to us. We are unique. We are irreplaceable. What lies within us can
never be truly colonized, contorted, or taken away. The light never goes out. As a very wonderful
doctor once said to me, “Don’t tell me what other people
have told you about yourself. Tell me about you.” Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “The voices in my head | Eleanor Longden”

  1. She is not cured, she deals with the demons in her mind, I believe it’s called channeling… This is not normal and I hate that scientists and doctors are telling people that it is normal and it’s a beautiful mind!

  2. Please listen to my story on YouTube at Hearing Voices: real help and understanding. This is a spiritual battle, spiritual warfare against the forces of evil demonic spirits who can speak into our ears all manner of thoughts, and most importantly they want to keep us from a real relationship with our God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!! Even the Lord Jesus heard the voice of Satan and demons when He was on Earth. They are fallen angels who hate God a d are deceiving most of the world. TRUTH MATTERS!!!! Listen to my story on YouTube at Hearing Voices: real help and understanding. With compassion, Carol

  3. Not gonna lie, this video brought me to tears a few different times… Not because of my relatable personal experiences. Not because of the experiences themselves and how bizarre or horrifying they can be. This video brought me to tears because our whole system is just so. Fucking. Broken. It's so heart crushing to see individuals like this who have the potential to have such a beautiful experience. Her "hallucinations" to start could have been leveraged for an intense experience in mindfulness, but her own friend (who was probably well intentioned) caused her to spiral down an unnecessarily dark and difficult path. This has been my experience with my family and friends, with doctors and counselors and co-workers. This has been the experience of many others now as well. And it doesn't have to be. Our narrative simply needs to change surrounding mental illness, but, alas. Who's going to buy medication in a society of self empowered individuals? How can we admit we've been wrong about the nature of hallucinations when we can log on to I'mright.com and "prove" any and all of our preconceived beliefs about the world? The western world is quite sick right now, and so many of the symptoms can be cured by simply admitting that the narrative we have regarding "mental illness" hasn't been correct. These people (myself included) may, by definition, be "schizophrenic." But that label creates the negative symptoms that, in turn, need "curing." I'm not suggesting we start calling these people God's or gifted either, that leads to a whole other set of problems. As she so beautifully stated, we need to start asking people "what happened to you?" Only then will be begin to understand how to not only help those who are disaffected by states of "psychosis," but how to use these states as a form of empowerment for these individuals. Thanks for reading. Rant: over.

  4. I started acting like a b*tch in my head, no-one could here it so it was okay. The I started telling myself that that was rude. She didn't take it well and now I hear them arguing all the time, sometimes other characters join the conversation trying to defend me but they just argue and argue. It feels like a war inside my head and the only way to make them stop is by cutting myself. I think I'm going insane.

  5. I believe she is mentally unwell. My inner knowing makes me aware of things yet to unfold. Not voices just knowing that things were going to happen which always unfold exactly as I thought. We all have this knowing just like in the animal kingdom.

  6. "If he listens to the voice, then he is different and isolated, for he has decided to follow the law that confronts him from within.His "own" law , everyone will cry. He alone knows better- has to know better: it is the law, the vocation, as little his "own" as the lion that tells him, although it is undoubtedly this particular lion that kills him, and not any other lion. Only in this sense can you speak of his vocation, "his" law". (Carl Jung)

  7. Heard a story once of a woman who constantly head voices !!!!!!,,,,,,,, She was in a lift on holiday and a woman who was a stranger told her that she also could hear the "voices" !!!,,,,,,,,, She told to tell them to "GO AWAY" and they went !!!!
    Its possibly the "Spirit World" !!!!,,,,,,,,,,, and ,,,,,,,,,,,,, yeh,, what a beautiful and brilliant lady on the stage.

  8. finally!!!! it pisses me off when people deal mental illnesses just like they deal with a flu or diabetes. you can't just take a pill and get better. I respect you so much for being able to handle and realize the meaning if your voices. I think even doctors don't support this method but this is the only option for a medication free and relapse free life
    good to hear some people like you, who takes responsibility for her life and not try to solve all traumas with pills
    thanks for this ted talk

  9. Thank you elnor .what kind of medication do you take im not on meds now i just cant seen to find the right meds to help

  10. I am going through/have went through very similar experiences as this woman and I am very glad that she shared her story. I feel a lot less alone

  11. I don’t understand the difference between D.I.D and schizophrenia or an OSDD. Her experience sounds so much like DID, maybe they are one and the same and we simply have not had enough research to connect the dots? I’m glad I got to watch this. It’s very informative.

  12. I too have experienced voices in my ears and thoughts that are not mine. I've had nightmares, seen colored lights, seen dark shadow people, and was seeking real answers for all this craziness. I learned in the Christian Holy Bible that there is an invisible war on Earth involving evil demonic spirits/fallen angels who can speak into our ears all manner of thoughts, tempt us to sin against our God and His Commandments, they work through people and create false churches, religions and beliefs, and even atheists!!!! The Christian Holy Bible tells us that after God had created the Heavens and the Earth, and Adam and his wife Eve, there was a great rebellion in Heaven by God's highest angel named Lucifer. Lucifer wanted to be worshiped and served and to be god. But the Only One True God will not share His glory with anyone, so God cast Lucifer out of Heaven and 1/3rd of God's angels also rebelled and they are here on Earth causing so much suffering, oppression, false religions and beliefs; and most importantly they want to keep us from a real relationship with our God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!! Even the Lord Jesus Christ heard the voice of Satan the devil and demons voices when He was here on Earth. See Matthew 4:1–11. The Lord helped me in this battle against the forces of evil and their schemes and strategies. He can help anyone else who will believe God. Please take the time to listen to my story on YouTube at Hearing Voices: Real Help and Understanding
    https://youtu.be/WoGhx-Orflg
    Also very helpful on YouTube::: Chip Ingram the Invisible war series 101, 102,……… Praying for you all, Carol

  13. thanks for bringing schizophrenia as a topic in such a wonderful public stage as ted….im a schizo-effective bi-polar type who has made a musical drama about my illness….acid tong fractals ….please enjoy it as i do your insights on the subject so close to my home…peace in Spirit

  14. "I was diagnosed, drugged, and discarded" As someone with family members that have been through this, this really resonated with me.

  15. What is the difference between having multiple personalities to schizophrenia? Having multiple personalities the voices are part of you and control you, but the voices in schizophrenia don’t control you, is that correct?

  16. When you are able to step into subtle levels,

    you open a telepathic communication (internal voice).

    But even here is crowd, as it's in the external world,

    which means a lot of voices (informations)

    and that's why you have to learn to recognize

    what is in harmony with you and what not.

    Meditation, calm the mind, be emptiness…,

    is helping you by that…

    This is a wonderful gift,

    which needs to be appreciated and used with all due respect…,

    that this gift can give you everything you need

    on the path of evolution to higher levels of consciousness…

    Tao Chi

  17. I don't understand this voice. Most people read books by mind. And we talk to ourselves. I am sure these voices are intrinsic. And they are created in our minds. More research needs to be made. Voices is our creation.

  18. According to the neuroscience journals that I've been reading, only hearing voices IS NOT the only criteria to diagnose schizophrenia. It's really hard to do it, even with biomarkers. She was so misdiagnosed. And I love the way she turned this "symptom" into a help for a healthy mental status.

  19. Although I don’t know what it’s like to be schizophrenic or hear voices, I do know what it’s like when people are reaching out and doing the right thing and helping others.

  20. much ado about nothing

    Edit:
    I take that back. I guess I can’t say what I would do or how I would react if I all of a sudden started hearing a different voice in my head uncontrolled. It would probably freak me out. I give her credit for sharing.

  21. I have learned to ignore my psychiatric labels,all my life l have had experiences which have been reduced to hallucinations, l believe, and always have, that these things are spiritual, and have meaning.After a lifetime on cocktails of psychiatric drugs, which have caused me and my family much more harm than good,I recently told my psychiatrist in hospital where l was sectioned yet again, that he should try the drugs himself and also l told him that l do not believe l have an illness.l dont take the drugs anymore, but the damage they did to my health is irreversible.l talk to God as much as l can, l know He is guiding me, although l have never been devoutly religous,He is always there.

  22. As one of psychiatrist told me , schizophrenics live in separate world from rest of people considered " normal" . Their mind goes in different world of anguish , fear , suffering and constant paranoid delusions that remove them from rational existence. Only few of them will have successful recovery and return to sanity.

  23. Much respect to this pretty young lady for revealing a part of her life most would be ashamed of sharing to benefit others! Thank you for this. Needed it

  24. What a beautiful story and person. I remember being in school studying schizophrenia and the professor discussing that there are few treatments for this "disorder". This was only 10 years ago. I love that she's opening the conversation to think of "disorder" and the psyche's way of bringing itself back into order and balance. Our bodies do the same thing with "disease". Thank you for this video! Absolutely beautiful!

  25. Ethan McDonald, of course personal experience makes one more empathetic, but not necessarily a good psychologist. By that logic, the best way to become a good oncologist is to have cancer and cure yourself. Not true.

  26. This is a very intelligent warm speech and thank you so much Eleanor. It helped me understand what I always knew. I believed is it a soul sadness a soul trauma. It help me understand my brother. PS has so much stigma/shame/mystery/judgement/secrecy ….. but all it is … is a manifestation of trauma .. PS is a saftey valve and I believe there is hope for anyone who suffers and not let them be isolated/stigmatized/downtrodden or broken by this diagnosis or be doped up by a cocktail of prescription to profit big pharma.

  27. I wonder, do you have lucid dreams? Can you control them? To me there’s a correlation between realising reality and non reality. Lucid dreamers for instance have enhanced prefrontal function and can control an unconscious state of mind and thoughts of events so I think if you manage to realise that these hallucinations or delusions are not real @dream like, it might help you cope with them

  28. Sounds great however when you have a person who believes she's speaking to God and other entities and runs away when you try to talk about it. What do you do?

  29. My doctor told me to ask the voices and presences what they want, but it’s terrifying because they seem evil. Coming across this and hearing the same advice makes me feel a little bit braver. I never thought about being empathetic towards them because it always seemed like they wanted to scare or hurt me, but maybe they’re just in pain and it’s becoming worse because I’m trying to shut them out.

  30. Thank you for this! Very well articulated.
    The first time I heard a voice, it said, "Clear your throat." So I did. It replied, "Alright, we're back in business." I love to sing (alone where no one else can hear me >I can only contribute this to a huge insecurity of singing aloud<). The voice felt like a "voice trainer" like a professional that was willing to work with me and I'd try to sing different lyrics into the songs I was listening to while trying to rhyme aloud… proving very difficult to wing it, other voices started to chime in and would encourage me or joke with me to ease my anxiety. But as voices do, they can be mean, even become apologetic. The voices would even argue with one another to establish who I was going to hear if I was confused. I gave the voices names so as to separate the good from the bad.
    As much as I miss some of the inside jokes and personalities that I wish were real, I digress. I am voice free but can relapse anytime. I reassure myself that I am the one at the wheel and back-seat drivers, well as much as they can complain, they don't have the wheel, and I'm grateful for that!

  31. The explanation she starts around 8:45 is absolutely incredible. This brings so much light and hope for those dealing with even the most stigmatized mental illnesses. Thank you for sharing!!

  32. And to think, the church would have her stoned to death as demon possessed or a witch.

  33. i watched this video 6 years ago while i was still a high school student, this video truly saved my life. and now i am all fine with everything and resistance has improved quite a lot. thx

  34. I hear voices occasionally, but I keep it to myself as in my experience neurotypical folks will ALWAYS act in their own fearful interests. I've learned to keep my own counsel.

  35. Iv'e had periods of hearing voices through amphetamine use in the past and the voices most of the time were just background noise, the chatter of people in the background. It was only when the thought came to my mind 'are they talking about me' that they would instantly be talking about me and being rather insulting and intimidating towards me. When this happened I eventually realised that I should just ignore them and then they stopped talking about me and went back to just chatting amongst themselves until the next time the question came to my mind. For me paranoia created the situation of them talking about me and being insulting.
    I think this paranoia thing is something that happens with real people and not just the voices. If you are in a paranoid mood, something about the vibe you give off can create situations and maybe conflicts with real people. If you are in a calm state of mind, those situations are not likely to happen. I'm pretty sure that a lot of people who go through gang stalking experiences are maybe actually creating situations themselves from a paranoid vibe they are giving off.
    It's like how a dog might attack you maybe because it feels your fear and reacts to it.
    These are just my thoughts on it and they may or may not have validity, but it's what Iv'e concluded over the years.

  36. That's another person's life ruined by so called "professionals" assuming the individual in front of them have grandeur delusions!
    Glad to know you have recovered what was lost.

  37. thank you for this video. I grew up with what i see so i never became paranoid about them and i am very comfortable with it. so yes i completely get this… however i deal with this so well and accept it as a part of myself that the that no one believes i have it and i get accused of being a faker. which really don't help the depression side of things.

  38. PLEASE KEEP THIS MESSAGE UP. : when power outage of electricity happens in big area (300+ meters) voices in my head gone (scitzophrenia). Happend many times. (live in norway. This polly worldwide phenomenon) we need to investigate the connection, pleaseeeeeeee

  39. You know, it is possible she could be a targeted individual. The reason I say this is that the voices began by just stating her movements, "she's in the house" "she opened the front door", those sort of movements. Also psychotic episodes are associated with schizophrenia which include permanent imparments to cognitivie functioning. She doesn't appear to have any problems verbalising her thoughts. What do you people think?

  40. "We don't have to live our lives forever defined by the damaging things that have happened to us." Huh, and here I thought they were DONE to me.

  41. A schizophrenia secret to those who hear, when you hear your own voice you'd won't recognize it that's the start mind or voice either way, that's where you'll find your voices

  42. I'm not normally a hearer of voices, and I heard none during my first paranoia breakdown, and subsequent hospitalisation and medication. I do seem to need the small dose I am on now, but I flatly refuse to take the toxic injection overdose that the control freaks try to force on me – they actually want to make me manic! I'm going through enormous emotional abuse now, and I think it may have something to do with a nasty church scandal centered around me some years ago. I've never been allowed to forget it, and to move on with my life, without the influence of those "pharisees". I have, however, been told I have a little bit of a prophetic or psychic ability. I almost always know when people are covering up their dishonesty with masks that look honest. Otherwise I would never have known what ugly rumours were being said behind my back! Can't they just let go, and let me be free to be myself? Can't I go find an alternative hippy community, where instead of drugs, we could use healthy herbal treatments? And to love each other, and speak words of healing to each other? Is it foolish to believe that I will be happier there?

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