NAMBY PAMBY

When I was at university, I remember one night lying in bed and – very clearly – hearing a voice say my name.

James

I didn’t think much of it at the time. There were five of us living in the house at the time, and four of them (including me) were called James, so I assumed that one of my flatmates must have still been up. Actually, two of my flatmates would have had to have been up, unless the one flatmate was talking to himself, which seems unlikely. The voice only said one word, “James”, and unlike my flatmates, didn’t have a northern accent.

It’s quite possible, almost certain in fact, that I said it myself. Drifting off to sleep, for whatever reason, I said my own name out loud. Loud enough, in fact, to wake myself up from my half-sleep. What was odd though, is that it sounded like the voice had come from the corner of the room, but I was only half-awake, so maybe I just dreamt that bit.

For the last few weeks, again as I’ve been lying in bed, my head has been filled with voices. They are often familiar voices, but all speaking at once. As soon as I’m able to identify a voice and try to hear what they are saying, they fade out. I can make out fragments of sentences sometimes, but usually it’s gibberish. Some are voices of people I know, some are voices of people from the television. Everyone talking over everyone else. These voices have no manners.

There’s an episode of Jon Ronson On… which is about “voices in your head”. Josie Long and Graham Linehan describe something similar to my experience. I’m not alone. There’s also the story of what happened to Eleanor Longden.

Auditory hallucinations “may be associated with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia or mania, and holds special significance in diagnosing these conditions”, although I don’t think I’m psychotic.

Auditory hallucinations have been known to manifest as a result of intense stress, sleep deprivation, drug use, and errors in development of proper psychological processes.

It’s possible there have been some errors in the development of my psychological processes.

The other night, as I was going to sleep, I distinctly heard a robotic voice say the phrase “namby-pamby”. The voice came from behind me, so it would, had it been real, have been coming from the wall. I don’t want my bedroom wall to start insulting me in a robotic voice as I’m trying to go to sleep. It’s rude. Be nice, wall. Be nice.

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