"How to Escape Insanity" Chapter 4 Happiness: Teaching All Those Annoying Voices, Messages, and Old Tapes in Your Head To Be Nice and Helpful To You

Teaching the Voices
Further Healing

“It isn't what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it's the ability to deal with them.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“The more you feed your mind with positive thoughts, the more you can attract great things into your life.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Chapter 4 of “How to Escape Insanity” by Chris Macnab

For some reason most people think insanity=unhappiness.  This is not true (see diagram).  So at this stage, if you suffer from some insanity,  I encourage you to work on happiness and not worry at all about any eventual satisfying sanity that would come along - that would merely be a bonus.

OK, now we have to get rid of all those annoying voices in your head.   Oh, I realize I am writing about insanity so I had better be specific about what I mean by 'voices'.  I'm not necessarily talking about those kind of literal voices that psychiatrists like to call auditory hallucinations, which are usually confined to periods of actual psychosis.  (However, these techniques may very well work for voices like that too [1].)  But really I am talking about annoying, negative thoughts that often feel like messages.  Sometimes they seem a little bit like they are not quite your own somehow.  If they are messages from you parents, people often describe these as 'old tapes'.  If the voice lacks personality but is critical of you, then people often refer to this as their 'inner critic.'   Many people have a voice pop up and tell them they can't do things when they feel anxiety, which causes more anxiety, leading to an even more negative voice ... it is a downward spiral.  Until recently, I still had a voice that made me regretful of the tiny, little mistakes I would make in everyday life, like awkward social interactions.

The key insight into these voices is that they all have your best interest in mind, motivated by love for you.  Yes, even the one telling you to commit suicide loves you and is trying to help you - it honestly sees that as your only escape.  Usually though, this idea of  'best interest for you' revolves around keeping you safe and protected.  But sometimes these voices aren't very smart, and they don't always actually know what is actually best for you e.g. the suicide voice.  Also, they can talk to you in very dysfunctional and cruel ways.  (If you currently enjoy nice voices in your head, by all means keep them).  Since the voices have your best interest in mind, we are just going to teach them to do better.  We are going to teach them what can actually help you.  We are going to teach them how to talk to you nicely.  In the end, you will get to listen to a bunch of supportive, helpful voices in your head.  Believe me, it is easy to be happy living like this.  I spent my last two years of insanity this this and I found it quite pleasant.  I only had that one little regretful voice left during that time - but no one ever gave me any sympathy for that, which makes me assume most people have more.

The key technique we are going to use is to have your healing partner give those voices different words.  Nice words.  Each voice-centre has an emotion and a motivation.  You can't change those; instead you have to appreciate them.  You have to make sure the voice-centre can still accomplish the same thing out of the same emotion and motivation.  After, you will have the choice of remembering the nice words instead of the old nasty ones every time this voice-centre becomes triggered in your head.  You will find yourself choosing the nice words more and more often.  Maybe quite quickly, or maybe over time, you will choose only the nice words; then only a nice, helpful voice will be left in your head for this particular voice-centre.

Schedule one session with your healing partner to start to deal with one voice. Make sure your healing partner knows what is expected of them beforehand.  You may need multiple sessions to deal with one voice though.  Let's say, for example, the voice we are going to deal with in this session comes from your mother (no I didn't have one of these Mom, but this is a common issue for many people).   First tell your partner a bit about the relationship you had and have with your mother.  This is short; we don't need details from your life.  Concentrate on naming the emotions you have around this relationship.  Now tell your healing partner about the old tapes in your head from your mother.  What are the situations where you hear your mother's voice talking to you in present day?  What is she saying?  Now your healing partner is going to play the role of your mother.  They are going to tell you how much they love you, how much they are trying to protect you, and the emotions they are feeling when they say those things to you.  OK, this is going to seem kind of magical and you're going to have to trust me on this until you try it - you're healing partner will actually tune in emotionally to your mother and you will hear emotional truth coming out of them.  Cool!  (It is not literally magical though; we all have the powerful ability to tune into another's emotional needs by taking in all the unconscious communication signals, processing the wealth of information, and feeling it as our intuition.)  Now you can respond in any natural way.  You may be forgiving your mother already, or still have lots of anger you need to express at her.  Whatever comes out will work,  as long as you are truthfully naming your emotions while you are doing it.  You can have a bit of a conversation with you 'mother' at this point if you feel the need.  Once you have said what you need to say, your 'mother' is now going to tell you she is going to speak to you differently from here on in.  Here is where your healing partner will dig into their intuition and emotional IQ and come up with new things to say to you.  They are going to tell you how much they love you and support you and want what's best for you.  Now go through each of the situations you had previously described where you often hear your mother's voice, one by one.  Your 'mother' will tell you how they feel when they see you in that situation; your partner will use their intuition to say something else, something nice and helpful, from your 'mother' for each of these situations.  Now, when you get into that situation in the future you will have the choice of remembering your original mother tape or this new mother voice in your head.  Quickly, or eventually,  you will only hear the nice mother.  Nice!  Now do some trades and offer to do the same for your healing partner.  Do some more voices.  Have fun.  Be creative.  You don't have to keep to this particular script.  You and your healing partner both need to trust your intuition and not be afraid to say things that feel true and necessary for healing.  We all have intuitive healers in us that know the right things to say and do; we just have to tap into them.

This type of healing can work a lot quicker than the healing from trauma; now you can actually try and use willpower to pick the 'nice' voice in your head in a particular situation to speed things along.  

You can definitely do all these activities with a therapist too; especially those trained in Gestalt therapy should be willing and able to do similar techniques [2].  But you can't use your therapist for your escape plan.  (On the other hand, the more healing partners you have the more people you may have to help you with your escape.)

Congratulations! You just got rid of all those annoying voices in your head.  You may still have some insanity, but it will be a happier insanity.

Further Healing

So now some of you are thinking, "Wait a minute, I'm pretty sure there's of whole plethora of problems that people can have which hinder happiness.  Haven't you missed just about everything at this point?"  That's true.  For example, dealing with the grief of loved ones dying is an especially difficult one to deal with, that can have profound affects on our emotional well-being.   My girlfriend died in a car accident when I was in third-year university.  I didn't know how to deal with it (and no one around me knew how to help me deal with it) and I quickly burnt out.  I spent the next fifteen years in a low-level depression.  So I appreciate achieving happiness may not come easily for some people.  However, I have just given you all the tools to do it.  If you are dealing with grief that you just can't seem to get over, you and your healing partner can create memories and voices around that loved one so that you feel that they are present and supportive with you in your life in the present - not gone.  Or you might handle it a different way.  You and your healing partner now have the intuition and wisdom for healing yourselves; you know each other on a deep level and you know what will work.  Whatever the issue or issues may be.  You might be more concerned with practical issues brought on by daily life like an unhappy marriage, enormous debts, physical illness, unemployment, caring for loved ones, ... and the list goes on.  Building emotional capacity will allow you to handle these situations much better, both in terms of reducing stress in your own mind and in terms of taking practical actions in the real world.  Just make sure you use creativity and creative techniques so that new brain connections are made when you are doing the work [3].  Large issues like grief may still take a long time to process even with a healing partner.  But lots of everyday-life type of things you will be able to deal with right away with your regular-chat friends. 

During this phase of the journey you become the Shaman.  You can live a good life, a happy life, with loving acceptance  for and from everyone in your new 'African village' that you have manifested. Your powerful forms of unconscious communications and total acceptance for others may make you seem like a bit of a magical creature.  You will be truly present with them, and that will be a very nice way of existing [4].

from “How to Escape Insanity” by Chris Macnab, copyright 2018

On to Chapter 5

Teaching auditory hallucinations to be nice

[1] Watch the famous TED Talk by Eleanor Longden where she describes teaching her auditory hallucinations to be helpful to her in daily life www.youtube.com/watch?v=syjEN3peCJw

Gestalt therapy

[2]" Rather than talking about the client's critical parent, a Gestalt therapist might ask the client to imagine the parent is present, or that the therapist is the parent, and talk to that parent directly" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_therapy

Neuroplasticity is your friend here

[3] "Scientists now know that the brain has an amazing ability to change and heal itself in response to mental experience. This phenomenon, known as neuroplasticity, is considered to be one of the most important developments in modern science for our understanding of the brain.  The brain is not fixed and unchangeable, as was once thought, but can create new neural pathways to adapt to its needs." www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/neuroplasticity-and-how-the-brain-can-heal-itself/6406736

The wisdom of the Western Shaman

[4] "There is room for us all here, to be free, to share our voices, to create, to love, and to be loved, just as we are right now, in our ever-changing, ever-growing states of sacred existence" - Catherine Lewis, "Understanding and Freeing the Self," Masters Thesis, Naropa University
Agree or disagree?
Agree or disagree?
Chapter Four

At this point you might like to do a little doodle while thinking about the action you would like to carry out with your current emotion:

Choose Colour


from “How to Escape Insanity” by Chris Macnab, copyright 2018

Chapter 5