Clarissa Johal: Thoughtful Thursday - Mental Illness or #Paranormal?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday - Mental Illness or #Paranormal?

Photo courtesy of Ivana Vasilj via Flickr
The idea for my latest release, VOICES came to me while perusing a paranormal chat forum. Members were discussing the topic of hearing ghosts--not just the occasional bump in the night, but actual voices of the departed. The general feeling was a reluctance to tell others of their experiences because they didn’t want to be thought of as “crazy” or “schizophrenic.” On a lark, I decided to look up a support forum for those struggling with schizophrenia; specifically, those who reported voices. The two forums had some interesting similarities.

Now, in NO way am I suggesting that mental health issues and paranormal experiences are one and the same. Mental health issues exist and can be treated with counseling, and in some cases, medication. Paranormal experiences, on the other hand, pretty much stick around until the spirit decides to move on. So, how does one differentiate between the two? I’m not a psychiatrist, so I won’t try to answer that question. However, I did notice one major difference between the two forums in regards to hearing voices. Those struggling with schizophrenia reported the voices said negative things (ie. you’re worthless, everyone hates you, etc.) or told them to do negative things. Those on the paranormal chat board, reported more incidents of disembodied voices conveying messages and random things.

I watched the boards for about a week while my writer brain percolated a story idea. What would happen if a person confessed to hearing voices and was committed to a mental hospital when, in fact, they were the true voices of ghosts? I found the idea interesting and ran with it. 

Intrigued? You can pick up a copy of VOICES via:

Barnes and Noble


Carol Browne said...

Having had both mental health issues and paranormal experiences, there is a distinct difference - although I've never heard voices as part of a mental illness. The ones I've heard have all been paranormal :)

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Hearing voices (auditory hallucinations) seemed to be specific to schizophrenia and several mood disorders. Mental health is a complex topic to delve into, Carol. Suffice to say, it was an interesting topic to explore.