The Noise

I can’t stand total silence. It drives me crazy. Even when I’m trying to sleep I have to seek out some sort of centering noise to help me sleep. On the other hand, my wife needs total silence to sleep. Any centering noise drives her up the wall.

Good thing she doesn’t have access to my head.

The problem is: I can’t go to sleep by centering on the noise in my head. It’s too loud.

One issue of my illness is “the noise”. When I read, the noise is there to distract me. When I pray, the noise is there to distract me. When I am in deep thought, the noi…well, you get the picture.

How can I describe the noise? Remember the days when television stations actually signed off the air for a few hours overnight? The station would either go to a test pattern with a sustained tone or would go to static after turning off the transmitter. The noise in my head is much like that static, only add in random garbled noise, the voice of my conscience constantly accusing me of being a failure, the sounds of conversations past, present, and future with friends and family, music, facts, figures, news, sports, weather, reminders, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Yeah, that’s the noise in my head. It’s impossible to do work when the noise cranks up. I can carry on a conversation with someone, but chances are I’m not actually listening to a word you are saying. I’m too busy trying to strain out the noise in my head.

Sometimes the noise is pleasant. When I’m doing nothing in particular it’s somewhat enjoyable to have a thousand things running through your head. At least you have the feeling like you’re doing something constructive. At least you think it’s constructive. Chances are it’s just busywork or being lazy.

Most of the time the noise is annoying. You have to do things pertaining to your vocation in life and you can’t do anything because everything is distracting. So you quit doing everything and surrender to the noise that calls you to do nothing.

O wretched man that I am! That’s what runs through my head when the noise causes me not to do anything productive. Sure, I could pray about it and ask the Lord to take away the thorn in my flesh. But most of the time it’s work to pray and I don’t like to work when the noise is running through my head. I get cranky easily. I yell. I cuss. I don’t want to like people. I’ve even thought of murdering people (but never myself!) when the noise buzzes in my head.

Welcome to my life. It’s not pleasant.

What did I do? I got help. I found a wonderful psychologist who helped me through the noise. He helped me start down the path to knowing myself. What’s more so, without him knowing, he helped me seek out good preaching (not my own) to help quiet the noise in my head. I received Holy Communion more frequently. I am not bashful to seek out my Father Confessor when the noise drives me to despair over my sins. Once I told my wife about the noise, I could sit down and talk to her about it. Her sympathetic ear and constant reminders of how much she loved me with no strings attached meant the world to me.

Along with help, I consulted with my physician about pharmaceutical options. One medication did not work. So I tried another. It’s working just fine. More about meds in a future post.

Counseling, preaching, the Sacraments, conversation, and medication. These are God’s good gifts to us. I use them frequently to help quiet the noise in my head. Some days are worse than others. But the noise isn’t so loud these days. I’m blessed to say that I recognize when the noise returns and how I can best deal with it. It’s all part of knowing myself and, more importantly, knowing that Christ loves me and gave His life for my sins. The noise can’t go with me to heaven, God be praised!



One Response to “The Noise”

  1. Dis-My-order Says:

    More are reading than responding. So please keep it up.

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