I left my phone at a friend’s house on Tuesday – quite a shock to the system in our modern society. The following day I had an early morning appointment with my psychologist, but my car bluetooth was busy hunting for a signal it could no longer reach – so I was forced to turn the radio on (silence is not an option).

I hate the radio.

As fate would have it, the first station it landed on was a Christian station. Being new to the Christian (or any other religious) faith, I actually didn’t realise there were Christian radio stations. Who knew? So as I had nothing else to do, I decided to tune in and have a bit of a listen.

Now the traffic was busy – Hobart was experiencing it’s peak minutes as happens each morning – so I had plenty of slow time to tune in and listen. Frustratingly however, it turns out the station is not local, and the frequency of the station is very close to another station – which was determined to ruin my concentration by cutting in and out. As I was driving along, trying to listen to my God station, I realised this was the story of my life.

Just like you, I have a voice of wisdom, reason, logic, common sense, knowing, intuition, God – whatever resonates with your personal belief system – but for the vast majority of my life, there is another frequency butting in and drowning out the word I want (and need) to hear. Sometimes the noise of the unwanted station drowns the other out completely – I know it’s there, but it can’t be heard. Sometimes the station appears clear as crystal. Then it goes again.

When the radio station tunes in nicely, there’s a sense of peace and acceptance – and enjoyment that the voice I want to hear is coming through loud and clear. The rest of the time, there’s utter discord and the stress becomes overwhelming. The temptation to let go of searching for that disappearing frequency is really strong – it’s far easier to tune into the intrusion, as it becomes stronger and clearer. To give up on the station I want, and go with the one that’s easy and comfortable.

This is the voice of insanity.

My Christian friends call it the enemy. I call it the eating disorder voice – I don’t know where it comes from as I’ve listened to it prattling away for half a century and it’s only quite recently I ever even noticed another voice hidden in the background.

Tuning in to the voice of God is no mean feat. What does that even mean? Any one of us can talk to ourselves to the point where anything is acceptable and logical, but that’s the deceptive voice. To muddle through a decision and come to a real knowing of it’s rightness, requires not just self-knowing, but external validation that your thought processes aren’t just coming up with good excuses to do whatever it is you probably shouldn’t do.

I am not schizophrenic – and for that I’m grateful. I have enough problems and schizophrenia would be a biggie. But I do have long diatribes with myself that almost always end up leading to some kind of ineffective, destructive behaviour. Naturally I spend a lot of time wondering why I’m such an idiot, but my radio experience, of two competing stations drifting in and out, making it impossible to concentrate on the preferred station, gave me the insight to realise there’s a lot of external noise inside my head, and that finding recovery – especially long term recovery – is going to be completely dependent on tuning in to both voices, and gradually turn the good voice up and the bad voice down.

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