Continue the Conversation: Eleanor Longden

In another addition of Continue the Conversation, we go to Eleanor Longden’s TEDtalk about the beginning of her schizophrenia which was prompted when she first began college.

Longden’s talk explains her struggles as a freshmen in college when the voices started, innocent enough as just narrating her life. As they increased, not only in numbers, but in what they said; she was encouraged to reach out for help. The voices weren’t the only change she noticed, but when she did mention the voice the doctors she spoke to sat up and took notice. As more voices began to speak to her, they encouraged her to do things to herself so that she would be deemed ‘worthy’ of their help.

In a desperate need to get rid of the voices, Longden attempted to drill a hole in her head to stop her mental decline.

Though, she dealt with a lot of abuse during her darkest days, she said that those memories pale in comparison to the good days. She holds on tightly to the people that helped her become a survivor, instead of focusing on those who attempted to drag her down. They helped her realize that the voices were the result of traumatic events that had occurred to her during her childhood, and were an insight into solvable, emotional problems.

She began to decipher the messages the voices were telling her, and began to have positive reactions to them. Instead of the negative ones that resulted in self harm, and isolation. The voices took the pain that Longden had been suppressing, and gave them voices.

Her personal mantra is, in psychiatry, the question should not be ‘what is wrong with you?’ It should be ‘what’s happened to you?’

After overcoming the voices in her hand, Longden earned a master’s degree is psychology, and lectures and writes about recovery-orientated approaches to psychosis, dissociation, and complex trauma.


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