Hearing Voices Versus Arthritis: Which Is Worse?

June 8, 2023 Elizabeth Caudy

Which is worse, having really bad arthritis in my knees or hearing voices? I don’t know. They both stink, and I’ve suffered from both. Not that rank needs to be pulled, but maybe I’ll figure out which one is worse--or which one I can cope with better--by writing about hearing voices versus arthritis.

Hearing Voices and Arthritis Have Made Me Leave Parties

I’ll start with hearing voices and then look at arthritis.

I was plagued by hearing voices for decades--from the onset of my mental illness to a couple of years ago when a medication change made them finally go away for good. I would often have to leave parties in the middle of the festivities. The worst thing was that I would often have to leave the Renaissance Faire. I looked forward to it all year, and it would be cut short by those voices.

With my arthritis, I can’t even go to the Renaissance Faire because I can barely walk. It hurts to walk. It hurts a lot, and the pain is getting worse. I am consulting a doctor about surgery, something you can’t do to treat the voices.

Yes, my schizoaffective voices went away because of a simple medication change, even if it took me and my doctors decades to figure it out. I mean, it seems simple, looking back on it. All we did was adjust my mood stabilizer to a therapeutic range; before that, we had to figure out that I needed a mood stabilizer in the first place. I had a doctor who wouldn’t put me on one because she was convinced I was schizophrenic, then a new, better doctor had the insight that I had schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Hence, the mood stabilizer.

Visible Arthritis Pain Versus Invisible Voices I Heard

Cut to my arthritis. I’m going to need double knee joint replacements. That’s major. I am honestly so scared. But my arthritis means that when people see me walking with a cane or a walker or sitting in a wheelchair, they get it. It’s a visible disability, one people can understand, and they don’t fear me. When people found out I heard voices, often they would assume I heard what is called “command voices” (voices that would tell me to do things). People thought my voices told me to do bad things--even kill--and they feared me. As I said, no one fears a woman in a wheelchair.

It's hard to talk to my family about whether hearing voices were worse than arthritis because they weren’t the ones hearing the voices. Another strike the voices have against them is that I never knew when they would hit. I have good days and bad days with my arthritis, but at least it doesn’t pop up out of nowhere.

I am so angry I could cry that I have arthritis. I do cry about it. It’s taken a disastrous toll on my mental health, especially since it occurred only about a year after I got rid of the voices. It’s like I can’t catch a break. Which is worse, schizoaffective voices or arthritis? It felt good to write about, but I honestly can’t answer that question.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2023, June 8). Hearing Voices Versus Arthritis: Which Is Worse?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

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