Thanks to Richard who provided this description of how metal helps him and his voices:
I hear about 10 voices on or off, though some are more dominant than others. I see my voices as being parts of me. Two or three of my voices, especially those that have got some pent up emotions, seem to get something out of listening to metal (so do I!), I don’t know why but it seems to calm them down. It’s good for the more ‘primal’ parts – certain parts that are not things that are talked about, and somehow metal seems to click in with those parts (e.g. angry, sad or frustrated). I like the beat, bass & guitar in metal music. I also find Air Guitaring to the music a good release & a way to channel pent up feelings. As a bloke I feel that you are taught from a young age that a lot of your emotions are ‘unacceptable’ emotions. Everyone has a darker side, and that’s not something that we are free to express. That music clicks with that, channelling it rather than in coming out in other ways.
Pop music can give the impression that there is this ‘ideal world’ that’s all about going to parties and socialising, having success with women; and I think a lot of people really struggle with that. My voices don’t really trust people so I find that stuff even harder – it’s like it feels that it couldn’t be any further away from my life. Metal tends to have different themes – the harsher realities of life, which is different to other music, it also often talks about mental health themes, and several songs directly mention voices.
The other thing is that you can talk to other people about it, so other people who appreciate that music, you can click with them somehow, you can have a normal conversation!
As a teenager I found it hard to connect to people, that’s when I started being interested in that kind of music, I started with rock, and then got into the heavier stuff. I suppose in a way I probably felt vulnerable, I was being bullied, I could connect to the lyrics. I can see some similarities in my youngest son who also likes that kind of music.
My voices and I will listen to different kinds of songs depending on our moods, and for various different reasons. It helps me to connect to some of my voices as I can pick up on the mood they’re in by what songs they want to listen to. We negotiate about what to listen to, they make requests, which is like honouring the different parts of myself. I don’t think it’s a complete cure, but it helps to aid recovery.
My personal favourite is Metallica, and each song has a different thing for me, so if I’m pissed off I might choose the heavier ones! Or if I feel alienated or left out it will be something like ‘Master of Puppets’. One of my voices who is like a protector, but can be angry and frustrated at times would choose ‘One’. Then I have voices that like happier music, not metal, and one that is a bit younger, like a teenager – he likes Iron Maiden! The voices all interpret different things from the lyrics of the songs, so it might mean something different to them than it does to me. It gives us something to talk about!!