Dear Dr. Archer,
The reason I'm writing to you is because, to be perfectly honest, I do not want to go to a psychiatrist. I've never been to one, but I need to know if what is happening to me is normal.
I've always heard voices in my head, but more often there's two! One is a woman who, though I don't understand what she says, she is whispering a song, and it's a white voice.
The other is a brown voice. This is an angry, mocking man. Sometimes the woman and man are talking to each other, but I cannot understand what they're saying, but what I do know is that they are mocking me. Don't ask me how I know, but I know. I also know their color!
Often I see people, too. They're thin and distorted, with big ears, eyes or noses. I know they're not real, but I can see them so clearly! Then, after a while the visions will pass. Also, sometimes I will be in a certain position and then after a while, I realize I'm in another place, and I don't remember how I got there.
Sometimes I will repeat what someone else has said or did, and it will make me laugh. Almost always I can easily change the mood from one moment to another, and I feel like my life is as unreal as a lie! Sometimes all of this scares me, and that's exactly what scares me!
Whips and noises scare me, but I guess this is just part of my life. I hope you understand me, because I'm from Venezuela and I don't speak English very well. Please reply, Dr. Archer. I'd like a psychological view on what I am experiencing.
Yes, I understand you perfectly. There are eight traits that I talk about in my new book and what you just described, I call magical thinking. It's the most misunderstood and the most difficult to describe of all the traits. With great intuition, imagination and high intelligence, the magical thinker adds so much color to the world for the rest of us.
Artists, writers, athletes and a whole range of vocations are populated with magical thinkers. The extreme for the magical thinking continuum, when the trait is ‘superdominant’, is schizophrenia, and there is nothing good about that. But from your letter, it sounds like you are functional and that is not the case here.
Of course I can’t diagnose you over the internet so here is my advice: If your symptoms are not keeping you from living your life the way you want to, then seek to make the most of them. However if they are causing you great distress then you need to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation just to make sure this is not a developing psychosis.
Channel your energies in a positive way, Carli, and you will do very well in life. Let that imagination of yours work for you; you can actually make life better for many.
The key is to focus on positive thoughts. For example you can use your imagination to turn that mocking brown man into a happy, silly, positive character that not only won’t bug you but could be fun.
Here are some of the good aspects of magical thinking: you have a very creative and imaginative mind, full of inspiration and innovation; once you're able to put that creative mind to work to your advantage, Carli, your higher-than-average IQ will kick in.
Also, as a magical thinker, you have uncanny intuition and can read other people's intentions very insightfully. Not only do you have more of a feel for what's right, but your timing is right, too.
You have great faith -- not only in something bigger than you are, but also in others when you can pick up the right vibe. When you start learning how to let your magical energy work for you, you'll have faith in yourself as well, which is the best faith of all.
Another thing to keep in mind is to not be afraid of telling others about these things. You’ll be amazed at how many folks have magical thinking but are afraid to talk about it. So embrace these symptoms and see how it goes. Send me a follow up email in a couple months and let me know how it’s going. All the best, Carli.