No Human No Cry

A True Story about Paying the Price of Liberty in the First World

Blue Fog, Bright Flashes and Mysterious Voices

October 2020

– I am going to...

What? I wasn't able to hear it. I heard only the beginning of the sentence. It wasn't a familiar voice.

– ...you need to...

Weird. The voice faded away as soon as I got interested in it and tried to hear what it was saying. These were the only part of the sentence I was able to get a hang of. It was a very low and morbid male voice.

I was also able to hear another female voice. Both voices were echoy and creepy. It sounded like they were arguing with each other. Or something.

I turned my head in order to hear where the discussion was going on. In a way I was supposing that the origin of the sound is somewhere in the block of flats I was living in. Maybe there were people talking next to air conditioning pipes. Or something.

No matter how I spinned my head, I had no clue where it was coming from. I definitely heard it. They definitely weren't my thoughts, coz I heard them and wasn't able to hear clearly enough to hear full sentences.

I walked to another room. The same weird phenomenon was continuing still. What the hell. This all really must be happening in my head. Oh shit. Did I get schizophrenia? I have a few friends who began to hear voices after working a lot for extended periods of time. Yes, this must be it. Can it be reversed? Is schizophrenia permanent?

I got so worried that I got as alert as human can be. No matter how sleep deprived I was, now I was completely awake. I opened my web browser and Googled: "voices in head schizophrenia". The first results matched with my primary fears. I opened the first one with title "Do I Have Schizophrenia?"

Luckily the webpage had some good news for me. Hearing voices might not always mean schizophrenia. It can be explained with auditory hallucinations which can be caused by prolonged stress and sleep deprivation. The phenomenon is called hypnagogia.

I really did hope it is hypnagogia. Hypnagogia happens normally when going to bed and part of the brain has difficulties getting into sleep state. I wasn't really going to sleep yet, but I had been so deadly tired for months that similar situation could perhaps be caused if half of my brain was having unattended sleep.

Maybe there were some sleeping processes in my brain going on and some of that data got in my brain's auditory cortex which brought them into my consciousness. It would make sense. It definitely would make sense. That's how hallucinations originate in the brain. This was just auditory hallucination.

I had experienced hallucinations before. The first time was when I was 15 years old and I stayed awake for 3 days just for fun – just to try if I can do it. At some point I was able to see my friend Otto talking with no sound. And then I was able to hear his words when he had already stopped talking. That time I also saw a Mickey Mouse peeking behind the corner. I knew that it was Mickey mouse because it was very colorful, and the surroundings were very dark and grayscale because it was night. And I knew Mickey Mouse definitely doesn't exist. There was no difficulty to figure out that this is not real.

Another time when I had hallucinations was when I was bicycling with Obadja, and we were trying to bike 300 kilometres in 24 hours. During the last 50 kilometres when I was biking behind Obadja, I began to see colorful stripes or beams coming out of the rear wheel of his bike. Once again, it was easy to distinguish the products of my brain from the reality. It was rather funny than scary.

This time the distinction was very difficult to do. When having visual hallucinations, they are still outside of your head. When having auditory hallucinations, it happens inside of your head – which makes it also scary. And it is something that sounds like schizophrenia which far from a joke. At least now I understand my friends a bit better. No need to wonder anymore how it feels.

Interpreting these weird sounds as hallucinations would also explain the blue smoke that I was seeing all the way when driving 300 kilometres from Rautalampi to Kouvola in the night after holding a course about video production. I paid attention to that weird light phenomenon that I wasn't able to explain. I thought it might be just smoke that reflects and refracts the moonlight in a very unordinary way. I also had lately been seeing bright flashes when I closed my eyes when falling to sleep. They were very disturbing and I knew that they were caused by using stimulants that I used heavily in order to stay awake to get my work done.

I noticed that I didn't hear the sounds anymore. It was a good sign. Maybe getting alert stopped the sleeping processes in the brain and made the sounds go away. But I wasn't sure about that. The articles I read from the almighty internet suggested to contact a doctor. Well, I think they would tell me to sleep anyway. They would just order me to have a sick leave which I wouldn't be able to have anyway. So I just texted to my colleagues in our WhatsApp group.

– Could you guys do a few tasks for me today. I got auditory hallucinations and I hope I don't have schizophrenia. I really need to sleep to prevent this state from getting chronic.

It was 6 AM and Rietu had already woken up. She studies psychology, and texted me back.

– I would take this very seriously. It sounds like postpartum psychosis which develops often to women after giving birth due to massive sleep deprivation. It can develop into schizophrenia. We will handle the day.

I was so thankful to have so good team, which consisted of Rietu and Samuel. There was still 2 months before the end of the year which means the end of all projects I was working on. I closed my laptop lid.

I also told Jaana, the CEO of Tamora Oy, that I need to have one month break in January 2021 and my services won't be available. Otherwise I might not work again. Ever. I have seen what can happen in worst case scenario. She understood the situation right away and there was no problem. She is smart.

– From now on, I will never work this much again, I promised to myself.

Never again.