Bowing with Desperation: A Sailor who Hears Voices

James is a loving father who proudly served his country. He has PTSD from his service and has experienced homelessness. He is currently sober and happily living his life helping others at the VA and as a star admin of two Facebook Groups, one for people who hear voices, and another for their loved ones.

I was about 8 years old when I heard something out of the ordinary. It was Christmas Eve and I woke up in the middle of the night and I heard sleigh bells ringing. I thought, “Santa’s here!!!!!!” and immediately went back to sleep. Throughout the years I have heard muffles in the back of my mind and I thought I had heard things, mainly voices.

It was shortly after I had gotten to Pennsylvania that I had my 1st real encounter with something that, to this date, I do not understand. I just don’t want to understand it. It is real but not real. What is this?

It was the winter time and I was at my brother-in-laws rental property by myself. One night, I realized I was not by myself, because I heard someone yelling in a cramped bedroom, I knew there was nobody there. But someone was there. I was then screaming out and screaming out and suddenly the words came out of nowhere as if I never heard them before. Because I have never heard of them before to my recollection.

I was screaming, “Why hast thou forsaken me!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!” and then I screamed out, “If you are going to ignore me then I will bow down to another!” I knelt on the floor and yelled out “Oh, Satanis” and what I asked for happened. But before that I looked and seen a transparent figure near the floor and it looked like Yoda. It just peeked around the corner. It wasn’t very tall. Maybe a foot tall but more a transparent outline in the dark. Hard to explain, but you get it if you went through something similar. That’s when my life changed. Many unexplainable things happened. Here goes everything but nothing.

Sometime in the mid 1990s around, 1994-1995, I was living with Mammy and Pappy Bennett and I had my second occurrence and first hospital visit. I though I was a junior detective solving some crimes from another part of the world. This girl was murdered and I went to the local police telling the detective I had seen things. The only thing I seen was my imagination but something happened that day which was a really big first.

After my visit with police I was emotional and went to the river and sat down. I was looking at the church across the river and suddenly it warped or changed into a leaning cross enclosed by a circle. That was the steeple. I was crying by this time and out of nowhere inside my head a bursting, resounding word formed and my eyes rattled and the inside of my head shook and I felt my body shake a little bit as the word was said in a voice like no other.

It sounded like many voices together in unison roaring out the word, “REMEMBER,!!” just like in the movie The Lion King. But with much volume on the inside of you. Once again. Hard to explain unless you have gone through it. Just a little while later, perhaps a day or so, I was admitted to Marion Community Hospital for a week. One of my first dreams while I was there was a cylindrical lightning bolt reaching its light out to me as I looked at it in the sky against dark clouds. I was waking up and was shaking as I felt something touching my head. I was dazed when I woke up.

Around March of 1997 I had another episode and another hospitalization but before that I was just out of a program at Catholic Social Services, which geared a person towards supporting themselves.

I started working at Montgomery Ward and lived in an apartment. The few things I had aside from clothes was a KJV version of a Bible which was given to me as a present. I found some things in the back of the Bible concerning different topics, I guess. Anyway, I would read a little bit of it. Very little. I was on my own for a little bit until I started dating a girl I worked with. That relationship would end though. I found something in the Bible I have not found in other versions. It quoted Jesus as saying “take care of this child as I would.” And when I did read that I was like thinking weirdly like as if the book were speaking directly to me.

Come to find out the girl I been dating was looking to move in with me but she had motives for it. Her sister was in trouble and needed someone to care for her children so the girl I dated stepped up. Our relationship didn’t last long though. Soon after we moved in together she moved out of the relationship in next door with her nephews. At work though, at staff meetings, it was said money was missing and the amount grew larger and larger each time we had a meeting. It was said close to a million dollars was missing. That was not my affair. Although the girl I dated took money and because we dated at the time I guess I was suspect.

My third ocurrence with voices happened and my next visit to the hospital also. It was at the time before we moved in together and I was in the loss prevention office of where we worked. I wasn’t myself. My mind was working overtime zipping through thoughts and trying to comprehend what I was doing there. I started freaking out when I was asked questions and I found myself taking my shirt off and dancing around in the office. All I could think of was TD period as in at The End of the Bible where it said, The End and period. All I know is I ended up in the same position as when I first bowed down under a desk with my eyes forced shut by myself and I was spinning but not spinning in my mind and I seen a fuzzy pink light and it warbled back and forth and the closest thing I could say to understanding is that I was floating toward that light. It was a pink hue and the start from the album 2112 but the star and circle were a pink hue. And I landed on it and thats when I heard a voice ask me…..”are you fucking with me?” It’s not the fact of the voice but the fact I felt someone grab my hair and was holding it while saying this and my response was…” no” and then something muffled and I asked …”what?” and soon found myself being touched and floated back to the office but the office didn’t move…..see what I mean?

The Voices told me not to ask questions. My eyes opened with the biggest buzzed eyes I ever had seen, people reaching out for me including, a woman police officer who later paid me a visit at the new apartment we rented together but she left. Okay I am screwed up. My visit before the hospital found me at the Scranton Counseling Center in a booth with some man. All he could do is stare at me. All I could ask for was a drink of water as I was very thirsty and still had eyes buzzing.

When they first put me on the stretcher before the Scranton Counseling Center maybe it was while I was under the desk and coming back. I seen a crucifixion and some place later out in some woods running. So in the hospital for a week and out and the girl I dated waited for me. Okay so we moved in together. She left and was dating some guy. One night they invited me out for a drink and I tagged along and they left shortly after one drink. I finished my drink and had another I think and headed back to the apartment. I didn’t bother turning on the lights and felt some kind of presence when I sat down. No words were said at that moment but I felt this sensation hanging around me and someone tugged my right ear and an external voice said, ”the word of the Lord is die.”

I then went over to the meds I had. I had some angry words going through my head. Opened both bottles as if to say I’ll show you. Swallowed both bottle contents and went up stairs. I got undressed and layed there naked under the sheets. I closed my eyes and a grey veil opened up and I felt myself floating. I was really buzzing now as medicine prolly kicked in. About 5 minutes into it I started crying out I don’t want to die and shortly afterward I leaned over the bed and threw up. Then I went to the bathroom and with diarrhea and my system was flushed out. I think it was around 2 am but I didn’t actually see the time but figured that was the time or around there. The next morning I woke up and headed out to work. People started looking at me. What I mean is people started to stare at me when passing by. I felt this sensation. Prior to this I had a bike and was out for a ride one day on a misty day and I had a sensation of some kind of cold fire on my forehead. This sensation I currently have is like a buzzing around my head just above my ears around my forehead to the other side around the back of it. I tried to describe it to the doctor when trying to get more meds but no avail. I also started seeing flashes of light of various colors also and just about 2018 it stopped. I see them once in awhile but not every day. Months can go by.

Soon I had gotten married and I would go to therapy and med visits but not really discuss what had gone on. Just talked about voices once in a while later on. Anyway, I started hearing voices and things would be said out of the blue in my head. Like one time I was going to the library and a voice said a scientific name out loud and it was so close I will say close enough. The scientific name turned out to be a flower indigenous to Italy which was very poisonous but in very minute doses used to treat mental illness.

One time I was back to doing junior detective work and it was when the beltway sniper was around and one time I had pointed to a map and thats about as close as it got to where they caught the duo. I was kind of upset as I told the voice there should have been some kind of reward and I said around 8,000 and shortly afterward my brother died so I was like….No more of that because I was fighting tooth and nail with the voices and still drinking. So that was just some of the stuff for awhile until 2011. The voices would say stuff. Way too much to remember, although the voice could prolly quote the 2nd word from the 10th day on the leap year what I said to someone. Perhaps I should have started writing sooner.

March 2011. The voices were hammering at me. I tried to keep cool but I ended up in the hospital but not until I had some things happen. I was close to only working where I worked at. Jobs around the farm were getting to be too much. My back was the excuse. 2011 marked almost 2 years into sobriety in March. Well a few months short. I had let the wood supply get really low. I had scraps in the woodstove and had a small flame lit and suddenly I was “buzzing” really hard and cried out, “Please let there be peace.”

I went to work and thought people were after me. I was really paranoid. I don’t know what happens but I was outside smoking a cigarette and the voices were speaking and I felt myself twisting around and I felt a difference in my chest. I told the boss I was having chest pains and a heart attack. Who knows what was going on. As I sat in a chair my boss was holding me and I smelled something weird like something burnt with a weird smell. I think the voice said brimstone. I was on the floor and I heard bombs going off and gunfire and I was holding the napkin I had on my cut and was willing it to “surrender.”

When I was in the ambulance the voice said you want to see him and my eyes were slowly peeking. I didn’t want to but my eyes opened and I seen a man sitting in the corner of the ambulance. He had a T shirt on and sweatpants. He had a wide grin, black, medium-length hair and was kind of portly. I closed my eyes and was soon at the hospital. I kept my eyes closed and could see different light. Sometimes it was orange and sometimes yellow or green. I was in and out of conciousness by this time. When they were taking me to the room I could hear raspy breathing. I opened my eyes reluctantly and saw I was in a hospital room. The curtain was drawn. I was soon discharged and went home only later that night I was taken to another hospital. Back to Marion community.

Before that happened, though, my mind was nowhere near normal. I don’t remember too much of how I got that way but I remember the voices saying they were coming. And I went overboard when the voice said, “Come out to the kitchen,” and when I turned the light on things went haywire. The voice had told me not to turn the light on.

At one point I was barricading myself with the kids in the bedroom and when the voices told me not to look around the corner I looked and I saw a fairy godmother all in translucent white light. It is the best way I could describe it. Once again, I went overboard with thinking and back in the hospital again.

In March 2016, I was at home and the voices and I were talking, as always before, and that one day I have been up almost all night. One note. Before going to bed one night I was woken up by my ear ringing so loud that I thought it was in the whole house. Anyway, the voices kept telling me to relax and breathe and I did this for hours. I went to work and I stood at my machine and like after all the hospital stays, I felt weird and the voice said, “Breathe. Breathe.”

I had been having so much trouble doing my job that all I could do was focus on breathing. My boss called on me and I ignored him as the voice said and just stood there working. It got to the point where my boss called my wife and I had my head down when she got there and thats when one voice said, “Kill him” and I froze and held onto the knife so hard that it took three people to get the knife out of my hand. I couldn’t do it. I had no thoughts. I just couldn’t do it. I ended up in the hospital again and one day had a call from my wife that my boss had to let me go. He considered me an insurance liability. I don’t blame him. Who wants a busted hearing voices guy who now is so tired. I can’t even tie my own shoes.

In, March 2019, I ended up being divorced but by August I had a new career. It was short lived. I was in Texas and working at the VA and I had voices but things were starting to get weird again. I checked myself into the hospital. After a week, I was back at work and after a week of different things happening, like talking to the neighbors door at 2 am, and whatever else I was experiencing, I ended up in the hospital again for 2 weeks this time. I experienced homelessness and later filed for disability. I then was a program focusing on independent living. I ended up in the hospital again for 2 weeks but It was mainly voices and hallucinations and weird thinking. A lot has been left out. The voices aren’t that bad. I guess they have to be from time to time. Today, I live my life with gratitude and I listen to and pray for others in need.

James T. Judge, Pennsylvania, USA


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