voices: symptom of illness – or creative, ingenious survival strategy? Eleanor Longden

Eleanor 1Eleanor Longden’s TED talk has been viewed by more than three million times in the ten months since it was published. [2.5 million views at TED.com site alone]

If you’ve missed out you can see and hear it here.

Eleanor tells her story of how she started to hear voices when she went away to college, found it wierd but un-troubling and “oddly companionate”,  “mundane”, until she told friends and they told her she must see a doctor – and the doctors and told her she was ill, and :

“you’d be better off if you had cancer , it’s easier to cure”

[odd eh? how doctors make something they don’t understand all about what they can’t do for you?]

Eleanor  goes on to tell of how she found others who supported her and helped her make sense of her world and to find her way. One doctor, when they met and she had introduced herself in the way that many patients are trained to do:

“I’m  Eleanor, I’m schizophrenic”


“I don’t want to know what others have said about you, I want to know about you“.

Eleanor’s talk was also nominated as one of 2o online talks that may change your life by UK’s The Guardian newspaper.

You can hear Eleanor Longden talk more, and in person in Toronto at the innovative mental health conference- Psychosis 2.0 – Friday 13th June 2014.

This graphic is from TED.com  site, summarising some of teh many memorable phrases from Eleanor’s talk


Despite what traditional medicine may opine, Eleanor Longden isn’t crazy – and neither are many other people who hear voices in their heads. In fact, the psychic phenomenon is a “creative and ingenious survival strategy” that should be seen “not as an abstract symptom of illness to be endured, but as complex, significant, and meaningful experience to be explored.”


TED.com – Speakers http://www.ted.com/speakers/eleanor_longden

Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-512716/The-terrifying-ordeal-brilliant-student-started-hearing-voices-fell-abyss-insanity.html




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1 Response to voices: symptom of illness – or creative, ingenious survival strategy? Eleanor Longden

  1. jennydevildoll says:

    I’m fine with them unless they’re being mean or possessive.


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