I began hearing voices when I was eleven years old. At first I thought it was just the radio, although I was skeptical because of what they were saying, but it wasn't until I realized that they knew my name that I became even more suspicious. They would say, Ciarán's going to die. Or, its the end of the world and when God rewards the good and punishes the bad, Ciarán will be among those who must suffer for their sins. Then, as if that didn't terrify me enough, they would address me personally. You are going to burn in Hell.

I was deathly afraid of the coming apocalypse. And to make matters worse, the voices began taunting me even when the radio was off. I would be on the brink of falling asleep when suddenly I would hear, The smell of burnt flesh will plug up your nose. You're going to rot in Hell with the child abusers, rapists, and murderers. I prayed to God for forgiveness from my sins, but it was no use. He no longer loved me. It got to the point where I was so distraught that I couldn't pray. I felt so helpless and alone.

Even though I withdrew from my friends, nobody really noticed anything was wrong until my school work began to suffer. Mom and Roger kept threatening to take things away from me because they thought I was just being lazy. Little did they know that when I sat down to do my math or reading assignments the voices became so persistent that I had trouble concentrating. They were like insects crawling into my head and batting their wings against my skull. No matter how desperately I tried, I couldn't escape the impact of them. That's when I decided I had to tell somebody. But by then there was no turning back.

Not only was I having what they called audio-hallucinations, I was beginning to see things as well. Nothing too out of the ordinary. A shadow here and there where there was none. But like with the voices, it gradually got worse. The shadows began to take on the shape of people. Sometimes I would see demons or severed body parts. That convinced me that I had, as a matter of fact, lost God's love and was going to Hell. What was I going to do? How was I supposed to explain to my family who, although they weren't devout Catholics, believed in Heaven, that I wasn't worthy of such a place? I knew that whoever I told, it couldn't be them. I didn't know who else to trust. This whole ordeal was beyond anything I had ever experienced. I wasn't aware that there were other people like me, or that they could attempt to "treat" what I was going through by means of medication.

All I knew was that at the end of the night there was a strange voice telling me, You don't deserve to be alive. You're going to die a slow and horrible death.
Or worst of all, When you do die, it will be a great relief to your family. They don't love you. Nobody could ever love you.