Many people in Eleanor Longden's life probably wouldn't have ever imagined she'd one day deliver an incredible TED talk that would be shared all over the Web. After a life of traumatic events led to her hearing voices in her head, she was — in her words — "diagnosed [with schizophrenia], drugged and discarded" by doctors who had only contributed to a worsening of her condition.
Anyone who has ever struggled with mental illness will identify with her struggle to overcome the stigmatization and the feeling of despair that's accompanied by the constant fear that you'll never get better. But Longden did. And she thanks the people who believed in her enough that they "empowered her to save herself."
She also discusses her perspective on hearing voices — one that wasn't shared by some of her doctors: "My voices were a meaningful response to traumatic life events, particularly childhood events, and as such were not my enemies but a source of insight into solvable emotional problems." She describes them as a "survival strategy — a sane reaction to insane circumstances. Not as an aberrant symptom of schizophrenia to be endured, but a complex significant and meaningful experience to be explored."
This eye-opening TED talk provides encouraging insight into not only what auditory hallucinations and schizophrenia may be like for patients, but also how mental illness can be successfully treated. Not to mention it's an amazing source of hope for those suffering from psychiatric conditions and feelings of helplessness.
Whether you personally have experienced mental illness or not, this is a video worth watching. It's remarkable people like Longden who are going to change how society perceives mental illness and how future doctors will treat it.