I remember hearing voices and seeing shadows everywhere I went. Creatures of my mind. As a child, I was confused and scared of the hallucinations I was experiencing. They would tell me that the world would benefit if I was no longer around or that I should harm someone just to protect myself. By the time I started the fifth grade, I experienced my first complete psychotic break.
One day at school, I became overwhelmed by the visions of shadow-like figures beginning to surround me. I felt so conflicted on what to do, it felt like all eyes were on me and everyone was out to get me and that I must protect myself. My teacher called the school guidance counselor and school police officer to calmly get me out of the stall. They are going to kill me. I told them from behind the stall that the shadows and the man the name of the voices I heard was telling me to hurt others and myself.
It took the police officer telling me that no one was coming to harm me and that I am much safer with him than alone by myself. I was transported to a nearby hospital where I met my parents. We together spoke to crisis intervention about the symptoms I had been experiencing and the next steps to take as a family.
My parents talked it over with the interventionist and everyone agreed that I needed to stay inside of a hospital environment until I was better. After a week of being in the psych hospital, I began to improve.
Schizophrenia - Types of Schizophrenia - Symptoms
My anti-psychotics were increased but I still was experiencing hallucinations and paranoid thoughts. The first time I heard my new diagnosis I was in family therapy at the hospital. The psychiatrist diagnosed me with early onset schizophrenia at the age of In fact it is not uncommon for people with schizophrenia to be attracted to join church communities. Usually this presents no real problems but sometimes disturbed behaviour will become a real challenge for the congregation and church leaders alike.
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The person may attempt to preach or chastise members of the congregation or become otherwise disruptive. This presents the community with a real problem. How do they continue to offer help and support to someone who is clearly very ill and in need of help whilst at the same time maintaining the dignity of their place and practice of worship? Members of the clergy rarely have any training in mental health and often struggle to cope with this issue. This Information Sheet deals specifically with the phenomenon of religious delusions in schizophrenia: a phenomenon that can cause people with schizophrenia enormous suffering.
But if religious delusions are a bad thing generally for people suffering with schizophrenia what about religion in general? Is it good or bad for people living with schizophrenia?
In fact there is now a considerable weight of evidence that points to religious and spiritual belief as being a broadly protective and positive factor for people living with schizophrenia and we deal with that subject in our Information Sheet. Like most of the other delusions and hallucinations that people suffering from schizophrenia experience, the mainstay for treatment in the NHS today is medication with one of the antipsychotic medicines.
There are however a number of different antipsychotics available to the doctors and finding the right drug for the particular person can often take some time and considerable patience. Talking treatments such as counselling and psychotherapy will also help and there is now an increasing recognition of their efficacy within the mental health field. However, the relief of the symptoms is usually only a part of the recovery process.
For someone who has suffered from religiosity, which was so very convincing whilst they were in the middle of their psychotic haze, the process of sorting out the delusional thinking around religion from the more rational can be a long and difficult process of self-discovery. To return to a more sane structure of religious beliefs and values following a period of intense religiously-based irrational thinking is extremely difficult. It often takes many years for the person to work this through and to finally come to an arrangement with their maker that reflects more common approaches to religious belief.
At this point the clergy and church leaders can play a vital role with guidance and support. Mohr S and Huguelet P, , The relationship between schizophrenia and religions and its implications for care, published in Swiss Medical Weekly. Living with schizophrenia was set up by people who have direct personal experience of the condition using their own personal funds and relies on donations to continue its work. We do not get grants from any public body or commercial organisation: we rely on people like you supporting our work.
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Specific brain systems are involved in bipolar disorder versus schizophrenia
Contact Us. What are religious Delusions? Suicide Posted December 05th, New Booklet for Doctors Posted October 03rd, Homelessness Posted July 05th, After that, I had to relearn how to look at people and to walk the streets in the same way as other people do. It was hard because I was still fighting my delusions and was ashamed of what had happened to me. But slowly, within weeks, my rational thinking and determination brought me out of my previous frame of mind. My sense of humour helped too, in tackling the embarrassment of returning to places where my psychosis happened.
For that quality, and for all of the strengths that enabled my recovery, I am very grateful to my upbringing, and to my wonderful family, friends and therapists. Before I came back to SFU, where I was studying at the time, I flew back home to recuperate for the summer, and got excellent care at the Centre for the Treatment of Psychosis, where I received help from a psychiatrist, psychologist and cognitive therapist.
I think all of these things have been an important part of my recovery and my ability to self-manage, and I would recommend them to anyone. Sign up for our various e-newsletters featuring mental health and substance use resources. Get help now. Main menu I am here to support I am here to support myself I am here to support someone else.
Religion and schizophrenia
My Personal Experience From my personal experience of psychosis, I found that the turning point in my hospitalization came at a time when I was thinking that I could not trust anybody, that everybody wanted me dead, and that there was no other escape other than suicide. Footnotes: Chapman, R.
Mowbray, et al.