Schizophrenia Stories

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 1)                                   OVERCOMING SCHIZOPHRENIA

 

INTRODUCTION

For the last 18 years (only by the grace of God) I have managed to subdue the symptoms of schizophrenia and gain control over my life and mind.  I am presently 36 years of age with a loving wife and 9-year-old daughter.  I’ve been able to work the entire 18 years even through 4 major attacks of delusions and for the l 9 years I’ve been working as a mechanical engineer with a professional registration (P.E.)

CAUSES/SYMPTOMS & TREATMENTS

Some of the major symptoms I have experienced have been perceptional difficulties and voices.  ‘Voices’ is a poor word to use for this Symptom as very few people who are diagnosed as hearing a voice actually hear a voice; it’s closer to being addressed by your own thoughts in the 3rd person and believing that these thoughts originate from outside yourself.   Whether or not these thoughts come from evil spirits (biblical definition) or a biochemical imbalance makes no difference to the person experiencing these symptoms because the effect remains the same. These voices and perceptional illusions can intrude upon the conscious mind and make it difficult to live.

Perceptional illusions can affect your consciousness, feelings, and senses. Many people (including myself) experience a “driftiness” in their consciousness, which effects their concentration.   Sometimes the emotions can become erratic with no logical cause.   I get flashes of anxiety, guilt and fear or a confused mess of all of them at once.   Some of the sensational reactions can be the hardest to ignore especially when one of the voices claims to trigger them.   The worst thing you to do in these cases are to fight these illusions and lies on their own level (i.e. return violent thoughts, feelings & emotions for the same), one must “overcome evil with good” or the victory won’t last very long. The big question is “what is the how” behind this verse from the Lord.   How do you displace bad thoughts with good thoughts, bad feelings with good feelings or, and most important evil spirit with good spirit.   For those of you who are turned off by religious vocabulary just replace the words evil and good with sickness & health or life & death, it won’t change the reality of what is happening by the words used.

To claim there is an exact how, formula, or method in how to accomplish a victory of good over evil would be lie. The only how is in how we ask the spirit of truth to enter our beings and set us free from whatever from of emotional, mental or spiritual oppression we may temporarily be faced with. “YOU SHALL COME TO KNOW THE TRUTH

AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE” is a promise from someone who does not lie, so if when we ask GOD to help us with some problem and we don’t think we received a answer, maybe its because we did not take the time to hear the answer or receive the grace that would set us (or the person we may be interceding for) free.

The biggest trigger of schizophrenic symptoms is a destructive degree of stress.  Not all stress is negative; a certain level is necessary for us to function in day-to-day living.   One of the greatest problems in dealing with schizophrenia today is the label and the failure on to emphasize the normalcy in experiencing a moderate degree of stress.   Many individuals have been conditioned (not intentionally) to be scared to death of stress, which of course only leads to more stress.   A normal degree of fear, anxiety, frustration or insecurity, when looked at through the eyes of someone who has been labeled mentally ill, can be misinterpreted as symptoms of their disease.  It’s very important that the degree of the stress or suspected symptom be measured before worrying about experiencing an attack of mental illness.   Identifying with the label of the mental illness (schizophrenia or maniac depression) is a pitfall that can inhibit the healing process.   Any psychologist will tell you that you should never call a child stupid as the child may begin to believe that he or she is and will act accordingly; but they have nothing against charging people 15O.OO bucks an hour to figure out which name should apply.  When someone says “ I am a schizophrenic”, they are identifying themselves with schizophrenia and they affirm the disease.   Where as the person that says “I sometimes experience symptoms of schizophrenia” is indicating that he or she is not always bound by the disease and has not given up their identity to the disease. This may sound trivial to some people.   But the disease is both mental and biochemical and words do influence our state of mind and we need to be careful of the words that are used.   Another problem is in feeling trapped by the negative feelings, thoughts or stress being experienced and losing hope.   The “why try, what is the use, nobody cares, I tried a little and it didn’t work”, all this kind of thinking and the feelings that go along with them must be recognized for the lies that they are before you start to believe these words and become bound by them.   The biochemical imbalances in the brain that may be contributing to the negative states of mind can be overcome with good states of mind or more importantly with the grace we receive through prayer.   I have had days where I was totally filled with negative thoughts and feelings but I always knew these states were only temporary because I knew where to go to escape these states.   There is healing power that is available to us all if we only have the faith to ask for it “ask and you shall receive”.  Then, and this is the hardest part, to wait, wait and patiently wait until you receive it in the stillness of your soul.   If you aren’t a Christian and don’t recognize the name of Jesus as Lord, I don’t believe God will cut you off from his healing power.

The biochemical treatments that exist today consist of conventional medication, ortho-Vitamin therapy, and abstaining from wheat, corn and dairy products.   Medication is the most widely accepted and little needs to be said except that you cannot expect it to do everything and people who do receive only a partial healing. I don’t condone that patients should dump their medicine down the sink as an act of faith, just that we should never give up the ultimate goal of being free from the need for medication.   Any attempts to wean someone of medication should be monitored by a professional.  I take medication on an as needed basis, like aspirin, only because over the years I have developed awareness for the symptoms and can start up on the medication (and other treatments) before things get out of control.

Ortho-Vitamin therapy has also proven to be an effective treatment for both others and myself.   Timed-release niacin, B-complex and vitamin C are the normally recommended treatments and I seldom miss a daily dosage.   More information on these treatments can be obtained from the Huxley Institute for Biosocial Research (with a chapter in Boca Raton) or the Schizophrenic Association of Greater Washington D.C. They can give you accounts of numerous case histories that support Vitamin therapy.

Watching what you eat, especially wheat, corn and dairy are another effective, but not widely accepted, therapy that can help.  Research and studies have shown that 95% of all schizophrenics have food allergies to wheat, corn and dairy (ref; Brain Allergies by Philpott & Kaiita, The Psychonutrient Connection).  By staying away from these foods, I have observed a direct reduction or elimination of symptoms.   Various qualified doctors can test for these allergies and prescribe specific Ecological-Orthomolecular treatments (see the above references for a list of doctors).

The most effective treatments for me have been prayer, meditation, and relaxation.  If my stress level or symptoms start to grow out of control I know I need to spend more time praying and meditating.   The first thing to do is find a quiet place, be very still, and reach out for the healing power of the spirit with your feelings.   If you are really stressed out the first thing that may happen is an increase in anxiety.   Don’t get impatient; this is the first step in releasing your negative feelings to the spirit.   As time goes on you may sense warmth that will start working on whatever negative emotions or symptoms are giving you a hard time.  Allow your body and mind to rest in this warmth (or maybe stillness), but don’t always expect an immediate release from your negative state because healing can take time.   It may, at times take days to notice a substantial relief.   The important thing is not to give up waiting, expecting and hoping.   After you experience the process a few times you’ll become more aware of the reactions, sensations and feelings that are associated with the spirit and it will be easier to observe as it goes to work on your negative states.   One difference I have observed is that the awareness that I associate with evil and negative mental and emotional states are more self centered than the good positive energies associated with the spirit.   The negative feelings draw me into myself but the positive feelings and energies expand my awareness level making it easier to care, love and relate to those around me.

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It is especially hard to relax when experiencing racing thoughts, which lead to confused states of feelings and emotion if not checked.    By focusing the mind on one word and repeating it over and over in the mind, (slowly), you can stop the racing thoughts.  Choose a word that counteracts the state you are praying to be released from. For example, if you are suffering anxiety, try using the word “easy” or “calm”.   While repeating the word to yourself ask the spirit, with your feelings and desire, to empower the word so that you can feel the spirit of Christ, that is beyond the simple good words, fight off the negative feelings and thoughts (overcome evil with good).   This is also effective in displacing illusions and auditory hallucinations.   The mind may tend to wander, but if you are persistent you will notice an improvement. This type of praying has seen me through the worst states of schizophrenia.   People who have never had a problem slowing down their mind at the end of the day will look upon this kind of praying as ludicrous or senseless vain repetition.   It can turn into vain repetition if you forget the goal, which is to enter into that one on one personal communication with the Holy Spirit (beyond words) that protects us and gives us hope.   Some forms of meditation can lead you in the wrong direction and need to be avoided, but this is another topic of its own.   Some circles within the church have thrown out the word meditation and classified those types of meditation that are acceptable and safe as contemplative prayer or centering prayer.  Some churches have workshops leading people through centering prayer, which is similar to that discussed above.  Quiet, non-verbal prayer is one of the best ways to recharge your spirit, and it would be sin if this type of prayer was confused with something else and thrown out as a evil.

When you start to sense the Holy Spirit working away’ at the symptoms don’t make the mistake of giving credit to the process of prayer instead of the spirit itself. The process of   prayer includes any words, songs, or readings we may use to worship the spirit and ask for its assistance.   These are techniques of communication and not the source of healing. We must approach the spirit with a childlike attitude or it just doesn’t seem to work as good. “UNLESS YOU ENTER AS A CHILD”, “NO MAN CONTROLS THE SPIRIT, IT COMES AND GOES AS IT WILL”, “APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING”, are several verses that come to my mind when I get carried away with the images, thoughts, feelings and sensations that are associated with the power of the spirit instead of the sprint itself which is the source of all these things that are necessary for us to lead full lives.   Its been my experience that the power of the spirit is strongest in the silent prayer that displaces all the words, thoughts, negative feelings or evil that stand between me and the kind of life that Christ would have us all experience.

Getting through the bad days can be the hardest part of the healing experience. We all have days when we suffer, and the Lord never promised to totally free us from suffering (in this world) but he does promise us life and freedom. He promised to displace all the evil or negative things within us (fear, guilt, confusion, jealousy, hate, anxiety ect.) by grace with peace joy and longsuffering. But moderate degrees of suffering when looked at through the eyes of someone who has experienced mental illness can be seen as a real threat.   Will I sink deeper? Is it happening again? Am I losing control?, are the types of questions that can enter the mind of someone who has been conditioned to fear normal stress.    One of the verses that has helped me through the bad days is to remember that the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak”.   I try not to let the anxiety, fear, pain or other negative sensations I may be dealing with to touch my emotions or thoughts. When I look at these states as simply physical sensations that are temporarily attacking or bothering the flesh they lose allot of their effect. But sometimes being human suffering does touch our feelings or our thoughts and we have to deal with these periods in our lives, just remember that these negative states can never destroy the spirit within, your free will, or your willingness to keep on trying. If these states do touch our feelings, we always have the free will to think good thoughts, which in time will lead us to the spirit of freedom that is promised to all who ask.   Never define the spirit in terms of your feelings as these can be affected by negative sensations.   We do respond to the spirit with our feelings during worship, living and loving but the spirit is still above all these things and is our refuge, protection and source of strength when in trouble.   If you define the spirit as simply another human feeling or emotion where will you turn when these physical feelings let you down?

PERSONAL CASE HISTORY

My first attack of schizophrenic symptoms occurred when I was 18 yrs old and after being hospitalized for about 3 1/2 months I was finally released back into society. They had me on very high dosages of thorazine which turned me into a walking zombie, until I was moved to a state hospital after the insurance money ran out where the dosages where reduced and my condition dramatically improved Within 3 weeks after being admitted and talking to a lawyer about bringing my case to court they decided I was ready for society again. It’s taken me a long time to forgive but never agree with the way. The conventional Medical establishment treats schizophrenia pumping people with large dosages until their money runs out).   I tried to tell them various times that the small dosages would work better than large dosages, (I escaped three times, I should have cancelled my insurance policy) but nobody would listen. Now they have gone to the opposite extreme and just dump them on the street, unless of course they have good insurance.

‘Since that time I have experienced 4 major attacks and several minor ones that have interfered with my abilities to focus on living, loving, and working. I was capable of hiding the symptoms and maintaining a sense of normalcy even though my thoughts were out of control, enabling me to survive in the “normal world”.   Only on three occasions did my employers notice such a change that my performance was questioned.  Once on oil boat where I was almost fired, but I experienced a healing in time to avoid any additional scrutiny.   I was praying for relief from the symptoms when suddenly I experienced a wave of heat that totally wiped out the symptoms within about 5 minutes and allowed me to go about my duties, which only the day before I was incapable of doing.   The other two occasions occurred in the navy and while working as a engineer where I required a few days off work to do nothing but pray, worship and meditate which eventually cleared up the conditions. My standard line when approached by an employer was to explain that I was having problems with migraine headaches, which is true as my attacks and auditory hallucinations were always accompanied by the severe headaches, which make it hard to think or concentrate.

Prayer, medication, diet and vitamin therapy have seen n through all these attacks, along with the daily support from my family, which can never be measured.   I used to wonder why God would send me healing grace to free me from these symptoms, and then allow them to return at a later date but the why me type of thinking just wasted time that could be used for more productive pursuits.  This type of thinking needs to be resisted in order to receive the grace and healing when it does come, or you could end up like, a schooner on the sea when the wind comes without your sail up.

My spiritual life took on a new dimension when I started to pray and worship with a prayer group. The amount of time and prayer that was required to receive the grace that set me free from the migraines, confusion and illusions was dramatically reduced.  I was still having problems with migraines and confusing thoughts at this time but when we started to praise and worship I could feel a warmth that would lift away the pain, negative feelings and thoughts in a instant when it used to sometimes take days of praying on my own for the same thing to happen.   I started going to a prayer group after one of the prayer teams prayed over our family.   I didn’t really trust these people, especially as they started to pray in tongues  (which sounded like allot of mumbling at the time), but I knew the healing warmth and energy of the Holy Spirit when I sensed it and it was strong here (Saint Rita’s church) so I came back for more.   It took me quite a while to feel comfortable with these people as I have always had a fear of coming across like a phony holy roller without substance, but I had no problems getting used to the spirit that started to flow as we prayed.   The migraines and negative states still came back from time to time so I asked for prayer.   A healing team prayed over me about once a week for 3 to 4 weeks for this problem.   On one of these occasions as I walked in the room

One of the members of the team said she could sense that I had a headache and she was right (this is called a word of knowledge) and as they started to pray over me the warmth of the spirit lifted the pain as it usually did, but this time one of the members (the same one) started to proclaim that I had been healed.  I didn’t recognize anything special about this time and none of the other members confirmed her proclamation so I wondered if she was just having an emotional reaction to the spirit.   But as time pasted my faith in that proclamation grew.   It’s been since 1989 and no migraines or the intensely negative states (i.e. illusions, out of control thoughts & feelings) that came with them have been experienced.   I still have an occasional headache (not migraines) and even racing thoughts but not to the degree that it interferes with my ability to do a full days work or blanks me out while driving, (I totaled the car once and came within 6 inches of being seriously injured).  I no longer have that deep-rooted fear that the symptoms would someday become so bad that I can’t work or support my family.

I have experienced a healing that started the first time I was attacked with schizophrenia at 17 and reached a critical point the day my healing was proclaimed. The tools of this healing have been medicine, diet, mental discipline, prayer, and faith in Christ (not just my own).  I still have things in myself that need to be worked on but I believe the hardest part is over. Why some healings occur in stages and others all at once, I don’t know.  All I can say is that Jesus does work in the Father’s own time and if you are one of those people who feel the Lord has abandoned you please don’t give up asking, praying, hoping or just plain enduring.  It took 18 yrs for the spirit to set me free from the worst symptoms of schizophrenia and I know there is more freedom and growth to be gained for both anyone and myself who hopes and strives to believe.

 

Someone who understand                                                                Written in 1989

                                                Update; 2004 still fine, Age 50, daughter 23

                                                Thank You, Lord

 



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