I have a question for you guys. How do I tell if I really am becoming religious or if I am developing a harmful delusion?
I went to church yesterday with my parents and I really enjoyed the sermon. The preacher seemed really interested in teaching rather than just repeating “Jesus loves you” over and over for an hour. The responses (the preacher says something and the congregation answers but the answers are all in the program so there is no thinking involved) and the hymns were a little annoying but overall it was a pretty good experience.
Now here is the problem: I’m thinking of becoming a minister. From when I was little until I went to boarding school that seemed like a good option. I prayed often and attended church. HOWEVER it was when I went to boarding school that I got the psychological help I needed. My severe depression when I went off to school (it might have been situational depression) lifted until I was diagnosed with sz my senior year and when it came I got help. One of the things that my pdoc told me was that you can get so depressed that you get psychotic. More than anything I think that I was using religion as a crutch. I was praying for God to kill me, believed I was damned and had sold my soul to the devil, but no “I am Jesus” delusions.
My question is am I a Christian who went through a period of doubt or am I starting down a destructive path again? I was severely depressed and suicidal since the first grade and didn’t get any help till I went to boarding school for high school. I don’t really believe that “Jesus is with me” or “God loves me”. I don’t really feel like I rely on them much but I feel comforted now, somehow, after that Sunday. Part of it might be that I know if I were to see Jesus face to face, like if I dropped my shopping bag and he helped me pick up my things, I wouldn’t recognize him. I’ve never met him. How can I say I know someone I’ve never met? I believe that the divine spark of goodness that Jesus advocated (or maybe embodied) would be in the stranger that helped me but as far as any recognition beyond that I highly doubt would happen.
I also believe in free will. When people pray and thank Jesus for the firefighter who rescued their kid I’m somewhat annoyed because while somewhere in that complicated web of events (the firefighter looking in the right place, the roof not falling in on the kid before the firefighter could rescue him or her, the firefighter being brave and running into that building, ect) the firefighter was involve somewhere in that too. Jesus didn’t risk his butt running into that inferno. He might have helped but the firefighter was the one who put his booty on the line and he deserves credit too.
So the question is am I really starting to becoming a Christian again and feeling a “calling” (for lack of a better term) to join the ministry or am I getting sick/self destructive and need that crutch again?
The only thing you’ve said which sounds odd is you want to be a minister, not an ordinary Joe in the congregation.
If you are stable on meds I would say it’s the calling. If you are unstable I don’t know what to tell you. You will have to pray about it I would think.
Think it’s a very complex, personal & individual question as to what is healthy vs unhealthy religious belief/practice.
When we have had psychological/emotional difficulties, i think it’s very natural to question all these areas.
An older but very interesting book is ‘Exploration of the Inner World: A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience’ by Anton T. Boisen - He went through his own severe psychological breakdown & then onto full recovery & life as a minister. There are many such stories.
My own path with it all has been to explore, read, research & look into many different areas of spirituality, comparative religion, psychology, philosophy, all sorts. But i no more really have an answer than anyone else. Feel you need to follow your own path, intuition & what you truly feel is right on it all.
You don’t sound delusional, but then you’d be the best person to determine that. Taking life changing decisions is always tricky. I think the best thing to do is wait… If it’s a true calling it won’t fade quickly, and just see where you stand in a week or two.
When I get “the connection” to a higher being my pdoc say it’s a delusion. If meds take your connection away then it was a delusion. If you still have the same thoughts…go for it!
I have never heard a doc say if you get really depressed you can become psychotic so that’s a new one I figure you just have depression and your belief system is pulling you out of it. No you’re not delusional.
If your spirituality enables you to accomplish more and makes you more stable, you probably shouldn’t lose sleep over it. You need to start worrying when, the more religious you become, the more your day-to-day function declines. That’s easy enough to keep tabs on by having a support network of people in place who are not afraid to be honest with you if they see you drifting back across the line to dysfunction.
My 2 cents.
What a way for all of to feel that we don’t really have sz.
i was diagnosed with psychotic depression at one stage - But it’s all very wishy washy anyway - is it not?
From the mouth of the horse. This is taken from the page http://www.chastitysf.com/bipolar2.htm#DT, which is a catholic page about mental illness.
If your faith makes you more kind and toleraring of others . it is genuine
Always ask yourself if what you believe God wants you to do, is according to the ten commandments.
Doing gods will doesnt mean doing whatever you want.
I personally had to admit that my belief in God was partly a delusion. So you might benefit from reading that page.
The reason I want to become a minister is to teach, not really so much Jesus and God (at least as people which I think many people have turned them into) but as more ideas I guess I would say. That God is more of a divine spark- something that causes you to see someone in line who can’t afford their food because they don’t have enough money and buying at least some of it for them if you have enough. As the courage to tell the other kids stop when you see them bullying someone. Or something like that. I haven’t really put together what I’m thinking really.
But what really appeals to me is being paid to help other people. Lending a kind ear when it’s needed, going and giving communion to a shut in because it will give them peace of mind and help them not feel alone, visiting the sick and reminding them that no one has forgotten about them or at least just make them smile.
And I’ve heard a lot of cruddy things about being a social worker like burn out. I think that the sz might make me more vulnerable to that.
More selfishly I really like “preforming”. Getting up there and making people laugh (or at least smile) and hopefully think a little too.
Dunno dude. Sounds like the recovering alcoholic who wants to work in a bar, for most of the same reasons you gave.
I like intervention too but I’ve learned most from those who didn’t embrace me. You gotta grow as a person and some people do it to feel good you know that’s all cool and everything but I’ve always admired the person with the good job a nice home and happy kids.
Maybe a bit of both?
Im a psychotic maniac but the value system that I was introduced to has kept me from acting on my psychotic mania.
Being payed to help others would be cool but beware to not link your personal beliefs with Christ.
Look at all the different denominations that claim Christianity yet they make up their own guidelines for being a Christian.
That’s EXACTLY what the Bible says about the end times, it says that people that think they are doing God’s work are actually condemning souls to hell.
May God Bless you and I wish you well for your efforts.
My personal opinion, for what it’s worth, is that no, you don’t have a calling to the ministry. You say that, "“you don’t believe that Jesus loves you”, and you also say that, “you have never met Jesus.” I’m sorry but, this does not sound like a true christian, let alone a possible future minister. Pick another career!
This is from the link posted earlier. I think it’s good advice for the spiritually inclined —
"So, how can you tell if your spiritual aspirations are genuine or if they are merely defensive? Well, the only way is to look for their fruits.
If your spiritual aspirations produce socially beneficial qualities in you such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then they can be considered to be something more than a mere psychological defense, and they can truly aid your healing.
In contrast, if you are overcome by qualities such as impatience, distractibility, impulsiveness, demandingness, conflict, discord, and scorn for others, then you are growing weeds, not fruit, and you are on a collision course with a devastating breakdown."
After school I fell ill with sz and for three years I did nothing, I was too sick. Then my mom and her church prayed for me and I got better. I thought God healed me and so I wanted to serve Him, so for five years I pursued the vocation of being a nun, I tried various convents, and ended up entering one and stayed there for four months. I really felt called, and I was off my meds for almost four years at that time without much problems. Then I left. Within two months I converted to Islam and pursued another religious path. The year after that I married and then shortly after that my sz came back and I had to go on meds. My delusions and my religion were not related, I didn’t have religious delusions, they were more personal. So my religion and my sz aren’t really linked, just that having sz makes it harder to practise religion.
I admit my schizophrenia at times seems like god is testing me, but we know he is testing all of us, and everything is for god. this whole planet and everyone on it can dedicate their minds bodies and souls to jesus, and he would lead us toward redemption. we would still have to pray and basically society would be improved if we all obeyed the 10 commandments. that defines all the sins we’re capable of. if you notice all the commandments, theyre defined with two or more people. so we must guard our hearts and not trust tooo blindly in secular society.