The Elusive Voice of God

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Looking back, I now realize that God has been silent in my mind for a very long time… years, in fact. I have heard God’s voice before in spirit, and I know my Lord’s voice. However, it is apparent I don’t know them well. I’ve been deceived by a number of different spiritual presences since, and I suspect the most pervasive one is my own inner voice.

In June 2016, when I drove myself to the mental health facility to be admitted as an inpatient, I was following something destructive. I ended up writing a few hundred pages in my journal while I stayed there, which I am still not ready to review as of today. That spiritual voice led me down some very strange rabbit holes. This included taking on the identity of the Angel of Death, drinking from cups signifying various things including the tears of the saints, and encouraged the notion of soul mates.

However, in the process of all this madness, I had a profound moment of deja-vu. I cannot tell whether I was sleeping or awake, but I remembered with utmost clarity a religious experience I had in 2003 after I blacked out then. A few months later, this recollection precipitated a chain reaction in my psyche. Under the guidance of my therapist, I revisited many angles of these experiences in my journal and have begun the process of unraveling the twisted rifts in my mind.

Why, I ask myself, is God silent now of all times? I can only speculate. I trust God will make it clear when He speaks to me again and reveal himself when I am ready. He must have a lot of confidence in me to be silent while I sort out a magnitude of burdens with the help of my friends, family, and therapist. While these are burdens, they are also some of my richest blessings and provide me with much wisdom and understanding.

Whether you are spiritual or not, what are some tools you have for sorting out your mind?

-theothersid3

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Change

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So many things have been going on in my life… and much that I just cannot talk about anywhere but in my journals. God is making things happen around my friends and I. I don’t know where this is going, but I’m managing to stay sane throughout all these things.

If this were to happen to me a few years ago, I’d probably be in the hospital by now. I’m now strong enough that I can not only just stay sane but incredible things are happening in the process. I can be there for important people in my life and they are there for me.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m in a psychotic episode.

Only this is not psychotic… this is God working in real life. Through extraordinary circumstances, 2 of my closest friends met from thousands of miles away for 5 days and fell in love and now he’s moving here with me to find a place in my hometown!

I cannot talk about my side, yet. Not yet.

-theothersid3

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My Personal Battle Wounds

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In high school, I was really good looking and I could have almost any girl I wanted. However, I trusted God with everything back then. Then, my first psychotic episode happened along with a Bipolar I/schizoaffective disorder diagnosis. I started taking meds. I assure you, the trauma, the stress, and the meds all together caused me to gain a lot of weight. As a result, I’m fat now.

I don’t call them battle scars, but wounds that can heal. It’s been top 5 in my worst struggles in life I’ve ever had, that is, being fat. I remember how good it felt to feel good about my body and have all the energy and health and ability to do the things I want to do. Now that I’ve managed the trauma, the stress, and the meds, I sense a reckoning at hand soon!!! ūüôā

-theothersid3

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The Living Dead

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If it’s worth anything, after going through those vivid psychotic experiences I went through, I found the other side is a wonderful place and it’s intricately connected to everything here, now.

It’s not a matter of who ends up there or who doesn’t… it just is. We’re all part of it, whether we know it or not.

One¬†way I can describe such a perspective¬†is waking up in a dream and having that become reality, being awake and asleep at the same time… becoming the¬†living dead. The dream itself is nearly incomprehensible.

The living dead’s eyes are open and see what God allows them to see, never more than what we¬†can handle.

-theothersid3

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Slippery Slope Into Darkness

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So, how does someone with severe bipolar appear to become psychotic out of the blue? Does one typically snap into a psychotic state or out of one?

The answer my therapist gave me is true to my experience: No. Psychosis is a long, slippery slope towards falling over the edge, and recovery is a long, gradual, up and down slope out of the pit for acute psychosis. The trick I found is to learn how to catch it earlier and earlier to the point where I can maintain and not have to worry about it happening anymore. A significant part of staying away from psychosis as someone with schizoaffective/bipolar I disorder is staying on my medication, no matter how unpleasant the side effects can be. I’ve had two psychotic breaks: first was when I was diagnosed twelve years ago and the second one five years later when I stopped my medications.

What are some general things that go through my head when I’m psychotic?

Fortunately, I do¬†not experience anger or aggression for the most part towards anyone. The only way I can briefly describe it is that I feel like everything I can¬†possibly conceive of is¬†going through my head at the same time. It feels¬†like I’m transported to a different reality, which is a wondrous new place, or hell depending on what episode I’m talking about. With all this information overload, little details begin to form more delusions: religion, personal, ideas, world events, and reality itself all become torn open and full of mysterious riddles.

While all this is going on in my head, what do other people see?

I remember leaving my physical body and conversing with other people around the ward, conversing with patients and staff, and visualizing unimaginable things. However, my hospital records document¬†me sitting in my room those days scribbling away on papers about a girl I was obsessed with years ago at the time. I remember having glimpses of writing about her¬†in what seems like my subconscious. True reality was a dream to me and I was living in a dream (the kind I have when I’m typically sleeping). I likened myself to the living dead at the time, awake and asleep at the same time. My friend also visited me in the ward and he later told me that he could see it in my eyes that sometimes I left and came back right in front of him. When I came back, he pleasantly said to me, “Welcome back!” Then we’d converse for a few more seconds before I returned to my psychosis trip. The same would happen with staff as well – I faded¬†in and out and the staff were very excited to see me back when I came back, before fading again seconds or minutes later.

Another interesting note: as I fade in and out of reality, so to speak, what happens when I call someone on a cell phone? Well, I did… I called my friend, and I heard his voice loud and clear, then felt myself go to the other reality and all I heard was static coming through on my phone – with a full signal. I’d come back and hear his voice again, then fade away again. I wrote a post about this earlier.

I remember trying to tell myself and hearing other people tell me that all those experiences are in my head, and they may be. However, whether real or not, they are what they are. I’m not concluding that I merely sat¬†in a room as¬†an empty shell of a body working out my obsession with a girl in the hospital is the whole story of what happened there. There are many more precious experiences to be told.

Some day, I hope I can do justice to describing what it is like to go through a firsthand psychotic break. It’s like getting lost in a fractal without any reference points, then coming back out again and seeing everything so differently.

-theothersid3

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God Speaks to Me Pathologically

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Everything can be interpreted in my mind as spiritual, if I wish to do so. It could be God’s will that this timer went off on my phone right at this moment for a reason, possibly to call a girl I’m interested in, or a reminder from God that I’m loved by him. Perhaps the very numbers in the hour, minutes¬†and seconds in accordance with the date mean God’s trying to tell me to do something extraordinary¬†out of the blue.

Also, my disorder tries to tell me things as well. It really zooms in on seemingly insignificant details and makes them my entire world for minutes, hours, days, weeks, even months, years, a decade Рif not in the forefront of my mind then lingering in the background, always. When I throw the idea of demons into the mix, things just seem to escalate, even to the point where I was afraid to look at myself in a mirror for fear of terrible things happening to me when I do so.

What is real? Where has my foundation gone if God is speaking to me in ways that are pathological? Why when I pray does my mood fluctuate and God become so close yet inaccessible? How long will things be like this? Forever?

First, I ask myself… what is important? What is not important?

What IS important? The answer to this, I know, is different for everyone, but some things are universally the same. For instance, getting better is important. Surrounding myself¬†with people whom I love and trust is important. Finding out how to get better is important. Relearning how to become a happy, functional person is important. How does one get there? That is the journey. Embrace it, try not to dread it all the time. In the process of getting better, I have polished most of my life’s most precious gems and gone through the harshest of life experiences.

What IS important? Learn more about bipolar I disorder and schizoaffective disorder. Learn everything I¬†can about it from the clinical side and personal experiences I¬†can gather from people who’ve gone through it in books and conversations. This allows me to take ownership of my disorder and make it a smaller piece of who I am. When fighting mental illness, knowledge can have much power.

What is NOT¬†so important? The number one unimportant thing for me is proving to myself whether something of questionable origin or reality is real or not. It may seem important to know whether what happened was real or not. However, trying to prove or disprove what happened is moot. What happened happened. For example, I will go crazy if I try to prove or disprove the reality of that experience of the boy teaching me real magic in the insane asylum. If it’s not real, then I’m crazy for thinking it in the first place… if I focus on it being reality, I will be sucked into the world of seeking real magic and end up back in the hospital. Trying to prove spiritual or psychotic experiences are real or not real is a lose-lose situation. Instead, I see them as being there as valid experiences I had and set them aside.

What is NOT so important? God speaking to me literally in my thoughts, ears, events, or random associations. The real truth is expressed and lived out, not a revelation straight from God. Does God communicate through the Spirit like that on occasion? Most certainly, but not all the time, to the point where I feel the need to witness to every weary soul on the face of the planet or have a detailed itinerary planned out for every moment that changes in a second’s notice.

So, what do I focus on? I focus on what IS important. I set aside what I cannot handle to deal with later. I figure things out by writing it out in my journal, so I can lay it out in front of myself. I apply what I learn to my mind. When I get a handle on it, I can start living it out in the world.

My apologies for taking so long to write. I hope to write again soon.

-theothersid3

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Psychotic Gems

It’s hard to describe how I “got over” or “recovered from” my two breaks, because those words don’t do justice to what’s involved with completely losing one’s mind. It’s a process, though, that’s for sure.

One piece is to learn not to ignore the breaks themselves and not to obsess about them. Ignoring them without processing them or testing them against everyday life and reality will make them grow worse. Obsessing, on the other hand, will keep me from moving on and being able to separate my breaks from my everyday life.

Another piece is that I don’t want to discount everything I experienced as just something of the mind. Conversely,¬† I don’t want to hold everything I saw as absolutely true in real life. Approaching either extreme will cause great anguish and confusion.

In all things, have realistic expectations.

During my first break, I had crazy beliefs about the people around me. When I tested these beliefs against reality and everyday life, they did not hold up and my delusions began to break down.

Also, It’s hard to talk to people you have half-delusions about after coming back from a psychotic break. Talking with people I knew I could trust was very helpful in clearing up some of my delusions about people.

Some pieces of my breaks took a few years to unravel. An obsession over a certain girl was one of them. That took a 2nd psychotic break to undo the delusions there that happened, 5 years after my first one.

What of the other pieces? I look up into the sky and see a most beautiful spectacle. There are missing pieces which hide the most vital parts that bring everything together. I hold several of the pieces in my hand.

I then live every day outwardly as though I am ignorant. Inwardly, I spend some time in my private life figuring out how these pieces fit, both alone and with close friends.

The pieces I still hold in my hand are the cream of my own little world. The challenge to fill in the gaps will never end till after I die. While my psychotic breaks were fundamentally the harshest things I’ve had to deal with, they are also my greatest gems.