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Scary Coincidences - Really True, Demonic Issues Or Mental Illness?


rachel15
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I posted here a long while back, because I've had a mental illness and had been a Christian for over 10 years.  I'm in a mess. 

 

After I posted here someone contacted me (who shall remain nameless) on this site to offer for me to have contact with a Christian who had experience of deliverance and mental illness (if I remember correctly) who might be able to help me.  Me being Mrs Gullible, thought that God was reaching out to me through this person.  To cut a long story short, it ended up with me coming back to church, back to a belief in God, but also I've had several relapses of illness (with a demonic/devil/religious component), and I reconnected with my Christian friends.  Fast forward to now, the mental health symptoms worsened with blasphemous/bad thoughts - hearing voices including one which definitely seems to be demonic. 

 

I've prayed quite a bit and went through a phase when answers to prayer seem to come in very definite ways - this deepened my belief that God is real and that Jesus Christ is real and that God wanted to save me but that there was a battle for my soul.

 

However, at the same time it seemed my thoughts were worsening that I couldn't control.  On top of this I had some really scary coincidences (which I'm too paranoid about to write down - but basically unless they happened to you, they might just seem crazy - but they really happened and it wasn't my imagination).

 

I know that I need help.  I've considered suicide.  I'm really worried about the implications of everything - I think that I have lost my salvation and I worry what this means not just for me, but for my family.  

 

I can't seem to switch off this obsession with being saved and with facing up to losing out.  On top of this, I am a person who likes to please other people I suppose and I really have opened up to a couple of Christian women and have been very friendly with one.  I have hardly any other friends.  The Christian woman who I've been very friendly and close to, of course is going to think I'm a complete nutcase and reprobate if I tell her now that I've had to step back again.  Only the other day I was at her house crying in her kitchen because I genuinely felt really sad about sinning.  The thing is that I have felt really bad about doing things that might offend God, but at the same time it seems that God is someone who has wanted me to do something that I've found almost impossible to do - which is to TRUST in Jesus' sacrifice for all my sins and live in the ASSURANCE that he is saving me.  I've prayed for assurance and it hasn't come.  How can I TRUST someone who is invisible and speaks only sporadically.  Why can some other people trust and have assurance? 

 

I guess basically I've got stuck - if God has rejected me, then that leaves me with the devil.  That's the problem that I've got at the moment.

 

I don't know even if posting here I'm posting to the 'wrong people' - not meaning to cause offence - but this is how deeply entrenched things have become.  I really feel that I am in a no-win situation.

 

I guess I'm hoping that someone might be able to relate to what I have written.  I don't know if I'm being really stupid writing this down, but somehow I've got to live and reason this thing through. 

 

On top of this I've had other strange experiences when I've worshipped - one time feeling as part of my body was being covered by something, other times I've felt a pushing down. 

        

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I've just realised that my post just shows how crazy things have become. I'm going to see if I can get a referral to a psychologist on the NHS - please wish me luck. Failing that, I'm not sure what I can do.

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Hang in there. Get that referal, and make sure its to a non religious one. I don't really have any advice, but I wish u the best of luck!

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I've just realised that my post just shows how crazy things have become. I'm going to see if I can get a referral to a psychologist on the NHS - please wish me luck. Failing that, I'm not sure what I can do.

 

Good on you!  I'll echo what others have said about avoiding "christian counseling"  --  but then,  I generally advocate avoiding any serious conversations with christians/clergy if they can be avoided!    Why further torment ourselves?   

 

Talk, vent, rant and rave around here anytime you want.,  First and foremost, take care of yourself!

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You need to address the mental illness, not religion. Gods and devils aren't real, mental illness is.

That sounds so simple and really calming to think of things like that. The thing is that I am suspecting that the mental illness is actually driving me towards religion at different times - which does make me thing of the demonic as it really is like something takes over and that's when I get strange thoughts and odd coincidences. At those times I start thinking about God all over again in an obsessive way, or worse the devil, and where I fit into the world. There doesn't seem anything much helpful in the way of mental health treatment apart from drugs so far.

 

Thanks to everyone who's replied. With all this happening, I've been becoming scared that I will be shunned as its such an antisocial obsession, as well as the obvious fears of hell.

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I'll echo what every one else has said. The best thing you can do for yourself is to seek help from a medical professional. Medication and therapy will help more than prayers and church. Believe me, I know from personal experience. 

 

When I was in high school my parents were attending a non-denominational church. We had gone there for some time. We soon became friends with a family who had two brothers. The oldest was schizophrenic, Jamie. Against the wishes of his family the assistant pastor convinced Jamie to go off his medication and trust in God. Now, keep in mind that without medication this guy is severely schizophrenic and only functions through careful observation from a psychologist. A few days go by. Late one night the police are called to their home. Jamie had had a violent episode. He attempted to ax murder his parents who survived by hiding and then running to a neighbors. He was detained and eventually given medical treatment. He's fine now, with no thanks to the assistant pastor or church. How far did trusting in God get him, then?

 

The second example I have is my own. Though you are getting the short(ish) summary. I've been an atheist for about five years now. I was raised Christian my whole life. I went to Christian schools for my brainwashing education. Church camps, youth group, bible studies, mission trips, concerts, speakers, conventions etc...I was heavily involved in church and the culture. During this whole time, I was battling severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Sometimes things would seem to get better, and then it would come crashing down. Or so it seemed at the time. During this whole time I prayed and prayed. I wanted to be happier and have some direction in my life. People and pastors prayed for me. Nothing seemed to work. I was always sad, always depressed. Like I said, I've been an atheist for some time now. Yet I was still in a crushing depression. My girlfriend of eight years is a licensed therapist and clinical supervisor. You'd think her help would be the fix it all, right? The problem with depression is it skews your entire thought process. No matter what people said I interpreted it through a filter. During this past year things got worse. I began having severe seizures increasing in frequency. I was diagnosed with epilepsy. While trying to find the right medication the depression got worse, and worse. Suicidal thoughts began to bubble to the surface more and more. It all came to a head with a suicide attempt. Luckily, I have a good girlfriend. I was committed to a medical ward for help. The right medication was found, and coupled with therapy, it worked wonders. Were my problems fixed instantly? No. But it gives you the tools and opportunity to get better.

 

You need the right tools for a job, right? Say you want to mop your floor. Are you going to get very far trying to mop with a toothbrush and a cup of water? Prayer and religion are the toothbrush. Medical help is a brand new mop and bucket. 

 

With the right medication, therapy, and an honest effort your life can get better. Don't pass your problems on to a god. That is just sweeping things under the rug. Doing that means you don't get to the root cause. Seek the help of people who are qualified to help you. Doctors, nurses, psychologists and therapists are all on your side. They are the ones who do the real work. They are qualified and educated on how to help people like you, not some idiot clergy member, or even well-meaning friends. It can be scary, because you'll have to face some pretty big problems. Issues of the mind are physical problems. Wiring and chemicals in the brain can do some weird things sometimes! Praying and seeking help from some faceless and silent deity isn't going to do anything; plenty of others have already tried. With a 0% success rate in dealing with mental illness why not drop the religious path and try something with a better success rate? Honestly seek out some help from the medical community, you'll be surprised. 

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Diagnoses and treatments for mental illness are sophisticated enough (barely) to help you. Allowing your thoughts to play out in contexts of biblical theater are amplifying your problem. It sounds like you might be dealing with some form of schizophrenia with the voices.

You will not want to accept just one diagnoses from one doctor, you should see 2 or 3 doctors (including at least 2 non-christian doctors) and cross reference their diagnoses. Choose which doctor you feel best with and work out a medication protocol. They should be able to help you with the voices. I strongly urge you to avoid a christian doctor who may continue to set things in the Devil vs. God context, which you need to dispell if you're going to improve.

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Diagnoses and treatments for mental illness are sophisticated enough (barely) to help you. Allowing your thoughts to play out in contexts of biblical theater are amplifying your problem. It sounds like you might be dealing with some form of schizophrenia with the voices.

You will not want to accept just one diagnoses from one doctor, you should see 2 or 3 doctors (including at least 2 non-christian doctors) and cross reference their diagnoses. Choose which doctor you feel best with and work out a medication protocol. They should be able to help you with the voices. I strongly urge you to avoid a christian doctor who may continue to set things in the Devil vs. God context, which you need to dispell if you're going to improve.

The last diagnosis I had was schizoaffective disorder, but I personally feel that this is incorrect and think its more akin to schizophrenia - although not as severe as some people get. Although some of the things that have happened to me have really made me think very strongly that I've got one or two actual demons.

 

I just contacted a local psychologist but she admitted that she's a Christian, albeit with a small 'c', but straight away I thought that we wouldn't be a match. She's mentioned another psychologist to me who specialises in CBT so after the weekend I will try and contact him.

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Although some of the things that have happened to me have really made me think very strongly that I've got one or two actual demons.

 

You think that BECAUSE of the illness, not because it's a possible or even probable answer.

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You do not have demons, my dear. You have chemicals mixed up (or missing altogether) in your brain. I hate to tell you, but you are going to need some drugs. If done correctly, they can really help.

 

I fought that route for years with post partum depression. I tried all kinds of nutritional avenues, supplement regimes, exercise, acupuncture... you name it, I tried it, and tried it whole heartedly. (I stuck with everything but medical help / drugs, since I had tried one and it had made me much worse.) I finally found a supplement regimen that helped big time (like maybe 75% better), and I thought I had eveything under control. (I was taking handfuls of stuff every day for years, but it was helping, better than nothing for sure.) This was four years post partum, and by then it was just plain old depression, I suppose. (At least I was sleeping, which had been such a problem during the infant year-and-a-half.)

 

During this time I was over-extending myself at church. I gave everything and then some, and I never felt like it was enough. I was never good enough, never practicing enough, never bending over backwards enough. (Those people were evil political assholes, using and abusing me... which I see now. They had no concept of Christian love, fairness, compassion, conflict resolution, nurture... nothing.) I was never sure of my salvation, never sure if I had enough faith, never sure if God loved me. It was tough to keep it together. Everything that went wrong, I played over and over in my head. Constantly. Every waking moment I thought about church stuff, and the drama, and the way I was treated, and why certain people said or did certain things, and why this and why that, and why God this and why God did not handle that, why I wasn't good enough, why I wasn't sure of my faith and salvation. It was constant noise in my head. Constant. Every. Waking. Moment. Constant.

 

So anyway... After four years of self-management, I got a rib out of place, and the chronic pain over several weeks made me lose control of what little I stability I had. I finally went to my doctor for some pain medication and anti-inflammatories, hoping to ease the rib back with those drug aids and my usual exercise, stretching, etc. The doctor is very sensitive to my approach (nutrition, etc.), but when he asked me straight out if I was feeling sad or depressed, my lip got quivery. He asked if I had ever heard of Cymbalta. I burst out crying, because yes, those commercials say, "Where does depression hurt? Everywhere." And I thought they are so right! (That's probably a dead giveaway for the doc, wouldn't you say?) It's a drug that helps with chronic pain and depression, and is different enough from the first one I had tried (with terrible results), so I agreed to try it for a month. He gave me a free sample. Thankfully, three days after starting the pain meds and the anti-inflammatories, my rib finally popped back -- so that pain and physical stress was gone. I had to go back to the doctor two or three weeks later to make sure I was better and not worse with the Cymbalta (suicidal tendencies with those drugs are a serious side effect). I asked my husband if there was anything he had noticed from the outside in those weeks, that I should share with the doctor. He said, "Tell him I love him." (The doctor said, So... I guess it's helping.)

 

The noise in my head was gone. It was not voices, like you describe, just constant thinking the same things through over and over. I was free of that nonsense. I finally quit the church stuff. (It took about another 18 months to deconvert, which was the final light switch being clicked on in my brain! I was free from the guilt and self-doubt and feelings of abandonment from God.) I got medical help and got the fuck away from the church drama (did I mention they are assholes? yes, I think I did) and away from the religious agony (did I mention guilt and self-loathing? yes, I think I did.)

 

Long story short: get professional help, do not be afraid of the drugs, and get the hell away from church specifically and religion in general.

 

You can get better. You can turn off the noise. The sun will shine for you again.

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Sorry to read about your problems. Christianity certain can create a lot of problems.

 

I guess basically I've got stuck - if God has rejected me, then that leaves me with the devil.  That's the problem that I've got at the moment.

 

 

 

Let me give you something to think about. The devil as you know him is also a creation of Christianity. If you study up on the Jewish view of the devil, you will find that he is nothing like what Christianity portrays him to be. Just to be clear, I'm not saying that the Jewish view is correct - I'm just saying that while Christianity claims to be built on Judaism, it certainly is nothing like it. The idea that you are on one side or the other is just another silly Christian idea, because black and white, all or nothing thinking is what Christianity is. 

 

I have come to view this all metaphorically. God is to good what Satan is to evil what Santa Claus is to the spirit of good will at Christmas time. None of the three literally exist, but are mythical creations since we humans seem to need attribute humanness to everything. When you leave the "good God" of Christianity, then you are also free to leave His "evil nemesis" behind also.

 

Hoping for better days for you.

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Rachel, I was just thinking you might not want to rule out psychologists simply for being Christians.  It seems like it makes your pool of choices smaller, and it's more important to find somebody you trust.

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Rachel: I had some bad experiences with Xtian psychologists. Obviously, I'm not saying that all Xtian psychologists are inept, but I do say that to the extent they stick to Xtian beliefs in their counseling, they can make matters far worse. One mistake I believe they make frequently is in marriage counseling. I have a friend who had a husband who had some mental illness of one sort or another which was creating chaos in the marriage. One morning he refused to let her go to work, or leave the house for any reason. Her minister told her that as a christian she was bound to stay with her husband, period.  Fortunately she did not take that advice. She got divorced and went on with her life.

 

The point is, sticking to 2000 year old (or older) scripture with its archaic ideas is not the way to counsel folks in the 21st Century. I advise you to go very carefully about seeing a Xtian counselor. If you decide to do so, drop him like a hot potato if he/she starts trying apply scripture as an answer to your issues.  I wish you the best of luck.  bill

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Hi Rachel, I'm so sorry to hear of the suffering you are having to endure. It is a truly awful place to be in, I know as I have been in a similar place myself. When I became a christan at the age of 21 I already had mental health issues which were not being properly treated due to my fear of the mental health system at the time. I dove head first into christianity in hope that Jesus would rescue me. Before long I too was convinced I had demons and actually heard and saw 'them' at times. Of course the christians around me totally agreed with me and so begun my years of deliverance prayer and christian 'counselling'. This only made my illness much worse but the worsening of symptoms was seen as a work of the devil in a mighty battle for my soul. My christian psychiatrist at the time was in agreement with this 'ministry' so I was trapped, thinking I was receiving the best treatment while actually being abused. 

 

As people have wisely suggested it is best you do not have any contact with christians who want to 'help' you through religion. You have nothing to fear from god or the devil, no harm will come to you by withdrawing from christianity and instead seeking help through a competent psychiatrist and psychologist. It has taken nearly four years of medical treatment but I am really feeling a whole lot better and can now see just how damaging religion is to people, especially those who experience mental illness. I lived in terror of demons, of accidentally sinning and letting them have control of my life and I can now confidently say they do not exist. No harm has come to me since I rejected the christian faith, in fact I am doing much better and am still the same loving, compassionate person (who has many faults) that I always was. You are safe and have nothing to fear from the 'supernatural realm'. 

 

Please continue to seek good medical treatment. I know it is really scary putting your hand up and asking for help when you are afraid of disappointing god but it really is the best chance you have at finding some relief from the torment you are experiencing. Psychiatric medicine may not be perfect in any way, and it will probably take some time for the doctors/psychologists to get a good enough understanding of your situation to begin providing relief, but it is worth the effort and patience as there is a very good chance they will be able to help you find some peace in your mind and heart.

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After I posted here someone contacted me (who shall remain nameless) on this site to offer for me to have contact with a Christian who had experience of deliverance and mental illness (if I remember correctly) who might be able to help me.  Me being Mrs Gullible, thought that God was reaching out to me through this person.  To cut a long story short, it ended up with me coming back to church, back to a belief in God, but also I've had several relapses of illness (with a demonic/devil/religious component), and I reconnected with my Christian friends.  Fast forward to now, the mental health symptoms worsened with blasphemous/bad thoughts - hearing voices including one which definitely seems to be demonic. 

 

 

It really annoys me when Christians come here to prey upon people who just left the faith.  That is the reason I debate with Christians in the Den.  I want all to see how stupid this crap is.

 

Rachel I wish you the best of luck with your struggle with this medical problem.  I use to think that demons carved scratches into my skin while I was sleeping.  Demons are not real.  My problems were caused by my religion.  I hope you find peace.  

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Hi Rachel, I'm so sorry to hear of the suffering you are having to endure. It is a truly awful place to be in, I know as I have been in a similar place myself. When I became a christan at the age of 21 I already had mental health issues which were not being properly treated due to my fear of the mental health system at the time. I dove head first into christianity in hope that Jesus would rescue me. Before long I too was convinced I had demons and actually heard and saw 'them' at times. Of course the christians around me totally agreed with me and so begun my years of deliverance prayer and christian 'counselling'. This only made my illness much worse but the worsening of symptoms was seen as a work of the devil in a mighty battle for my soul. My christian psychiatrist at the time was in agreement with this 'ministry' so I was trapped, thinking I was receiving the best treatment while actually being abused. 

 

As people have wisely suggested it is best you do not have any contact with christians who want to 'help' you through religion. You have nothing to fear from god or the devil, no harm will come to you by withdrawing from christianity and instead seeking help through a competent psychiatrist and psychologist. It has taken nearly four years of medical treatment but I am really feeling a whole lot better and can now see just how damaging religion is to people, especially those who experience mental illness. I lived in terror of demons, of accidentally sinning and letting them have control of my life and I can now confidently say they do not exist. No harm has come to me since I rejected the christian faith, in fact I am doing much better and am still the same loving, compassionate person (who has many faults) that I always was. You are safe and have nothing to fear from the 'supernatural realm'. 

 

Please continue to seek good medical treatment. I know it is really scary putting your hand up and asking for help when you are afraid of disappointing god but it really is the best chance you have at finding some relief from the torment you are experiencing. Psychiatric medicine may not be perfect in any way, and it will probably take some time for the doctors/psychologists to get a good enough understanding of your situation to begin providing relief, but it is worth the effort and patience as there is a very good chance they will be able to help you find some peace in your mind and heart.

Thanks for this, it helps to hear of someone who might have had some similar experiences and who's come through the other side.

 

To be honest, I have been thinking today that my mental illness and the theme of God/the devil and good and evil began in childhood.  I went to a Sunday school briefly and at the time I was being verbally/emotionally abused and rejected at home.

 

I posted another thread asking if anyone had been to see Marlene Winell - I'm thinking of signing up for her Skype group because hardly anything seems to be available for me to go to locally. 

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I have had no experience with Dr Winell so I cannot give an opinion there. I can imagine it would be helpful while also working with people in real life. Along with appropriate therapy, I think an evaluation with a psychiatrist would still be of benefit to you. Is there someone with the NHS nearby, even if you have to wait a little? A psychiatrist is also the best person to run any therapy options by. Right now I still see my psychiatrist monthly, and my therapist weekly as even though I am doing very well compared to where I used to be I could easily spiral down without the support. It took me about three years to find the right psychiatrist (I certainly hope it is not the case with you) but it was worth hanging in there and persevering as I am still amazed to find myself feeling content. I had lost all concept of living without depression and/or anxiety. I have been with my therapist for three years. I saw many before but he is the first who really gets people who have experienced all sorts of childhood abuse and other repeated traumas. He is also experienced in the damage of religion and was a christian himself so that was very helpful too. 

 

My point is be patient and keep looking for good, professional support that you can afford. You live in Sussex so there should be some good options within an hours travel - although I am not living in Britain so I could be wrong.  You are worth fighting for. I wish you all the best.

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I have had no experience with Dr Winell so I cannot give an opinion there. I can imagine it would be helpful while also working with people in real life. Along with appropriate therapy, I think an evaluation with a psychiatrist would still be of benefit to you. Is there someone with the NHS nearby, even if you have to wait a little? A psychiatrist is also the best person to run any therapy options by. Right now I still see my psychiatrist monthly, and my therapist weekly as even though I am doing very well compared to where I used to be I could easily spiral down without the support. It took me about three years to find the right psychiatrist (I certainly hope it is not the case with you) but it was worth hanging in there and persevering as I am still amazed to find myself feeling content. I had lost all concept of living without depression and/or anxiety. I have been with my therapist for three years. I saw many before but he is the first who really gets people who have experienced all sorts of childhood abuse and other repeated traumas. He is also experienced in the damage of religion and was a christian himself so that was very helpful too. 

 

My point is be patient and keep looking for good, professional support that you can afford. You live in Sussex so there should be some good options within an hours travel - although I am not living in Britain so I could be wrong.  You are worth fighting for. I wish you all the best.

Wow - that's really great that you see a psych once monthly and a therapist weekly - it kind of makes me realise what huge odds i'm up against though as there's no way that I would get that level of input from the nhs.  I've been trying to fight to see a psychologist for about two years and my community nurse just fobs me off over and over again and asks me 'what do you think will help' because she's working to the 'recovery model' where a service user is meant to fix their own problem.  I suppose its no wonder that I've been struggling for so long. 

 

I'm thinking of trying to arrange something privately - but I'm on benefits because I don't work so its not going to be easy to afford it.

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I'm seeing drs in the private system but they have reduced their fee due to my low income. The public system can be tough here in Oz too. For me the help from the public system flooded in after I was admitted to hospital but I chose private as I had insurance and preferred the choice of dr. The cost is tough on a limited income and does reduce your options. Good luck. :)

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