The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Dealing with Distressing Voices & Visions: Validation, Explanations & Hope for Schizophrenics

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Suppose you look down and you see a huge cockroach sitting on your abdomen.  The thing is twice as big as your foot and uglier than sin.  How are you going to respond to this situation?  You’re certainly not going to just stand there calmly.  You’re going to freak out.  You’re going to fly into whatever emergency responses feel most natural to you based on your temperament and your cultural upbringing.

Now suppose that no one else can see that big old cockroach except you.  How does this change your situation?  It doesn’t change a thing.  In the first place, you don’t realize that you’re the only one who can see the thing.  In the second place, you don’t give a darn about what other people do or don’t see because you’ve got a gargantuan cockroach crouching on your abdomen and who knows what malicious plans it’s cooking up? Getting that hideous monstrosity off of your body is going to be your number one priority, and based on the feedback your senses are receiving, it makes perfect sense to you to grab a knife and try to stab the thing to death.  Now because the cockroach isn’t really there in physical form, your knife goes right through it and you end up stabbing yourself in the gut.  But when the pain signals flood into your brain, are you going to realize what’s really happening?  No, because you’re out of your mind with panic at the moment, and you’ll mistake the pain for evidence that that huge ugly creature is starting to eat you.  So while you’re bleeding all over the place, you’re also screaming and waving that knife, and if someone else doesn’t rush to your aid and get that weapon away from you, you just might end up killing yourself.

In the world of mental illness, hallucinations abound.  What many people fail to understand is that the hallucinations are very real to the people experiencing them.  The second thing that many people fail to understand—even among trained psychiatrists and experts in the field—is that many hallucinations are not being manufactured by the human mind. Instead, the majority of them are being produced by supernatural creatures who have malicious intentions towards humans.  In our cockroach situation, for example, the cockroach does exist—just not in a physical form which all humans can interact with.  This means that it’s not entirely accurate to write the cockroach off as a hallucination.  Just because you can’t personally see something does not mean that the thing does not exist.

MULTIPLE REALITIES

As an individual human, your personal definition of reality does not come anywhere close to including all that is real.  For example, when you look around your room, you might see a bed, a desk, and a dresser.  So for you, the reality of the room includes these elements and nothing more.  But the truth is that the room contains far more elements in it than you personally acknowledge.  Covering your bed are countless microscopic critters who have a drastically different reality than you do.  To a creature who is a thousand times smaller than the tip of a needle, you do not exist.  Microscopic organisms do not acknowledge you as you—to them, you are only a type of terrain or a source of food.  They don’t recognize you as a person with thoughts, hopes and dreams.  So then, if some bacterium does not acknowledge the concept of a human, does that make your humanity a hallucination?  Of course not.

Who you are is not defined by another creature’s perspective, and the fact that another creature’s perspective greatly differs from yours does not make either perspective invalid.  It’s when we forget these things that we start slapping people with labels like schizophrenic, crazy and delusional.  In psychiatry, such labels are often used as a means of identifying people whose perspective of reality greatly differs from the view of reality which some group of “experts” has defined as “correct.”  But who can really say what the “right” version of reality is?  To the fellow with a huge cockroach sitting on his body, that cockroach is very real.  To the fellow who hears voices threatening to kill him or seize control of his brain, those voices are very real.  While you just see a crazy man walking down the street acting agitated and cussing out the air, if you were the man, you would see the antagonistic creatures who he is feeling forced to engage with.  The man is only crazy from your perspective—from his own perspective, his actions are quite rational.

HOW SITUATIONAL CONTEXT IMPACTS REALITY

Context plays a big role in how humans define rational behavior and how soon they will break out the crazy label.  It’s perfectly acceptable for a man to stand up in public and converse with someone who isn’t there as long as that man is in a religious setting, such as a church or a mosque or a religious home group.  But when a man behaves this way in a grocery store, then we all start feeling uncomfortable.

We consider it totally reasonable for a man to sit in a chair rocking, moaning, and holding his abdomen when that chair is in a doctor’s office, and the man claims to have a brutal stomachache.  But if we see such behavior happening in a grocery store and the man claims that malicious aliens are sticking pins in his gut, then we label him as delusional and we reject his perspective of reality.

Muttering to yourself is perfectly acceptable if we can all see the reason why you’re stressed and if your mutterings apply to the situation at hand.  But if you’re muttering as you walk down a street, and we catch words like “dragon” or “she-devil,” then we start furrowing our brows and viewing you as mentally imbalanced.

It’s understandable for a man to scream obscenities when his brand new car has just been totaled in an accident.  But if a man screams obscenities as a reaction to some huge ugly monster suddenly appearing in his path, we all write him off as delusional because we can’t see the monster ourselves.

So then, situational context plays a big role in how humans define what a “valid” perspective of reality is, and those who veer too far from that perspective are written off as mentally ill.  But while situational context is significant, theological beliefs play a far greater role.

HOW THEOLOGICAL BELIEFS IMPACT DIAGNOSES

Western medicine is built on a theological framework of atheism.  Psychiatrists are taught to respect the fact that someone’s personal beliefs can have a significant impact on his mental well-being, but respect is where it ends.  Mainstream psychiatry does not acknowledge the existence of God or demons.  These are viewed as mere concepts—culturally accepted delusions.

Now once you rule out the reality of supernatural beings, how will you explain the crying infant that keeps appearing in Teresa’s house?  The baby looks identical to the child that Teresa lost one year ago, and these regular visitations are stressing Teresa to great degrees.  Every time Teresa sees the baby, she runs to it and tries to pick it up, hoping against hope that her beloved child has somehow been resurrected.  But when she goes to pick the baby up, it always vanishes and Teresa is left sobbing in distress.  The child appears at random moments and in the oddest places—on the hallway floor, on Teresa’s bed, on the kitchen counter.  This haunting experience is making Teresa feel like she’s going insane.  So what is a psychiatrist going to tell her?  That she’s going insane.  He’ll probably try to be nice about it—softening his language with some kind words and a lot of talk about guilt driven hallucinations.  But his final conclusion will be that the images of the baby are being manufactured by Teresa’s own malfunctioning brain—that she’s somehow causing herself to see things that aren’t really there.  Is this an accurate diagnosis?  No, it’s not, and it’s going to make Teresa feel even worse than she already does.

It’s terrifying to realize that you can’t trust your own brain, and when we tell people that they’re the source of all of the voices, noises, and images that are haunting them, we make them feel utterly hopeless and alone.  So of course they withdraw.  Of course they shut down.  Of course they don’t want to talk about their experiences anymore because they’re so devastated by our disbelieving expressions and condemning labels.  Then, when we see people who are feeling intensely tormented by things which everyone is saying don’t really exist retreating inside themselves, we whip out one of the most terrifying labels that psychiatry has cooked up: schizophrenic.

Do you know how devastating it is to be labeled as a schizophrenic?  To have experts in the field of psychiatry slap a label on you that basically means “We don’t know what your problem is, but you’re clearly a whack job”?  If you look up schizophrenia in a dictionary, you’ll read something like this:

A long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

Wow, talk about a boatload of invalidation.  Faulty perception.  Inappropriate actions and feelings.  Fantasy and delusion. In other words, if you grab a knife to try and kill that cockroach that’s sitting on your abdomen, you’re being inappropriate.  Your judgment is flawed.  Well, good grief, what do psychiatrists want you to do—sit there and smile and pretend the thing is not ripping into you with its huge mandibles?  You see, there’s really nothing inappropriate about a man trying to defend himself from a malicious insect.  There’s nothing irrational or delusional about a man panicking at the sight of a terrifying monster.  Schizophrenics aren’t behaving inappropriately and irrationally, nor are they having some strange breakdown.  They are simply experiencing a very different and highly stressful kind of reality than the rest of us, and if we were in their shoes, we would suddenly appreciate just how rational and appropriately they are behaving.  The real “breakdown” that’s happening isn’t with schizophrenics, but rather with the folks who are diagnosing them.  There’s nothing more idiotic than pretending God does not exist—that is where the true delusion begins.  And once we rule out the existence of supernatural beings, we start blaming schizophrenics for all kinds of things which are not their fault.

THE REALITY OF HALLUCINATIONS

Let’s talk about this cockroach problem.  And let’s talk about Teresa’s disappearing baby.  Are these things real or not?  Yes, they are.  The cockroach is not just a figment of someone’s imagination—it is there.  It is a very real image which is being manufactured by a non-human party.  If you are currently being tormented by voices, scary images, and distressing sensations, the first thing you need to realize is that you are not just imagining it.  The experiences you’re having are real experiences.  There is a very real image of Teresa’s baby appearing in her house.  The fact that no other human sees the baby does not mean it is not actually there.

Humans have come up with a lot of really stupid rules about how we should define reality.  One rule we go by is numbers: here’s where we say that the experience of the majority is more real than the experience of a few.  So if we interview ten of Teresa’s friends, and they all report not being able to see the baby when Teresa said it was there, then we conclude that Teresa is just imagining the baby.  Well, what kind of sense does this make?  Where is it written that something can’t exist unless we can all see it?

Let’s bring you and ten other people into a room.  We’ll blindfold everyone but you.  Now we’ll show you a picture of a pizza.  No one else can see it because they’re blindfolded.  But you see it, and the picture is certainly real, so on what basis can we call you delusional just because the majority of the people in the room can’t see what you see?

Because humans have such an exaggerated view of their own abilities, they’ve decided that they are immune to having supernatural creatures prevent them from seeing something that is really there.  And yet in real life, demons are constantly messing with our senses and causing us not to register different aspects of reality.  Teresa’s baby is a very real, non-physical image which demons are creating just to mess with her. The reason Teresa’s friends can’t see it is that demons are preventing them from doing so.  Such a feat is extremely easy for demons to pull off.  For starters, demons understand the human mind and body far better than we do.  Secondly, they can manipulate our bodies in ways that we cannot.

For demons, there are two basic ways to create the baby image.  They can either create an external image that they prevent other humans from detecting, or they can manipulate Teresa’s brain so that it will create the image from memories that Teresa has.  In real life brain studies, it has been demonstrated that merely touching the brain tissue of a living person can cause that person to hear things, feel sensations, or see things.  It’s rather like you pulling up files on your computer—if you know where to click, you can change the images on the screen or cause the machine to play music.  In such situations, your computer isn’t malfunctioning—it’s simply being manipulated by a human.  In the same way, it is a very simple thing for demons to manipulate your brain and body in a way that will result in you having very real sensual experiences.  When this is what is going on, yet we label you as a “crazy person” who is “mentally unstable,” are we helping you?  No, we’re confusing you and totally misdiagnosing the problem.

Whether Teresa’s baby is an external prop like the pizza picture we were waving at you, or whether the baby image was being produced as a result of demons manipulating Teresa’s brain, the fact remains that Teresa isn’t crazy or delusional to see the baby image.  It is a real image, and one that is causing Teresa great distress. If we’re going to help Teresa, we need to dispense with the invalidating labels and help her understand what is really going on. She’s being messed with by demons.  The image she’s seeing is real, but her interpretation of it needs work.  You see, as real as the image is, it is not Teresa’s actual baby, and this is a critical point for her to understand.  As for the huge cockroach that’s parked on your stomach—that image is real as well, but it is not an actual cockroach as you understand cockroaches.

In cases of hallucinations, what you’re dealing with are demon-manufactured props which are intended to deceive and distress you.  The sooner you understand that a third party is creating these things, the sooner you’ll realize that you’re not “losing your mind.”  You’re simply being manipulated, and there are positive ways of dealing with that.

GOD AS YOUR ALLY

From here on we’re going to be talking to folks who are actually experiencing hallucinations, voices, and other forms of distressing sensual feedback.  Whether you’ve been officially diagnosed as a schizophrenic or you’ve been given some other invalidating label by people who will not accept that your perspective of reality is just as valid as their own, there’s a critical point that you need to understand.  God recognizes ALL perspectives as valid.  Whatever it is you’re seeing or hearing, God also sees and hears it.  God is the only Being who completely understands your experience of reality, and God reigns with absolute control over the demons who are hassling you.  So you’re not alone in this, nor have you been abandoned into the hands of your antagonists.  While humans might be useless to you right now since they aren’t experiencing what you’re experiencing, you have the ultimate ally in God.  He understands exactly what you’re going through, and He has great compassion for your situation.

God is the only Being in existence who sees all aspects of reality at the same time.  This is not to say that there is no such thing as absolute truth.  There are many absolute truths.  For example, God exists and He is a very specific Being.  So when we say that God recognizes all perspectives as valid, we’re not saying that all perspectives are correct.  Teresa thinks it is her actual baby appearing in her house.  Teresa is wrong.  But Teresa’s interpretation of the situation is causing her great distress, and it is very important for Teresa to realize how God is reacting to her distress.  God understands what is actually happening in this situation—that demons are causing the baby image to appear for malicious reasons.  But God also understands how Teresa is interpreting her experience, and until He educates her, God doesn’t expect Teresa to interpret things differently.  So God is not down on Teresa for misunderstanding what is happening.  On the contrary, God has great compassion for how Teresa’s wrong assumptions are affecting her.  God considers Teresa’s interpretation of her situation to be quite reasonable given all of the factors involved.

Let’s use another example.  Let’s take young Amena who has been raised to believe that Allah is the only true god.  Allah is not a real god.  Allah is a fictional being who does not actually exist.  But Amena does not understand this because the real God has not yet introduced Himself to her.  In the meantime, while Amena is praying to Allah and worshiping Allah, the real God is not upset with her.  Instead, He considers her perspective to be very valid based on the information she’s been given.  Even though Amena’s assumptions about God’s identity are wrong, the real God doesn’t expect her to know better.  When Amena is told that Allah is angry with her, it really upsets her.  The real God understands why she is upset and He cares about her distress.  So you see, even though there is such a thing as absolute truth, that doesn’t mean God is coming down hard on anyone who fails to have a perfect grasp of what that truth is.

One of the reasons God is so easy to succeed with is that He meets us where we are at and He never expects us to know more than He has taught us.  At some point, God will introduce Himself to Amena and help her understand that Allah is a false god.  When that happens, Amena will have a chance to accept or reject the real God.  But until God talks to Amena, He doesn’t expect her to know Him, and He isn’t condemning her for worshiping a different god.

Now don’t miss the fact that we’re talking about God educating people.  Christians are not God.  Psychiatrists are not God.  Pastors are not God.  Humans cannot teach each other truth.  They can try, but their efforts will be useless unless God gets involved and chooses to give someone understanding.  Because Christians tell themselves that they have the power to make souls understand truth, they feel they deserve a share of the credit when some soul has an “aha” moment about who God is and gets saved.  And yet the truth is that Christians don’t deserve any credit.  Praying for the lost is a total waste of time, because God reveals truth to souls according to His timetable, not ours.  We cannot nag God into teaching some individual truth earlier than He wants to.  We cannot make Amena understand that Allah is a false god just by arguing with her, and we cannot make Teresa understand that her baby is a demon-manufactured prop just by writing a post.  Truth comes from God, and while He might choose to use a sermon, a post, or a psychiatrist’s mouth to help someone understand truth, when the “aha” moment happens, it is God alone who deserves the credit.

So why is it important for you to understand that truth comes from God?  It’s important because God is always with you.  You see, you don’t need other humans to help you understand truth.  God often chooses to use other humans as His props when He’s teaching souls about truth, but He certainly doesn’t need to use them.  God is quite capable of teaching you directly—without any teaching aids or human messengers.  This is fabulous news for those of you who have retreated into your own tormented little worlds and are currently feeling isolated and cut off from all other humans.  If you needed other humans to teach you the truth, you’d be in a real crisis.  But since you only need God, and since you have God with you at all times, your crisis isn’t as dire as it feels.

Not only is God with you, but He understands your perspective of reality, He considers it valid, and He has great sympathy for how stressed out it’s making you.  God also understands what is actually happening to you, and how you are misinterpreting your situation.  If you are willing to listen to Him, God will help you unlearn the wrong assumptions you’re currently making, and He will teach you new things that will help you find peace of soul.

BELIEVING THE ACT

Now if humans were to trust God with the same swiftness that they trust demons, the world would be a very different place.  But in real life, what happens is that humans tend to be very distrusting and rebellious toward God, while they blindly believe anything demons say or do.

Demons are con artists.  They are skilled actors and chronic liars.  Demons hate humans, and whether they are acting nice or nasty, their true intentions towards us are always malicious. Compared to the power of God, the power of demons is a total joke.  But because demons have abilities that humans do not have, many humans become very envious of demons and try to find ways to get demons to hook them up with power.  Demons love it when humans start begging them for power and favors.  Demons will often turn on a charming, friendly act in order to encourage humans who approach them like this.  Humans are easily fooled by such acts, and whenever you hear some dingdong saying that he has demons serving him, you can know that the human has been completely suckered.  Demons hate humans intensely, and there is no way for us to change their attitude towards us.  So it is beyond stupid to try and pursue any kind of relationship with demons.

Now you’ll never see a demon in his true form.  When they are interacting with humans, demons are always in costume.  Today many humans consider themselves to be “experts” on demons, and they will swear to you that they have actually seen a demon in true form.  But, again, such people have been completely taken in by their own arrogance.

Whenever they show up in a visible form, demons are always in costume.  There is no limit to the kinds of costumes they can don.  They have appeared as animals, creepy monsters, fantasy beings such as elves and fairies, angels, humans, and even God Himself.  Of course when demons appear as God, they’re just using an image that people stereotypically associate with God.  The God Jesus doesn’t really walk around wearing a tunic and sandals, because He has no physical body.  But since this is how Christians often imagine Jesus, demons will don this kind of costume when they want to fool someone into thinking Jesus is visiting them.

When people see ghosts, they’re seeing demons in costumes.  It’s a very simple matter for demons to appear in the spitting image of some human who once walked the earth.  When Catholics report seeing visions of Mary or other saints, they’re seeing demons in costume.  Demons love putting on Mary shows, and they love associating her visits with miraculous healings whenever possible.  Demons are all for any trick that will encourage humans to worship someone other than the real Gods. Since Mary is not God, but just a human who people who have decided to worship, she has become a fabulous tool for encouraging idolatry.

The real Gods—Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit—are extremely egotistical Beings who detest it when Their creatures worship anyone other than Them.  Whenever the real Gods say They want something, demons will break their necks trying to get humans to do just the opposite.  The main purpose of demon theatrics is to drive humans away from pursuing the real Gods.  There are three main ways to do this: either get humans hooked on a substitute deity (like Mary), keep them thinking that God is irrelevant to them, or convince them that the real Gods would never accept them.  Messing with humans in visible or audible forms are very useful ways to accomplish all of these goals.

Think about the specific games demons are playing with you.  If you’re hearing voices, what kinds of things are they saying? If you’re seeing images, think about how you are reacting to them.  Demons use theatrical performances to bait you and lead you towards certain kinds of conclusions.  The end goal is always to get you to accept core lies about who God is, how He views you, and how He operates.  The first step in you finding peace is for you to ask God to help you identify the specific lies demons are trying to get you to accept.

Now in the case of Teresa, demons know that she feels horribly guilty about her baby’s death.  Teresa’s baby suffocated in her crib for reasons that no doctor could explain—it just happened.  But for a year, Teresa has been blaming herself as if she intentionally murdered her child, which she did not.  When Teresa’s baby first died, demons immediately got involved, and they were the ones who began suggesting to Teresa that she was really the one responsible for killing her child.  When demons began suggesting these lies, Teresa immediately accepted them.  This is a very common pattern among humans: we are far too quick to just accept any guilt and condemnation that demons heap on us.

Now once Teresa proved to be receptive to the lies demons were telling her, they stepped up their game and began telling her that God was also blaming her for being such a terrible mother.  When they started manufacturing images of the baby in Teresa’s house, they told her that God was punishing her for what she did.  Demons want Teresa to interpret these images as evidence that God is emotionally torturing her out of hate.  If Teresa accepts this interpretation—which she has—then what is that going to do to her view of God?  She’s going to lose all hope of ever having a positive relationship with Him, and she’s going to crash down into brutal despair until she tries to kill herself just to escape the mental torment.  This would be ideal for demons—they love it when humans try to kill themselves.  And yet the fact that Teresa has been suckered in so far, doesn’t mean she can’t change course and end up in a much better place.

The first thing Teresa needs to do is understand where the baby images are really coming from—they are being created by demons who hate her and want to con her into accepting a bunch of lies.  Once Teresa understands that she’s dealing with creatures who want to deceive her, she can understand that it’s very likely she’s already been deceived to some degree.  Here is where she needs to ask God to help her see how she’s being deceived and to help her get into a good place with Him.  Reaching out to her Ally is essential.  Teresa can’t combat demons on her own—they are far too clever for her, and the baby trick is much too upsetting.  So she needs to go directly to God and ask Him for help.

Now while demons are hassling Teresa, they are under the control of God.  God is limiting what the demons can do to her and how vicious they can be.  Demons don’t want to just toy with Teresa—they’d much rather kill her off.  But God is not allowing them to do so, which is why they’re stuck playing baby games.  While the baby trick is totally scaring Teresa, it’s really a fallback position to the demons.  It’s their Plan B—the game they’re having to resort to because God won’t let them have their first choice.  Here’s another critical point for you to grasp: God never allows demons to have their total way with you.  Instead, He is always massively restricting them and shooting down all of their best ideas so that they are stuck having to resort to their back-up plans.  As we said before, God is your Ally in this situation.  Even though He is allowing demons to harass you to some degree, He is also defending you and protecting you from much worse.

Now once you understand that God is the One allowing demons to harass you, it’s easy to see this as a very negative and malicious act on God’s part.  Because seeing scary images and hearing creepy voices can be a truly terrifying experience, it’s difficult for us humans to understand why God would do such things to us if He really did love us.  And yet the truth is, that God is allowing this whole situation for your benefit, not just to tear you down.  As we said, He is your Ally, not your Enemy.  If God were to ever take a truly hostile stance towards you, things would drastically change, and demons would be the least of your problems.  So even though demons want you to think God is against you in all of this, you need to remember that demons are chronic liars.  God is very much on your side, and that means you need to give Him any trust you can scrape up.

So now let’s finish with Teresa.  What is God’s positive purpose for allowing this whole baby haunting season to happen?  Well, Teresa has always struggled immensely with the issue of Divine judgment, and she’s currently clinging to many wrong beliefs about how God perceives her.  The problem is that Teresa won’t talk to God about these things—instead, she’s spent her life trying to pretend her fears about God don’t exist.  Teresa is afraid to discuss her guilt with God because she’s afraid of how He’ll respond.  She already believes that He hates her, which is a crushing thought, and she just can’t handle any more evidence that He wants nothing to do with her.  So she has been talking to Him less and less over the years and she’s drifting farther and farther away.

Now while Teresa has been giving up on God, He hasn’t given up on her.  God loves Teresa very much, and He isn’t going to do nothing while she runs away from Him.  God’s current strategy is to get Teresa so desperate that she’ll finally crack and start engaging with Him again.  When Teresa finally turns to God for help in dealing with the baby haunting, she is running into the arms of Someone who loves her deeply and finally becoming receptive to a ton of encouraging truths that God wants to teach her.

UNDERSTANDING ACCESS

God always has a positive purpose for the trials He brings into your life, and being stressed by voices and visions is certainly a trial.  As someone who is struggling with these kinds of things, you need to ask God to help you learn the positive lessons that He wants to teach you.  There are always positive lessons, and often those lessons involve unlearning lies which you have already accepted.

Now because demons understand that God is on your side, they will do anything they can to discourage you from reaching out to Him.  Here is where they will try to convince you that you cannot access God, because they are effectively cutting you off.  It is essential that you understand this point: no one can prevent you from accessing God.  This is a critical truth that can make the difference between you having hope and you feeling utterly despaired.  Unfortunately, this is one of those truths that even Christians will try to discourage you from standing on.  So now let’s talk about out why Christians tend to be such pains to people like you.

We’ve already discussed how Western medicine is built on a foundation of atheism, which is why mainstream psychiatrists will refuse to acknowledge the true source of the voices and visions that you’re dealing with.  Mainstream psychiatrists often tend to discount the reality of God, and this makes them utterly useless, because they’re going to try and resolve your issues entirely without God, and that often means resorting to therapeutic drugs.  Now there is a time and place to use drugs, and you need to keep an open mind about the form God’s help might come in.  When a man has a broken leg, he uses a crutch to get around, and the crutch makes his life a lot easier.  How foolish would a man be to sit on his bed refusing to use the crutch that has been made available to him?  We humans don’t get to tell God how He will help us.  Sometimes a psychiatrist can prescribe a drug that can really help you gain some relief from stress.  If that is the direction you feel God is leading you in, then go with it, and don’t pay any mind to the useless stereotypes that many Christians have.  When we pretend that taking an anti-depressant is totally invalid, yet using a wheelchair is just fine, we’re just playing prideful games.  Ask God to help you be receptive to whatever help He brings you and trust Him to lead you in life.  But while you’re being receptive to God giving you help in some physical forms, realize that the most important issue at hand is spiritual growth.  You need to learn the spiritual lessons that God wants to teach you from this trial: that’s the most important priority.  The kinds of lessons God wants to teach you will be ones which result in you growing closer to Him, and that is the whole purpose of life.

Now then, mainstream psychiatrists can be helpful with the drugs, but they are useless when it comes to identifying root causes.  So what about Christian psychiatrists?  We wish we could say they’d be so much better, but unfortunately this is not the case.  You need to be very wary about trusting the theological interpretation Christian psychiatrists put on your situation.  Because most Christians refuse to believe that God is in absolute control, they refuse to believe He is the Source of our trials. Christians who reject the sovereignty of God while they accept the reality of demons are going to paint an extremely grim picture of your situation.  Because they  feel personally threatened by God being intimately involved in the kind of misery you’re dealing with, most Christians will remove Him from the equation, and try to pin all blame onto you.  Here’s where you’re told that the reason you’re getting so tormented is that you have unconfessed sins or that you’re harboring some bad attitude towards God or that He’s punishing you for something.  Another very common Christian diagnosis is that anyone who exhibits signs of severe mental illness must be demon possessed.  This is complete rot.

When you’re already in a highly stressed psychological state, the last thing you need to do is start imagining hostile creatures inhabiting your body.  So don’t just assume possession.  In most cases of severe mental harassment, physical possession is not a factor.  Just as you can pluck the strings of a guitar without picking the whole thing up, demons do not need to take total control of your body in order to give you all kinds of upsetting sensual experiences.  Because Christians do not understand how demon possession really works, they are far too quick to assume it’s occurring, and they treat it as a far greater crisis than it actually is.

Now for those of you who do feel quite sure that you’re actually possessed, it’s vital that you understand that being possessed does not in any way prevent you from accessing God.  Let’s use a metaphor to better understand this principle.  Imagine yourself sitting in a car with God.  The doors are locked, the windows are rolled up, the car engine is off, and the two of you are just sitting there.  Now outside of the car, there is a gang of demons.  They have bats and guns and major attitudes.  When they start attacking the car, it creates a very loud ruckus inside the cab, and all the noise frightens you.  But no matter how much screaming, banging, and slamming demons do, they cannot break the windows or find any way to get inside of the cab where you and God are sitting.  Because the demons can’t get into the car, they cannot do anything to separate you from God or prevent you from talking to Him.  In this moment, the best thing you can do to help yourself is to scoot over to where God is and hug Him tightly.  God hugs you back.  With your face pressed against Him and His strong arms around you, you’re going to feel a lot better than you did when you were sitting in your seat staring at the demons.

Now in this metaphor, you represent your soul, and the car represents your body.  When demons possess someone, they only gain temporary, limited control over the person’s body.  Demons never gain control over your soul.  They will lie about this, of course, and tell you that they’ve got your soul in bondage or that they’re blocking your prayers from reaching God.  But here’s where you need to remember that demons are chronic liars who constantly exaggerate the extent of their power over you.  Demons cannot control your soul.  Whether you are a Christian or not, your soul is permanently locked in God’s hands and no one can pry those hands open—not even you.  You cannot give your soul to demons even if you wanted to, which is why the whole idea of “selling your soul to the devil” is so ludicrous.  Your soul is totally off limits to other created beings.  Demons can talk to your soul, but they can’t physically seize your soul, nor can they do anything to separate you from God.  This means that no matter what is currently happening with your body, your soul can talk to God.

Now in Christian culture, we find a reversal of God’s priorities being promoted.  God tells us to focus on Him, pursue Him, and worship Him alone.  But what do Christians do?  They focus on demons, angels, and other humans far more than they do God.  God says that we’re supposed to be submitting to Him, not trying to dominate Him.  So what do Christians do?  They constantly boss God around in their prayers and they tell themselves that they can use God to control demons.

The common Christian approach to prayer is this: we can get God to give us what we want if we pray with enough passion, enough numbers, enough perseverance, and if we use enough magic words.  Prayer is to Christians what spells are to sorcerers—they are potent verbal declarations which humans can make to force supernatural beings to do what they want.

Now once you’re dealing with a bunch of inflated egos who have decided that they can control the demons who are harassing you, and you get slapped with the “possessed” label, you’re going to have a bunch of Christian yahoos trying to “deliver you.”  Since you’ve already got enough problems, stay away from Christian deliverance ministries.  Folks who run these programs are going to tell you that you’re possessed with legions of demons who only they can drive out of you.  The theology of deliverance ministries is loaded with some very harmful deceptions about who God is and how He operates.  While they claim to want to help free you up from the spiritual bondage that you’re not even in, deliverance ministers will only help demons upset you even more by grossly exaggerating the power of demons and telling you all kinds of lies about why you’re having the problems that you are.  Do not try to seek help from Christians who promote the concepts of soul ties, soul bondage, generational curses, and exorcism rituals.  These things are total deceptions, which exaggerate the power of demons while minimizing the power of God.

Suppose a man is coughing.  Should we immediately leap to the conclusion that he has lung cancer?  No, because this is just one of many possibilities.  Perhaps the man has a cold, or a dry throat, or perhaps he just choked on some water.  We can’t accurately diagnose the problem by just examining one surface symptom.  And yet when it comes to the mentally ill, Christians are notorious for leaping to the most extreme, worst case scenarios far too fast.  Never accept the theory that you’re being punished by God just because that’s what some other Christian is telling you.  Don’t accept that your problems are sin related just because that’s what some human says.  Remember that you have direct access to God at all times, so use it.  Ask Him to help you understand and learn whatever it is He wants to teach you.  Remember that God is your Ally, not Someone who is persecuting you just for the fun of it.

Reject the idea that God ignores the mentally ill or that He views them as lesser humans.  You are just as valid to God as every other human on the planet, and He is paying attention to you 24/7. So while secular psychiatrists are saying you’re delusional and Christians are telling you that you’re possessed, you need to realize that none of these people see the big picture.  Only God can accurately assess your situation, and God has positive purposes for putting you through this trial. So talk to Him, and make Him the One you’re leaning on for help and support in the midst of this.

BEGINNING THE PROCESS OF RECOVERY

Now this is a massive topic, and we’ve only touched on introductory basics in this post.  But for those of you who are currently struggling with antagonistic voices and visions, let’s now summarize the steps you can take to begin your own recovery.

STEP 1: Identify the goal.

If your situation is stressing you in any way, then it qualifies as a trial.  All trials are brought into your life by God for the purpose of drawing you closer to Him. So step one is to identify the goal you want to shoot for: a closer, stronger personal relationship with God.

STEP 2: Identify your Ally.

God is your Ally in this situation, and He is the One you need to be depending on to guide you through it.  God is an all-powerful Being who could make all of your problems vanish with a single word.  Whenever God is withholding total healing, it is because He still has positive goals which He wants to accomplish with you.  The fact that a trial is dragging on and on is not a sign that you’re not progressing.  Some trials are only designed to teach a few quick lessons, other trials are designed to massively revise your core beliefs.  Core belief changes take a lot of time to accomplish.  Because God is your Ally, you can know that He has your best in mind.  Ask Him to help you learn everything He wants to teach you so that you can get the most out of this experience.

STEP 3: Understand the true source of your experiences.

Whenever you start seeing, hearing, and feeling things that greatly upset and distress you, you can know that demons are involved.  Understanding that the things you’re experiencing are real things which are being manufactured by a third party will help you reject the lie that you’re just “losing your mind.” You’re not losing anything—you’re just under immense stress, but that stress can end up taking you to a very positive place when you are relying on God.

STEP 4: Understand Who is really in charge.

No matter what you’re being told, God is in total control of your situation.  This means that no creature, monster, alien, or other being will ever gain mastery over you.  The demons who are showing up in their various costumes to freak you out are going to exaggerate their power and options as much as possible.  But here’s a useful thing to understand about demons: when they’re talking about it, it’s because they can’t get permission to actually do it.  When they endlessly rant about how they’re going to seize control of your mind or bind your soul or kidnap you or kill you or drag you down into Hell, the very fact that they won’t shut up is telling you that they can’t actually do what they’re boasting about.  Demons want you dead: it’s that simple.  So as long as you’re not dead, they’re frustrated and scrambling to try and hide their limitations from you.

STEP 5: Focus on your Ally as much as possible.

The more you focus on God, the better off you’ll be.  Demons have the greatest impact on an attentive audience.  So when they show up in their creepy costumes, ignore them as much as possible. Try not to engage with them verbally or physically.  Meanwhile, focus on God and talk to God as much as you can.  When you’re afraid, talk to Him, not the thing that’s appearing in front of you.

Imagine how it would mess up demons if our friend Teresa started trying to ignore the images of the baby that show up in her house?  The whole reason the act is effective is because Teresa always runs to the baby and tries to pick it up.  What if she stopped doing this?  Suddenly it would be a lot harder for demons to upset her as effectively as they did before.

Once you understand that all of the voices and visuals are theatrical props that demons are trying to use to scare you, you can realize that you have more options than you thought.  When Sally’s younger brother claws at her door and she doesn’t react, her brother gets frustrated and bored with his game.  Demons need your cooperation to harm you to the degree that they want to.  You can refuse to give them that cooperation.  Certainly you can’t help some degree of instinctive reactions, but you don’t have to give the whole store away.  When you’re being provoked to react, start looking for options, and be as miserly as you can be with your responses.  Maybe they can get your pulse racing, but they can’t force you to converse with the creature they’re manufacturing in front of you.  Meanwhile, because you know that God is controlling the whole situation and massively limiting what demons can do, you can realize that their confidence is largely a façade.  Their threats are just telling you what they wish they could do—but what demons want and what demons get are two very different things, thanks to God.

CONCLUSION

God loves the folks who get labeled as schizophrenics.  God is far more compassionate, wise, and powerful than any human.  God is always with you, and there is no physical restraint, medical facility, drug, doctor, or demon who can separate you from Him or diminish His love for you.  It’s time for you to see that you have as much reason to hope as the most “sane” people on the planet.  God has fabulous plans for your future which He will make happen if you are willing to submit to Him as the Supreme Authority that He is.  Ask Him to make you all that He wants you to be, and He will.

FURTHER READING:
Voices in Your Mind: Discerning Between God & Demons
Mind Wars: Defending Against Demonic Voices in Your Head
Demons in the End Times: Understanding Possession & Exorcism
The Spiritual Benefits of Being Trampled by Demons
Temporary Deliverance: How to Interpret the Return of Old Struggles
Deliverance Ministries: Scamming You in the Name of Jesus
Spiritual Bondage: Exposing the Scam
Demons Cannot Control Your Prayers
Soul Before Earthsuit: Understanding God’s Priorities
Understanding the Love of God: The Five Versions of You

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