Throwaway account as I want to remain anonymous. Bit of a long post but please bare with me, I want to anonymously get some stuff off my chest and ask some questions as I have no one else to talk to and would like some reflections from anyone who is kind enough to answer.
I am a 38 yo male who is on the upper functioning end of the schizophrenia spectrum (schizotypal PD), I also suffer from high anxiety and depression.
Due to my mental health issues I live pretty much a hermit lifestyle. I rarely speak to others and work part time from home. I consider myself catholic as I was baptised catholic, but I do not attend mass very often (I usually enjoy it when I do) and dont take communion as I have no confirmation. I am involved in Espiritismo Cruzado (a heavily Christianised form of Santeria) but do not attend misas prefering to work alone from a boveda (personal shrine) at home in private.
As I spend so much time alone, I spend a lot of time in prayer at my boveda and keep all of my devotions pretty private. Friends and family are aware I am religious but no idea to the extent, which suits me fine.
A few years ago I became aware of the Marian devotion of the Stella Maris (Our Lady Star of the Sea), I was pretty taken with the symbolism as I have a deep love of the ocean and the idea of a navigating star on the stormy sea of life appeals to me, as my mental state is always so unstable and I get lost easily. So I’ve been wearing the stella maris medal for a number of years as a discreet devotion and pray the stella maris chaplet in secret.
The rewards have always been wonderful, I’ve felt a lot calmer as it gives me hope and focus.
Recently I felt inspired to pray the chaplet daily, so I was praying it every day at my boveda, however I have noticed when I pray the chaplet now I’m entering strange mental states and having visions, I understand visions are personal things so I’m not going to share them, they are for me alone. However it is hard for me to discern whether these visions are a product of spiritual revelation or just my mental illness. If it is just my mental illness I don’t mind, the visions are not frightening or upsetting, they just are, as a schizophrenic its not unusual for me to see and hear things that arent there throughout the day.
I figured I should ask if other people have had similar experience with their own personal devotions and how they discern revelation from mundane products of the mind such as imagination and hallucination.
I also want to ask about the chaplet itself. Is it endorsed by the church? Where did it come from? and is there a scapular or confraternity associated with the stella maris?
Thanks to anyone taking time to reply.