Psychiatry vs. Faith

Hello all,
This week I go and see a new Dr. for help with my anxiety and depression. I’m currently on meds for this and I’m also taking an anti-psychotic called geodon. Here is where I am having a conflict. In 2005, I was having some serious problems with jealousy, then became paranoid and suicidal. I was like a possesed person. I started to see a Dr… He precribed the meds I am currently taking. Well, I stopped taking them. Then on the eve of Easter 2005, I felt this immense saddness for how I had been treating my wife and decided she was better off without me. I was about to commit suicide when I went through a purging experience, that was followed by feeling the presence of God and his love. The experience took about a minute. But during that minute, I had some things flash through my head and also had a very clear understanding of some things as well. My wife witnessed this and grabbed a bible to find any prayer (we weren’t practicing). I opened it to proverbs and saw that it was the truth, the word of God. I was amazed. I stayed in very peaceful state for days, but also was repulsed at sin and distractions. Over the next couple of weeks, slowly, I started to become fearful of other people. I also felt a strong urge to tell my story to others, so that they could know about the love that comes from God. But as I would be talking to coworkers and family about this, I could see doubt in their faces. Sometimes , faces became shadowed as I looked at them. This grew stronger and started to feel demonic. One night I was reading scripture and I felt like I was " outside the gate" . I felt rejected by God and ran outside in the rain. I was crying uncontrollably. I ended up in the hospital. Some very strange things happened to me in the hospital. Some things that still bother me. I was honest with my Dr. about all that was happening and was diagnosed with the psychosis. But in my heart, I feel that these things where/are real. My faith has been built because of these things that have happened. The fruit of it has been a serious change in how I treat my wife, I have been confrimed in the Church, my marriage has been blessed by the Church and my spiritual growth has been immense. After looking into it, I show all the signs of schzophrenia. I’m afraid that is what I will be eventually diagnosed with. This has caused me to doubt alot that has happened to me. But in my heart, I don’t think I can accept a diagnosis like that. To me, accepting that it was all in my mind would unravel my faith. But now that my body is used to the meds, when they start to wear off, I start to sweat and get severe anxiety. Part of me feels that I shouldn’t be taking meds. That I should have toughed it out and had more faith. Where do you draw the line with secular Dr.s? Thanks for reading this long post and God Bless, Tim

continue to seek and comply with the advice and treatment of good trusted doctors. You are not responsible for any actions undertaken while you were incapable of free will consent, knowledge and acting. Whether or not your interior spiritual experiences were genuinely induced by God no one can say. What is definitely real and genuine is the grace received from the sacraments you and your family have received, and this grace continues to act, form and guide you even in times of severe trial such as this. We will be praying for you.

Do not seek for affirmation from doctors of your interior spiritual condition, continue to rely on the sacraments, prayer and spiritual direction for this. However, it is essential for your spiritual health that you attend to your physical and psychological health, availing yourself of all that modern science provides, through the grace of God.

Thanks for your advice Puzzleannie,
I have been reading St. Faustina’s diary and I can’t help but feel that I am failing the test in which she passed. That I have used meds to deaden the spiritual warfare that has been taking place. That I didn’t trust God to get me through this. I don’t want to take meds, but now that my nuerotranmitters are used to the maintence of dopamine and sarotonin, I get sick without them. I wish I never started to take them. It’s hard to separate the physical from the spiritual. Thanks, Tim

Hang in there! About taking the medications. I don’t think it’s wrong to take medications that give your brian what it’s lacking. Your brain is a part of your physical body. If you had heart problems, you would take medication and consider it your duty to God to take care of yourself in the best way you could. If you can’t swim, you put on a life jacket before you jump in the water. You don’t jump in and “have faith” that God will save you - you’d most likely drown. By God’s grace we have tools to help ourselves.
I think God is most concerned with what you do with what you’ve been given.

Thank you all for your responses and prayers,
The Lord was able to get the message through that I am to tell the truth and take what I get as a “interior cross”. I don’t know how this will play out in therapy though , since I’ll have to take an active role in this. God Bless, Tim

the writings of the saints are meant to edify and inspire us, not to load us up with needless, baseless guilt. Not all illness is the result of spiritual warfare. Most is organic and has an explainable, natural cause which should be diagnosed and treated. If you truly feel you are engaged in a spiritual struggle as well, you must place yourself under spiritual direction with a good priest, as well as under a doctor’s care. I would not undertake any spiritual reading, any penitential practice, or make any changes in your spiritual life at a time like this without permission of your spiritual director. that is the classic advice of all orthodox spiritual directors throughout the ages, not to make changes or new undertakings while in a state of depression, or “melancholia”.

Karl Jung once said that he believed the reason he treated so few Catholics in his time was due to the Catholic practice of confession (reconciliation).

I can understand your not wanting to put all your faith into Dr’s I went through the same after an accident and head injury, in a coma for 3 ½ weeks, then latter meningitis, and an operation that Dr’s said would kill or cure me. I felt rejected, so I put all my faith in Jesus because of the response by Dr’s.
It was not until 40 years latter that I realized the negative reaction I had taken. It was good that I had put my faith in Jesus however I started minimizing my strength in most things I did because I refused to accept my humanness. Now I have counselled many people who have been in the same situation you relate to.
I remember taking a young woman out into a field because she was told she was schizophrinic, she started yelling that they would get her, but no none was there except she and I.
I asked her who would?, she told me them but there was no one there. I then used art theoropy and kept on taking her into the field. We got to the point where she told me why the people were out to get her. I asked if she knew if they were still alive and she didn’t know. I asked if she knew where they lived, if she had seen them and how long ago. She couldn’t tell me, so I asked her to tell me why they were after her she told me the horrific story that was on her mind and how she blamed herself.

We went into her situation and reversed the scenario from her point to the true situation which allowed her to see that it wasn’t any ones fault. The same as in my situation it wasn’t the Dr’s fault so I couldn’t blame them. Little by little the truth over shadowed her thoughts that they (who?) were out to get her.

She started to realize the truth that accidents happen in most people’s lives and that on most occasions it is NOT a problem where you blame your self. I saw her latter and she was doing art that I hadn’t taught her, and she told me that they weren’t out to get her and her family took her back. It didn’t take so long about 6 months, for her recovery and she started part time working.

The key was that she may have heard voices but they were driven by a traumatic situation where she started to blame herself. She never saw these people who were out to get her and she only needed to believe that the voices were caused by trauma. There was no schizophrenia, the question as to what the problem was, was found in taking the diagnosed illness and relating it to her psychological reasoning. After retraining her mind to think that the voices had to have a reason why they were there and then teaching her to accept the truth that there was no one there who was out to get her she was then able to think for herself.

At University I studied psychosis and I found that in most cases the psychosis was driven by a sociological trauma. Most cases were where the person suffering was placed in a situation where they had little or no chance of getting out of the social arena. It was one where those other players played their part to the point where the person who latter suffered from psychosis had all or most of their life played in the opposite direction to the positive needs of him/her.

The way I found that would help the victim was by reversing the negative actions and words I felt were forced on people in their life (this is not a blame case) and the way to do it was to forgive firstly self for being caught up in the situation that didn’t suite, then to forgive all the other players (without blame) for their part. Next was to give all of the situations up to the foot of Jesus on the cross. Next, nail all of that part of their life to the cross of Jesus Christ. We then accepted this part of their life as only a past part of their life with the past now being as far away as the east is from the west ( Gospel of John, Jerusalem bibles).

I hope you find something in this it might help.
God bless

I only have one parish Priest that is my confessor. He only knows of my depression and that I had an experience in 2005. He knows I’m reading St. Faustina’s diary and said if I had any questions to call him. He’s a real good guy , I only wish I could talk more in depth about certain things. I have been guided to the protection of the Blessed Mother Mary. I feel confident that she is interceding for me as far as spiritual struggles are concerned. Thank you for your advice, Tim

God bless you brother keep your chin up pray as you are I will pray for strength for you to .

I do have a problem with handling trauma’s. I was a cancer patient almost 4 years ago, then after my conversion I was in a fatal car wreck that was my fault, then I found my mother 3 days dead at her home a few weeks after the accident. She dropped right where she stood , with the coffee pot still on. When I found her, I felt the Lord had taking her because of the accident. Before that was when I was seeing dark shadows, having twilight visions as I fell asleep and had what seemed like time standing still on one occasion. During that time lapse, two other people where sitting up looking right at me, like they were witness’s or something. Thanks for your understanding.

Byran, I try to go to confession every couple of weeks. I don’t like to have sins on my mind. Thanks, Tim

Seems like the depression topic is popping up alot the past few days here on CAF… Firstly TOP… God bless you in your struggles with depression. I hope that whatever happens…whether or not you are diagnosed with schizophrenia that God keeps you strong. :slight_smile:

I am not a doctor… but I can only speak from my own experience in having taken Effexor in the past and how it had caused me to have hallucinations and attempt suicide. That was the only time I had these horrific hallucinations. I don’t know how long of a period in-between TOP that it was from when you stopped taking the meds to when you felt suicidal but sometimes the side-effects of “some” of the meds for depression can be dangerous.

Its hard when it comes to depression (I’ve been suffering with severe depression since age 10…am 34 now)… Alot of times it is a very lonely road where most people don’t understand you or the symptoms that come with mental illness. One is very lucky indeed if you have a strong family base of support through the thick and thin of depressions ups and downs.

To try and separate spiritual struggles from those of mental illness is not easy… I know this very well and it doesn’t help that once others know you have a mental illness any struggles you are having spiritually automatically get discounted.

Discernment is tough in this case and it is good to have a spiritual director that can help you in this process. How I would love to find a spiritual director like Father Benedict Groeschel who has a background in psycology.

This really is a double cross to carry in life… One struggles with ones faith and spiritual experiences needs solid discernment that can determine what exactly is going on within oneself and yet any mental illness one suffers from will automatically have others completely doubt ones struggles or spiritual experiences. It is a rough road…

Lastly, just in case TOP or anyone else who suffers from depression didn’t see my posts in the other depression thread there is a guild for sufferers of mental illness called **“The Guild of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre”. **

Father Groeschel has given his support to this guild and if you write to them they will send you an information packet.

Here is the website address to the guild:

My prayers for you and your loved ones and I ask for your prayers for my family and I as well…

God bless

After looking into it, I show all the signs of schzophrenia. I’m afraid that is what I will be eventually diagnosed with. This has caused me to doubt alot that has happened to me. But in my heart, I don’t think I can accept a diagnosis like that. To me, accepting that it was all in my mind would unravel my faith.

Dear TOP,
puzzleannie gave you some excellent advice. To this I would add that you really need to listen to your doctors right now. If you indeed are schizophrenic, it is part of the illnes which tells you to stop taking your meds and not trust your doctors. As was stated before, it is hightly unlikely that doctors will advise you on your spiritual life, but as long as they are not giving you advice that directly and OBVIOUSLY contradicts your faith, then I would listen to everything they tell you.

I worked with a man for six years who was schizophrenic and bi-polar. He also took geodon. He too had all types of spiritual experiences and epiphanies. Many of these were distorted by his disease, but the essense of the experiences were real: he was seeking God and I am certain that he found Him. So even if you get a diagnosis that is distressing please remember that your awareness of God, your sense of Him and your particpation in the Church and the Sacraments are very, very authentic.

Well , I went to the Dr. today and he doesn’t think I have schzophrenia. Because of family history , he said I most likely am bi-polar type 2 (without the mania). He decreased my dosage of geodon because of side effects, but put me on prozac. Been getting some special guidence because of the prayers. Thank you all again and God Bless, Tim


I have followed this thread since it was started and am happy to hear of the progress with the doctor’s visit. Since the advice is now veering into medical advice, I am going to close this thread. I encourage you to post in the prayer intentions forum as well as to continue posting here at Catholic Answers.

May God Bless You Abundantly,

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