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The Religious Component of Psychosis 

When I was deep in the midst of a psychotic break, I was convinced that I was a prophet sent from God to save society from its ills. Many people I’ve spoken to about schizophrenia experience similar beliefs. When psychosis hits, there is often a function of thinking that you have been ordained with supernatural authority. Some people think they are Jesus or God himself and many others are convinced that they hear the voice of God. It’s easy to see why religion seems to take such a central hold in times of psychosis. Psychosis, in and of itself, is a kind of supernatural experience. Religious texts are filled with myths, stories, and folklore about people who communicate with God. The symptoms themselves, which seem to suggest that there’s something otherworldly occurring, through either a perceived telepathy or delusions of grandeur, make it easy to conclude that you are connected to something divine.  (more…)

The Family and Schizophrenia

Mike Hedrick with his father

“We knew something was just not right.”

In talking with my parents about my psychotic break, the one thing that stands out from their experience is the fear and their worry about their son. When I was twenty years old, I went on a trip to the U.N. because I thought I was a prophet of God. I left without telling anybody and I didn’t call my parents until a week later when I had finally had enough and I decided to come home. The phone call was very cryptic. All I said was that I’d be home the next day and that they should pick me up at the train station. During that car ride, I started to ramble about aliens and my mission and the hugeness of it all. I was in awe that my parents couldn’t see it.  (more…)

What Schizophrenic Psychosis Feels Like

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Imagine you’re living your life, everything’s normal until, one day; you come across a pretty significant coincidence. Maybe you moved to a new city and you don’t know anyone and then, one day, you’re at the coffee shop and your old girlfriend from high school comes in. You haven’t seen her or talked to her in years and you didn’t know that she lived in the same city. Imagine it’s a few days later and you’re at the grocery store and you run into her again, this time at the checkout. You might ask yourself why you keep running into her, but you excuse it with the notion that this may be a metaphorically small town. Imagine now that you’re going to work and you see her pass by in her car. Why does this keep happening, you ask? Is she following you? Did she put a tracker on your car?  (more…)