I wanted to share my story for those who are trapped in delusions and can't seem to get out.
Psychosis is addictive. I was hospitalized in 1992 and recovered, only to be hospitalized again in 1994 for the same sort of delusions, which for me were religious in nature. I believed people around me were really God trying to communicate with me. This thought was pleasurable because I felt I was getting a lot of special attention from God. I recovered briefly in spring of 1994 and fell back into psychosis in the fall. This time the doctor put me on Risperdal, which was very effective. The medicine conquered the delusions. But in January of 1996 I came off the medicine in order to try to become pregnant (Risperdal elevates the prolactin level, making it impossible to conceive). Psychosis returned within a few months and I had to go back on Risperdal. However, this time the medicine did not take care of all the delusions. I spent a year trying to recover and still had thoughts about people being God.
The most effective thing for me, in addition to the medication, was my husband's ability to rationalize. He would tell me things like "God can't sin, so how could He be all these sinful people around you?" and "How can these people be angels? When we are in heaven we will no longer marry or be given in marriage." He would quote scripture that contradicted my delusions.
Confronting me with the truth did a lot to diminish my problem. It put enough doubt in my mind about the delusions that I was able to make the decision to change my mind.
Ultimately it is a decision. Since I had doubts as to the veracity of my delusions, I allowed myself to question them. One day I had several disappointing things happen and I felt bitter about them. Suddenly I realized if I was really with God I would never be upset again, so it had to be a delusion that God was all the people around me. I decided not to believe in the delusion anymore, although it had been so compelling before.
What really helps is if your real world is more appealing than the psychotic world. People in psychosis are hiding from life in a safe fantasy. But the real world can be both beautiful and nurturing. The challenge is to appropriate those qualities in your own life. It can be done, and psychosis can be conquered, but it takes effort and someone in your corner. I pray that those with religious delusions will come to see the truth about God and decide to live in the here and now.
Laura Utterback (Sutterback@aol.com)
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Copyright (c) 1997,8 by Michael Foster, M. A. at (301) TOTAL-DC and http://www.recoverybydiscovery.com
24 October 1998