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AnneMarie

Does having an MI influence your religious beliefs?

Does having an MI influence your religious beliefs?  

243 members have voted

  1. 1. Has your MI influenced your religious beliefs (think in general)

    • My MI has lead me to a more devout life w/in my house/tent/bubble of worship
      41
    • I'm as religious as I was before being diagnosed
      38
    • I am less devout mostly because of my MI
      26
    • I've given up on religion mostly because of my MI
      34
    • I'm more devout for reasons that having nothing to do with MI
      21
    • I've lost my taste for religion for reasons that have nothing to do with MI
      53
    • I was never religious in the first place and am still not
      65
  2. 2. What is your religion? (in no particular order)

    • Atheist
      63
    • Agnostic
      31
    • Unitarian Universalism
      5
    • Hindu
      1
    • Shinto
      3
    • Buddhist
      9
    • Islam
      1
    • Judaism
      8
    • Catholic
      18
    • Protestant
      31
    • Pagan
      16
    • Mormon
      3
    • Episcopalian
      3
    • Confucianism
      0
    • Rastafarianism
      0
    • Deist
      2
    • Spiritual w/o a formal religion
      26
    • Satanism
      5
    • Sikhism
      0
    • Other
      21


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having direct experience with psychosis has caused me to place more importance on spirituality. i find myself looking into Taoism and other forms of eastern thought.

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This is a really interesting thread :)

I was raised Catholic, but never had any real beliefs or faith of my own, it was just what surrounded me at the time. In my early teens I rebelled and went through various atheist, pagan-ish type stages, but really I think most of the time, religious or spiritual beliefs just don't matter much to me and my life. I guess if I had to pick a label, agnostic would be the closest one that kinda fits.

I have some vague ideas about spirituality, I believe in like a power of good that exists, like an energy of sorts, but for me it's not something I can imagine as a "being". Not sure how to quite explain that, just that I can't conceive of it having human-like features or traits, that just doesn't make sense to me.

I don't know that my MI would have directly influenced my beliefs, but it does impact on my mood, which affects how I think, which in turn affects what I believe, so maybe it has. I just know that I've always needed to understand things for myself, which is probably why I've questioned things and come to my own conclusions.

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My religion wasn't on the list so I put atheist as it was closest to Jainism (Jains are largely non-theistic). Having an MI does not influence my religious beliefs but I did become quite spiritual when I became ill. I was making really weird connections between things.

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Found a working version of God in AA. MI, alcoholism, and just generally being down and out have broken me down to the point where I became receptive. Now, God is as real to me as the air I breathe.

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I was raised Protestant (Church of Ireland/Anglican) but stopped going to church in my late teens as I found it to be too regimental.. I started going to a Baptist church in another town 7 miles away when I was 21 yrs old and liked it there and have been there ever since (for the last 13 yrs). I have felt abandoned by God when severely depressed but my relationship with Him has strengthened as I relied on Him more and more through my illness. And I find the people that go to my church very supportive and my pastor and his wife visited me several times when I was in hospital so I feel supported on many levels there.

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Like others have mentioned, atheism should not be under "religion" or even "Religious belief." It's a lack of belief. We don't classify ourselves as having a belief because we don't ascribe to Santa Claus or vampires. There's nothing else that one can abstain from believing in and have it classified as a belief. It would be an endless list of classifiers if we identified ourselves by all the things we don't believe in. Especially if you let a three year old's mind go wild for an hour.

I also agree that many of these are not exclusive (especially agnostic). I tend to think everyone is agnostic regardless of whatever else they believe based on faith. Faith means you don't know for sure. Faith is like hope. But nobody could possibly know of course.

As for MI and religion, I have to admit that I feel much of religion is brainwashing which happens to everyone. I do think my depression as a tween (and the fact I grew up feral) made me more susceptible to the tactics they used. I had a very Jesus Camp experience, except that women weren't allowed to be ministers see? Anyway, once I read the Bible and researched all the other Christ figures and history and world religions I couldn't hang with it. And they were terrible at answering questions. Also, I got into it to help people. I did the sandwiches and blankets under the bridge and I gave my $3 of babysitting money because I thought it would go to that. But it went to a new gym. I guess the old one wasn't good enough. I missed out on french fries every Sunday so all those jock guys could play ball all Friday night while I was babysitting. Yay. Heh, but all this happened before BP. I decided as a teen that I didn't like any of those gods anyway, (and heaven sounded so boooooring) so I'd just try to be more moral then they were.

It's funny because I stayed good friends with some of my hard core Christian buds, even though I was never an apologist. It was like a personal thing for them. Like the verse about praying in private and not for show. But some people ousted me or I ousted them. It ruined everything between us. And it was both of our faults. Or neither. I don't know, it just didn't work.

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I can't prove what I believe but I do *know* based on my experience that for me, it's real. I'm not hedging my bets with something that doesn't make sense to me in the hopes that it will pay off, my faith comes from a place of real life experience. That's why I don't consider myself an agnostic. I don't have it all figured out and my belief evolves but I have always known that there is something more and I have had very real (to me) experiences with it. To me, my belief feels sort of logical and almost a given, I can't imagine my life without it because I've always had it, as long as I remember, even though I was raised by Buddhists.

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I was big into spirituality right before my first psychotic break.

I was not into one religion in particular, but in many, so my psychotic break involved delusions that included a mish-mash of aspects of Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism.

I now would consider myself agnostic to athiest, but I am interested in some of buddhism's ideas, even though I don't believe in everything. I basically think of religion as mythology, mostly. I think religion is very interesting in terms of studying archetypes, and I am interested in Jung's ideas of the collective unconscious in relation to relition. I was really into Joseph Campbell for a while, too. I thought it was very interesting how certain ideas would pop up again and again in cultures that were isolated from each other geographically. For instance the idea of "the sacrifice" pops up in Christianity as well as in Mayan culture. It makes you wonder if an idea like the sacrifice is a universal archetype, or has some psychological significance that is universal.

For me spirituality is linked with mindfulness. It just makes you feel good, and happy to be alive. But I'm not willing to venture out beyond that in my belief. There is simply no tangible proof.

As someone else said I think there may be some kind of energy force, but I don't imagine it as anthropomorphic. But this is kind of speculation and may be wrong.

I used to think that many religions contained some element of truth to them simply because people believed in them, and it was reality for them... and maybe that their belief in it made it real in some way (hypothetically in some kind of parallel universe, maybe.) But I'm not sure I think in that way anymore.

For me psychosis has made me much more skeptical. Just because I feel a certain way, or because something seems to make intuitive sense, or because it would sure be nice if it was true, doesn't make it real, neccessarily. But part of me still clings to the desire to be spiritual/religious. I think it may take a while of not experiencing psychosis for me to test the waters of spirituality again.

Edited by koakua

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I found I couldn't possibly select a single one of those options, it would be either all or none. Like so many, following Camus, I am seeking to answer the fundamental question (no trigger!) - and thus finding I had MI was initially a real stumbling block to spiritual experience.

I was a late teens/early 20's convert from a lukewarm 'sort-of' roman catholicism to a more extreme form of reformed protestanism [for those unfamiliar, a form of Christianity based around the primary tenets of the Protestant Reformation, leading with Luther, but primarily following Calvin, and essentially distilled to the 'SOLAs': Sola Scriptura - by Scripture i.e. the Bible alone; Sola fide - by faith alone; Sola gratia - by grace alone; Sola Christos - by Christ Alone]. That conversion was based both upon personal experience and logical underpinnings in light of that that supported a rational move towards Christianity. However, what MI forced me to confront (when I became aware of it in my mid-to-late 20's), especially in light of manic episodes, was the question of the 'reality' of my belief. Was it something genuinely held and experienced? Or a vessel for my manic energy to pour into and animate? My blog details some of that questioning, particularly in the early stages, and gives some idea of the kind of energy that was propelling it.

I don't know that I have ever satisfactorily answered this conundrum. However, I think with time, with therapy, with reading, with meditiation, I have come to accept the space I am presently in. I think a lot of the more anxious moments of my faith experience, that I guess I would characterise as manifesting in a sort of rabid religiosity, have been able to be jettisoned, without diminishing my core beliefs. At the same time, I think I have opened up in relation to my own personal dialogue with many religions. I think that I have a more honest spiritual experience as a result. So perhaps not the 'having' of MI has influenced my religious beliefs, but the work I have done in light of it, as a result of the awareness, may have.

As an addendum. Recently I have found much joy in the comedy podcast "You Made It Weird", from Pete Holmes on the Nerdist Network. He comes from a posture of doubt, having experienced what he describes as a 'regular' sort of American evangelical christianity. His last formal question in every episode is to do with his guest's religious beliefs. One of the most entertaining episodes as it pertains to that is an interview with fellow comedian Duncan Tressel (whose own podcast Duncan Tressell's family hour deals more explicitly with this area), and whose own beliefs seem, well almost to be undefinable, or at least 'unboxable', but I have certainly experienced the "vampires" he rails against.

I have also been enjoying the live dialogues between Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla, which involve some discussion of both Prager's Jewish faith and Carolla's Athiesm. Although I think those might need to be purchased via iTunes. From a purely Christian perspective, I listen to Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church podcast fairly regularly also, he is one of the most well-known current proponents of that aforementioned reformed protestantism.

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my religious beliefs influenced my MI

yeah I lost a whole lot of faith or interest in practicing spirituality but not because of MI just the pharmacological treatments

If anything I could see that diagnosis would make ppl question their spiritual experiences more, if not let go of all spiritual truths they had before diagnosis for therapeutically benefit if they were opening up a sensitive too much to bizzare ideas (from the perspective of an atheist profession of psychiatry).. because spiritual concepts are seen as part of the illness for example.

What about the DSM category "Religious and Spiritual Problems" does anyone get that? that would open one up to seeking guidance from relevant spiritual groups or to learn about their own meaning of life...So I guess my personality has drifted to more spiritual set of values that contradicts how I was brought up, which caused me problems in my history with oppression from family. But with MI diagnosis comes the tendency to label this development as an illness, little is understood about defining psychosis from a deep spiritually identified experience, like maybe it should.

Edited by Razael7

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I managed to bump into this old thread and I practice Theravada Buddhism. It's (disputably) the oldest and most conservative monasically (Im not, have never been and will never be a monk) tradition.

What I like about it is that one doesn't have to take anything on faith. There are basic tenets and precepts and so on; ergo "religion", but it's ultimately up to the person. also, Buddhism adjusts to science. It's one of those few religions that do. It's more logical and objective. Not to mention learning compassion among other things has done me a lot of good. I'm also a daily meditator. I can't say my MI has anything to do with my choice, Rather it helps a great deal.

I was raised as a congregationalist. At the onset of my psychosis, I went full-on solitary wiccan. After that I was agnostic for several years. I tried a UU church but didn't like it. Eventually I settled on a LGBT church that I went to for several years. I cut ties with them after I got tired of it being a glorified pick up joint and not being able to get into the "inner circle" of the decent people. I ended up at a conservative church and left the second the pastor compared homosexual "tendencies" to alcoholism and that I should get an "accountability buddy".

I always hadtrouble squaring the idea of existence with a higher power, though. Never made sense to me no matter how others tried to explain it. I educated myself and even took classes to become a minister. I talked to theologians. Sill didn't make sense to me. I really tried.

After the "accountability buddy" comment and seeing both sides of the fence I decided to explore other avenues. I read all kinds of literature on eastern philosophy, watched a lot of lectures, tried a lot of stuff and finally settled on what I practice now. It works for me. I also incorporate Tibetan and Zen teachings in my practice. Since there are no Theravada monasteries around, (utah, heh) I'll probably go to a Zendo.

I respect all beliefs. That's another thing I've been taught. After all, shouldn't we have respect for all religions, spirituality or lack thereof? arent we all striving for the same (good) things?

Edited by mrjeff

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I was a practising Roman Catholic until this year. I can't really believe how seriously I took it; I was going to Charismatic Catholic prayer groups, confession each week etc. Funnily enough I found myself in charge of a youth group with two other girls and that was an eye opener. These kids just openly ridiculed everything we tried to teach them - in retrospect I think they had more insight than me. So I quit that job and took up an atheist position, which was kind of inevitable at some point.

I thought that faith really helped with MI. But I think confession is one of the more unhealthy things one can do. It's a process of guilt, shame, and doesn't really change much. I found being bound by religious rules was unhealthy for me; it didn't seem natural. So yeah, I gave it up.

That said, I am still very much intrigued by theology and particularly Roman Catholic culture, even though I think it's all a bit of a sham. My profile pic is of the Archangel Raphael, who is responsible for healing. So there's a little nod to my old faith.

Also, I still attend an Anglican communion service every now and again. I like a bit of ritual, and don't feel at all guilty about uttering the responses.

And, finally, I think it is important to have religious tolerance; faith is very important for some people and I can appreicate that. On the flipside of the coin, I don't think religious bullying of any kind is okay. Especially when it comes to MI. (Luckily we have such an awesome group of people here who wouldn't do such things)

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I struggle with religion all the time, doubting whether I truly believe. I feel too socially awkward at church, and keep skipping around to different congregations, trying all manner of liberal things and feeling that I never fit in. I feel more and more drawn to eastern practices that involve music, chanting, dancing, etc., but right now don't have the time to drive to things that would be an hour away from where I am temporarily living. I sometimes think that it would be cool to just go to Meetup and start a new religion ...

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And, finally, I think it is important to have religious tolerance; faith is very important for some people and I can appreicate that. On the flipside of the coin, I don't think religious bullying of any kind is okay. Especially when it comes to MI. (Luckily we have such an awesome group of people here who wouldn't do such things)

I totally agree. There are exremeists and fundamentalists in any religious group. Even in my tradition, (see post above) fundamentalism is a problem. Especially in Sri Lanka. I don't hate them, just hope they come around some day. Some people accuse me of being too much of a pacifist. It's sad that people who use their religion as a club to beat people up with are not getting the point. But it happens everywhere. tHere are words and terminology that could be taken on my tradition that could be seen as "bullying" people with MI until one realizes how English is. Really difficult to translate from Pali and Sanskrit to English. Turns off a lot of MI people. Pissed me off at first. But again, it comes down to that issue of fundamentalism. In the Bible and Koran, (read them both) one has to read them in context, not literally.

Edited by mrjeff

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I grew up (and still live) in a highly conservative and Fundamentalist Christian area. Most of my relatives and friends growing up were deeply Fundamentalist (until I moved an hour away to college and, while still in a Fundy region, managed to find more liberal folks). Most people here fully accept the Jesus-is-savior/Christian worldview as 100% true and the only possible way to see things, even if they aren't particularly religious themselves (a lot of people here live their lives believing they're going to go to hell, but telling themselves they'll "get saved" before they die). That being said, my immediate family was never really religious (my parents believe in God/jesus/heaven/hell etc but never went to church or really seemed to care that much, maybe because they were so fucked up), and I have never truly believed in anything, except when I was very young. I've wavered between agnostic and atheist most of my life, while "trying on" different religions (flavors of Paganism mostly) over the years out of boredom/curiosity/desire to believe in something.

I don't believe MI has really influenced my beliefs. I've had religious delusions while super manic before, and starting to feel really spiritual/connected is usually a sign of escalating mood for me. But the mere fact of my MI has not really swayed me one way or the other, it just seems like one of those luck-of-the-draw things that everybody deals with in some way. Just the way it goes.

I want to believe in something, still. Maybe someday I will. But for now I'm still sticking to agnostic.

Edited by hagar running

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Hmm, there is definitely an interplay between my MI and my spiritual beliefs (I wouldn't call myself religious), but which way round it is I'm not sure - do I believe the things I do because of my experiences, or do I experience them because of what I believe? Probably there's some kind of mixture of interactions and influences rather than simple cause and effect. (I believe in the powers and energies of nature, and when severely ill have felt I can directly perceive and communicate with them.)

I went to a Catholic school as a child, though my family weren't religious at all, and for a long while was a firm believer, and convinced that I would be baptised into that faith when I was older. I do think the disillusionment I came to feel was a contributing factor to my adolescent depression, as it seemed to me that I had been somehow tricked or fooled by religion and the world was a meaningless place full of suffering. The research I did into Buddhism helped me through some of that confusion, and clarified and validated some of the values and ethics I hold to, such as non-aggression and compassion.

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I'm a Jewish Witch. (Jewitch) I was more into the witchcraft growing up than I ever was Judaism. But I was never entirely certain about how I felt about G-d. However I had a deeply spiritual experience that may or may not have involved some extremely potent LSD while I was in college. This would have been in 1995, about 3 years after I was diagnosed. In the last five years I've begun to re-embrace my Judaism and meld it with the extremely eclectic spiritual beliefs I already had.

I think that perhaps if I were neurotypical, I would not be as open minded or as spiritually open as I am. And I've noticed that when I'm manic or hypomanic, I definitely get much more into my spirituality and am more inclined to want to do rituals or read my Tarot cards. I also feel like the voice of G-d comes through more clearly then.

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I am Hindu ( new to Hinduism and just learning about it ) my family are all christian and my husband don't believe in religion

My mental health don't really influence my religion

Edited by Serenityriver

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