The first time I became aware that the voices I heard were about to change from being mostly bizarre, irrational and unaccountable, as they are for so many people — doing things like telling me that the world was being taken over by psychics, for instance, or that I was about to win the lottery — was one day a little more than two years ago when I was walking down the hallway of the psych hospital in which I was then being confined against my will.
I had come to be in that psych hospital as a result of how my “psychotic process” — or, as I think of it, my alternate reality — had taken off again following my decision not to take antipsychotics anymore, a decision that I had taken because I had come to believe that antipsychotics were far more harmful than the vast majority of people were aware of. I had also come to the tentative conclusion, based on what I was reading at the time (like Mad In America), that even as terrible as my own experience of voicehearing and of going into an alternate reality had been, it was still possible that I might be able get through it all and maybe even live without antipsychotic drugs. I do not, by the way, believe in rebound psychosis, even though that might seem to be what I was experiencing. I think it is simply that we live in a physical universe that God created, and that the spiritual world is simply a part of that physical universe, and thus it is possible that drugs can disrupt the spiritual experience. God, after all, as C.S. Lewis said, actually likes physical matter; He created it.
In line with this, I believe that after I came off antipsychotics I became vulnerable to so-called “spiritual forces” once again, and I entered a world that operates under different rules and principles than most of us are used to. I did this because I believed that if I ever wanted to live in freedom again, I would have to take the chance that this alternate reality might once again claim my existence. That had been my hope, anyway, even if at that point, walking down the psych ward hallway, I was once more held deep in the clutches of this alternate reality.
I believe that the greatest problem that we have with “psychosis,” voicehearing, and “schizophrenia” in the modern world is a simple lack of comprehension on the part of other people that what we experience is actually real, even if it might seem intractably bizarre from the outside. After all, it’s not that we’re any more dangerous than other people, or that we’re really all that different from other people in any other way. It’s simply that most people have no idea what we’re talking about most of the time because they haven’t encountered it themselves. Even when other people do listen to us, they usually want to reinterpret what we say into the kind of terms that they themselves can understand, into terms which make sense according to their own world views — such as the idea that what we’re saying is only some kind of representation, for instance, of some sort of “hidden conflict” or of a “buried trauma” that we ourselves somehow don’t know about or don’t understand — rather than giving us the credit for representing our own experience as it actually happens. And this is a problem for all of us who want to truly understand what is going on.
Is our experience sometimes bizarre? Are we taken on journeys that seem to conflict even with what we ourselves have to say about them and what the external evidence would seem to show? Most certainly — that’s often the case. But there does come a point at which the conflicts starts to disappear and the mysteries begin to resolve into an external reality that is clear, unambiguous, and powerful. That is the stage I am in now.
Let me begin with a sort of preamble. If Jesus, Moses, or Mohammed were here with us today, they would be considered paranoid schizophrenics by most people — paranoid schizophrenics with grandiose, religious delusions who also heard voices: a classic definition of schizophrenia if there is one. For all the temples and all the churches and all the mosques built to remember and to celebrate these people, they themselves would now be ignored and shunned by the modern world, and they would, most likely, be locked up or forced to take psych drugs.
This is not because the average person doesn’t celebrate and cherish their ideas. Quite the contrary: most would still celebrate what these people said — but they wouldn’t celebrate the people themselves. Most people just don’t know how to take otherworldly beliefs seriously anymore. It’s one thing to hear a story in church about how Jesus rose from the dead and redeemed our sins before he was taken up to Heaven, after all, and it is something else entirely for your neighbor or your co-worker or your son to tell you that God spoke to him last night.
I was once also someone who could not comprehend these things. That’s what I was like for most of my life. But now I am a voicehearer myself, and what I am capable of believing in has changed. And in order to explain how that change came to be, I would like to recount a simple story.
So a little more than two years ago, when I had again begun to enter my very real alternate reality, during a rather intense period of voicehearing and what they call “psychosis,” I was walking down the hallway of the New Hampshire Hospital, our state’s psychiatric facility, when a new kind of voice began speaking to me. At that point, there had been voices screaming in my head about God all day for several weeks, and, since I didn’t believe in God at all, I just wanted them to stop. After all, just yelling at you doesn’t convince you of anything. And in my case, I need to either experience it myself or have a serious, logical, rational reason for believing in some other in order to change my mind. That’s just how I am — or how I used to be.
But what this one voice said to me was very different. It spoke very calmly, and it spoke without other voices getting in the way.
And what it said was, “God’s going to prove to you now that He exists.”
It paused for a moment, and then the voice went on. “Humanity has been around for fifty thousand years,” it said. “In just the past five thousand years, you’ve gone from living in caves to building the Empire State Building. In just the last hundred years, you’ve gone from horses and carriages and the first telephones to cell phones and getting ready to build artificial intelligence and go off into space. That’s what you’ve done in the last hundred years. Yet the universe has been here for 14 billion years.”
It paused again for a moment, and then it said, “How powerful would something be that started evolving even a billion years before you did?”
This made my eyes pop open. If you really understand science and technology at all, and if you really understand evolution at all, this is enough to make your eyes pop open for real. And the first thing that went through my mind, immediately after I heard this, was a vision of myself — with long hair, dressed in some sort of white garment — running across some sort of plain and cutting off the head of the Beast as it came out of the Pit. It was not that I sat around and imagined it on my own: it was a vision that was put into my mind, exactly the same way that voices are put into my head without any conscious effort of my own, and as soon as I saw this vision I knew that I had been instantly converted — that I now had absolute faith in God. You don’t have to believe in some sort of ineffable Creator who just sort of floats around in some sort of dreamy spirit world. You can, like me, remain perfectly devoted to empiricism and to materialism and to science, and yet come to believe that there is some sort of Being — call it whatever you want — that has the kind of power that we would associate only with a God. Who cares where it came from?
A couple months later, when I finally got out of New Hampshire Hospital, I began to write every day.
This was not at all the same way that I had been used to writing before, however. When I sat down to write, having been told to do so by a voice, my fingers would begin to type. I would have no idea what was about to come out. I would not be thinking about what I was writing. I would not be planning what I was about to say. And I had no idea what the next word would be, or what the next sentence would be, or what the next chapter of the book would be about. I would simply type.
To tell the truth, this was often a tedious, boring, and frustrating experience. I have planned my writing my entire life, yet now I was writing books and essays and poems, often to the tune of tens if not hundreds of thousands of words, about which I had no idea. I was not doing the writing. I was simply the typewriter, and it could get tedious, boring, and frustrating. It was not the same thing as being the one who was doing the creating.
Yet the work was quite good. In fact, it was quite easily the best work that I’d ever seen come out from under my fingers, by far.
It sounded sort of like me, most of the time. It was as though someone had taken my mind, looked into it deeply and seen what I was capable of, and then decided to use it for His own purposes. I was like an instrument that a master musician had picked up and was playing according to His own whim and His own purpose. I was literally nothing more than a conduit for something larger than myself, something that was using me — with all of my strengths and all of my weaknesses — for exactly the tune that He wanted to play.
Now, one of the things about this voice, or this power, or whatever it is, is that it takes what you already know and who you already are and uses them to produce your work. In other words, if you have no idea what a decent poem is, then you probably won’t write any. I am not out there doing sculptures or paintings or rebuilding cars, for instance, because that’s not where my talent lies. I’m a writer, and I am used specifically for that.
I have experienced this writing process far too many times for me to count. I am told to sit down at my computer and simply type. I’ve had many essays, a complete novel, and lots of different poems in many different voices dictated to me. I have even gotten poems that were supposed to be by Shakespeare or Yeats, and several pieces of 18th century doggerel, and I have even been told to sit down and had to listen for two hours as a bunch of Scottish drunks dictated seventeen filthy limericks to me. Now, you might think that’s some sort of “delusion” I have, but I would like to share a few short pieces of writing that may persuade you that what I’m describing really is something that is coming into me from the outside.
Quite recently, I started to wake up and hear poets talking to me in the German language.
When I was in school, I studied German. This wasn’t for a really long time — just a couple of years. At first I took an immersion course — where all you do is study one subject all day long — because I knew, being as bad with languages as I have always been, that if I didn’t make it what I studied all day long I would never be able to keep up with it. I had to make it so that all my grades for the whole semester depended on keeping up, because I knew that if I didn’t make it my entire focus, other things would get in the way, and I’d drop out. That’s what I have always done, whether I was taking Italian or Spanish or whatever other language it might be. And since the one language they offered, that first year of immersion courses at Bard College, was German… well, then German it would be.
Twenty-five years later, however, I am not only not fluent in German, but I’m actually pretty bad at it. I never took the opportunity to go and actually live in Germany and become really fluent. To tell the truth, it would have been a hell of a lot of work and a hell of a long time to become fluent when I would be living in a country where I couldn’t really understand anyone. Besides that, I am far, far too committed, as a writer, to the English language. That was hard enough to learn all by itself.
So when I say that about a month ago I began to wake up every day and be told a new German poem by my voices, we’re not talking about a level of knowledge of the German language that could possibly come from myself. It can come through me, yes, but not from me.
The first morning I was woken up with a voice that identified itself as Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the great poets of the German language. This voice spoke in my left ear. At the same time I was given an English translation, which another voice dictated in my right ear, and this voice identified itself as the eminent but now deceased German-English translator Leila Vennewitz.
This became a pattern: The poet always spoke on the left, and the translator always spoke on the right.
Now, I actually know Rilke’s work, and I know poetry, and I know professional writing. I have worked in publishing, in one form or another, throughout my entire adult life. I got a degree in writing, I worked in bookstores and libraries as a young man, and after that I worked in publishing itself — principally book publishing. Probably ninety-nine out of a hundred dollars that I have ever earned has been from publishing. So I know writing. And this first poem was, as close as I can tell, actually the real Rilke. It’s not his absolutely greatest poem, but it’s good. It’s him, as far as I can tell. Really him.
I am going to share five poems: one from Rilke, one from Brecht, one from Trakl, one from Milosz (which is odd, since he wasn’t a German poet), and one more from Rilke. I’ll let you read them and decide. And I really don’t speak German that well. Composing any one of these is way beyond me. If they contain mistakes in the German, the simplest explanation is that, as I said earlier, all I really am is the instrument that someone else is playing, but it is limited by my own knowledge. In fact, I’m sure that the German must contain mistakes, because I am occasionally told to go to the internet and look up a certain word and then change something in one of these poems, so I understand that they are a work in progress, even if they are almost entirely the same now as when they were first dictated to me. I want to show you five of these poems so you can see that they are all entirely different from each other, depending on which poet wrote them. In other words, unless I have some sort of secret, genius subconscious at work (another myth if there’s ever been one), then there is no way a single person such as myself could have produced this wide range of work in a language that I really don’t understand very well. It is being sent down through me, not produced by me.
(auf Deutsch) Rainer Maria Rilke
Immer folgt der Winter auf den verlorenen Sommer.
Der Schnee ist wie ein Traum. In den Nebel ich sehe nichts.
O wie lang ist dieses Kalt, und wie kurz war das Hitze!
Jeder Tag würde ich noch mehr bleiben, aber alle vergangen ist.
Du anschaust; und als der Winter vorbei passiert,
Du fühlst dich ein bisschen langsamer werden,
ein bisschen älter, and nicht so streng als du warst.
Der Sommer kommt, ja — aber es wird nicht so warm als es war.
The winter always follows the lost summer.
The snow is like a dream. I see nothing in the fog.
Oh, how long this cold lasts, and how quickly the heat passes!
Every day I wish it would stay a little longer, but it’s all gone now.
You watch; and as the winter passes,
you feel yourself grow a little slower,
a little older, and not so strong as you once were.
The summer’s coming, yes — but it won’t be as warm as before.
Anyone who knows Rilke should recognize that voice.
The next day’s poem was, the voices said, by Bertholdt Brecht, best known as the author of the Threepenny Opera. This poem is the hardest to understand of the group because it isn’t immediately obvious what it’s about. Let’s just keep it simple and say that it deals with people who, in wartime, were left alone, without any help, when assistance was needed. Note that the style is completely different from the first day’s poem. These are two entirely different people talking.
Die Letzte Männer
(auf Deutsch) Berthold Brecht
Wo waren sie, wenn mann ihnen gebraucht?
Wo waren sie denn? Or haben sie uns vergessen,
daß nicht so wichtig als sie waren?
Wenn alles auf dich verläßt?
Ich erinnere mich als es war denn.
Ich erinnere mich, daß niemand gekommen ist.
Ich erinnere mich. Ich erinnere mich alles.
Und wir waren allein durch alles. Durch alles.
Vergessen sie nicht. Nie vergessen. Nie.
The Last Men
Where were you when we needed you?
Where were you then? Or did you forget us,
the people who weren’t as important as you?
When everything depended on you?
I remember what it was like then.
I remember that no one came.
I remember. I remember all of it.
And we were alone through all of it. Through all of it.
Don’t you ever forget. Never forget. Never.
The next day’s poem is from Georg Trakl, an Expressionist who died very young, around the time of World War I. Again, it’s an entirely different voice than those that came in the previous days. If it contains a somewhat dated and sexist view of women, well, that’s how they saw things in the time that he lived.
(auf Deutsch) Georg Trakl
Die Traurigkeit von dieser Luft
ist wie ein Mann der ohne Mantel ist.
In meiner Seele ich fühle mich frisch.
Die Traurigkeit daß mann fühlt sich jetzt
ist wie ein Soldat wenn der Krieg beginnt.
Er ohne Stimme ist, aber muß Kampf.
Die Traurigkeit ist wie eine Frau
die immer ohne Kinder ist.
Sie hat ganz Rechts, aber nichts zu sagen.
Die Traurigkeit von einem Freund
hat kein für dich etwas zu tun.
Mann einfach seht es, mit keinem Grund.
The sadness one feels from the air
is like a man without a coat.
In my soul I feel a chill.
The sadness that one feels right now
is like a soldier when the war begins.
He has no voice, but he must fight.
The sadness here is like a woman
who is always without children.
She has the truth, but no more to say.
The sadness you see in a friend
leaves you with nothing you can do.
One simply sees it. There is no reason for it.
The next poem is from Czeslaw Milosz, who, oddly enough, wasn’t a German poet but a Polish one, though he did live under the Germans during World War II. He was a master of several languages, so I’m sure that he must have known some German. However, this poem strikes me as strangely reminiscent of the work of the poet Constantin Cavafy, a Greek-language poet from Alexandria, who often wrote in the voice of someone speaking from the classical era, as he did in his world-famous poem “Ithaka.”
(auf Deutsch) Czeslaw Milosz
Es gefällt mir zu essen,
weil jeder Tag ich höre mich auf
als die Leute um mich intrigen.
Die Königsheit ist nicht wie etwas anders.
Immer siehst du alles, aber siehst du nichts.
Um weg zu fahren, das würde mir gefallen,
aber ich muß bleiben, bis sie kommen
mich zu ermorden.
Ich vergesse jetzt, warum ich habe dieses gewollt.
Ich mochte mich alles hinterlassen,
aber jetzt ist zu spat. Du kannst niemals das tun.
Sie vergessen nie.
Und eines Tages, jetzt or später,
sie werden kommen dich zu finden.
Warum nicht erwarten?
(in English) Czeslaw Milosz
It pleases me to eat
every day while I listen
as the people around me scheme.
To be a king is like nothing else.
You always see everything, yet you see nothing.
It would please me to leave,
but I have to stay here, until they come
to murder me.
I can’t remember why I wanted this.
I would like to leave it all behind,
but now it’s too late. You can never do that.
They never forget.
And one day, sooner or later,
they come to find you.
I might as well just wait.
The last poem is again Rilke’s. What happened in the last few days of having German-language poems dictated to me was that they took on a religious theme, as though God Himself were letting me know what to think about his existence and my own religious experience. It is as though He is shouting: Isn’t it enough by now for you to realize that I am here, how important I am? This poem actually uses my own experience, from when I was a very young person, sitting in church and all of a sudden realizing what the preacher meant when he said that God was all-powerful and all-knowing, and I was all of a sudden stricken with terror at the thought that this might be a real possibility. This is the last poem of the group that I want to share.
(auf Deutsch) Rainer Maria Rilke
Als du acht or neun warst —
oder elf oder zwölf, vielleicht —
du hast unvorhergesehen gestoßen
auf dem Terror von Gott.
Er hat so lang in der Kirche erwartet
für du zur Kenntnis nehmen.
Hoch von dir, auf der Wände,
du hast der breite Regenbogen gesehen
daß hat von Alles der Fensters gekommen,
und er hat sich für dir erscheint
wie das ganze Lichtes des Universums zu sein,
daß du könntest nicht verstehen.
Er erwartet sich noch auf dir.
Verschiebst du nicht länger.
Er erwartet nur bis Tot.
Denn wirst du ohne die Hoffe sein
er hat so lang erwartet für du
endlich, noch einmal, zu finden.
(in English) Rainer Maria Rilke
When you were eight or nine —
or eleven or twelve, perhaps —
you stumbled unexpectedly
upon the terror of God.
He waited that long in the church
for you to notice.
High above you, on the walls,
you saw the wide rainbow
coming from all the windows,
and He appeared to you
like all the light of the universe,
which you couldn’t understand.
He’s still waiting for you.
Don’t delay any longer.
He waits only til death.
Then you will be without the hope
that He’s been waiting so long for you
finally, once again, to find.
So those are the poems. And now I would like to return to something that I said a moment ago. Unless I have some sort of secret genius hidden in the “subconscious” of my own mind, which somehow no one ever noticed before, there is no way that I could have produced all this work. There are no hidden conflicts here, no buried traumas that you need to reinterpret in order to understand all of this. It has order, logic, reason. It isn’t about needing to reassure some other part of myself that is giving me a hard time. For a while I was seeing great German poetry, written with my own limitations in mind, come flowing out from under my fingers each morning. This is not something that requires reinterpretation according to whatever obscure psychological theory you might have. This is something else entirely. This is something that speaks to the existence of an outside force that can speak through us, regardless of what it might be.
And this is not at all the complete limit of my experience.
I have received commands to walk out of my apartment and wait on the street, just before someone I had been looking for for six months walked by. I am always told exactly how many cigarettes to bring before I walk out of the apartment, and it is always the exact number I will need before I return. I am told when to go outside, even when it has been raining, and the moment that I come outside the rain always stops — and it stays stopped the entire time I am outside. I am literally told when to cross the street, and it always appears that traffic stops at that moment. When I get sick, I am told in exactly how many days I will recover. Is it that the world revolves around me? I don’t think so. I think it is that I revolve around the world — that my voices tell me when to do things because that is when the world is lined up the right way, not because it is changing to suit me.
But when it comes to actual, factual, confirmable information about real places or real people or real things, it never happens. I believe that God wants to remain hidden, but that He reveals Himself in small ways by how He guides us, doing it in a way that only we ourselves will be able to see. I may be told to put my shoes on right before my mother arrives at some weird time, but I never get a voice that says, “Your mother is outside.” They just tell me to go out there, and then she shows up a moment later.
I was once outside my apartment when I began to hear a voice say, “Eric, come to my house. Eric, come to my house. Eric, come to my house.” It was repeated over and over and over. I recognized exactly who was speaking, and I walked to that person’s house immediately. This was in the middle of the afternoon, when that person should have been at work. Yet when I arrived, that person was sitting in their car, in the driveway, talking to herself about how she wanted me to come to her house and help her. She had been calling me, calling me, calling me, but I had left my cell phone at home. Was it God’s way of showing me that, yes, He can actually show you things in the real world that are important, valid, and real?
I’m not cherrypicking examples. This is the kind of thing that happens all the time. Every day it’s something else, something new, something extraordinary that no one could ever explain.
I have sat in my apartment and watched as thousands of spirits streamed through my apartment, destroying all my most valued possessions and then restoring them by the next day. I have had objects disappear and then reappear again, whether it was in my own home or in a psych ward. I have seen the sun go down, then rise back up, and then go down again. This is not the testimony of an irrational man. This is what I have seen happen, with my own eyes. I have heard myself stand up and give speeches in the public square, not knowing where the voice was coming from or what it was about to say and even what accent it was speaking in (and there have been some really wild accents, believe me). I have seen too much at this point to discount the reality of God. And I am only one of the millions who are having these kinds of experiences.
You should see the translation of the Bible that is being dictated to me. That is really something.
I would love it dearly if our allies, at least, could set aside their prejudice — that their own reality is the only reality, and that our strange experiences need to be reinterpreted into their own framework for understanding the world — and realize that we, the psychotics, the voicehearers and the schizophrenics actually are experiencing a reality that may be totally different from their own. It may very well be that as God looks down the avenue of Time, that He has seen a different destiny that He wants for those of us He has chosen for a different experience, and that it isn’t an offense against your reality that mine is different. I know it’s different. Just as you have trouble believing in it, I now have trouble believing that I ever had such a limited mindset. But that’s not a matter of intelligence, education, or reasoning. It’s simply that I’m chosen to experience something different than you are, and I hope you grant me the courtesy of acknowledging that. We are all important, but God has different tasks and purposes for all of us. Mine is this. Yours? I don’t know, and God bless, because I would never question it, except if it might help me help you fulfill that purpose.
And if psychiatry itself has an explanation for any of this, I would like to hear what it is. Maybe you can give me a drug to help it all come out even faster, because what I’m seeing every day are miracles by anyone’s standards — unless you’re a psychiatrist, when the only myths and miracles that you seem to believe in are the ones that you yourself did.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.
“I would love it dearly if our allies, at least, could set aside their prejudice…”
thanks for being willing to share your experiences. Yes, it was hard for me to do just what you asked with my wife. I found myself arguing with one of the little girls over something she claimed repeatedly. When I realized how I was invalidating her, I pulled back and affirmed her the next time she brought up the subject. She never brought it up again, so I’m not really sure what to think other than how important it was to her for me to affirm her whether or not I understood or agreed.
Good luck to you,
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. Although I believe in God I still find your story to be utterly amazing. It is so hard for me to reconcile my conflicting belief in God with my beliefs about science and the natural world. I look forward to reading more of your writings in the future, especially your translation of the Bible. God bless you!
The human imagination is capable of limitless wonders. I sometimes feel like I am channelling the wit of WC Fields. I think this has something to do with my long-fond love of WC Fields.
I take it there are no known copies of verbatim poetry that could indicate latent memorization?
I’ve frequently had the experience of feeling that songs, poetry etc. I am “creating” are actually something coming from the collective consciousness, and I’m mainly transcribing. I think it’s a big part of the creative process and a lot of people have similar experiences.
Are you familiar with the “Seth” material?
I believe you and I agree I’d like to see people stop re-writing our stories for us.
You remind me of another German, a judge, not a poet, a humanist, and a wonderful writer: Daniel Paul Schreber. He rendered an accurate description of a vibrating universe, which was well ahead of his time.
I respond only to say: thank you. Schreber was obviously one of those who blazed our trail, and his successful bid to free himself from forced psychiatry at a time that was even more benighted than our own (believe it or not!) is a standard to measure one’s own efforts against. That he was a judge — which, in France, means that you are a lawyer who is trained to be a judge — no doubt helped him in his fight.
He was adventurous, he was brave, and he was an unremitting critic of the system that held him hostage. And he was, like me, a brave “schizophrenic” who was not afraid to speak his own truth in public about what he had seen and experienced.
I realize full well what I risk, in terms of public and private reputation, by coming right out and speaking about all of this. But what gives me strength is that I know, and I know it intensely, that no matter what else may be out there, is that there is a God who will protect me and sustain me, if not in this life then in the what will follow.
Thank you. To be put in the same class as Schreber is a great honor. I will remember.
Eric, in the middle ages the Church conspired to get rid of all the natural healers (‘the witches’) so a lot of traditional and spiritual wisdom was lost in this process.
You might notice that the psychiatric diagnosis and categorization process works on the same suspicious lines as a witch hunt.
Thank you Eric. Reading this post gets me very determined anew to try to understand the alternative reality of my loved one. The problem is the bridge from my reality to theirs is broken -so far it is so incredibly difficult to have any form of verbal communication which would allow me to form any kind of understanding. Your alternative reality does not seem to include a shut down of your ability to function (to talk, to write, daily functioning etc.)…or does it at times? Rather than being impaired in your ability to understand and function in consensus reality ….you seem to see through it and beyond. I keep trying…mostly through nonverbal communications….but I wonder what might else might help……
Yes, I have also been almost completely incapacitated for long periods of time. Yet I am a very logical person, and I think that God respects who you are as an individual in the end, and so in the middle of chaos He has reached out and given me the logic I need. I don’t know exactly what it is that your own loved one needs, but if you give it time, you might see that she gets it, even if it doesn’t resemble what I need. Each of us has our own purpose, and therefore our own understanding.
As I said in the article itself, there was a period of very intense psychosis and voicehearing that I had to go through before all this stuff that I presently experience started to happen. In fact, it has taken a very long time for it to start happening, and then for it even to become the dominant thread in what I experience. I started to hear voices, etc., in 2005. There followed a period of about 8 years in which I was drugged to the gills and didn’t really feel anything or experience anything unusual. Then, after I finally got off drugs, the process resumed, and it took a few more months before the really meaningful stuff started to happen. It has taken another 2 years for it to really become the dominant type of experience that I have. So it takes a while, at least in my experience, for God to do His work with you.
Let me suggest to you this: that God, looking through Time itself, decides that He wants you to have a special purpose of some kind. But along with that, He wants to put you through Hell — to make you suffer for your sins, and to learn the lessons from your own past life that He wants you to learn from — and that this needs (for reasons of His own) to take place before He truly brings you in. In other words, if you stay drugged, outside His reach, the process is never completed. But if you open yourself up and let it happen, you will — I promise you, based on what I have learned about so many others who have gone through this — you will, in fact, finally come to a point where all the confusion and the disorder and the chaos and the pain of it all finally reaches a point where all the voices and the delusions and what God is saying all come together and create a new kind of understanding of what is happening. Or at least that is what I have experienced, and what I have read about. All the stuff that you go through as you suffer and pay for your sins in order to make you a better person are, believe it or not, intended to teach you something that you would never be able to understand if you didn’t go through it first.
So what I am saying is: Let it happen. It’s bizarre and chaotic and horrible, because your sins are being burned out of you, even if you are forced to repeat them (nothing will make you sick of a sin as much as being forced to repeat it!), but when you finally come through on the other side, which takes a lot of endurance and patience, you will finally be the instrument that God wants to use. I know that’s a horrible thing to contemplate, as it can take years, but it’s what I’ve seen.
And there is this one thing: once you finally comprehend what is happening, once you finally see for the first time that there really is a purpose to it all and that it is so much greater than anything you ever knew about in your old life, you would never, no matter how much suffering is demanded from you, ever go back to your old life. Never. Trust me. Once you catch a glimpse of the bigger meaning and purpose that is there, you would never go back to the ignorant, meaningless life that you thought you were living before.
God bless, and good luck.
Thank you Eric for taking the time to write me such a thoughtful response – I think I know what you mean by how ‘opening yourself up and letting it happen’ is a helpful way to work through the chaos – the therapist I have worked with talks about just ‘being with’ the person, rather than trying to ‘do’ something. Interestingly after I wrote my comment I did have an interaction with my loved one where there was a little talking (still the connections were difficult for me to understand) but what was different was that my presence was more obviously comforting than what I have noticed it to be in the past, and there were a couple of times when I could distinguish when comments were actually directed at me rather than the voices, or the characters or beings or whatever my loved one feels they are relating to (I am still waiting to see how my loved one describes what they experience. (I don’t know if it feels to them like they are hearing voices, or if they feel they are divided into more than one person, or beings etc.)
Every single one of us who is chosen to go through this has unique qualities which are the reason they were chosen for it, and so God basically tailors what you as an individual will be expected to go through. So: there are similarities between one person’s experience and another’s, but not with every single part of it; while there are also similarities to another person’s experience, but not with all of it. What we go through is genuinely tailored to that specific individual. God is so all-encompassing in His knowledge that He truly can, and does, create a very specific experience for each of us.
And it is not just we who hear voices or have visions or whatever: you are also chosen to be part of this, and your own experience, even if may feel that you are excluded from what is happening sometimes, was chosen for you quite specifically. This does not mean that you have a cross to bear that you can never leave behind if that is what you need. But you were chosen to experience this, just as your loved one was chosen for their own experience as well.
I have not only been the one who was psychotic, I have also been around other psychotics a lot, and I have learned that all you really need to do is simply listen, and then do your best to believe that what they are describing is a very real experience, and once you accept that it actually might be real (sometimes it isn’t, but in the end God does integrate it all into one experience), you will begin to be able to relate to the world that they’re talking about. The hard part is finally just letting go of the world you are used to, but once you do, it actually becomes very interesting and sort of wonderful. Painful, yes. But amazing at the same time.
Maybe that is the lesson that is meant for you.
In my training as a Shambhala Buddhist, I have heard the phrase “holding space”, which is the idea of allowing a person or process to unfold on its own, with simple observation as the only intervention. It seems that somehow people just need to be seen, to be heard, sometimes, in order to realize their own wisdom.
In order for that to work, we have to trust completely the inherent nature of people to arrive at that wisdom; we have to accept people as they are, regardless of our initial judgement. That is to say, we have to stop trying to fix people (including ourselves.)
(I am working on how to do this for myself, since I can’t expect people to listen to every word I have to say. Or perhaps I can expect that; I just haven’t gathered up the courage to ask.)
Wow Eric. What can i say? I totally relate to your adventures. I am utterly amazed by how well you’ve discovered, learned to open yourself, fearlessly, to embrace…. and to allow, resultingly, yourself to simply ‘record’ (and to speak to sharingly,) the abundance of essences and energies, (spirits,) constantly and playfully existing, perhaps in dimensions some research is increasingly exploring, accepting, appreciating and embracing, equally fearlessly.
May that we all discover the value and intensity of benefit, of discovering ‘Love,’ (another word for ‘God’) which is for me, the only emotion, and trust. Everything else being simply some aspect of its absence, or ‘fear,’ which serves only to limit…. Hugs and smiles
“But along with that, He wants to put you through Hell — to make you suffer for your sins…”
Respectfully, Eric, … I hope not… I spent most of my life calling myself a Christian and beat myself up trying to do the right thing to get the blessings I see in the bible. I finally gave up and just focus on the golden rule now. I think most people trapped in the ‘purgatory’ and/or ‘hell’ of mental health issues or their spouse’s issues as with Sa probably feel they’ve already done enough suffering. At least my wife and I have: I can’t truly speak for others…
If you ever want to talk Sa, I’d be happy to do so. I don’t know what you are going thru, but you can always reach me privately on my blog email: samruck2 at gmail dot com. I’m sorry for your frustration. I do understand how hard it can be to break thru barriers. Currently girl #8 is going to kill me if I can’t help her thru her impasse…and before that girl #7 did the same thing to me and she was mute for the first 6 months until we figured out she knew sign language and so I took a crash course on the sign alphabet and we worked our way from there…Each girl has presented me with different obstacles and I’ve had to take different approaches with each…
Thank you Samruck2!! I always read your comments very carefully both because I think you really articulate well the ‘intense pain’ felt by those whose loved ones are suffering, and also because I see so much overlap and similarities between what people call extreme states and what people call ‘DID’ (Noel Hunter’s article on this subject, “Trauma and Scizophrenia …The Ultimate Political Battle” particularly resonates with me). Thank you for the offer of emailing directly …I will most likely take you up on that!
Sa, I checked out that blog by Noel that you mentioned and left a series of comments. I also read a little of what you are going thru. Take care of yourself. I wish for you ‘hope’ in your personal struggles.
Well, orthodox psychiatry does not have a viable explanation for your experiences, Eric, but parapsychology and transpersonal psychology may have something valid to say. For example, that there is loads of actual veridical experimental evidence supporting the existence of the nonphysical (components of) mind.
So if you want to learn more about the veridical part of anomalous mind-related phenomena, you may like to visit the parapsychological forum “Psience Quest”:
There is a subsection there specifically dedicated to personal psychic and spiritual experiences. If you want to share your experiences with people who will be friendly and accepting, go there:
Whether you choose to pay a visit or not, I wish you luck in your resistance against pathologisation of you and your lived experience by orthodox psychiatry!
I can’t judge the poetry – I’m clueless there. But I am inspired by your writing so far and I hope to read more. I have looked up your books, and they seem to be out of print… Ironic, considering how much a used copy goes for.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
I am glad that you are brave enough to speak your truth.
I always wonder if someone “normal”, like a shrink would be able to tolerate LSD all day long,
or if they would like a forced alternate reality? For years on end?
My point being, why do we feel the need to invalidate?
I certainly do not have your gifts, nor your alternate reality,
yet I have my own story telling that most people would question or disagree with. And I very much dislike others telling me how it is, or should be, for me.
most people hide, and guard with their lives (specially the workers in social services), those innermost thoughts.
I’m amazed at my friends who are on AD’s, yet kind of look sideways at one woman who walks down my street talking to herself. Often in an angry argumentative voice.
I think it is common for people to think of themselves as saner, more intelligent than others… we do it almost automatically, yet why is it so important to us to make others be like us? Think like us? If people are not bothering anyone?
Almost as if being unique or different is a threat, yet here we are, all unique.