Spiritual Texts in the Psych Ward


In the psych ward where someone I work with has been for several months, there are currently four books: the Koran, the Bible, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and my new book, Freedom From Psychiatric Drugs.

His parents bought my book for him and had it sent to him at the long-term psych hospital. I’ve been talking to him almost every day and he’s been reading my book there, a little each day as he paces up and down the halls. Hearing that there are few other books there, and which books they are, brought some excitement as well as thoughts about psych wards versus prisons since prisons allow book donations.

The idea of my bright blue book being on a psych ward at all, just a month after self-publication, made me ecstatic. I imagined it like a glowing box of light in a dim room.

Hearing the list of which other books made it onto the psych ward made me think of how, compared to prisons, psych hospitals shut down potential leaning and evolution in more extreme ways, in some regards.

My friend asked if the hospital takes book donations. Books to Prisoners is a big thing, as is writing letters to prisoners. Prisoners often take college courses online while incarcerated. They can write and receive emails. Yet people in long-term psychiatric facilities don’t have these opportunities and primarily play games and do arts and crafts projects designed for elementary aged kids.

The idea seems to be to distract them from their minds, stunt their minds, keep them from too much thought. The assumption being that it was “too much thought” that made them crazy in the first place and to encourage further thought or learning would be dangerous.

On the other hand, if someone’s thought process led them to a criminal activity, which presumably actually harmed or killed others, and they were not deemed insane, educational materials would be considered safe and helpful.

The Koran, the Bible and the Big Book of AA are all radical texts in their own right, or were at one time. Perhaps they are now considered safe, even for the “insane,” because they have organized religions/programs of conformism to keep people in line as they explore their ideas. I haven’t read each of these books in their entirety, and I only chose these three to mention because they were the exact books on the psych ward. Each is a sacred text to many and has impacted many lives as well as entire cultures.

What really excites me about all this, though, goes way back to my original messianic complex of sorts. It was tied in with my own experiences in psych hospitals 18 years ago, and what led up to them. Part of what got me to perform psychosis, and get labeled with it, was the sense that I had something “else” to do in the world besides anything I could see prescribed for me.

I didn’t exactly think I was Jesus (who I didn’t grow up learning about) or any particular prophet, but I knew I was a prophet of sorts. Many of us are, and in fact there’s more of a stigma around owning one’s real prophetic connections and prophesies than owning a bipolar diagnosis, in most circles.

I didn’t care. People with what have been termed messianic complexes do not care what the world says or what anyone thinks of them when they are in initiatory stages. This is why they are impossible to control without drugs and confinement and why society fears them so much.

They are almost always a combination of actual visionary prophesy AND grandiosity to the point of disregarding and taking advantage of others. I certainly was. Most people I have worked with and known over the past 18 years have been.

Still, if they were respected and supported to birth their visions and prophesies, they would not need to resort to such grandiosity and wreckage. If a vision is determined to be born through someone and everyone says, “You’re crazy, you’re crazy, get back in line and act like the rest of us,” of course they will revolt, hence the “crazy” are made dangerous.

Of course there are many ways of looking at it, and I’m only presenting one, yet that messianic complex I once had—and once went crazy to uphold—flashed back to mind when I heard which books my book was accompanied by in the psych ward.

I wondered if maybe in a few hundred years or sooner, my “bible for psychiatric survivors” would be regarded as a sacred, timeless text to be read by everyone. I could be labeled full-on grandiose, delusional and outlandish for thinking such a thought, yet in part of my mind it was a prophesy!

Something alive and awake in me lit up with a “YES ABSOLUTELY” when I had that thought. With “OF COURSE YOUR BOOK IS A FREAKING BIBLE and will be regarded as such.”

The question then becomes, why is a book like the Bible, which does contain wisdom for many, so accepted as THE Bible? The Koran THE Recitation, The Big Book THE BIG Book, the Torah THE Word.

And why do I feel excited that my book could be on level with the Bible and these books? Why has ONE TEXT, the Bible, for example, become what it is, a bible? It points as well to changes over the past few generations in terms of the multiplicity of voices that are now read by the masses and books that can be written with self-publishing.

I’d venture to predict that books like the Bible, the Koran, and the Big Book of AA will need to step aside just slightly, to make space for “new bibles” like mine (and so many others that many modern-day prophets have been writing) which do what those books did: addressed through a spiritual lens the key issues of their time and culture with spiritual solutions that proved timeless and applicable to people for many generations to come.

With current self-publishing capabilities, there’s little that can stop anyone with the slightest messianic complex from actualizing their potential as a prophet—except perhaps the tactics psychiatry employs: forced drugging, locking people up and limiting their abilities to communicate with the rest of the world.

This is why it may take hundreds of years to set free our prophesies rather than just a few. Ironically, actualizing one’s prophetic visions is exactly the right medicine for reducing grandiosity and sobering the messianic complex.

When I was hospitalized in 2001, I asked a fellow prophet/inmate/psych patient why I was there. On a scrap of paper, he wrote, “You must walk the path in order to show the way.”

When the vision is actualized, the purpose becomes clear and it is so much louder and more relevant than the grandiosity OR those who feared it.


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.


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  1. I have one bible. It is “Re -visioning psychology” written by James Hillman in 1970. It is about psychological reality, about the stolen wisdom. Spiritualism, religion, has got nothing in common with psychological reality. But psychological reality was replaced by theology and spiritual fundamentalism. This is tragedy. Tragedy for psychological man. And the problem is that we DO NOT KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THIS SHOCKING FACT. Hillman knew, because he was the greatest thinker ever.

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  2. [what’s up with the italics???]

    Good piece Chaya, I could go many directions in responding.

    I never had a Jesus complex per se, but I “identified” as one of the angels in Revelations for a while (corresponding, coincidentally, with the first time I got locked up). 🙂 At that point I was isolated and disconnected from the real movement other than reading about it in Life Magazine, so I had to participate vicariously by seeing myself as someone of major importance. Of course it was all in my head and people didn’t know what the fuck I was thinking.

    Anyway, having only four books there sure gives you a captive audience, in more ways than one. Another book that would be a natural for a psychiatric prisoners’ book program would be Auntie Psychiatry’s book of highly educational anti-psychiatry cartoons.

    I’m sort of surprised that a psychiatric facility would allow the Bible and Koran without including a copy of the DSM, it’s own supreme spiritual text. But four books is enough for now.

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    • Thank you oldhead.

      Yeah, I think there are as many “bibles” as there are people probably…or more.

      We all have different books that can serve as our bibles at different times and it helps to stretch our imagination about what a “bible” can be (maybe not as far as the dsm tho!) . Especially to include things written by marginalized/oppressed groups.

      I’m sure they do have the dsm in there-but in the doctors offices, not floating around the ward.

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      • Yes, I wondered *WHICH* “bible”…..????…. In addition to DIFFERENT Catholic & Protestant versions, there are also several modern translations. I should think a “red letter” version, wherein quotes from Jesus appear in red letters, – would be a good choice. And the “Big Book”, as A.A. folks call the more correctly titled “Alcoholics Anonymous”, is only 1/2 useful without a “12&12”. In Chapter 5 of the Big Book, titled, “How It Works”, is a BRIEF explanation of the 12 Steps of recovery in A.A. The “12&12”, or the “12 Steps & 12 Traditions”, goes into fuller detail on how to work the steps. If you make a phone call or 2, Chaya, I’m sure you can find an A.A. group that would LOVE to donate a “12&12″….
        “Toxic Psychiatry” by Dr. Peter Breggin would also be an excellent addition to ANY psych ward library!

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  3. Breaking ground after ground. Great job all around, Chaya, really impressive. Being true to ourselves disregards and ascends all stigmatizing projections based on any label or “complexes” whatsoever. And it’s good for the world, too, to embrace that level of permission. Thank you.

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  4. Interesting thoughts Chaya.
    I found that when I was incarcerated in the psych unit I was massively drugged and my vision was so blurry it was hard to read and also just focus.
    This was an issue outside as well. My eyes did not work right.
    And go tell that story to your friendly neighborhood ophthalmologist.
    My other thoughts are no large print books, tv’s encased in locked wood boxes virtually impossible too use. Staff controlled so the worst of the worst was ALWAYS on. No auditory system for reading. No music. No art. Nada Nada.
    I also want to point out that in the penal incarceration system there are also gross injustices.
    Racism is real and ugly.
    There is a school to prison pipeline. And how many are being forced to take “ our” type of meds?
    How many really do have educational access?
    What books are actually given to them or as I would guess are they censored?
    TD Jakes but not Eldridge Cleaver?
    We need to join together somehow and somehow continue to highlight the terrible awfulness of not having any conception of discharge dates, any any legal or social advocate and No outside time.
    We can bond with seclusion and solitary confinement.
    Kids Chaya kids like ten year olds are or can be in solitary!
    We all need to study more about each other. Read and study hard uncomfortable stuff and then dialogue.
    And hopefully sooner rather than later make comprehensive change.
    I feel a bond with ex cons, I feel a bond with any type of hostages, I feel a bond with POW, I ferl a bond with detainees and refugees like those in Australia.
    The Native American children taken to boarding schools. The Irish women and girls taken and umprisioned by the Magdalene Laudaties. Those in the First and Ladt Circes in Soviet Russia and any country here and now.
    What is that old saying? None without us? Something like that together.

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  5. I was drugged up because a pastor I had just met “thought she was the second coming of Jesus,” according to medical records I eventually picked up. I grew up believing Jesus was a man, so I never thought I was him. But the morning after 9/11/2001 the Holy Spirit did come to me in a dream and claim I was now “moved by the Holy Spirit.” A couple weeks later I had a nightmare that 9/11/2001 would take our country to the brink of WWIII, which seems to be pretty much where we are now (prophetic dream?).

    In the end, that pastor turned out to be a psychopathic child rape cover upper, probably also a pedophile – given I’ve learned that the pedophiles function within rings, and I was also handed over medical evidence that his “soul mate” was a pedophile. I did eventually find an ethical pastor who said that being “moved by the Holy Spirit” just means “the Holy Spirit has chosen to move you” which, as a Christian, I’m fine with.

    But I agree, the “mental health professionals” are terrified by those of us who are “insightful” or “prophetic” or even believe in God. Once I was finally weaned off the psych drugs, my spiritual journey returned and turned into a magical, mysterious, musical, manic, staggeringly serendipitous awakening to my dreams. My dreams are about how we are all “one in the Spirit, one in the Lord,” within the collective unconscious.

    My awakening eventually led to a point where I was lying in Millennial Park in Chicago on a beautiful September morn, staring at the cloud formations, and the “collective” made it clear to me that I had gone and gotten “everyone else” “with love and the word of God” for God. That was the mission statement of my childhood church, so it’s not that surprising my subconscious self might have attempted to do what I was asked to do, albeit merely within the collective unconscious.

    But since I knew I was just a person, once I learned I’d supposedly gotten “everyone else,” I quickly handed “everyone else” off to God. Then Jesus supposedly handed all the Christians off to God. At which point I was supposedly made “of the bride” of God, and then God asked all the souls whether they’d like to go to Jesus, or take this world elsewhere (a word that sounds just like my last name).

    Jesus then supposedly said, “all the doctors are going to hell,” and his soul supposedly jumped into my heart. (Jesus was a Jew [or at least a believer in the Torah], and the Jews pray for a “Sharon to function as fold in the time of the atonement for the Jews,” I later learned. I’m a Sharon. And it strikes me as logical that since Jesus did not get the majority, God might send “someone else” to get “everyone else.”) Then it felt like the souls of all the dead, then the living, started pouring into my heart. Envision each soul being like a sperm, and your heart is the egg being attacked by millions of sperm. That’s what it felt like.

    Being from Chicago, of course this included odd delusions that Al Capone made a stink when his soul was sent into my heart. It was somewhat comical, but very bizarre, as I could literally feel the souls pouring into my heart.

    This, of course, was when a policeman came to take me to a hospital for lying in a public park, minding my own (drug withdrawal induced delusions) business. That forced $5000 physical, that I did not end up having to pay for because the doctor had broken the HIPPA laws, resulted in a “medically clear” diagnosis. Despite this, I was medically unnecessarily shipped, in the middle of the night, a long distance to a prior criminal psychiatrist, whose partner-in-crime is now in jail. She was only able to slap an “adjustment disorder” label on me this time, so I was able to escape the insane “mental health system.”

    My dreams eventually moved to the point that God called the final judgement, and He is seemingly doing the judgement in my dreams to this day. But since I’m supposed to be a “judge” according to 40 hours of unbiased psychological career testing, I’m not bothered by dreams implying I may be one of the “saints and angels” who assists Him with the final judgement. And with the internet exposing the evil of the powers that be, I’m merely one in millions now praying that God saves the decent on this planet.

    Mind altering drugs do cause mind altering experiences, but at least my mind altering experience implied a fulfillment of God’s promise some day. And I do pray that my dreams come true, and we may some day take this world elsewhere, and bring about God’s will on this planet. Having “the west … controlled by satanic pedophiles,” war mongers, and fiscally irresponsible banksters is not in the best interest of the majority. I sing instead, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

    My “grandiose” awakening came after the psych drugs, but I was totally unaware of it prior. And only time will tell if my recent dreams are prophetic, or just hopeful dreams. But praying for a better world for all is not actually insane, or dangerous, or evil. Working within a multibillion dollar, primarily child abuse covering up, iatrogenic illness creating system is, however.

    No wonder the “mental health professionals” wanted to murder me, and one just attempted to steal all my family’s money and all my truth telling art work, via a bogus “art manager” legalese contract. The delusions of grandeur of the god complexed “mental health professionals,” and their child rape covering up religions, knows no bounds.

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  6. This is a fascinating way to look at things. I’m immediately reminded that the DSM is constantly called the “bible” of psychiatry…and that’s no accident.

    I wish the news media would stop using this inaccurate expression, because by so doing they are buying into its false holiness. Better to say simply “the classification manual psychiatrists use.” Takes away some of its aura, doesn’t it?!

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  7. “Dr. Rached” did not allow Bibles on her ward. She claimed there was too much religious mania, but no one else thought so. No one was calling himself Jesus or proclaiming prophetic messages at the time. Doc Rached was the jealous type who couldn’t share the spotlight with any other gods. Lol.

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