Q. From Southeast Asia: Hi! I would like to share my personal experience about this incurable disease and ask your opinion whether it is SCHIZOPHRENIA, or something caused by wicked negative forces known to man as evil.
I came from a family of professionals (e.g. educators, lawyers, and engineers), one of my relatives is an award-winning inventor. There is no history of mental illness in my family and I was wondering how did I get this disease. (But I still believe that I’m not suffering from any mental illness or diseases).
Eight years ago, I had a traumatic experience caused by hostile environment that threatened my very existence. These traumatic experience brought about by imminent danger to my life has forced me to live a solitary life apart from the world. A few days after my traumatic experience occurred my parents and my relatives convinced me to seek medical assistance. So we ask the help of the medical expert but I was not satisfied with her findings. For several years we’ve been talking about my illness but I never heard from my doctor regarding the very nature of my sickness. She wouldn’t tell me the scientific name of my illness. Instead she would prescribe me anti-psychosis drugs such as olanzapine, solian, invega and some injectables such as haldol, etc. Certainly, it would be easier for me to accept if she would just tell me the very nature of my illness, or the specific name of this disease.
Three months ago, I conducted a research on mental illness just to know the nature of my case of which I’m not quite convinced. I came to read something about psychosis and schizophrenia and I would like to believe that indeed I have this illness because of the symptoms I found were very evident in me based on my self-observation and self-evaluation for several months. Such symptoms would be delusions like thought broadcasting and religiousness, hallucinations like auditory and visual hallucinations, bizarre behavior like catatonia, and lack of initiative and interest to continue living in this world. On the contrary, I cannot ignore the significant and exceptional events that transpired in my life which happened before and after my traumatic experience has occurred.
In one of our sessions, I mentioned to my doctor regarding the book I’ve read written by Victor Frankl entitled “The Doctor and the Soul: from psychotheraphy to logotheraphy. In this book, Victor Frankl said that all kinds of sickness has something to do with the soul. That in treating an illness, or curing a patient the soul should always be addressed. But my doctor gave a cold shoulder on this matter and she did not give her opinion on the said information. And this really bothered me because I truly believe in what Victor Frankl had said in his book in relation to my past experiences and the paranormal events that transpired in my life (e.g. an encounter with light and dark spiritual beings on certain occasions).
The truth is I had a natural gift of seeing nature spirits, including white and dark spiritual beings. And it all started when I was about five (5) years old. However, it was only later after my traumatic experience occurred in the year 2000 when I started hearing voices coming from spirits. Such voices would either come from the inside (e.g. voices speaking in the mind, or in the ears telling me to think or do something evil), or from the outside world (e.g. harsh, aggressive and intimidating voices coming from spirits controlling over television programs, radios, movies, phone linked to the internet, even animals like dogs and our fellow human beings especially those who are possessed.)
As a former catholic seminarian I’ve learned to pray in Latin and Spanish. More often I would pray in my room and say the exorcism prayer to ward off wicked negative forces. Surprisingly, every time I go to the church and receive the body of Christ and pray the exorcism prayer at home, or whenever it is necessary, these auditory hallucinations would immediately stop from bothering me. And then there’s an abundance of positive energies that protect me from hostile negative forces. The said positive energies also bring absolute happiness, peace of mind, serenity, a new birth of hope, spiritual and sometimes physical healing, and courage to face the challenges of life. Having all these personal experiences taking into consideration the significant issues and events that transpired in my life I am confronted with the question whether the cause of my problems is schizophrenia, or these wicked negative forces that threatens my very existence?
A. You have asked a very interesting and complex question. I will attempt to address each aspect of your question below.
You began with an account of a traumatic experience. Following this experience, you said that your parents and relatives requested that you seek medical assistance. I presume they requested this assistance because you were experiencing overt psychiatric symptoms that were worrisome to your family. They must have been concerned about you.
If I am reading your letter correctly, you then said that your doctor treated you for schizophrenia but she never explicitly told you this was your diagnosis or discussed the nature of the illness with you. She treated you for the illness with antipsychotic medication. Based on the type of treatment you received from your doctor, namely antipsychotic medication and through you own research, self-diagnosis and evaluation, you came to believe that you might have schizophrenia.
You also discuss some paranormal experiences and wonder if these occurrences might have anything to do with your illness symptoms. If I understand the main premise of your question, it is this: Do you have schizophrenia or could your illness symptoms be caused by or related to your paranormal experiences?
There are no easy answers to that question. You said that you had “a natural gift of seeing nature spirits, including white and dark spiritual beings.” You said these experiences started when you were about five years old. Then you stated “it was only later after my traumatic experience occurred in the year 2000 when I started hearing voices coming from spirits. Such voices would either come from the inside (e.g. harsh, aggressive and intimidating voices coming from spirits controlling over television programs… or from the outside world…”
You write that you have had some ability to see spiritual beings for most of your life. You did not detail how often these experiences occurred, what the nature of these experiences were (good or evil), or how and if they interfered with your life. Some individuals have reported being able to see or feel the presence of spiritual beings throughout their lives. They often say that these beings offer them serenity, safety and guidance. It would be interesting to know what these experiences were like for you prior to your traumatic experience. I am presuming that these experiences were generally positive.
After the traumatic event had occurred, it seems that your experiences with these beings have been negative. You say that they are now essentially harassing you and telling you to think or to do something evil. But when you begin to pray, these voices stop bothering you.
It is difficult to say what is happening to you. I do not doubt your experiences with these spiritual beings. But the real possibility does exist that what you refer to as spiritual beings are simply hallucinations, delusions or voices. They could very well be symptoms of schizophrenia.
You also mentioned that no one in your family has had schizophrenia and that this is another reason why you question whether or not you may have the disease. It is true that individuals who have had relatives with the disorder are more likely to have the disorder themselves. It is also true that individuals without a history of schizophrenia in the family can still suffer from the disease. Also, in some situations, the experience of trauma has been thought to trigger the onset of schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like symptoms. Following this logic, it is possible for you to have schizophrenia even without a family history. It is also plausible that had you not experienced a traumatic event you may not have had suffered schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like symptoms.
Another aspect of your question is your doctor’s response to your reading of a book by Viktor Frankl. You said she gave you the “cold shoulder” and did not offer an opinion of the book. It could be that she is not interested in this type of philosophical literature or has not read the book. Generally speaking, many doctors like to deal with strictly “scientific,” objective matters. This is certainly not true for all doctors of course.
But you mentioned that you liked the book because Frankl believes that when treating psychiatric illness, the “soul” should be addressed. This is an issue of spirituality or religion. Doctors generally do not feel comfortable dealing with such matters. There are doctors and therapists who do believe that treatment of psychiatric conditions should involve the soul and spirituality. If this is something that interests you, you might consider seeking out a different doctor who incorporates spirituality or religion into his or her practice.
There is no harm in praying to get the harassing voices to stop. If this works for you and it brings you peace and silence from the voices then I do not see the harm in continuing. But it is not advisable to use this practice to replace your medical treatments. It is extremely important that you stay in close contact with medical professionals regarding your symptoms and treatment. If you do not like your current medical doctor you can either find another doctor that you like and feel comfortable with. You can also incorporate therapy into your treatment in addition to medication. If so, you might want to see a therapist who utilizes spirituality or religion in their practice. Whatever you decide, I strongly advise against stopping your treatment with medical professionals. Thanks for writing.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jun 2008
Randle, K. (2008). Schizophrenia or Negative Cosmic Forces?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/06/30/schizophrenia-or-negative-cosmic-forces/