Hi everyone, I have only recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Syndrome ( Apprx. 6 months ago). I have to tell you, that when I was diagnosed, I said that the Psych was a fool, clearly he didn't understand me at all. By my second visit, after much reading online, I realized that there was a good chance he was correct. As it turns out, it appears that I may have been suffering from bipolar syndrome since I was in my very early teens.
The wake up for me was when I realized that all of my "religious experiences" were actually delusions. I believe I have only in the past few weeks, come to realize that. I gotta say, it's bothering me pretty badly. I have based all I have for faith, upon most of my delusional moments. They were the proof to me that there was more to this world than could be explained. I now find myself lost, and standing alone without answers. It's a darn hard issue for one to lose their faith. I guess that's why I'm on here typing about it.
Have any of you had to deal with such issues. Where did you find solstice, until you were able to make heads or tails from it all.
I am bipolar and I have only had a few religious experiences. I'm sure even Bipolar people can have religious experiences too. I would not be so sudden in explaining them off, not everything can be based of science.
If your experiences were not true religious experiences but caused by hallucinations, it doesn't mean this should effect your faith, does it? There a millions of believers that have had no religious experiences yet have blind faith.
Just another thought....you may never know for sure if these were real or not, I have accepted that part of my religous experiences, but if you based your entire faith on these experiences, why not base your faith on something that is true and real....why not the Bible.
Just because you had an experience you thought was a real religious experience doesn't mean that your faith is worthless. Believing in a higher power is good. I see you don't say which faith, so I will not assume. That is personal to you. But, faith in a higher power is good because people who have faith are more likely to have hope and have a good chance of healing.
Some people do have psychotic episodes of religion, that's true. But, that doesn't mean all experiences are delusions. Many people have faith. You don't need to abandon your faith.
I feel the same as you, I have only just been dx with BP and BPD, and now I feel that all of my beautiful spiritual experiences may not have been real..
I am very spiritual, I tune into my angels and take great comfort in how they guide me, but now I also feel like I have lost my faith in the universe.
I guess these things take time to understand!
I guess, from a clinical aspect, it depends on what your 'religious experiences' entailed. I mean, if you had an uplift in spirit because of your faith, then that's fantastic and it's normal.
If your experiences were delusional (i.e. convinced that you were/are a messiah or prophet), then you have an issue because it could be caused by BP mania. Now, if this is the case, you're dealing with dangerous waters because BP mania totally skews one's judgment..I have had a psychotic break that entailed delusional paranoia and the aftermath of it wasn't pretty..The dangerous possibilities of BP mania are endless. So, this is nothing to mess with; talk to your shrink about it and be open and honest.
Dealing with mental illness doesn't have to affect your faith at all. In fact, it's quite the opposite; many folks' faith gives them the strength to deal with the tough times. There can be times where the disorder puts a strain on your faith, especially when your in a really tough place. But, hold on to it, because there are times, when swings get really bad, it is one of the things that you can hold on to.
I know how you feel. I was diagnosed 15 years ago and it was so hard being told that I was "preoccupied with religion". It was written all over my charts. I felt then that I had "lost my religion". I still have faith but don't go to church much anymore or do all the Bible reading and studying I used to. Actually though I am alot happier now than I was then.
It was painful and heartbreaking to feel like my faith was slipping from me. You will get it back.
I don't ask God questions anymore because I don't want to hear a voice that might not even be His.
My psychiatrist said God doesn't talk to people anymore. My other psychiatrist kept saying, "I think you should read the Bible it will help you". He told me to find a Christian fundamentalist church. When I asked, "Are you Christian?" He said, "No I'm Hindu."
Just hold on to those beautiful religious experiences though most people never have them.
I pray that you have wonderful beautiful dreams about religion while you sleep then you will know that you are not hallucinating!
I agree with a lot of what the others are saying. Although some of your religious experiences may have been down to mania it does not take away from you your belief. Faith is not borne purely on experience alone. You do not have to have seen or experienced a miracle to be able to believe that they may exist. I am not religious but this does not mean I do not believe in God. I was raised Roman Catholic and as a child had an obsession with the saints and Jesus.
Religion can be a great comfort, have you discussed your feelings with your local priest/reverand? They may be able to offer you some advice on where you are at right now.
Part of the problem I have with religion and mental illness is that the Christian community just doesn't understand it sometimes. That is why I went from Catholic to agnostic; it's easier for me to keep my beliefs to myself and to combine both of the spiritual aspects of my life and my disorder.
Honestly, if your priest or pastor is understanding of the illness and supports your efforts to use your faith along with your treatment, then that is great. And, there are many pastors out there that are compassionate enough to do so. However, when I was a church-goer, I didn't tell people that I was BP because I was told by people that my faith wasn't strong enough. Yup, saying fifty Hail-Marys was going to keep everything under control. It's hard to find that balance between your faith and your mood swings if people are telling you that your illness doesn't exist.
Now, I'm not telling anyone to stop praying or to ditch their faith, but being BP means that you have to come to a happy medium between the two. And, by that, I mean that your BP disorder needs to be a private matter, outside of a priest or pastor. And, if that particular individual isn't empathetic towards your situation or is judgmental, there are many out there that are.
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