Each Sunday morning, when I do manage to attend a service at a Christian Church I like to go to, I catch myself thinking the exactly same thought:
It would be interesting to see what a single bored consultant psychiatrist would do with the entire segregation in five minutes time. Call it a mass psychosis, or define it as schizophrenia affecting a crowd of people when they assemble at a religious feast?
I think the exact same thought for the obvious reason that I do have a psychiatric diagnosis and therefore, I tend to reassess my surroundings. I studied carefully all possible psychiatric texts and adopt, as a result, the psychiatric mind. I gaze at the public and deliver the ‘diagnoses’. Here, we have the obvious manifestation of bipolar, here it looks like an anti-social personality disorder, and here it is a typical case of schizophrenia.
The Sunday service always proceeds the same way. We start with prayers, then sing the hymn, then talk about people who need help in the segregation, followed by my favourite part – a reading from the Bible, with its interpretation from the pastor. It is for this part I show up (as much as I try, provided my desire for a sleep-in doesn’t beat me up on a Sunday instead of a Church). I find the Bible (except for the majority of the New Testament) boring, cumbersome, and very difficult to read. I come to not just reaffirm my love for Jesus (I believe in myself very firmly) but as a kind of public lecture for the things I find hard to read. I found the ‘Capital’ by Karl Marx much easier, as well as ‘A La Recherche du Temps perdu’ by Proust, not that these writings are among my favourites on my reading list.
When I listen to the pastor, a kind, empathetic man, who does represent to me the true Christian life, I get lost in the story, but not entirely. My psychiatric mind intervenes on occasions, stops me from enjoying the moment fully, even if I have no doubts on my part that Jesus was real, that there is God, and that most things (in the New Testament) tell the truth. It is my academic mind, which tries to understand some psychiatric writings (in vain) that intervenes in allowing me to lose myself totally in the moment. I am a Christian, I believe in Jesus and God, I do feel spiritual fulfilment at a Sunday service at the Church. Hey, I even feel that I am Jesus!
But they come, the thoughts:
Are you aware that Jesus is considered as ‘psychotic’ by the psychiatry?
Are you aware that believing in a spiritual being, extra-spiritual being such as Jesus, is considered as an unusual belief by the psychiatry, and thus, can be diagnosed as ‘psychosis’ if one follows their criteria, as can be found in DSM?
If you are expecting an angel to fall from the sky, you are really delusional, and represent an interesting case of study for a psychiatrist.
I watch these thoughts in my head, with a certain sense of superiority, I must add. Because I know that the psychiatry is wrong, while many people in Christianity follow their faith blindly.
I don’t follow it blindly. I got a call to receive baptism when I was fourteen, dismissed for some years due to the pressures of the modern life. I was busy with accumulating diplomas (most obtained with distinction) and trying to abide by the society’s standards. At some point I found myself at the top of the echelon of the standards. I lived in Amsterdam and I worked as a financial analyst of banks, quickly promoted to a portfolio manager, with a membership at a prime spot club, and a cool apartment in the city centre. I spent my week days in the office, evenings at the gym, and shopping on Saturday mornings. I didn’t enjoy any of these activities, but was thinking that it represented an idea of a perfect life, and I should, at least, go through the motions of pretending it was cool, and so was I.
This boring existence was radically interrupted once I Met the devil. It took me years (and most of them spent with a diagnosis of ‘bipolar disorder’) and years to process it, analyse it, and reassess, until I reached the conclusion which was right, valid and based in my own knowledge and experience. Yes, I did meet the devil, and yes, he is real, often acting as a drama queen.
Meeting the devil was a prelude to encountering all other mysterious and magical manifestations, including seeing the signs from God, and reaching at some point absolute faith, embedded in my own personal proof. I’ve seen that it is all real, and it would be impossible then not to believe.
The psychiatrists, of course, disagree with me. They describe my experience as ‘psychosis’ and a loss of touch with reality. It is only with determination, stamina, and by acquiring my own knowledge (I have a PhD), that I decided that I am entitled to my own opinion, and that what they define as ‘loss of touch with reality’ is often an entrance to the reality which is true and real. It is that spiritual domain that many spiritual books talk about, but the problem manifests itself when one actually sees with his or her own proper eyes that it is all indeed true.
To believe in Jesus, one has to possess a certain degree of ‘madness’, as believing in him/her, runs contrary to everything what the psychiatry says, but they diagnose everything possible and impossible in our society, and so at some point, it becomes a matter of positioning. Either you indeed believe in something out of there, or you proclaim yourself as suffering from some sort of insanity.
My diagnosis was inflicted on me, when I shared my unusual experiences with the consultant psychiatrist, sitting as I remember, very well-behaved, docile, and well, nice and polite, in a psychiatric hospital, where I was driven because my boss and my colleague didn’t know what to do with me. I told them, I was Buddha. I told them I was Jesus.
“You are just mad,” the ‘doctor’ told me, dismissing everything I was saying as total rubbish, unreal, and as a symptom of a ‘mental illness’. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder eventually, after the initial diagnosis of schizophrenia was dismissed as I was ‘too high-functioning’ for it, and put on drugs which could eventually destroy me as an individual, if only I allowed this to happen.
I always fought for my personal freedom. I continued to enjoy my life to the fullest, and I learned to reassess the glimpses of the parallel reality when they would reach me. Is it real what I see, I would ask myself again and again? Yes, it was all real, beautiful and even Devine, and with time and experience, I came to the obvious conclusion: it is the psychiatrists who don’t see or hear as well as persons that want to appear as normal, all the time, without a break, as if it’s an asset.
And so, on a Sunday morning, while at the Church, I experience a certain sense of euphoria.
I experience an absolute joy from knowing that what they preach is indeed real, and I derive a pleasure from my own intellectual wisdom. I studied, I learned, I analysed, I reassessed, and the truth still remains the same.
There is God. There is Jesus. Devil is real, and angels can fly.
And as a sort of a Russian Holy Fool, I had to renounce my sense of sanity to reach into the divine domain and accept the call from God into acquiring absolute faith in Him and the Lord.