Pagan Blog Project: Madness in the face of faith (how mental illness is distinguished from religion)


She looked at me over the top of her notepad and started laughing. “Raan, I was writing up my notes from our last session and in the middle I had to stop and laugh. I realized that if any of my colleagues ever read this, they would think you were schizophrenic.” She paused. “I know you aren’t schizophrenic but it just made me laugh.”

That was my psychologist after a session, discussing my spiritual faith and the way I use it to heal my life. The specific thing that makes others think I am crazy? I hear the voices of the gods and spirits in my head, all the time, like a rolling wave of conversation. Sometimes I completely lose touch with the reality around me because I get embroiled in a particularly good argument with them. Sometimes I blurt out stuff that only makes sense if you have been paying attention to the lecture I was receiving. Sometimes I lose the track of a conversation because I have more voices talking to me than I can handle. Sometimes I know things I shouldn’t know, or make intuitive leaps and freak people out or do things in a way that seem off and/or odd because of knowledge/advice/orders from higher-ups.

I also work nights at the state mental institution, surrounded by men (and sometimes women, when I go to another building) who hear voices/follow commands/are paranoid. I work with schizophrenics and bipolar and borderline and people who burned their brains out from too many drugs and sex offenders and people who suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome and people who are paranoid and people who are sexually inappropriate and people who self injure in ways I have never seen and never thought of before…

You get the picture.

So it’s sometimes very difficult for me to say this: yes, I hear voices. No, I’m not crazy. Really I’m not.

How do you guys deal in a world that is better equipped to handle mental patients than people with a more personal relationship with the Divine?




  1. Steve Tanner says:

    A sense of humor is essential.

  2. ladyimbrium says:

    Pretty much what Steve just said. I think I’ve ranted about why I can’t talk openly about my beliefs without having my sanity challenged. It’s not fair, since I live in a county where it’s perfectly acceptable to walk around telling everyone (sometimes against their will) what Jesus said to you today.

    I think as long as I can still take that step back and realize that yes, I am hearing voices and yes, that makes me sound crazy but no, I do not lose track of reality…. I’m still OK. If “they” can talk to angels then I can talk to dragons and gods. 😛

    1. “It’s not fair, since I live in a county where it’s perfectly acceptable to walk around telling everyone (sometimes against their will) what Jesus said to you today.” – Boy Lady…did you just hit the nail on the head!!!

  3. I can say that I know and understand exactly what you’re going through as I experience similar occurrences. Sometimes, it’s a conversation – I don’t actually “hear” the words or voices – but I understand the words and messages…it’s very hard to explain. I just understand or know what is being “said”. Sometimes it’s just overwhelming feelings or intuition. Occasionally, I write the messages down if it feels like it’s going to be a very important “channeling” session. I don’t tell anyone about them because I too am afraid of being looked like I’m crazy.

  4. Soli says:

    Aside from a sense of humor, keeping things quiet when need be, and having an exceptional network of support.

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