Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Hyper-Religious as a Symptom?


#1

We’re not anti-religion, but we’re certainly not religious - meaning we don’t go to church, religion is not a topic that’s discussed, and it’s pretty much a non-issue in our home. However, we’re not against it, and if our son wanted to go to a church of any kind, he’d be free to do so without judgment.

Usually, he’s a little paranoid of religion, especially TV preachers, and he’s mostly went through life saying he’s an atheist - I think agnostic is a better term, but he can call it what he wants.

This time, he’s said things about he’s psychic & so is Jesus. Then, the next day he said he was Jesus - until I calmly said, of all things you are, you are not Jesus., and he let it go.

He was involuntarily held at the hospital yesterday - after he voluntarily went then wanted to voluntarily leave.
This morning, I get two calls about making sure he gets a Bible and a sketchbook - and he ends the call with an Amen.

When I mentioned the Jesus references a couple days ago, his case manager says some people get hyper-religious even if they’re not normally religious - that, it’s almost a symptom.

I understand the obsession with scientific things, and the magical thinking with the psychic powers, telling the future and reading minds, and I can deal with that, but this religious stuff kind of scares me. It feels like one step from he’s hearing the voice of God & it’s telling him to do _______________.

And, all I need is someone gaining influence with him who will tell him he doesn’t need meds - that the power of God will heal him. I’m fine with religion comforting people, but I won’t be able to get on board with anything cultish or anti-treatment . On the days I believe in God, my God is a “God helps those who help themselves” kind of thing.

He just called - apparently, he’s hallucinating now. He said everyone’s eyes just turned red. I told him to make sure he tells the pdoc because maybe it’s the lights, or maybe they need to check his vision. Hopefully, that reassures him a little and gets him to tell. I’d be terrified, and I’m sure he is inside, but he sounded mostly calm when he said it - so I’m guessing that’s negative.

Any thoughts?


#2

My fiancé thought he was God and then the “Blood God” wanted him to do things. He was raised Christian, but then became Bhuddist as he was schizophrenic and then said it was all “bullshit” and wanted to go again to church and delved into hus thoughts of being Christian with me. But he’s an atheist now and has no religion, so yay. I don’t have to deal with that. I’m not religious either, but I was raised Christian and I remember my aunt saying at the hospital when we saw her that the people were watching her in the cars and loved how beautiful she sung and that the angels were praising her – she’s Christian. And my grandmother became Christian in the last 3 years, but I think she’s also becoming schizophrenic or something like her sister (that aunt) and her half-brothers (from the same father). Red is not good. Red means either synesthesia or incurable. There’s this disease that makes you see red and every time you see it you start acting violently and become extremely irrational whenever you see the color or the people in that color.


#3

Thanks for the information - it was interesting, but I can’t get on board with that for him just yet.

He’s not a violent person, and his delusions usually involve saving the world instead of burning it down.

He’s also very artistic and his ability to see subtle color changes/differences is very enhanced. In fact, if he had a real super power, that would be it. Even his art teachers were pretty amazed by that and his ability to mix paint. I’m thinking it’s something to do with the lighting combined with the fact that he’s not processing information very well right now.

Maybe your theory will turn out to be correct, but I am so not ready to go there right now.

I appreciate that you posted it though, because I won’t forget it, and I’ll keep it tucked away in the back of my mind as a possibility - if nothing else, I’m learning very quickly that anything is possible with this illness.


#4

Well so does my fiancé – but he also hates society and wants the world to burn, yet he’s trying to save it. He even has threatened to kill people before while being completely deranged. My fiancé can paint amazing paintings and play several intruments. Just because someone is artistically talented and perceptive doesn’t mean they’re not crazy or delusional. And my fiancé has experienced synesthesia, so I say it from experience as well, but that could just be because he has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID or SPD). And anytime. I know that as a family member you want to believe the best in them, but it’s also important to have realistic expectations.


#5

I heard a psychiatrist say there are always several People who think they are Jesus in the hospital at the same time. My son once said he was the son of man and I told him no, he was not. He had said that God told him this or that in the past.
I think they are trying to figure it out and it is a symptom of their illness. I am a believer and I pray for protection for my son. I have siblings who are agnostic and we were raised by the same parents.
My son has been spiritual since he could talk and I think his faith comforts him sometimes.


#6

I agree - but I know my own limits.

It’s counter-productive for me to allow myself to lose control, so I digest new symptoms in the way that makes me the most calm until I’m sure - and until I can accept them. My son picks up on other people’s emotions and mirrors them. If I’m calm, he’s more likely to be calm. So that’s my comfort zone.

I don’t lie to myself though. I know that things just are what they are, and whether or not I accept a label or the symptom doesn’t change anything. For now, it’s simply a hallucination, and he admitted to the psychiatrist that he was having some yesterday. However, now I know there is another potential reason it’s happened thanks to your information.

I don’t mean to sound dismissive or anything - sorry if it sounded that way.

By coincidence, he also told his pdoc that her eyes were red the last time he saw her - which was right after he got out the hospital last time, so nearly 2 months. But, they weren’t red this time.

Before I left him, he also made me take off my glasses so he could see my eyes better. He said they changed, and I asked him how. He said they were blue before, now they are green. My eyes are very green, and he has blue eyes as does his father.

I’m not sure what that means, but I’ll keep your information in mind, especially in case the color changes go from just eyes to more stuff.

Maybe the fact that their eyes are turning red is because they make him anxious? He has a really hard time with people he doesn’t know. His pdoc visit was only the 2nd time he had seen her, and the first time without me, and it was right after he got out of the hospital. But, it could explain why he has just a touch of what you’re talking about.


#7

But, what if your son wasn’t spiritual or religious?
And neither was the family.

Wouldn’t you think that was odd?

For years now, I’ve been saying I was thankful we weren’t religious because at least he wasn’t saying he was Jesus or God was talking to him - and now, look at us.

To my mind, religious delusions could be particularly dangerous.

I’d much rather have mind-reading aliens, phone-bugging CIA agents and people from the future coming back in time to stop him from doing or inventing whatever is on his mind at the time.

Too bad I don’t have any say in the matter.


#8

This rang a bell with us. We’re in the UK, we have a schizophrenic daughter who was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago with a relapse.

She attends a weekly social group and a couple of months ago started going to church with some new friends from the group. She has never shown an interest in religion up to this point, but she enjoyed her new friendships so it seemed perfectly ok to let it blossom.

After a while she suddenly said she wanted to be baptized. We didn’t object, neither did we applaud it, but it did put us on alert as we had also been noticing some other unusual behaviour. About a week ago she claimed she was God, that her boyfriend was a God, and that we, her parents, were Gods. We contacted her psychiatric support team.

The next day, about a week ago, we found her huddled in a wardrobe claiming that God had taken her and she was dead. My wife was scared of her as she wondered if God would direct her to do something. Our daughter was admitted to hospital the same day.

Like you, we are also not a religious family, but we are puzzled by this sudden and dramatic attachment to religion and quite worried that religious preaching has been so easily interpreted by our daughter as being an alternative reality where God is all powerful, that heaven is a good place to go to, and that she now believes she has gone there. It’s not a big jump to God telling her how to get there, so thank goodness we weren’t confronted with a suicide attempt.

I’m agnostic but I am questioning whether caution should be exercised when anybody with schizophrenia chooses to be exposed to religion, which could be defined as preaching the existence of heaven, an unreal Utopia? Is it beyond reason that schizophrenia will symptomize religion as the ultimate unreality?

She’s refusing to see us now as she doesn’t believe we are who we claim to be. The psychiatrists are playing a waiting game, watching for the start of recovery, and considering changes to medication. Like many of you out there who share our situation, we’re simply distraught.


#9

My son went to a catholic school as a child, we did go to church, I wasn’t religious at home reall, just a regular family. We stopped going, probably a mix of we moved further from the church and he got to be a teen and was reluctant to go, we both got "lazy " nothing more.
A few years ago as his psychosis was beginning he would ask "what was the real reason mum that we stopped going to,church " I told him as above, lazy really nothing more, just lapsed. He thought there was a more important reason, at the time I dismissed it.

He now thinks that he’s victimised because he is catholic and people hate catholics, and drs hate Catholics etc. He also has used the word "satanist " calling his dad, the drs this the odd time.

So not overly religious but definitely noticeable .

He has also taken an interest in the illuminati and shamanistic, I found a notepad a couple of yrs back about websites of shamanism and soul retrieval. Again I had no idea, never heard of these things.


#10

Maybe it’s because their minds are always working for some way to put order to their thoughts?

My son has stayed fairly steady for the past 12 years, but this has been a big year of change for him. I’m very worried about what will come next.

Worried for him, not fearful of him.

However, I’m still hopeful that they will get his meds straightened out & all of this will fade away like a bad dream.


#11

I’m wondering if I should take him a bible like he asked.

He told me last time it was the only book they would let people have there, which was kind of concerning to me at the time.

If I take it, it could reinforce things. If I don’t take it, that could reinforce something else.

I can’t see him until tomorrow night. Maybe if he doesn’t say anything else about it, I’ll act like I forgot or the store didn’t have one.


#12

Personally I wouldn’t take a bible to him, as if he is in a deluded state, you’re reinforcing it. Likewise, it would be unwise to deny his delusions. So I would simply say you’ll help him pick a bible when you next visit the store together.


#13

It’s a real challenge for you and your son right now. How old is he again? I would leave the bible for now, it’s so difficult though for you to know what choices to make. My heart goes out to each and everyone dealing with this challenge.


#14

He’s 27.

He had breaks at 15, 17 & 18, then has been not completely well but in a stable condition until this past year.

Things are now progressing at a very rapid pace.

I should be able to speak with the hospital case manager on the phone sometime before tomorrow night’s visit. I’ll ask for her advice.


#15

I do the same thing with mirroring people’s emotions, but mostly in the face. If they smile, I smile. If they frown, no matter how hard I try to smile, my face starts to contort. It’s okay – does anyone in your family wear glasses (lol, I wrote this before I read you do, but is it chronic; he may be needing specialized glasses)? I know my grandmother is color blind, but she can’t even detect colors like your son and had cataracts. Woah, that’s creepy! Were her eyes really red, or just in the white area of the eye? Eye color changes in people with light colored eyes can change a lot, so that’s normal. My mom said my grandfather’s eyes would go from light green to dark green and her eyes go from hazel to a warm brown all the time. I often tell my fiancé his eyes change color – supposedly he says they’re hazel, but if you look at the pictures of him as a baby he has deep sea green/blue eyes. Half the time they do look hazel, but the other half they’re green and ocassionally I see hints of blue light blue. I don’t know about anxiety, I have severe anxiety and I don’t see in colors. I do have blackouts whenever I’m lying down or walking though, my vision suddenly goes black and it can last anywhere form 10 seconds to 2 minutes. My fiancé gets the same thing, and I know that it’s not just vertigo because you get that when you get up too quickly; it shouldn’t be happening if we’re lying down or sitting still.


#16

I’ve read the Bible in two different languages – corner to corner, that is really messed up. Don’t do it. If he starts reading it, he’s going to be exposed to some seriously deranged things. I mean, it condones incest for, literally, God’s sake.


#17

Please let us know how you get on. Thinking of you.


#18

I will - on one thread or another. It feels like I post every single thing that happens now.

Maybe I overshare, but it helps to bounce things off other people who’ve been in the same situation.


#19

Course it’s helpful, your not alone, your never are, post anytime it helps. Of course you don’t need me to tell you that.


#20

Dr Amador in one of his videos says we shouldn’t be afraid to let the talk about their delusions. He says doing so does not reinforce their delusions. He says it makes them feel you are listening.

I would let him have one. Sorry about the hyper-religious thing, it is supposed to be pretty common.