I thought a lot about religion and spirituality after my first experience with psychosis. I spent months sorting out in my mind what experiences were real and what were delusions. The religious delusions actually scared me into thinking I had to be a perfect Christian to prevent it from happening again. I was raised a Christian, but it wasn’t a huge part of my upbringing and as I got older we spent less time at church. I did attend church often with a friend and her family while I was in junior high school and I enjoyed it, but it always had a way of making me feel that I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have anyone that would attend church with me after my hospital stay and I didn’t want to go by myself, so I spent most of my time reading about religion and scouring the internet for inspiration. I spent countless hours on beliefnet.com reading articles and blogs. The messages I found there brought me a lot of comfort and peace.
Beliefnet.com is where I found Gabrielle Bernstein, a motivational speaker, life coach, and author. I watched all of her video blogs on YouTube, read all of her books, and did her guided meditations. Her messages were extremely helpful in my recovery. She inspired me to find a different way to live and gave me hope. I could relate to her because she was close to my age and was a former party girl. She became a sort of guru to me. I couldn’t wait until Monday when she would post a new video blog. Gabrielle lead me to the spiritual textbook A Course in Miracles and A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. I listened to the audiobook Everyday Grace by Williamson several times in a row. I became obsessed with turning my fear to love. I was on a freaking spiritual mission. I couldn’t get enough. I read so many spiritual books that I can’t count them. A New Earth and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer, to name a few. I also listened to the teachings of Abraham Hicks on the The Law of Attraction. I watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday religiously every Sunday.
The tools I learned from these people helped me develop a relationship with God. This might sound like a strange way to find God, but it helped bring me closer to a higher power and find peace in my chaotic mind. All of these teachings played an important role in my recovery. They made me see that I wasn’t fighting my battles on my own, they showed me that I had someone in my corner pulling for me, that I wasn’t alone. I tried to go back to the Christian church a few years ago. I went with a friend for a few months, but it just didn’t click with me. It felt too strict and judgemental. When the minister spoke out against same-sex marriage, I realized that it just wasn’t the place for me. I felt more comfortable with my own spirituality practice at home. It calmed my anxieties and showed me that I had a purpose. It helped me accept the person that I am even with my flaws. It helped me see that my illness as not a curse, but rather a gift.