I saw a psychiatrist for the first time in my life last week. I have depression and problems with substance abuse.
She was lovely. She listened attentively to my experiences and genuinely seemed to want the best for me. Her insight was razor-sharp, but she delivered her advice with kindness and compassion. That combination is rare and takes real skill!
[Caveat: She wasn’t perfect… some of her advice seemed… a little misjudged.]
In mid-August 2019, I experienced a Spiritual Awakening… AKA drug-induced psychosis, depending on your preferred way of looking at the world.
Last week, I explained to the psychiatrist with some embarrassment that I often felt as though God was with me. I didn’t mean purely metaphorically either… In the last couple of months I’ve often experienced physical sensations which I interpreted as God being alive and present.
I felt a kind of echo in my breathing, which I interpreted as me being filled with the Holy Spirit, or the Breath of God. And I felt a wonderful sense of joy in my chest, which I interpreted as God’s love inhabiting my heart.
I still get those sensations at times now, over 2 months later. They’re pleasant and calming. They give me a sense of peace.
More rational and scientific thinkers may dismiss those sensations as merely symptoms of psychosis caused by drug abuse. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t feel real to me, or diminish the spiritual significance I derived from them.
Maybe it’s all just the placebo effect. But again, don’t dismiss placebo effects as meaningless or worthless. They can be extremely powerful.
Anyway, I explained to the psychiatrist that I felt these sensations far less often now, compared to during the peak of the psychosis. I admitted that I missed those feelings because they let me know that God was with me.
“But God is always with us, isn’t He, whether we feel Him or not.” she gently explained, her voice full of kindness and wisdom.
I was stunned… I had not expected that!
I thought that as a highly qualified medical professional, she would probably be atheist or agnostic. What a dangerous assumption for me to make!
What a wonderful thought… God is always with us. How reassuring!
Even if you’re not religious, I hope you can see that such a belief can provide great comfort to people…
… And not just in an infantile “comfort blanket” kind of way…
Believing in God and feeling His love can be the difference between life and death to some people. It can be the deciding factor which makes someone decide not to commit suicide.
What a tremendous difference a belief in God can make to the way we feel! How much lighter our burden becomes!
Even if you’re staunchly atheistic, I believe it’s worth believing in God just for the benefits such a belief provides.
Perhaps God is the ultimate placebo… but as studies have shown, placebos can be effective even when the patient knows they’re taking a placebo!
I’m certainly going to continue believing God is with me, whether I can feel Him physically or not.
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