Testimony and Recovery of a Schizophrenic
by Richard Hicks
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior on a Sunday night, September 27,1982 at the age of 18. God filled me, baptizing me in His Holy Spirit. It was as if my slate was wiped clean. At that time I was tormented in my mind as a teenager. That first night I had a clear mind for the first time in my life. It was as if I was on a mountain top with Jesus. My spiritual eyes were opened to the Word of God. For several months I soaked in the scriptures like a sponge. It was a wonderful time until I slowly came down from that mountain top. Over time, I backslid and stopped going to church completely.
I left home at the age of 19 and attempted to go a couple of semesters at a local college, but winded up dropping out. I lived and worked at a motel for a year. It was in a bad neighborhood and closed down. I then moved 30 miles away, and attempted to live in the real world. I didn’t know how to get or hold down a good job, nor pay bills or balance a checkbook. I had no skills and no college degree. I went into a very deep depression; I isolated from my friends and family. Withdrawn, I began to hear voices outside of my body and inside my mind. As time went on it got much worse, the voices were yelling at me. I could sense evil all around me, and thought the apartment I lived in was haunted. It became unbearable anguish upon my soul I heard one voice tell me to go a Christian couple that I had lived with before I went to college. When I heard that voice, I felt a urgency to get there as soon as I could. It was if I had opened some kind of door into the a spirit realm. I am 53 years old now I don’t remember all that the voices were telling me. I just knew I needed to get help as soon as possible
They helped me find a deliverance ministry, and a guy named “Doc” spent the whole weekend with me casting our evil spirits and breaking curses off of my life It worked, for I had a clear mind once again, and a fresh start. I attended Bible school the following semester where I met my first wife. I graduated from there and married in 1989.
We adopted 2 kids and I worked for 8 years as a convenient store manager. It was very stressful in the workplace as well as in my marriage. We stayed married until 2001, that was when I had my next mental breakdown. This time the voices came back when I was working at the convenient store and I kept it all to myself for many months. I thought that God had give me a special discernment that certain people in my church and work place was satanists and they were sending me telepathic messages in my home and work place. There was a big scenario going on in my mind with me talking to the voices, and them telling me things about Satanism and trying to covert me. I feared for the life of my family at the time. At that point I had asked my wife to take the kids to her dad’s house. I was broken and could not be fixed. The next day my wife called my mom who took me to the ER in another town, where they had a mental health care unit. I stayed there for 2 weeks.
I had more peace than I thought was ever possible in my mind during the hospital stay. I had not been getting a full nights sleep and could not function sanely as a husband or father.The breakdown took its toil on my marriage. I had a whole attitude shift in my mind, because they were giving me medicine for the first time. That is not the end of the story. When I came home, I did alright at first, but I was not able to get rest because the sleeping pills made me late to work. I stopped taking the sleeping pill and had a relapse. I left my family and went back home to Arkansas in 2001. By that time my marriage was over,as I knew it.
I attempted to work again but was not taking my medicine right. This craziness was just not working for me. I was at a crossroads with nowhere left to turn I went in the direction of the mental health clinic in my town. I learned there for the first time in my life that I had a mental illness called paranoid schizophrenia. In the late summer of 2002 my divorce was finalized and I was put on disability.
I still had a long road before me in learning what medicine would work for me there were many periods of trial and error. When I finally found a good balance in my medicine, I took a step of faith, I thought,in getting off my medicine again. I thought that I was ready to face the world. In 2005, I got really heavily involved in a church in the town where I lived. But guess what? I started hearing the voices again. I was asked to leave the church and isolated myself again for many months. I stayed in my apartment and thought that the voices were whispering from another apartment beside me and were trying to get me to leave town.
As I cried out to God once more, I tried to commit myself to the mental unit in the hospital. I was told that I had to have attempted suicide to be admitted. I agreed to wait to get outpatient care. I got on my medicine and stayed on it for a long time after that, but I lived alone and lived a very reclusive lifestyle. I stayed at home and I virtually lived on the internet. I was able to make a few friends online to keep me company, but no friendships or relationships outside of the home. My family did their best to come and see me, and I thank them for their efforts. Even though I was steady on my medicine during that time and not hearing voices. I thought it was best for me at the time to alienate myself from the world.
In 2010 I could not handle being alone any longer and started doing a web-search on Facebook, putting in names of people that I did know. I happened to put in a girls name that I had went to church with when we were teenagers. She answered me back. Her name was Fonda and she lived in Mississippi. We chatted a lot and she would come over on the weekends and we would date. I took a big leap of faith and married her and moved to Mississippi. We were married in October, 2010. It was her love and support and faith in me that lead me out of that dark and lonely place of isolation. I thank God for her unwavering love and support that drew me out into the light of much better and happier days. I can never thank her enough for loving me through it all. I have found my true love and an awesome helpmate. Little did I know how great God would work in our lives; and greater works we will do in Jesus name.
In 2011 I started going to a outpatient support group. I had tried this before in Arkansas, but this time was different, I opened up about my past to the group, and the therapists were compassionate and understanding. I would like to say I have stayed steady on my medicine. For the most part I have been consistent on taking it. A lot of people may think that the medicine hindered me. No it did not hold me back. When I am steady on my medicine, I have a clear mind and vision for my future. When I am on my medicine and am able to drive and carry on with the things of my life. I am not a walking zombie or heavily dosed up. My whole outlook on life changed for the positive, and I sensed a calmness that I haven’t felt in a very long time.
In 2012 I took another step of faith and got involved in a local church. I am able to function as a active member of the body of Christ. For the first time in a very long time I feel like I fit in. It has not been easy at times, because some some church people just do not understand and want to judge. I will say that people who get to know me know that I am not demon possessed at all. I am on the quiet side but I have a lot of support in my life.
I feel compelled by God to share this testimony, in hopes that those who may be struggling with a mental illness will see that there is hope. If you are struggling, don’t fight the medicine. Do not give up. I pray for God to intervene and rescue you from the clutches of Satan’s hold on your life. I do believe that if I had gone the other route my life would not be as blessed as it is now. God has been with me; helping me every step of the way, and he can be there for you too. I believe there is a time and place for deliverance, but until there is healing in your mind, it may do more harm than good.
This is a big step for me to share this much of my testimony. There are parts that I just do not remember, but I feel like from my writing that you get the idea of what it was like. Often through the years I have wondered if this was not the work of some kind of cruel prank or joke. The only prankster in this story is Satan. Don’t allow him to keep you from getting the help you so desperately need. God has given me a vision of someday being able to share my story with the body of Christ. There is a lack of understanding and empathy for people who struggle with a mental illness and the use of medicine for those individuals. God created doctors and he also created medicine and the medicine works once your get on the medicine that works for you. I am not saying to not trust God. He is on your side. Every time I have got off my medicine there has been a definitely a big improvement when I got back on it. It can take away the voices and give you your life back through God’s grace.
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