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Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder and Prayer

September 22, 2016 Elizabeth Caudy

“Prayer” is one of those words people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder just don’t want to hear. It’s like “yoga” or “meditation.” The problem occurs most often when one of these is suggested as a substitution for medication. Such an alternative is, of course, ridiculous and risky. But, while I’m not suggesting it would work for everyone, prayer helps me with my schizoaffective disorder, along with treatment. The way it helps might not be what you expect.

How Can Prayer Help With Schizoaffective Disorder?

Prayer cannot cure schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. So why pray if you have schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder? Read this.

To be perfectly honest, I feel really nervous writing this. I may be an observant Catholic, but far be it from me to foist my opinion about spirituality on other people. I have found that praying and knowing that other people are praying for me gives me peace. No, it doesn’t make the voices go away. But it gives me peace of mind and an inner space where I can turn.
I’ve talked to other people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and some of them say praying is hard for them because they feel God is punishing them through their illness. I’ve been there, too. In fact, most likely, I’ll be there again. My relationship with God—like any relationship—is complicated.

Even though I sometimes feel that way, I still find prayer helps me feel better about my illness. It makes me feel like I’m not fighting this battle alone. Of course, I’m not alone anyway. God has blessed me with a loving family, including a wonderful husband. God may have given me this illness. But God has also given me the tools to cope with it. For example, I thank God every day that I live in the era of atypical antipsychotic medications. That’s not a joke.

Meditation, Prayer, Schizophrenia, and Schizoaffective Disorder

I say a rosary daily. Saying the rosary is a Catholic form of meditation. It helps me relax. In a nutshell, I would say anything that unwinds the twisted tangles of thoughts in your head is good for your mental health. Saying the rosary, for me, is just one of those things. At the same time, praying to God is a little different than taking a hot bath or enjoying a cup of tea (things I also do to cope with anxiety and other symptoms). Praying to God makes me feel connected to something greater than myself and my individual suffering. Praying to God makes me feel like I’m reaching out to someone who cares about me.

It would be far too easy for me to pray to God for a cure for my schizoaffective disorder, and when that didn’t happen (because it probably wouldn’t), conclude God isn’t there or doesn’t care. I don’t believe God is a magician. I believe that God is vast, and at the same time God is the silence in my head when all the clutter back there holds still for just a second. It is in that silence where I find something like sanity.

How Prayer Helps Me Cope With Schizoaffective Disorder

Photo by Elizabeth Caudy. Find Elizabeth on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and her personal blog.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2016, September 22). Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder and Prayer, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2016/09/schizophrenia-schizoaffective-disorder-and-prayer



Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

Andrew
May, 10 2019 at 2:22 pm

Thank you :)

Tom
September, 22 2018 at 5:07 pm

I struggle with faith. I suffer from paranoid schizophrenia and I get lost easily. I reach out to God but I feel like he’s not there. I really don’t understand it. Anyway if he is God bless you

karey
July, 9 2017 at 4:55 pm

thanks Elizabeth. I also live with a mental illness and sometimes praying is so hard but reading this...I felt prayer definitely is the way to go. thanks.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Caudy
July, 9 2017 at 5:53 pm

Prayer and faith are essential to my recovery. But, of course, the most important thing is medical treatment!

Sarah Read
July, 2 2017 at 7:40 am

Hi. Elizabeth. It's good to come across this site. I'm going through a rough patch in my mental illness and it's good to find some faith-based encouragement.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Caudy
July, 9 2017 at 5:55 pm

I'm glad you found the site!

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