I know in my mind and have faith in my heart that Jesus was born, died, and rose in triumph over sin that I may have eternal salvation. I also know in my mind and have faith in my heart that God is active in my life every moment of every day.
Yet, my active involvement in my faith has changed. I can attach this change to my starting medication to address the hallucinations I have and the depression I battle.
This brings into mind a question:
What, if any, link exists between psychometric drugs and faith?
My first reaction was there is no connection between psychometric drugs and faith, after all my belief in Christ as Lord and Savior remains solidly planted in my heart and mind. But that’s not what changed. So I needed to look more closely at what I felt had changed, that is, my active involvement in my faith; those things that bring faith into practice as praise and worship.
I feel I still live as a Christian – loving God with all my heart, soul and mind and loving my neighbor as myself. (Mark 12:30-31)
I’m still attending church and singing in the choir. But… other things I used to do like praying the rosary, reading the bible, and privately praying three times daily have turned into occasional activities. Also, participation in the choir has turned into work and no longer fulfills me. (I must add here that there are also other issues with choir that feed my ambivalence.)
To answer the question of linkage between my medication and active participation in my faith I had to look at the roots of that which drives participation beyond attending church.
I feel I can eliminate the antidepressant as the cause of change. I was once on antidepressants while on the street (outside this prison) and experienced a positive impact on practicing my faith by becoming more involved, not less.
Yet, what of the anti-hallucinogen?
I’ve learned, through work with psychologists, that hallucinations can spring from the part of the brain associated with creativity. Once I learned that, it became easier to deal with those hallucinations the medication had not driven away. But the implication is clear: If the anti-hallucinogen quiets the creative center of the brain then how I see and feel and participate in my faith is indeed connected to the creative center in my brain.
This brings a new question:
Do I see negative impacts on other creative activates undertaken?
My writing for this blog has become challenging and for my short stories has ceased altogether. Also, the journaling I did on a regular basis has stopped. Next, my passion around music has waned to the point that I don’t care to sing anymore. Finally, and most importantly, I’ve found that I can no longer envision a future for myself once released from prison; from exile.
In summary then, all the creative activities that were alive in me have withered or died just as my active participation in my faith has also all but ended.
So a third question now arises:
What role does the creative center of the brain play in one’s faith?
I once took the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) survey and scored 100% for both schizophrenia and delusional disorder. I recall a fair number of questions around belief in an omnipotent entity (God).
Apparently, I’m not the first person to see a direct link between one’s faith and the workings of the mind – the creative mind. The implication of that survey is that your faith is something manufactured by your mind as opposed to a belief, a knowing really, in an all-encompassing deity. And aren’t hallucinations and delusional beliefs manufactured by the mind?
This suggests then that the part of the brain that creates hallucinations and delusional beliefs also creates faith, or at least some portion thereof.
It’s a scary thought really – that my faith is no more real than a short story written for pleasure.
Where does this leave me?
With more questions than answers.
What to do? I’ve decided to adopt an attitude of “just do it’ and renew, even if by habit, my participation in praying the rosary, thrice daily prayer times, and reading the bible daily. My hope is that by doing these things as tasks I will rekindle the part of me that carried these actions as an integral part of my faith practice.
I’m curious. I’d like to know if any of you that are on psychometric medication have seen a change in how your creative self manifests. Am I alone in seeing a direct link between the creative center of the mind and faith?
I look forward to hearing from you. ~jdoe