‘I think I am Jesus’.
This sentence is a classic sign of schizophrenia. How many times have you watched movies where someone is locked in a mental hospital because they feel that they ‘have spiritual powers’ or ‘hear the voice of God whispering to them in the night’.
Three years ago that person was me. I was screaming in hospital rooms, stopping time, writing notes in a frenzy, feeling as though I was God Himself and as if nobody understood me. To an extent, they didn’t – but there was also a lot at that time that I myself did not understand.
After a dose of medications, I came out of that experience with the understanding that what had happened to me was medically known as, psychosis. Psychosis is the experience of seeing things that other people don’t, hearing things that others don’t, feeling as though people are putting thoughts into your head, and feeling as though you are so powerful that you must be God incarnate. I had had enough psychology training to know that this is what happens to you when you are broken because things have not gone well in your life. I was determined at one point to just forget the whole thing and continue on with normal life, going to work and completing my exams as if nothing had happened.
However, I found that regardless of how delusional I had been, there was some things I could not forget. I had had grand visions of spirits descending to earth, I had discoursed with Eve in Eden and ran with Adam, I had had the experience of being washed and cleansed by a transcendent unconditional love that I could not explain away. I had never thought much of religion or spirituality or Christianity before my psychosis experience. I did not even believe in God – so it was incredibly strange to me that I could have told someone that I felt like I was Jesus. I didn’t even believe in Jesus. So what did I mean when I said that? To feel like Jesus, what does that mean?
I realized I could not answer that question until I knew about Jesus. Deciding to explore, I ventured off with a friend of mine to God’s house. I found myself in a black Pentecostal church complete with loud screams and flying chairs. A lively congregation of souls that I felt like I had no right to be a part of. Expressed with joy, I heard stories of people who had heard the unheard throughout time, who had seen the unseen and who knew by that grace, that God walked with them. I found it difficult to accept at the time. I was constantly bothered by the feeling that if I tried to identify with my new spiritual understanding, I would be self-deluding myself. If I let myself believe that God was real and that my experience of psychosis was a spiritual purging and emerging, I would be embracing my own pathology. However, I continued to attend, walking apprehensively along the thin line of mysticism and madness hoping that one day I would have the clarity and assurance, that I was not actually mad. Not entirely anyway.
The assurance came gradually. The more I read and talked to people from different paths of life, I began to accept that during my experience of psychosis I had been exposed to a spiritual reality I had not known before. I realized that when in a moment of mania, I had proclaimed that I felt like Jesus, I was connecting to the truth – but only a part of it.
What I had discovered at the time was that I was powerful, spiritual, I had a purpose, I mattered. That was overwhelming for me. Imagine living your whole life feeling as though you are nothing and then one-day discovering that the whole power of the universe is sitting inside of your stomach – that you are the daughter of that power that created the planets. The joy of that recognition flooded my heart and I could think of nothing else except how powerful and strong I was. It is the same feeling as being intoxicated and feeling that you can fly, until you leap off the side of the building and realize, you are not a bird.
As I got to know Jesus I came to know a man who was fearless, care-full and care-free, spirit led, and unbound by the ruling hypocrisy of the world. Here was a man who wept when he was sad, who spoke truth at all costs, knew where he came from, understood his power and his strengths and loved with all the fullness of justice and mercy that a love for self and God and people can bring. I found a man of compassion and wisdom and hope. A man that walked in the fullness of God and that I hadn’t known when I had said I felt I was him when I was in psychosis, but who I found that I wanted to be like.
I wanted to live with the wholeness of Spirit and humanity that He showed. I came to understand that the problem during my psychosis was not that my idea of feeling grand was wrong, but that I had gotten drunk on it. There was no balance. I had not learnt yet that being a Son of God means being humble in your power. That it means feeling worthy enough to have your feet washed by your friends, but also being humble enough to get on your knees to wash theirs. That it means being centered in who you are and in your gifts, but not being boastful in them. That it means knowing that yes you are a child of God and you are part and parcel of the glory, but that ultimately you are not God and you can do nothing without Him.
What I came to understand is that the true goal of our spiritual lives is to reveal the Christ natures within ourselves and to be fully transformed into a reflection of the most high. That we may be mirrors in the way that Jesus is. In my psychosis I caught a glimpse of God within myself and ran with it. I saw the power and magnified my own importance, and minimized true love, humility, and meekness. It is only that balance however, that can bring us into fullness. The balance that lets your right hand correct your left and vice versa. It is that balance that separates mysticism from madness.
Psychosis is one of those experiences that is highest in black female populations and I do wonder how much of that is tied to women discovering and trying to reclaim their divine power after it has been buried for so long in this society. My advice to those women is, keep pressing on. There will come a day where you finally feel at one with your magic.
This brilliant post was written by Mica Montana . We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here
Views expressed by guest writers do not necessarily reflect that of Black Sisters Network.