Being an atheist is an integral part of my recovery from schizoaffective disorder, a mental illness I’ve dealt with for most of my life. Some of my most troublesome symptoms were frequent auditory and visual hallucinations which have been treated with antipsychotic medication since my early twenties.
Explaining My Hallucinations
My hallucinations were frightening and before receiving treatment, I thought that maybe they had a spiritual explanation. However, taking medication cleared my speculation. When I was able to practice skepticism, I felt grounded and stable. It’s empowering. This has been absolutely crucial to my life since I have a history of losing touch with reality. Religion will throw all sorts of explanations at you, but it is comforting to rely on common sense.
Being Open to Treatment
I accept my diagnosis and recognize my hallucinations as symptoms of my mental illness. I am in awe of the power of medications and I never miss a dose. I know I need them. Science and modern medicine are life-changing and I’m very grateful. Treatment makes sense to me and I am very willing to comply. This is often very difficult for people with diagnoses similar to mine.
It is really easy for me to make these fundamental realizations as an atheist. There are many recovery and treatment programs that incorporate spirituality, but if others experience symptoms like mine, I think that would be confusing as hell.
Keep God Far From My Recovery
I don’t need god for an explanation, purpose, or meaningful life. I know what I need to do to stay well and it certainly doesn’t involve religion. These statements are not only powerful but also come as a relief as a person living with a mental illness.