Where have I been?
God and Demons Battled for His Soul
Raul was 16 when we met. He had diagnoses of learning disability and attention deficit disorder, but it was clear there was a lot more going on than just those problems.
He talked to demons and angels, had been to heaven and to hell, God and Satan verbally and
physically were fighting for his immortal soul. He heard every word they said as they battled over him
Raul was from a religious fundamentalist church so at first his family thought he was chosen by God. But things kept getting worse. Demons threatened him. They kept him awake at night.
His family knew that some of the things he said weren’t part of the Bible. They thought maybe he had a vitamin deficiency but the family doctor did some tests and said he didn’t have any that he could find. The naturopathic specialist suggested carnitine for learning and gingko biloba for hearing God all the time but these interventions didn’t seem to do anything either.
After a number of months of “natural “ healing, his family doctor suggested that Raul needed to see me.
Schizophrenia Started Young
Raul was a bit young to be showing signs of schizophrenia, the diagnosis I gave him the first time we met. Typically males begin showing signs of it in their late teens and females a little later, in their mid to late twenties, but it was pretty clear that this was the problem. When I asked him, Raul couldn’t really remember a time he didn’t hear things that other people didn’t. He had "friends" who talked to him even when he was in grade school. At the time, though, everyone just thought of his "imaginary friends" as typical kid stuff.
For a long time Raul refused to be treated for his symptoms. He thought God had a special plan for him. Eventually, though, Raul just couldn't take Satan's constant presence. He couldn't figure out just what God wanted him to do and he knew he either needed some help on earth or he would have to kill himself and seek help in his next life.
Raul tried a few medications and some did make the voices quieter. However, as soon as the voices left Raul refused medications because he was cured.
If he had just had more faith he would have been fine. This pattern repeated several times before Raul's family insisted he be on medication or he had to leave. I told them about long acting antipsychotic injections that only have to be given every 28 days and suggested trying one of these. The family asked him to try it and eventually he did.
A Schizophrenic's Awakening
Shortly after his fourth shot Raul and I sat down to talk. He'd gotten a job in a local hotel. He was working the night shift, which he thought was a good thing. He had some difficulty being around people and this way there wouldn't be many encounters.
While he was talking, I smiled. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He had thick black hair that reached to his waist. I hadn’t realized this even though we had known each other for several years because usually it was dirty and sloppily pinned to the back of his head. Today his luxurious mane was neatly braided and held in place by a colorful rag at the bottom. He wore a pale lavender eye shadow on one lid that made his dark eyes pop. And he smiled, happy about the positives in his life and hopeful for the future. Typically when he left, the exam room Raul had been in couldn’t be used for several hours until the smell of him and his clothes dissipated. This day the aroma was of Irish Spring and a fruity body wash.
Eventually his chatter slowed down and stopped.“What?” he asked me.
I shook my head. “You know, in all the time we’ve known each other we’ve never really had a conversation? We couldn’t talk about things because the voices always seemed to get in the way.”
Finally Able to Converse
Raul was silent for a moment. He bit his lip and tears erupted. “That’s true, isn’t it? I was so preoccupied with all the voices that I couldn’t talk to anybody.” He shook his head slowly. “When I think of the things that I thought. When I think about the things that went through my head it’s hard to believe.”
He stopped and took a deep breath. “Where have I been all this time? It’s like I’ve never spoken to anybody before in my life. Where was I?”
At 25 , for the first time he was able to converse. For the first time we were talking together. We had known each other for nearly a decade.
Image of demon by: diuno
Image of herbs by: devi
Image of hands refusing medication by: AndreyPopov