The history of 1st Step is filled with stories of hope and inspiration. The following is a story from a past 1st Step participant:
My experience with psychosis was a very unique and impactful time in my life. In the time leading up to my psychotic episode, there were signs that were foreshadowing the events to come. [I felt] like people could read my thoughts, [and] I could read other people’s thoughts. I was getting messages from people. At the time, I felt that this was normal — this was just a part of me maturing. I didn’t realize this was the beginning of my experience with psychosis.
[In my psychosis, I thought] that I was Jesus, “the Chosen One.” I felt I was the rope in a tug of war, where on the one hand I had God guiding me, and on the other hand I had the Devil misleading me. Everything I said, did and experienced ‘fed’ this delusion. Whether it was me reading about The Da Vinci Code and thinking that I was Jesus-incarnate or experiencing the feeling of God anointing me, everything culminated to reinforce these delusions on a daily basis.
The experiences that I dealt with mentally were also very special. Early into my episode, I thought that I could communicate with God and individuals on ‘the other side’. I thought that I had a spirit guide whose sole purpose was to guide me in the right direction concerning my mission to save the world. If I had a question concerning absolutely anything, I could ask out loud, ask in my mind, or even just think of the question and I would get a response. The response that I would receive would either be a nod, a shake of the head, or a subtle feeling of God anointing me.
“In the end, it was me controlling my own destiny.”
A couple years after my episode, I realized that this feeling of communicating with people on the other side was really just me communicating with my unconscious self. I was responding unconsciously to my own thoughts, feelings, and questions. If I thought in the back of my head that what I was thinking about was okay, positive, or good, then the reaction that I would get would be positive. In the end, it was me controlling my own destiny.
It was an incredible experience to feel in your heart that you were the Son of God, and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for all the money in the world. This chapter in my life will probably never be eclipsed by any other experience. It has made me more of a feeling and compassionate person. Regardless of the fact that I know I’m not Jesus, I can do my part to serve God by serving His people. It took me a long time to get over the fact that I was not Jesus, but I know now that it takes a very special person to undertake a challenge of that magnitude. I also feel that this experience has brought me closer to God and made me a more spiritual person.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not something you have to do on your own.”
Some advice that I would give [someone] who is dealing with mental health issues is to get on the right meds, take your meds faithfully, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not something you have to do on your own. It’s very easy to feel like you’re alone with no one to guide you.
Also, it’s easy to want to stay complacent and be happy staying in a delusional way of thinking. It’s important to try and do something small every day, a step in the right direction, a dose of reality. These small steps may seem insignificant, but together they add up to big steps. These big steps will eventually be something you can look back on and be proud of.
Depending on the experience of the individual, recovery can be slow and tedious and at times seem hopeless; however, it’s important to stay positive and utilize the help that [programs] like 1st Step offer. You may not realize it at first, but every tidbit of advice and all the guidance bestowed upon you enriches your life in [so many] ways.