I had a rather interesting conversation with a man who openly shared struggling with being schizophrenic. Our conversation went everywhere, to his childhood, his family dynamics, his views on God and Grace, to the thoughts that constantly plagued him, and even the voices that haunted him inside his head.
This gentleman, Huey, shared how he always felt morose growing up, inextricably depressed and dark. He shared feelings related to shame, how he rough-housed at home a little too hard and played tricks on his siblings. But what Huey confessed was his most plaguing feeling was his lustful thoughts and actions. He shared how he believed he had these from a very early age that continued to manifest in his late adulthood.
Huey shared that he wanted some clarity as to why he felt so shamed, depressed, and “broken”. Interestingly enough, Huey did not first seek out a counselor for answers, but rather he first visited a psychic. He mentioned that he had gone to a psychic with the hope that they would see something in his past buried, something hidden or secret that could account for his lustful behavior and thoughts. Huey suspected abuse, though he hadn’t any memories of being abused.
At the end of his session speaking to this psychic, the psychic told Huey he’d been sexually molested by his father. I didn’t ask for Huey for details how the psychic discovered this. But in Huey’s own words he said, “so I put this on, I wore this feeling, this feeling like I’d been abused by my father.” Somewhere in his 20s he confronted his mother about this mother, though his mother was in disbelief—perhaps she herself was skeptical of the source of this so-called revelation. Huey shared he felt ashamed—even unworthy of God—because he firmly believed to the end of his father’s life that his father had abused him. Both his parents had passed about 10-20 years ago, when Huey was in his 40s/50s.
I was struck, though, how Huey phrased the whole thing. He didn’t share with me point blank that he was abused, but rather how he felt abused. He mentioned specifically how he “put on” the narrative the psychic gave him. He said it felt like it fit at the time, like it matched what he felt inside. But in the present, he knew it wasn’t true, and in fact, he felt bad for adopting the belief and conducting himself as though it were truth.
“So, today, do you believe your father did this to you?” I asked him.
“No,” Huey answered resolutely.
Huey again lamented having this opinion of his father and never reconciling with him, to see his dad to his grave as an abuser who had hurt him, for believing the psychic’s narrative.
As mentioned, Huey does suffer from schizophrenia, and in our conversation, I could see how at times this impaired some continuity of his thinking, though the severity of his diagnosis seemed not as acute as I’ve seen among others I’ve talked to with this disease. Huey was dialogical, relatively cohesive, could elaborate on the questions I asked for clarity, and seemed to be able to understand traits of himself that we might call as “rough edges”.
But Huey’s clarity, his ultimate statement about this identity and narrative that he “put on” as though it were a jacket, I think it speaks to a broader phenomena that we see in our culture today. We are in a kind of new age of gnosticism wherein complicated and inner feelings are being addressed without a great deal of psycho-social curiosity. If someone is having any type of identity dysphoria, the popular narrative seems to be the most prescribed one: we need to prescribe you with a narrative that fits what you’re feeling. To be frank, I’m speaking about gender dysphoria and how quick we are to create or affirm a gnostic narrative rather than doing real psycho-social work: exploring concrete synapses, real experiences, and family dynamics that underlie the complex feelings.
Huey’s story is not much different than many who are experiencing gender dysphoria. Perhaps many are not also stricken with schizophrenia itself, but how many of our people are assigned to an affirming “psychic” who prescribes a fabricated narrative rather than getting curious of the real ailments of a person. How often are our people told to “put on something” like a new identity or narrative instead of teaching a person to become comfortable in their own skin, and more than that, to give them a path to become whole, formidable, and noble? Huey today doesn’t believe that his dad or anyone really abused him, and I imagine there are some who might critique that there may have been real trauma to lead him to subconsciously adopt it in the first place. Be that as it may, his story conveys that we need to walk away from the witchdoctors of everything new age (the magicians, psychics, and gender-affirming so-called “therapists”, all the same). Instead, we ought to seek help and therapy that, as the medical field should aim to do, works diligently and patiently to identify the underlying malady with objectivity, and provide either curative or palliative measures to address that malady so the person can live a life, chiefly of, purpose and growth…instead of giving the emperor his new clothes that feigns empathy only to humiliate the subject.