The Schizoaffective Voices I Hear Are Not Spirits

March 12, 2020 Elizabeth Caudy

Quite a few people in commenting about this blog have mentioned that they think my schizoaffective voices are spirits or come from the spirit world. Although I am a very spiritual person, I don’t believe my schizoaffective voices are in any way spiritual. Here’s why.

My Schizoaffective Voices Are Not Spirits

Here's how I know my schizoaffective voices are not spirits: the voices are not real.

I find the belief that schizophrenic or schizoaffective voices are spirits is downright dangerous.

Imagine if I had been told this when I first got diagnosed as schizophrenic--a few years before I was re-diagnosed as schizoaffective. I either would have been very scared or--still very ill--I might have refused treatment because I wouldn’t have wanted to lose my “connection with the spirit world.”

When I first started hearing voices, I thought that they were fairies. Then I thought that somehow they were the voices of people I knew or those of famous people, communicating with me. Well, I was psychotic when I thought these things. When the atypical antipsychotic I was prescribed to treat schizophrenia kicked in, I was still hearing voices from time to time. But fortunately, I knew they weren’t real.

Realizing the voices were not spirits because they were not real was a key step towards getting better. It took away their power and, by doing so, empowered me.

Twenty-one years later, I still struggle with hearing voices. And it’s still crucial to my wellness plan that I know the voices are not real.

Stigma and Misconceptions About Schizoaffective Disorder

Why do the symptoms of mental illness get glamorized this way? People don’t say that diabetes or cancer symptoms are spiritual. I believe stigma is the reason there are still so many misconceptions about mental illness that haven’t caught up with the science. Stigma both arises from and begets ignorance.

I’ve had people tell me that denying the spiritual element to my schizoaffective disorder is just putting money into the pocket of Big Pharma. If taking the medication I need for my physical illness in my brain is funding Big Pharma, then so be it. Also, I do things besides take medication that science has proven help with mental illness. I exercise and I make my best effort to eat healthily.

As I said at the beginning, I am a very spiritual person and my faith does help me with my schizoaffective disorder and my anxiety. But my voices are not spiritual. The voices are not spirits. Believing that they come from anywhere outside my brain would be dangerous to me -- end of story.

Leave your comments about hearing voices and spirituality below.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2020, March 12). The Schizoaffective Voices I Hear Are Not Spirits, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

May, 12 2020 at 8:36 am

Hi Elizabeth,
I really liked your perspective that hearing voices isn't spiritual. When I was first diagnosed I was so certain that the process was either initiation or condemnation. Somehow the glory of roaming the city on bus or bike to get to a safe place helped me. Although the escapism was momentary relief. I still hear voices quite often and they have become unbearable to the point of suicidal ideation, but each new day there's a chance at goodness.
I'm glad that trusting BIG PHARMA has helped you, but the entire system has failed me. On those days, I read your blog and discover some form of hope that I'm not alone. Most importantly that this thing happens to other people too.
Thanks for sharing your successes and vulnerabilities,

May, 12 2020 at 12:50 pm

Dear Fran, Thank you for your comment. Since you mentioned feeling suicidal, I'm including the link to suicide information, resources, and support:…
You may have to copy and paste the link into your browser. I'm so glad you find hope in my blog, so thank you so much for saying that. I'm sorry to hear your voices are so difficult, but I am glad you are able to keep a positive outlook.
Take care,

John Caudy
April, 4 2020 at 10:33 pm

This is important. Thank you so much for sharing these insights Elizabeth.

April, 6 2020 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for your comment, John. I was expecting to get a lot of nasty comments on this post, but, I didn't! I wrote it anyway because, as you say, it is so important.
Love, Elizabeth

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