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Mental Health

The Voices and The Afterlife: My Experience with Schizophrenia and Spirituality

"Before I knew I was schizophrenic, I thought that I could connect with souls and help them transition into their afterlife."

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Written by Jamerly De La Cruz
Portrait of the Author taken by Carmen De La Cruz 

Before I knew I was schizophrenic, I thought that I could connect with souls and help them transition into their afterlife. 

Usually stories about schizophrenia are about scientific facts, medical realizations, triggers or how to diagnose it. There is little out there about personal experiences and how the episodes impact that particular person’s life and relationships. I would like to expand on my experience with schizophrenia in hopes that someone with the mental illness will know that they are not crazy for what their episode looked like.

I also took direction from my ‘spiritual healer’, a voice that convinced me that I was entering a new phase of spirituality, and my purpose was to help transfer souls into their afterlife.

I heard voices. For me, some voices converted themselves into people I knew, like friends and family. I also took direction from my ‘spiritual healer’, a voice that convinced me that I was entering a new phase of spirituality, and my purpose was to help transfer souls into their afterlife. I didn’t talk back to these voices. I kind of just let them sit there, until one day it became totally overwhelming. 

I decided they needed to leave. I decided that I did not want to be a vessel to the afterlife. I went to the store, bought some incense. I went to my room and cleared every corner, then went to the living room, and bathroom, and did the same. I thought that after this cleansing the voices would leave, that they would find their souls outside my body and be able to rest in peace. 

The next thing I knew, I heard the words, “Still here.” 

So I took my cigarettes and my incense and went to the backyard. I saw white smoke leave my body, which I interpreted as souls at the time. I still felt heavy. I tried to bargain with the voices, “If you don’t want to go, you will be staying with a sad depressed person, instead of being out in the free world. Look, it looks so beautiful, don’t you want to be there instead?”

That night I was cleaning my room when I saw a young girl in a striped shirt with her eyes crossed out. I held her hands and asked her what she was doing here.

That night I was cleaning my room when I saw a young girl in a striped shirt with her eyes crossed out. I held her hands and asked her what she was doing here. She just stared at me.. I broke down with her. “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to help you,” I said. Within a few minutes of crying I told her she had to go, that this was no longer the place for her, she went down the stairs and left the apartment. 

In the midst of all of this, I was also in “communication” with Mary Oliver, a poet who died in January of 2019. I picked up her books and started analyzing her poems. I remember taking a pen to them and making connections to rape. I also somehow connected them to a jacket I found on the bus. (Some guy told me not to take it, but I like found items.)  Her poems seemed to be coded, I thought she was sharing a message with me, beautiful writing about flowers and her loved ones were actually messages about sexual violence. I spent the entire time connecting dots and stories to one another, seeing words as signals. 

Her poems seemed to be coded, I thought she was sharing a message with me, beautiful writing about flowers and her loved ones were actually messages about sexual violence.

The truth is, I was not okay. I spent eight months in episodes where the voices took over, and made me think that I had spiritual duties. It’s kind of difficult when your words become your world. A lot of people say ‘do not live inside your head’,  and that is exactly what I was doing. It was not until I fell into the hospital the second time, that I realized that what I was going through was made up.

I thought I could talk to those who have passed, and that I was a vehicle of transition for lost souls, but after finding out that I was Schizophrenic I realized that I am nowhere close to that. I realized that I am actually no one. A little speck of human in this large universe – and who was I to be given this large task of helping souls cross over? 

That’s the power of the voices though, they convinced me that I was to be someone greater, but the greatness I found was not right for my journey. In reality, I should have judged them more and not believed them so easily- but when you are lost, you look to yourself to be found. I learned that you have to question yourself and your beliefs, that everything is not what it seems, and that I needed to be saved. I was the one dying, my brain was sharing signs that I was becoming something else outside of myself. 

Today I am scared to touch my spirituality, I am still shocked as to how I could believe my voices – but that’s what they do.

Today I am scared to touch my spirituality, I am still shocked as to how I could believe my voices – but that’s what they do. Before this, I was practicing tarot cards and really intune with my crystals. I blessed a house and always blessed my spaces. I am still scared to touch my crystals, I actually got rid of them all. I am still working on forgiving myself. It feels like God has not forgiven me yet.


Jamerly De La Cruz is an aspiring writer. Last year she found out she was Schizophrenic after an eight months episode and is using her writing to showcase the intensity of the mental illness by sharing her personal story. Jamerly has been published in Palabritas sharing her personal stories of childhood. Today she wishes to expand on her writing and speak about mental illness as she is personally growing and learning more each day.


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