Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today's obituary

Gil Scott-Heron: The revolution will be live

Credited as a seminal influence on the development of rap music, Gil Scott-Heron died last week at the age of sixty-two. His most famous work The Revolution will Not be Televised is well known (to rap music historians), and it's really good. While the lyrics are definitely locked into references to the 1960s popular culture, which are probably obscure to anybody born during the sixties and later, what stands out to me is how he perceived the revolution taking place. Any revolution can take place and probably is, outside of what you are seeing on television. The Arab Spring is a good example of this. Television got there after the lone vegetable vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire. The revolution was going on all around and it did not attract media attention, until . . . If I remember hearing the BBC announcer correctly, Scott-Heron claimed in later years that the revolution starts inside your head.

So it will come to pass with the revolt against the straitjacket of a mental health diagnosis for the most "intractable" of so-called mental illnesses, schizophrenia. The drug treatment paradigm will come tumbling down because the people are angry. So, keep blogging, keep commenting, keep linking. Our message is a global one. When the revolution comes, it will be fast.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Two blog posts worth reading

I have come across two blog posts that I think deserve a wider audience. The first is written by WillSpirit, a medical doctor who is now asking those of us who most understand mental distress to speak up. Please read the full post here. I have excerpted two paragraphs below.

I started reading textbooks of psychiatry, thinking I could help others now that my own problems had receded. I applied to psychiatry residencies and psychology graduate programs, but was rejected by them all despite my rather stellar academic background. It became obvious that the programs felt uneasy with my psychiatric history, which I’d disclosed in the naive (or stubborn) belief that it should qualify rather than disqualify me for work in the field. Now I had a new reason to suspect systemic problems in the mental health industry. If it fears those who have most used its services, how compassionate can it really be?

It’s time for those of us who most understand mental distress to speak up. We who’ve suffered with depression, anxiety, confusion, delusional states, and so on are in the best position to understand them, especially if we’ve managed to work through our difficulties to achieve a balanced, peaceful state of mind. We are also most aware that mental health problems as currently defined are not always negative. The ‘system’ has so focused on the shadow side of moodiness and perceptual alterations that the enhancing aspects have been forgotten. But most of us who’ve struggled with powerful mental states recognize that, properly harnessed, they confer a kind of grace.

The second blog post on recovery is by Pamela Spiro Wagner. I have been aware of her writing for quite a while now, but I perhaps unfairly judged her as too tied to the medical model of her "illness." Without knowing her except through her skillful writing, she impresses me as an innate artist foiled and failed by the psychiatric system, which buries, not praises, those it purports to help. Through her own tenacity she has come to accept herself as an artist. My editorial comment is that the "system" can save a lot of people a lot of grief if it would recognize that creativity may produce bouts of psychosis.

Usually when anyone else but someone with a psychiatric diagnosis speaks of recovery they mean, full-out cure. Let's not kid ourselves. When you recover from pneumonia, you get better, you do not have pneumonia any longer. When you recover from the flu, you are cured. When you recover from a broken leg, ditto. Yes, there may be residual damage, if you have a heart attack say, or pneumonia, but you do not still have the process itself going on, or you would not call yourself recovered. Rarely do people say that they are chronically IN recovery from anything but either a psychiatric illness or poorly controlled substance usage. But man, do we! The problem with this whale is that like Moby Dick it can lead you out to sea, capsize your boat and abandon you, floundering. What use it is to say, you are in recovery, if you remain miserable, despite all the medications stabilizing you so you are not "in the hospital" or "utilizing resources"?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dull no more

I have come such a long way on this journey that I have been able to laugh about psychosis for quite a while now. I no longer feel worried, as I once did, that it is a hopelessly chronic condition. Ian and I sat on our balcony last night, watching the house lights twinkle in the mountains across the lake. We're beginning to reminisce a lot, which is almost a sure sign of old age. Ian declared that Chris was in a good state, was definitely intelligent and capable, but that we didn't realize when he graduated from high school he needed more time than most to become himself. We both agreed that work is still needed in that department, but that Chris wasn't brain damaged by his experience. If anything, his mind is sharper than it ever was. This is not how the medical literature tells us it is supposed to be. Parents, if you are new to this blog and the schizophrenia diagnosis, do not get sucked in by the negativity surrounding this label.

We agreed that our definition of normal has been severely tested. We now look upon "normal" as a mental illness. I look at many things as a mental illness. How about marriage? Divorce? Families are mentally ill by definition, I am convinced. Being dull is a mental illness, too.

Well, here's to being dull no more. For some reason, I couldn't get my mind off the song Little Boxes when I was trying to get some sleep Sunday afternoon. Ian, strangely in synch with me across town, was listening to the Peter Seeger version. For the record, I have never seen Weeds, the television show that has this as its theme song.

Song lyrics to Little Boxes, by Malvina Reynolds (c) 1962
(beginning at second verse)

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,

And they're all made out of ticky tacky

And they all look just the same.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lizard with a new skin

I haven't posted for a while because (a) there hasn't been much to say and (b) I am in writer's slump re the sugggested edits on my book. The edits are going very, very slowly. I have completely dismantled some of the chapters, but don't know how to put them back together again. So, I joined a gym yesterday in an attempt to shake away the lethargy.

Chris is like a lizard with a new skin. He's really excited about the job with the artist. He takes a two hour train ride there and back and stays overnight. (Journeying is good for growth.) When he's not helping the artist with his projects he helps the artist's wife with her garden and communes with the animals on the farm next door. He is beginning to talk about plans for his future. I just let him talk. I don't get caught up in it. When he's ready, he'll jump.

It's going so well, I wonder why I doubted this kind of outcome in the past. Well, it's easy enough to see why the doubts set in. The big culprit is the so-called "diseased brain." There is absolutely nothing you can do with a diseased brain, is there? It's like settled concrete.

Coincidentally, into my mail box seconds ago came the following epistle from Will Meecham, MD, MA, entitled The Death of Mental Illness.

Only during the past few years, as I took up meditation and began exploring holistic methods of healing, did I begin to feel well. In fact, the change occurred rather quickly once I started meditating, tapered off the cocktail of psychiatric drugs, and quit hanging out at the mental health clinic. My once rock-solid conviction that my mind was ill gradually dissolved, and I began to wonder if I’m perhaps one of the healthier persons around, simply because I’ve worked so hard to achieve balance and peace. And if my ‘symptoms’ forced me into this growth, shouldn’t I be glad they afflicted me? Should I still consider my mental health issues as diseases, or were they gifts?

I’ve already sketched how psychiatrists diagnosed as mania an experience that in another time and place would have been viewed as a divinely granted spiritual awakening. My epiphany landed battered and defamed in the charnel grounds of mental illness, when it could have been an elegant container of grace.

Although the biomedical doctrine of ‘mental illness’ caters nicely to pharmaceutical interests, it serves patients poorly. Let’s give the skullcap a nice burial, and start over with some more elegant and uplifting concepts.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Madness of Adam and Eve

I had never heard of The Madness of Adam and Eve, by David Horrobin, until today.

Horrobin was inducted into the Orthomolecular Hall of Fame in 2005. In its tribute to David Horrobin, orthomolecular.org writes: Throughout his travels in East Africa and work in Kenya, he developed the kernel of thought about fatty acids, schizophrenia and its role in evolution. He later elaborated this idea in his 2001 book, The Madness of Adam and Eve, which was short-listed in 2002 for the Aventis Science Book of the Year. Abram Hoffer wrote: "This is a remarkable book. I agree with his interpretation that schizophrenia is an evolutionary advantage and that its genes are slowly moving into the general population."

The book can be ordered on Amazon, but the price is a staggering $122 for a used copy! However, there are two good Amazon reviews that I have reprinted here.

Humanity and "Insanity", December 19, 2002

By Edith Swanek (Anaheim, Ca) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: The Madness of Adam and Eve: How Schizophrenia Shaped Humanity (Hardcover)

To begin with, I purchased my copy from Amazon.co.uk, the British arm, well over a year ago. Even being shipped from England to the U.S., it's still probably the best way for an American to buy this great book...

You may have heard various movie characters at various times say something along the lines of "We all go a little bit insane sometimes".

Horrobin shows pretty convincingly that "we ARE all a little bit insane at ALL times". In essence, the biochemical manifestations of serious mental illness, when LESS chemically severe, manifest themselves as creativity, imagination, audacity, fixation, obsession, compulsion, etc. A given person might in fact be "3% manic-depressive/bipolar", "2% schizoid", "4% paranoic", etc., and not only function well on a daily basis, but actually function as a great thinker, artist, inventor, or world leader.

Take the "quirks" of major leaders in World War II - from Hitler with his sheer terror at his own flatulence, Stalin drawing 1000 red pencil pictures of wolf heads ever day, De Gaulle regarding himself as "the male Joan of Arc", Patton thinking he had lived dozens of times previously, and Roosevelt allowing both his own and his wife's mistresses to live on the same floor, to Churchill greating world leaders in the buff. All "a little bit insane"? Not so very different from the rest of us, each with his or her own eccentricities...and all very, very human.

This book is both intellectually and socially important to the exact extent it forces us to look at humanity and its mental condition as a full range, rather than categories and "cut-off points".

Most highly recommended!

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful:

5.0 out of 5 stars For ever changes the way you look at the mentally ill, October 31, 2004

By maximusone "maximusone" (Brussels) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: The Madness of Adam and Eve: How Schizophrenia Shaped Humanity (Hardcover)

David Horrobin argues that, as long ago as 3 million years ago, early man - homo erectus - lived close to and off water - rivers and lakes - and his diet contained a fair amount of fish as well as bone marrow from captured animals (who in turn lived off the water). This fish - and animals living off fish or other aquatic organisms - in turn contained so called fatty acids which allowed our human brains over time to become much more creative. Modern human brains consist to a large extent of fat. Hence also, why humans are so much "fatter" then our closest relatives, the chimps. The essential fatty acids in our diets enabled our existing brain cells to better communicate with each other. But a side effect of this evolution was the emergence of schizophrenia.

At some point around 150,000 years ago, someone must have been borne with a genetic mutation which we now call schizophrenia, although his or her behaviour was more what we now would call schizoid, i.e. light schizophrenia. Horrobin argues that throughout human history schizophrenics were often very gifted people, who were creative, held very strong dogmatic beliefs and had an ability to do whatever it took to get to the top. All qualities that made schizophrenics ideal candidates for dictators, priesthood and artists. As such, schizophrenics played a vital role in human evolution. One of the many fascinating facts described in Horrobin's book is that there is a strong correlation today between highly creative thinkers - say Nobel Prize winners - and schizophrenia. For many highly gifted people, there is a close relative suffering from schizophrenia

Unfortunately, first the agricultural revolution, with its move away from a diet containing abundant fish oil, and our modern diets, full of saturated fats, the wrong fats for our brains, have turned a condition which had possibly more positive than negative effects into one where the patient is often a danger to himself and others (often the mother).

This book has some amazing implications, such as, the world is not black and white, with 99% being normal and 1% completely abnormal, but many of us are a little abnormal (and few may be "completely normal" ?), or, that mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, manic depression or even dyslexia are all related and people affected by them are paying the evolutionary price for the creative brains of other, normal people, to the extent that there is a strong correlation between such illnesses even within families and the existence of highly gifted family members.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thoughtful reply from Opteama Health

Hi Rossa,

Thank you for that informative response. I enjoyed both reading it and considering your thoughts and views on mental health, health care, and medicine. We're currently working on an online network focusing on alternative medicine and treatments due to the rising number of patients adopting this approach.

And thank you again for providing awareness to our website via a blog entry.

We truly value strong and passionate thinkers like yourself and so if you would ever like to blog with our network directly and reach a large audience of readers, please let me know. We'd be honored to have you contribute to our network (and we do have compensations plans as well). Diversified thinking is what we want to support which can sometimes be difficult for us to provide for legal reasons. Having guest bloggers is a unique workaround solution to broadcasting important information.

Also note that we have other support groups and online resources on mental health from general disorders, conditions, and addictions that range from schizophrenia, OCD, PTSD, drug addiction/substance abuse, diabetes, anxiety and more.

Thank you again for your time and let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about the above.

Opteama Health
269 S. Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Dear Opteama,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply, which I have posted on my blog as "Thoughtful Reply from Opteama."

I've got lots of ideas and a passion to get the good news out, so when the alternative health network is up and running, please contact me again. I'd be happy to guest blog, with the proviso that it would have to be easy to find me on your site. I am dismayed, but not surprised to hear, how much legal concerns stifle free speech.

Yours sincerely,

Rossa Forbes

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

B3 or no B3, that is the question

In response to Gianna Kali's post today, here's my two cents worth on the subject of vitamin supplements. I agree and I don't agree, and I think we both can agree that it depends on the situation.

Being a skeptic myself, I leave a large space in my head for the thought that pharmaceutical companies, who have enormous amounts of money to spend on "information dissemination" or "disinformation," are understandably concerned that the public is turning more and more to vitamins instead of going to their doctors and asking for prescriptions. Doctors should also be concerned about this. It is in pharma's best interest to trash the benefits of unpatentable vitamins. A study here, a study there that claim that vitamins do not hold up to scientific "rigor".

That being said, vitamin supplements are big business, too. I have written about this elsewhere in my blog where I refer to it as the tyranny of vitamins. At one point Chris was on thirty-five different supplements per day, a very restricted diet, and he still landed back in the hospital. (Demonstrating to me that the mind, once again, is superior to matter. All the vitamins or medications in the world won't work if the mind is in shut down mode.) Thirty-five vitamin supplements per day is unsustainable.

I agree with Gianna that the body may need vitamins from time to time that it may not need long term, and that a healthy diet is of course, what we all should be ingesting, and I also believe that there are certain conditions that need heavy artillery to be brought in. Readers of this blog already know that I consider B3/niacin and vitamin C essential. For vitamin E, I'll use my own father as an example. The other day I came across a book on vitamin E by Wilfred and Evan Shute that he had taken the time many years ago to put in its own dust jacket. That's how important the advice in that book was to him. He had been a heavy smoker for years and finally was had a by-pass operated for a blockage in his leg. The circulation in that leg plagued him the rest of his life, making walking difficult for him. My mother found out about the results that the Shute brothers clinic in London, Ont. was having with vitamin E and they paid a visit. He was on 800 IU of vitamin E for the next thirty years of his life. He was ecstatic about the general feeling of well-being and energy that Vitamin E gave him. The damage had been done on the leg, walking on it would be always be difficult, but the vitamin E really boosted him enormously. I experience the same energy boost from vitamin E and have made it one of my basic vitamins.

So, in this case, I do take issue with the Healthy Skeptic (not surprisingly, a doctor), who quotes this study by the NIH which raises this rather strange allegation:

High-dose vitamin E supplementation increased the risk of death from all causes.

Andrew Saul, creator of  http://www.doctoryourself.com/, has an answer to the charges that vitamins in high doses cause death. "Where are the bodies?" Please take a look at this page. It's an eye-opener.

Over a twenty-seven year period, vitamins have been connected with the deaths of a total of eleven people in the entire United States. Poison control statistics confirm that more Americans die each year from eating soap than from taking vitamins.

Where are the bodies?

A 27-year review of US poison control center annual reports (1) tells a remarkable and largely ignored story: vitamins are extraordinarily safe.

These statistics specifically include vitamin A, niacin (B-3), pyridoxine (B-6), other B-complex, C, D, E, "other" vitamin(s), such as vitamin K, and multiple vitamins without iron. Minerals, which are chemically and nutritionally different from vitamins, have an excellent safety record as well, but not quite as good as vitamins. On the average, one or two fatalities per year are typically attributed to iron poisoning from gross overdosing on supplemental iron. Deaths attributed to other supplemental minerals are very rare. Even iron, although not as safe as vitamins, accounts for fewer deaths than do laundry and dishwashing detergents.

Our only defense is to know what works for us, to be skeptical of competing claims, and of course to eat foods as close to their natural source as possible.

When temptation knocks

To "Rossa,"

I'm an accounts manager for Schizophrenic.com and PsyWeb.com (part of the Opteama/Deep Dive Media network). We are a growing online network for mental health information and resources.

Our team has invested a lot of effort to ensure our visitors receive the highest quality of information and we intend to continue that service.

We believe a link to your site would be beneficial to our visitors. Conversely, we believe your visitors stand to benefit from a link to our network. Therefore, we would like to add a link to your website, http://holisticschizophrenia.blogspot.com, on www.PsyWeb.com in exchange for a link to www.Schizophrenic.com on your website.

We have other mental health websites on general disorders, conditions, and addictions that may interest you as well. Together we can boost awareness to our online programs with better a link exchange.

Please let me know your thoughts or any questions you may have.

Thank You,

Opteama Health
269 S. Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Dear Opteama,

Thank you very much for contacting me about linking our sites. I am not inclined to do so for the reasons which I will list below. I hope you take this in the spirit it is intended, which is to educate and inform, not to denigrate.

1. My philosophy of schizophrenia is not mainstream. It is deliberately anti-mainstream. The reason is quite simple. By reading about and paying attention to what former schizophrenia patients had to say, and to people who never wanted to buy into the medical model of illness, I realized that the best chance people have of "cure" for this supposed "disease" is to distance themselves from the medical mainstream.

2. In tandem with this point about distancing from the medical model, one has to be an uncompliant patient, to be the type of patient who does not consider themselves a patient. This isn't just me or former patients who think this. I have heard doctors say this from time to time. Their patients who were no longer "schizophrenic" were the ones who weren't good patients to begin with. This only stands to reason. More and more scientific evidence is emerging about the long term effects of being medication compliant when it comes to neuroleptics, e.g. people die on average twenty-five years early. A quick check of your website showed me that the advice given out is to follow the doctor's orders and take your medication.

3. I do commend your website for being dedicated to schizophrenia. However, there are many people who object to the use of the word "schizophrenic." The reasons vary, but one objection raised is that the adjective is deliberately used by the medical community to equate schizophrenia with diabetes and being "diabetic." The medical community has promoted the myth started by pharma that people diagnosed with schizophrenia need their medications just like a diabetic needs insulin. This is absolutely untrue. The falsehood was revealed in an interview with a pharmaceutical executive in Robert Whitaker's 2010 bestseller, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.

4. I do have a link to another medical community on my website that I plan to eventually take down. I was asked to link to their site very early on in my blog and I did so, figuring there was nothing to lose. However, I have been unable to find my own blog on their site, and the only way I can do so is to go to my account and trace it back from there. This explains why I get no traffic to my site from their site. Nobody can find it! However, I will post your e-mail and link and my response as a one-off on my blog today.

In short, thank you for contacting me with your offer. If your site changes in future to allow easy access to a more proactive, positive and innovative view of schizophrenia, offering real alternatives to the mainstream, feel free to contact me again.

Yours sincerely,

Rossa Forbes

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The patient cure themselves

I remind myself from time to time that the reason I started this blog was to put a positive spin on schizophrenia as a means of helping others.

When I first got into the SZ business, I used to read other people's personal stories to see where my son was in comparison. I came away discouraged. For example, someone recommended  early on that I read Mark Vonnegut's book, The Eden Express. Now, that's a wonderful book, I think Vonnegut Junior is a better writer than Vonnegut Senior, but not a writer I would recommend to someone who is looking for encouragement in overcoming their mental health crisis. Better to read it as a spot on evocation of the hippie era. Mark Vonnegut recovered quickly enough to write a book and then went on to medical school at Harvard after taking a lot of preparatory courses. (He was a religion major as an undergraduate. No surprise there.) Vonnegut remarks in his book that a person going through a mental health crisis is in no shape to take on challenging work for at least a year. Well, I looked at Chris with hope in my eyes after a year and he was in no shape to take on any kind of work. Naturally, I became discouraged. I began to think that Chris was not going to make it. This thinking doesn't move anyone forward.

Three years went by. Finally, Chris had a small but significant breakthrough after our Family Constellation therapy, and he decided he wanted to take a month long summer physics course at a university in another country. He made all the arrangements himself and returned home after the course was finished having spectacularly failed the course. He had a good time socially, so Ian and I hung on to that bit of progress.

More time passed. Chris's ventures into academic courses were sporadic and underwhelming. He suffered another relapse and was back in the hospital for three months. Another two years went by.

At some point, I stopped looking at what others were saying about their own progress and paid more attention to the progress that was in fact happening in our own particular case. I stopped being panicky about Chris failing to meet his milestones (as if he was a toddler) and concentrated more on the big picture. I took up yoga and meditation to quiet my mind and to stop the incessant negative thinking. I gained some distance and objectivity.

Negative thinking and fear is terribly destructive for all concerned. Comparing, what-iffing, and self-recriminating actually prevents healing. Helping your relative where you can and leaving him alone to find his footing works wonders.

I don't think Chris would be where he is today if I had put my faith in traditional medicine or science to sort him out. Science hasn't a clue about schizophrenia,  but it pretends it does. This is scary. We are fortunate in that Chris's psychiatrist, Dr. Stern, reserves her fifty minute hour to actually talk with him. I consider her a psychiatrist in the old fashioned sense. She's not a pseudo-scientist. But, the idea is not to have a long term relationship with any psychiatrist . The only way to avoid that fate, I figure, is to not put your eggs all in one basket. Psychiatry doesn't cure schizophrenia. I look upon it more as a useful pressure valve.

The patient cure themselves.

Drugging is always easier

From the New York Times

Antipsychotic Drugs Called Hazardous for the Elderly

Nearly one in seven elderly nursing home residents, nearly all of them with dementia, are given powerful atypical antipsychotic drugs even though the medicines increase the risks of death and are not approved for such treatments, a government audit found.
While the Food and Drug Administration has warned doctors that using antipsychotic drugs in elderly patients with dementia increases their risks of death, doctors continue the practice because they have few other good choices, said Dr. Daniel J. Carlat, editor in chief of The Carlat Psychiatry Report, a medical education newsletter for psychiatrists.

“Doctors want to maximize quality of life by treating the patient’s agitation even if that means the patient will die a bit sooner,” Dr. Carlat said.

This last remark is priceless. In the case of the "mentally ill," that would be twenty-five years sooner.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I'm hoping Chris will never be normal. I think there is a fairly good chance of that, given the strange journey he's been on up until now. He should capitalize on this experience, not try to bury it. Let me explain. What I am about to say sounds terribly trite, because we have all heard it before. Can Chris's and my incredible journey up to now be reduced to one banal thought in my head that it's better to be somewhere else than swimming along in the mainstream?

Life is too short to want to fit in, to be normal, to be like the next guy. It's being somewhat abnormal that will get you an interesting life. Sure, I would like Chris to be independent in an area of his choosing, but it's when human beings stick their neck out, or learn to be themselves, not a copy of who they would like to be, that they have an authentic life. To me, this is good mental health. When you cherish abnormal, you begin to cultivate the brilliance of the personality struggling under the weight of wanting to fit in with social norms.

Chris was so "normal" in his early life that he threatened to extinguish himself, which, thankfully, around the age of nineteen he, in fact, did. He was literally fading away before my eyes -- no opinions, no professed talents, no passions or enthusiasms, no color in his cheeks. I wonder if teachers even remember who he was beyond a pale blond boy in a class photo. Teachers remember the risk takers, not the risk averse.

Having extinguished himself, Chris began a long journey to be where he is today, still in the process of becoming an authentic personality, but a personality he is in fact becoming. His voice has temperament behind it. His spoken thoughts are turning towards opinions. His life is taking on a direction I don't even know where it's headed, but it's headed somewhere. He is no longer adrift.

If we, too, are aware, some of the sparkle of our relative's journey will rub off on us. We all have star power.

Monday, May 2, 2011

How numerology increases understanding

I have posted elsewhere about the value of numerology in understanding so-called mental illness. I believe that numerology is an insightful way of relating to people who are in a mental health crisis. Ancient mathematicians, like Pythagorus, imputed meaning to numbers, based on vibrations and planetary movements. People experiencing schizophrenia see meaning and connections that are not apparent to others. Jung called this synchronicity.

My son, Chris, is quite interested in how numerology has relevance to his life. A few months ago I gave him a book on numerology for his birthday which he studies from time to time. This enables us to have interesting discussions about his personal growth and perhaps an eventual career path. These discussions are much less intrusive than "Well, son, when are you going to be ready to take on a full time job or studies?"

Example: Chris is becoming much more socially outgoing. Sure enough, he is in a personal year 3, the year of becoming more outgoing. He is really opening up to me with his personal thoughts and reflections. This is not something that he did as a child. I am seeing a reconstructed personality emerging.

In numerology, there are nine year cycles. To understand where you are with respect to that cycle, you take your date and month and the current year, and reduce the numbers down to a prime number (11s and 22s being the exception.)
For example, if tomorrow (3)/(5) is your birthday, and you were born in 1965, you are on year three of the nine year cycle.

3 prime number
5 prime number
2011 (=2+0+1+1=4)
Out of curiosity, and based on Chris's numbers, I revisited the time when in hindsight Chris's troubles were beginning to surface, to the present day. In 1999 he ended a nine year cycle and began a new one. What I recollect from that year concerning his health is that he began to experience very bad acne. (Dr. Abram Hoffer says that severe acne at this age is often a precursor to schizophrenia. It is a pellagra like condition related to a lack of B3 or niacin.)

Both Chris and I agree that his most recent hospitalization in 2008 marked the end of his nine year cycle and the beginning of his new nine year cycle. Since leaving the hospital, he has taken baby steps towards discerning his life path by taking a course here, a small job there. He is currently working ten hours a week helping an artist with his projects and tending the artist's garden.

I find that the numerology perspective helps me to be patient, to see that life is change, growth, and there is a time for everything.