Friday, October 30, 2009

Emotional Freedom Technique

The Emotional Freedom Technique newsletter always provides some interesting insights into how we can use our body's electrical system to heal our minds and bodies. In today's newsletter an EFT practitioner/therapist has written about his recent experience with a 16 year old client who was on the verge of being committed to the psych ward after breaking up with his girlfriend. The full story can be found at:

I have reprinted Steve DeSanto's observations about the outcome of the treatment below. First I would like to say that I wish I had known that there were other possible ways of dealing with the crisis when Chris was beginning to come unravelled while in his teens. I am not saying that Chris wouldn't have ended up in the hospital anyway, but access to another way might have saved Chris from becoming a psychiatric patient and the agony of all that goes with it.

Steve DeSanto: "I'd like to point out some important things relating to the above session. First, we have a single mom already stressed out because she’s single and raising 3 kids. Michelle’s a spunky woman and certainly no shrinking violet. But her son’s emotional condition caused her to seriously consider checking him in to the psych ward. If Nadine had not answered the phone, she probably would have done just that.

Unfortunately, far too many parents do. They trust the mental health system out of ignorance. They wrongly assume psychiatrists have the inside scoop on matters of the mind and can somehow work magic. (But they can’t ... unless they know EFT--grin)."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

NAMI again

There is something about NAMI's patronizing view of the mentally ill that really irks me. For a bit of fun, I took a Q and A from its Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist section and thought, what if this were an obese person they are talking about? Everybody knows that you can't make another person lose weight. They have to do it themselves, for their own personal reasons. It's the patronizing attitude that bothers me more than the good intentions. This approach may work with your friends, but it still presumptously assumes that the patient is incapable of making his own decisions for his own reasons. (NAMI does assume the person is incapable of making their own decisions because NAMI believes in agnosognosia, the inabilty to recognize that you are mentally ill!)

So, below is Q and A #14, to which I have copied almost verbatim, but substituted fat/obese for mental illness, diet for medications, FATSO for NAMI. I left in the special case they plead for bipolar and schizophrenia.

As yourself as you are reading this, if this approach will really work if you try it on your friend. I'd say, you've just lost a friend.

Original question: Someone I really care about has mental illness but repeatedly stops taking his medication and his symptoms come back. Sometimes my friend has to be hospitalized. How can I help him? (My thought: Why is this question being directed to a pharmacist in the first place?)

Rephrased question:
Someone I really care about is immensely obese but repeatedly stops dieting and he gains it all back. How can I help him?

PHARMACIST'S response: One answer is to let the fat person know that he can always count on your love and friendship, but his best chances of losing weight will occur when he accepts that proper diet is crucial to his recovery. Sometimes one can help persons struggling with fat (especially those with bipolar or schizophrenia) decide for themselves which is worse – the short periods of time without the donut and the side effects, followed by the inevitable re-emergence of the fat (often piling on more fat than before)..... or, the steadier, prolonged times of skinny living (or at least more manageable fat) while staying with the diet and coping with the hunger. In a recent study, a researcher and colleagues have shown that higher rates of non-compliance with diets were associated with relapse between 6 and 18 months following a previous binge.

Simply relapsing can help some of those suffering with obesity to be more compliant with their diet. To them, relapsing means “hitting rock bottom”, and they will be more motivated to change whatever they can to ensure a better recovery. Others may not be prepared, and will be more difficult to reach. For these people, consistent support and patience are important to maintain.

Another valuable action you can take is to tell your friend about FATSO. There may be a FATSO group in the community in which he lives. You could take him to a FATSO meeting. Show him how to get on the FATSO website and navigate to the different sections available ("Inform Yourself," "Find Support," and "Take Action"). Being an informed consumer will help him understand not only more about his illness but also about the important role dieting can have in controlling his symptoms (in his case, obesity).

It's very important that your friend knows you will be there to help him when his over-eating gets troublesome. Your support in helping him stay on his diet will benefit him greatly.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Alarming weight gain seen in kids on psych drugs

CHICAGO -- Children on widely used psychiatric drugs can quickly gain an alarming amount of weight; many pack on nearly 20 pounds and become obese within just 11 weeks, a study found.

"Sometimes this stuff just happens like an explosion. You can actually see them grow between appointments," said Dr. Christopher Varley, a psychiatrist with Seattle Children's Hospital who called the study "sobering."

You can find the article at:

My response to this shocking relevation is - oh for heaven's sake. Like this is a big surprise? Alarming weight gain has been observed in adults for years. Is it only when we see it in children that alarm bells goes off?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eugene, Oregon takes a giant step forward

Hot off the press! The city of Eugene, Oregon passed this resolution last night. Please circulate. Your local paper should know about this.

The original post is from Ron Unger's blog.

RESOLUTION NO. __________

The City Council of the City of Eugene finds that:

A. The City Council of the City of Eugene recognizes that the diversity of our population is vital to our community's character, and that we have a long tradition of protecting and expanding human rights and civil liberties protections for all of our residents, including persons with all types of disabilities.

B. U.S. Courts have affirmed a number of rights for people diagnosed with mental disabilities. At the national level, the right to choose to live in the least restrictive environment that is reasonably available has been affirmed. At the state level, a number of courts have affirmed a person's right to refuse psychotropic medications, even when the state has a "compelling interest" in providing treatment, if less intrusive, effective treatment alternatives exist. These decisions are consistent with the principle that all people have the right to lives free of unnecessary restrictions and intrusions.

C. Many people determine that psychiatric medications are quite helpful for their mental and emotional conditions, and are grateful to have the opportunity to take them. Others find medications to be harmful to their health, unhelpful and/or excessively intrusive and problematic. When people seek treatment and are offered medication as the only treatment option, they may feel coerced into choosing that option. Many of the medications currently provided are typically associated with significant medical risk, are often experienced as subjectively harmful, and their long-term effectiveness remains controversial. Furthermore, there are widely researched psychosocial alternative treatments likely to be at least as effective for many, with fewer harmful effects.

D. Many mental health problems are caused by trauma and human rights violations, such as child abuse, war, racism, lack of housing and economic opportunities, domestic violence, and others. A key element in any kind of trauma is the denial of choice. When people who have been traumatized are denied choices in recovery, an effect may be retraumatization.

E. Serious psychiatric disorder is often thought of as inevitably a permanent condition requiring a lifetime of medication, however research shows that a substantial fraction of those with even the most serious diagnoses do fully recover, eventually not requiring treatment. Treatment choices, designed to foster rehabilitation and recovery, which include working, living, and participating in the life of the community, have been shown to increase such recovery.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EUGENE, a Municipal Corporation of the State of Oregon, as follows:

Section 1. All mental health service providers within the City of Eugene are encouraged to incorporate self determination and consumer choice as much as possible, with accurate information provided to consumers and to families about those choices. Special emphasis should be placed on providing diverse alternatives in treatments, including non-drug alternatives, whenever possible.

Section 2. All mental health service providers within the City of Eugene are urged to offer a full range of choices designed to assist in complete recovery. Section 3. This Resolution shall become effective immediately upon its adoption.

The foregoing Resolution adopted the ____ day of October, 2009.

Acting City Recorder

Monday, October 26, 2009

Martin Armstrong's cycle theory becoming less of a secret

"We seek and see patterns in things. It is the way our minds work, presumably for the purpose of survival."*

What I love about schizophrenia is how relevant it is to the life forces of our universe. There is almost nothing that I encounter on a daily basis that doesn't relate in some way to schizophrenia as I have come to understand it. The latest is an article in the New Yorker magazine about market cycle guru Martin Armstrong, whose ability to predict market cycles based on the mathematical ratio pi, earned him billions and, unfortunately, since 1999, jail time. For obvious reasons I wish I understood as much about the cycles of the market as I think I do about how energy vibrations relate to schizophrenia. On the other hand, Mr. Armstrong has been at his obsession since the 1970s and I only relatively recently started to grasp that there is a link between energy vibrations and schizophrenia.

Losing one's mind is treated by Western medicine from a biochemical perspective, but is seen by ancient and indigenous cultures in a completely different and more positive way. Ancient and indigenous peoples and religions use vibration as a pathway to the power that shapes the universe. These can range from ceremonially inducing a trance-like and/or hallucinatory state through yoga, music, or plant stimulants that shift the center of energy.

Martin Armstrong began to sense a pattern to the rise and fall of markets when he realized that on average there was a financial panic every 8.6 years between 1683 and 1907. He realized that there was a natural rhythm to the economy and world affairs that followed 8.6 year cycles. Later, he realized that the number 8.6 was 3,141 days, or 1000 times pi (3.141) Pi is an irrational number that governs the physical universe (pyramids, the swing of a pendulum, etc.) If it governs the physical universe, Armstrong reasoned, why could it not govern the financial markets and human behavior?

As technical analysts do for markets, people with schizophrenia see patterns where other people fail to see them. It looks like chaos to us, but as I have said many times, if you pay close enough attention to what is said, there is more than a thread of logic and ultimate truth tying it all together. Technical analysis of market forces say that the market fundamentals like balance sheets and price/earnings ratios are less important than emotions and the so far unexplainable forces that produce quantum changes in markets. "The idea that there may be celestial influences on the spontaneous desire to invest or not is an old one," a trader is quoted as saying in the article, "but it's too embarrassing to explore in modern economics. These topics are not fit for polite conversation in most circles." To which I can add, "or even when healing schizophrenia using energy therapies." I don't bother talking to people about this anymore. They begin to nervously back away from me, as if I, too, have caught the so-called disease of schizophrenia.

Martin Armstrong believes that cycles in life (and the markets) started with the Big Bang. Very early on I began to entertain the idea that schizophrenia is also related to the Big Bang, but I couldn't and still cannot explain it. I do think that schizophrenia is possibly related to sub-particle behavior, which is less predictable than the mass behavior Mr. Armstrong has observed that comes in waves. Perhaps people with schizophrenia are closer to the "God particle" than the rest of us. Many are obsessed with religion and see themselves as God or a God like figure, which to me is an enormous clue that science, so far, has failed to link to physics. I am being perfectly serious here, by the way.

The therapies that most correlate with the cycle theory that Chris and I have undertaken are sound therapy, which replicates the spiraling sound waves following the Big Bang, the Tomatis Method, which recognizes that our behavior is governed by what we hear, and the assemblage point shift. Cathartic psychotherapies also correlate because they are often ceremonial in nature and stimulate cellular changes through a release of emotion. What I am trying to do in having Chris undergo these therapies, is to put his emotions and actions more in sync with the natural world and to not be overwhelmed by it.

On reading the New Yorker article, I found another fellow traveler in Edward R. Dewey, the chief economic analyst at the Department of Commerce in the early 1930s. Like my experience in asking psychiatrists what causes schizophrenia, Mr. Dewey asked a number of economists about what caused the Great Depression, and he found that everybody had a different explanation, which to him meant that nobody had a clue. This has a familiar ring to me. At this point you either accept the wisdom (?) of the crowd, or you continue to look for meaning in what otherwise looks like chaos. Mr. Dewey found his answer in the view of a particular economist that business behaviors have a tendency to repeat themselves.

I am not writing this to boast that I have unlocked the key to healing schizophrenia, because clearly I haven't. To me, though, there is growing compelling evidence, such as demonstrated by Martin Armstrong, that we are all sensitive to universal forces that began with the Big Bang. Observing the phenomenon of schizophrenia gives you a ring side seat in the quantum universe. This information, even if barely understood, can still be used to heal.

*The Secret Cycle: Is the Financier Martin Armstrong a con man, a crank, or a genius?, Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, October 12, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Consumer empowerment

Ron Unger has written a superb piece on consumer empowerment which I think is a must read.

"Recovery from many kinds of problems is affected by beliefs about the possibility of recovery. Consider a hypothetical example of a person who has received an injury which affects the person’s ability to walk, but which is not necessarily permanently disabling if strong efforts are made to recover. If the person is led by medical authorities to believe that the disability is permanent, efforts at rehabilitation will probably not be made, and the prediction may become a self fulfilling prophecy. Since the disability at that point is a result of the inaccurate prediction rather than the injury itself, the disability becomes a medical system induced condition.

You can find the rest of his article at

I know a woman whose husband died within this last year, and his doctor was completely shocked that he had died, because his condition wasn't life-threatening. Nevertheless the man in his late 70s went further and further downhill, until he ended up in a nursing home, all the time treated by the same doctor. The doctor said to the wife after the fact, "maybe I was too pessimistic when I spoke with him."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trauma revisited

I am becoming quite uneasy with the way the word "trauma" is bandied about in the context of schizophrenia. Trauma is often likened to something immediate, like child sexual abuse or having a parent who beats you daily in an alcoholic rage. I fear that what I see as a growing insistence to link child abuse with schizophrenia is turning into a witch hunt. We are all traumatized in some way by our upbringing, even by "good" parents. Most of us don't go on to develp schizophrenia.

Trauma in schizophrenia is usually much more subtle than that. It depends on the individual and the personal family history. That's why one person's schizophrenia is never identical to someone else's. It is context specific. It can't be replicated in others because everybody's environment is different.

Think of dropping a stone into a pool of water. The pool is the pool of you, your children and your ancestors. The stone is a triggering event. It could be an untimely death, a grand deception, a stay in prison, an illigimate child. The ripples radiate out in concentric circles. Each generation is a circle. There is displacement. Most of us are not that sensitive to the ripples. But some of us are. Some of us sense that something has happened without knowing anything about its origins. That can be schizophrenia, or depression, or it could be a childhood cancer. There are all kinds of conditions that we take on in response to pain.

Let's understand that "trauma" can mean deeply held "feelings" that even the suffer is unaware as to the origin. The sufferer passes these feelings on

Trauma is human suffering not made conscious.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The need to get away

I just dropped Chris off at the airport. He is spending a long week-end with former university friends in a large city. We went through the list - passport, plane ticket, phone numbers, medications, NADH energy pill. He squeezed everything into one carry-on bag and was totally prepared. He was demonstrating that he is again the well-organized person that he used to be. In other circumstances, I wouldn't be the least bit worried. After all, Chris is twenty-five. However, he is a twenty-five year old who has not managed to do all the stuff that his friends have been taking for granted for several years now. He will be staying in a youth hostel for part of the time.

However, he needed a break from the boredom of not having not enough to do and having no friends of his own age around. One of the hardest things about this is that friends move away. A couple of friends fell away during his recent relapse. I am grateful for the ones who still keep in touch.

I am hoping that a change of scenery will give Chris fresh insight and imbue him, even just a bit, with a sense of direction. He is working, very slowly, with an occupational therapist who is helping him to discern where his talents and strengths are. There is a lot more to schizophrenia than just the absence of psychosis. You might think, great, he's not psychotic, he seems reasonably intelligent, so why isn't he back at university, or working hard a job or whatever?

The answer is, I just don't know. He is more than capable of holding down a job, if his volunteer work is any indication. When Ian and I tried pushing him back to university last year, we got relapse. Ian and I are no longer pushing. We are simply waiting.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mental disorders treatable by your family doctor

The World Health Organization's Mental Health Gap Action Programme highlighted through World Mental Health Day recently that mental disorders are treatable and most of them can be treated in primary care, meaning in your family doctor's office or community clinic.

The report says that treatment does not always mean medication and that many mental disorders can be treated using psychosocial methods. A study carried out in China confirmed that epilepsy could be treated with an inexpensive anti-convulsant medicine by health professionals who had undergone basic training.

The catch here is that treating mental disorders in primary care settings is what WHO recommends for developing countries. Why can't the same be true for developed countries? Dr. Abram Hoffer said years ago that schizophrenia could be treated by family doctors. Three years ago I asked our family doctor to take over Chris's care in conjunction with his psychiatrist, and the answer was "no." The answer will still be "no."

If schizophrenia could be treated in primary care settings bolstered with psychosocial interventions it would go a long way to taking away the fear and stigma surrounding this label. I suspect more people would get better because it would "normalize" the situation. The WHO has already reported that the incidence of recovery from mental illness is much greater in the developing world. While it is not the premise of this latest WHO report to analyze why recovery from mental illness in the developing world is more likely than in the developed world, the report confirms why it will continue to be so.

The report can viewed at

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An inspirational approach

A better approach than what NAMI offers was put forward at a round table discussion with psychiatrists that I attended during Mental Health Week. This involved a panel of heads of mental health user networks from several countries who discussed how to empower people to take charge of their own mental health. David Crepaz-Keay from the UK was particularly compelling because he stated flatly that the problem with health care systems as most people know them is that they don't advocate any options when people don't want to take the meds. He feels strongly that individual's choices should be respected and the person helped to get better using other interventions, of which there are many.

David Crepaz-Keay ought to know. Given the medical diagnosis of schizophrenia at the age of fourteen he says he didn't get to where he is today by following medical advice. He also expressed grave concern about the culture of low expecations surrounding people with a schizophrenia diagnosis.

Here is an out-of-date bio of David Crepaz-Keay that is on the Internet. Unfortunately, I can't recall what his latest position is, but it's more senior to the one posted.

Profile - David Crepaz-Keay

Posted: 28 July 2005 | Subscribe Online

How long in the job? Four weeks.

I didn't get where I am today by: Following medical advice.

Over the course of my career, I wish I hadn't: Admitted to knowing how computers work, condemning myself to years of hard labour as unpaid IT support.

The person who influenced me most is: Pamela Jenkinson, then chair of Wokingham Mind, who I met as a hospital in-patient. She told me to do something more useful with my life.

Me and my career: The treatment of people with a psychiatric diagnosis has changed beyond recognition over the 26 years since I first received one. Although prejudice is widespread, it is demonstrably possible for people who have used psychiatric services to run mental health services.

One of the biggest blocks to developing significant roles for disadvantaged groups is other people's low expectations and the mental health world is particularly guilty of this. Part of my new role is to dismantle these barriers.

One of the most important challenges facing mental health over the next five years is to move from talking about user empowerment, to making it happen.

Curriculum Vitae
June 2005-present: Senior policy adviser at the Mental Health Foundation.
1997-2005: Consultant, deputy director and chief executive of charity Mental Health Media.
2003-present: Commissioner, Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health.
1990-8: Consultant on service user involvement, various health and social services departments.
1982-91: Worked at HM Treasury and in the water industry.

Monday, October 19, 2009

NAMI perpetuates schizophrenia

In belated honor of World Mental Health Day, I thought I would begin with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). As a parent, I'm supposed to like NAMI, right? It's a grassroots organization "dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness."

A stroll through the schizophrenia section of the NAMI website is a downer. NAMI is hardwired into promoting medications, while I assume that many of the people it supposedly represents and who are following NAMI's advice aren't that hot on them. The NAMI website even has an "Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist" section. The answers found there in the FAQs freely admit that some of the drugs are addictive, they have unpleasant to life-threatening side effects, and yes, there are long term consequences to using these drugs. At the same time, the pharmacist goes on to reassure us that taking the meds somehow offers protection to the brain cells from becoming damaged due to mental illness. The "client" is treated like an idiot, who has no real clue what is in his or her own best interests.

I am dumbfounded that NAMI would dismiss the real health consequences of these drugs for those of their clients who are the front lines here, but of course, I shouldn't be. NAMI is more of a relatives' organization than a users' organization. I know of many people who are suffering the consequences of looking after their rocky relatives and NAMI gives them what they want - the ability to convince themselves and their relatives that they are better on the drugs than off them. It all makes sense until you end up with a relative who is on the meds, grossly overweight, perhaps diabetic, but still psychotic. NAMI dismisses the side effects and the psychosis by emphasizing that people just need to find the right medication. It's a vicious circle. There will always be a drug in the NAMI pipeline of advice. After all, NAMI supports the latest research, which is heavily weighted in favor of meds because that's the only research that is considered authoritative. There is no research money in people's actual experiences. To NAMI, schizophrenia is a biochemical disorder and that is all it is.

Many people say that NAMI helps them to cope better with an admittedly difficult situation. I understand and empathize because we all need to find ways to cope with a very scary, bewildering situation. My objection to NAMI is that I don't want either me or Chris just coping, I want to move beyond that to cure. But the NAMI website doesn't hold out that prospect. Coping is the best it's ever going to be in NAMI's view of things, especially when it comes to schizophrenia.

To NAMI recovery is all about coping - group living, structured programs, continuing of course with the medications, professionals (not you) taking charge of your life. The professionals can also be of service to monitor your meds. When NAMI talks about helping you to do your grocery shopping and to manage your money in pursuit of what it calls the prospect of a higher level of functioning (only the prospect of this low standard, may I point out), it makes me wonder whether the brain cells are actually being protected by the meds NAMI so strongly endorses. I see my son at the age of forty out grocery shopping in his bathrobe, drooling and disheveled, with a caring professional showing him what money looks like.

Coping is all you are going to manage to do if you take NAMI's advice on the meds. It does not recommend getting off medications for schizophrenia. The NAMI website won't even acknowledge that many people have done so and are doing just fine, thank you very much. The NAMI website is an exercise in scare tactics. It hasn't pointed out, as a grassroots organization should, that nobody wants to be on meds if they can help it. Many people don't want the meds and would actually like help getting off them and finding other strategies to deal with their problems. Doing so might put the individual outside the realm of just coping. NAMI would find this probably too radical a concept.

I don't and I won't envision that bleak future for Chris As a caring relative I can do my part to make sure he is not merely "functioning", but thriving. I have more confidence in the holistic approach than I have in what NAMI offers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Out of town

I'll be out of town for the next week. My ability to post and publish comments will be limited. Your patience is most appreciated.

I think readers might actually like a break from my obsessive daily blogging. Taking myself out of town, even if it's for business, clears my head and gives me a chance to sketch out ideas for future posts.

One reason for my daily blogging is to sharpen my writing skills and to establish a firmer platform for my writing. More importantly, I hope that people don't mind a daily reminder that schizophrenia doesn't have to be a black hole, is curable, and also an interesting journey in itself.

I am contributing a chapter to a book that is due out at the end of this year. Goddess Shift will be published by Elite Books.

See you in a week!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Anonymous advice from other people

I read through all the comments on Oprah's website on the Jani Schofield interview that took place on Tuesday, Oct. 6. I was glad to see the large number of people who looked at the problems of this seven year old girl diagnosed with schizophrenia in a holistic way. When a child this young has hallucinations and is violent, I think the people who talk about Indigo children, faith/spirit based strategies, and yes, even exorcism, are on to something. I say this because writers and poets have known for centuries that the period of infancy and childhood is a gradual process of drawing away from God/the universal mind. Some children, however, spend a longer, more intense time on this journey, and help is needed to coax them back to accepting a more material reality.

What Oprah's commenters did not remark on is that a person with a diagnosis is usually seen as the problem. I believe that the problem should be seen in the larger context of family. This is my plug for more people to use family psychotherapy in addition to other holistic interventions.

It is interesting that the Schofields have named their children January and Bodhi (meaning either "enlightenment or awakening") yet seem unwilling to embrace alternative healing ideas as something "extra" for their daughter. Michael Schofield is on record as saying alternative healing is fine if used in conjunction with medications. He's not there yet in practice as it appears no alternative therapies are being tried. When I say alternative, I am referring to practices and therapies that are off the radar screen of most people (this is schizophrenia, after all), such as looking at the problem shamanistically, spiritually and energetically. As we all know, there is no quick fix. Healing works best if you try a number of different approaches and are consistent. If someone is lucky enough to shout "eureka, I'm cured" after one type of intervention, then they should consider themselves indeed fortunate. For the rest of us, it's a slog.

In the spirit of providing ideas of what just might work for you, from time to time I will post an updated list of what other people are doing to help themselves or their relative. Here are some ideas that I have picked up in my travels. Please feel free to send me ideas of what worked/is working for you.


I told my child, as calmly and as seriously as I possibly could, while remaining terrified that it would not work, that as the parent, I made the rules and that they were describing the symptoms of a very serious illness that one, they were too young to have, and two, that I do not allow. I tried to make it that simple - "I don't allow it" because it was either going to work or it wasn't. Thankfully, it worked.
See also: Milton H. Erickson


I couldn't help but Google© his symptoms. He could have been diagnosed, instead I found a snippet somewhere that said that many boys outgrow "fits" or tantrums by the age of 7 or 8.

I also clung-to stories by other moms especially one who's grown son is now an MD, who did the "classic" lining-up of toys that nowadays will achieve a diagnosis.


I am about to suggest may not make any sense to you but it won't hurt to try either. If you can change her name it might help. In my culture we really believe that all names have an effect on one's personality.


When my child was 2 yrs old until 4 yrs old she had her "imaginary friends" all the time everyday and I thought it was ok but sometimes it was annoying and I spoke to my friend about it who spoke to me about ghosts and indigo children. I didn't want to believe it but she was so right about it. I had an excorism done to my child and prayed a lot and used sage incense and this all worked. Since then she has had no further experiences. Look at this at a spiritual level and try other alternatives.


I discovered running as a primary tool to use in recovery from mental illness.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Scientific research begins to catch up with writers

The New York Times ran an article this week How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect. The study cited shows that new research is beginning to corroborate what I have long believed - that I have become more intelligent from my son's schizophrenia. The research also reassures me that Chris began looking for meaning when his familiar habits of thought came under pressure. Schizophrenia is a creative response to crisis, if you allow it to be. This is what writers like Hermann Hesse have been saying for years. As R.D. Laing says: "Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through."

The Times article is not about schizophrenia, but it could be. The article talks about experiences that violate all logic and expectation. Kierkegaard called it "a sensation of the absurd." The article goes on to say that "at best, the feeling is disorienting. At worst, it’s creepy..... Now a study suggests that, paradoxically, this same sensation may prime the brain to sense patterns it would otherwise miss — in mathematical equations, in language, in the world at large."

According to the article, "the brain evolved to predict, and it does so by identifying patterns. When those patterns break down — as when a hiker stumbles across an easy chair sitting deep in the woods, as if dropped from the sky — the brain gropes for something, anything that makes sense. It may retreat to a familiar ritual, like checking equipment. But it may also turn its attention outward, the researchers argue, and notice, say, a pattern in animal tracks that was previously hidden. The urge to find a coherent pattern makes it more likely that the brain will find one."

The previous sentence should give anyone hope that schizophrenia (or autism or OCD), properly understood and handled, is a quest for growth and that recovery is indeed likely. A caring individual can help the person with the diagnosis to find that pattern by understanding and appreciating that what is taking place is something quite extraordinary.

The study involved twenty college students who read a short story by Franz Kafka, wherein many strange and unexplainable things happened. Afterwards, they and a group of students who had read a different more coherent short story took a test of what researchers call "implicit learning" or knowledge gained without awareness. The test involved studying a series of "45 strings of 6 to 9 letters, like “X, M, X, R, T, V.” The students later took a test on the letter strings, choosing those they thought they had seen before from a list of 60 such strings. In fact the letters were related, in a very subtle way, with some more likely to appear before or after others.

The Kafka readers outperformed the control group by 30% to 50%.

My own Kafkaesque experience went like this: After we got the "diagnosis" and as I struggled to stop panicking and remain calm, I started to do a lot of research about schizophrenia. The experience of schizophrenia in my son was so bizarre for me, so out of the ordinary, that in itself sharpened my intellect. I had to resort to more creative thinking after being confronted by nonsense talk and spooky behavior. I read up on and questioned everything I saw and heard. I began downing megadoses of the recommended niacin cure for schizophrenia. As a result, I found myself becoming even more focused and energetic, which allowed me to read and observe even more, putting me on a vicious cycle of intellect improvement. By observing my son and looking outward and inward, I began to see connections where previously I would not have seen any. I began to understand synchronicity as I began to understand schizophrenia better. I began to dimly perceive how the universe is connected. I took up writing. I am studying German.

The Kafkaesque journey of schizophrenia provides many side benefits.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The doctor of sound is now accepting appointments for schizophrenia

Chris and I arrived at the mountain hut in late afternoon. In the middle of the living room was a single bed. Surrounding the bed at strategic intervals were three audio speakers. Behind the bed was the computer equipment. Electromagnetic sensors were located under the bed's mattress.

I lay down on the bed, closed my eyes and the technician encouraged me to visualize the colors of the chakras corresponding to each sound. The primary importance and level of existence of chakras is thought to be in the psyche, but they have a secondary physical importance, too. The first low rumbling sound was the red sound, that of the base chakra. After a few minutes of this pulsing sound, the frequency became higher and the sound changed, according to the color orange. And so on through the colors yellow, green, blue and purple, the highest of the frequencies offered. I paid special attention to anything I noticed about my body as it moved through the sounds. I felt perhaps more air in the area of my feet and a slight stabbing in the left eyeball, but I may have been stretching it to feel something.

After about twenty minutes, we paused, and the sound was changed to that of a spiralling intensity that swirled around and through me, an homage to our expanding spiral shaped three dimensional interplanetary magnetic field. As with the universe, so with ourselves. Fibonnaci spiral patterns are a mathematical sequence also called the Golden Ratio or phi (the irrational number 1.618), which are observed in all living organisms, from seashells to flowers to our brain waves and our double helix DNA.

I felt wonderfully relaxed, as if meditation was suddenly made easy for me. For twenty minutes I let the sound do the work.

Then it was over. As simple as that. The technician, I think I will now call him a shaman, discussed possible changes that I might notice over the next four days: Tiredness, aches and pains in places where I may have had an operation or an injury, were the notable ones. I didn't think to ask him about psychic pain.

We looked at my "before" and "after" energy envelope. The shaman said I was in excellent shape, the unspoken words being "for my age." The "before" was the base reading and the "after" was the reading from the spiralling sound. I had demonstrably improved in the orange life energy field.

Chris took over after me and I sat on the balcony and watched the sun dip below the mountains. On the drive home, we compared notes. It is too early to say what the effects will be. We have another appointment in a few weeks. In the meantime, Chris and I are keeping notes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In the beginning was the Word

When the universe was formed, the Word was a sound, probably a low rumbling sound or a higher frequency sound according to the lecture on sound technology that I recently attended. I write as a mother, not as a physicist or an audiotechnician, so here is where my ability to explain the sound therapy that Chris and I undertook on Sunday bogs down a bit. I'll try my best.

The exciting new development in mental health for me is the recognition that our cells are energetic and communicate with each other over time and space. It has added a new word to my vocabulary - psychoacoustics - the psychological and physiological effects of sound. There is one caveat to my enthusiasm: Mental health hasn't caught up to where some of us are heading. It has yet to link sound technology to the potential to heal schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is all about quantum communication. This extraordinary communicative ability is dismissed in most circles as mere hallucinations.

All human beings, plants and animals have a unique harmonic resonance or "life force," an electro-vibrational energy field that differentiates us from inanimate organic matter. We pick up electromagnetic energy fields and energy disturbances from the life forces around us. Whether we want it to be or not to be, our physical reality is affected by the interacting energy fields of everything living around us. The family, too, has a unique energy field.

Bioharmonic resonance technology measures and verifies universal physical forces that are resistive, capacitive, inductive and reactive constants (like an electric circuit) occurring in temporal space fluctuations in these fields .

What this means to Chris and me is that we each had our electromagnetic field measured on a lovely Sunday afternoon. I have always wondered about Chris's low energy levels going back to his gestation period. Here was a chance to measure and graph his unique field to see where the energy forces were weak and to correct it over time. As for me, I was there to get my batteries recharged and to further my holistic healing research.

More about this experience tomorrow . . .

Monday, October 5, 2009

How not to be a patient

For several years I was a member of on on-line schizophrenia community. Many of my opinions about schizophrenia were formed from what I learned there. After a while, I began to notice that most of the people there were what I would call professional schizophrenics, because they accepted the label and all that is involved with being a patient. They knew everything about medications, but not much about other ways of looking at the problem. In many cases, the meds didn't work, yet they persisted in trying more. Many of them were taking staggeringly large doses of a number of antipsychotics. To this they added antidepressants and other drugs. Their lives were desperate and generally chaotic. They had abandoned hope.

For many of the members of the group, a lot of the chaos was due to inadequate health insurance or no insurance. This only adds insult to injury by compounding the problems of the mentally ill while bearing no relationship to achieving mental health. Bad health insurance or no health insurance distracts people. They end up fighting with their insurers rather than concentrating on the real issues. They are worn out from the fight. At the same time, they fervently believe that they have a brain disease, so they think there is nothing they can do. They often considered themselves a "special case," much harder to cure than other people with schizophrenia.

None of these particular problems are insurmountable, though, depending on your attitude. It also helps to have someone who trusts in you and believes in your recovery.

I noticed that the people in the group who were actually doing well were the ones who didn't consider themselves patients, who had little time for the meds and had found their sanity through either going the vitamin route or the therapeutic route or a combination of both. They were well versed in the principles of Buddhism, Eastern mysticism and shamanic traditions. One man highly recommended reading Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements, because he said it helped him come to terms with himself. They liked the group of people termed the "antipsychiatrists," because the antipsychiatrists "got" the idea that there is a largely psychospiritual element to schizophrenia. Yes, it helps to have a psychiatrist, but I noticed the people who seemed to be in charge of their lives were the same people who were also critical of the role of the psychiatrist in their lives.

These people didn't generally last long in the group, because not enough people were receptive to their message. A lot of them were blunt in their opinions, therefore not particularly likeable. Yet, these were the people who had recovered and wanted to show other people that they could do it, too. Few seemed to listen.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A new kind of stigma: Not sane enough to be weird

I don't know how often I've attended talks where the researchers are looking into esoteric topics, like flying saucers, past life experiences, etc., and here is how they present their findings: "All the people I interviewed who had reported seeing flying saucers were mentally stable and had no trace of mental illness, otherwise I would have excluded them from the study." Or, re a study predicting the incidence of psychic abilities in the general population. "Of course, I excluded the mentally ill," the researcher said.

So supposedly "sane" people who report the admittedly rather odd phenomena of flying saucers or past lives are somehow "more reliable" than the mentally ill? And, there is something "tainted" about the psychic abilities of the mentally ill?

A lot of researchers rely on the presence of another witness to the event to bolster the claim that a flying saucer isn't just a projection of one person's fantasies. I'm not sure this is a reliable methodology. There is something called "hysteria," which can be contagious. When it is contagious it is called "mass hysteria."

When Chris reported his first alien sighting at the ripe old age of eleven (see: A parallel universe, even in the suburbs - June 2, 2009), he was supposedly sane, too.

If I wanted to learn about the phenomenon of flying saucers, I would study the so-called mentally ill. And if I wanted to learn about psychic phenomena, I would ask them, too. Daniel Paul Schreber has written a classic memoir of mental illness* in which he unveils his detailed understanding of how the universe works. Writing in 1902 he had a precocious appreciation of quantum physics.

Conversely, if I wanted to study these kinds of phenomena, I might want to explore it from the point of view of a sudden energy imbalance. What had happened to the research subjects in the weeks and months leading up to the experience? Was there a death in the family or a physical trauma that could have thrown the assemblage point into the high right position which leads to hallucinations?
Daniel Paul Schreber, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recovery newspeak

I am not even that thrilled about the use of the word "recovery" as it is understood in the context of mental illness. I use the word recovery prominently in my blog because Chris is still recovering, but I expect he eventually will be functioning completely normally, supporting himself, off medications and doing whatever he likes, and then I will use the word "cure" in his case. I feel he will be entitled to use that word, just like the actor Margot Kidder does. After not having bipolar signs or symptoms for many years she says she's entitled to use the word "cured." (I wonder if anybody has pointed out to her that she can't possibly be cured because "once bipolar always bipolar?")

Ron Unger, in a recent post, writes that recovery has now been expanded to allow for the possibility of still being mentally ill. It is becoming newspeak for putting the best polish on a less than optimal situation. "Oh, sure, he/she is 'recovering'," people will think, "we all know what that means."

I applaud the recovery movement, I really do, but I also feel that there is a goal post at the end of recovery that should be called "cure." If we don't aim to be completely well and functioning, we won't go far on the field of victory. We will fall short of what we deserve.