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I’ve been rather neutral on Pete Earley’s blogs for several years. I stopped short of being a fan, mainly because I was not particularly interested in his focus on righting the many wrongs of the US mental health system, such as greater availability of hospital beds. I don’t live in the USA for one, but I also feel that focusing on e.g. more hospital beds and less police brutality misses the goal of recovery. If you have to resort to the hospital or the police, you’ve already lost. Something has gone horribly wrong. It hasn’t been the system (for all of its many faults), it’s been in how we as parents and family members have come to rely on crude outside solutions to our own failures in communication, understanding, and empathy.

I’m not saying that one should never seek outside intervention, but what I am saying and have been saying for a long time, is what Earley has also learned and is beginning to talk more openly about. So, good for him! Let’s hope more parents hear this message.

For me, shifting the role of parent to becoming my son’s partner was crucial

I learned about active listening. I learned to show my son empathy and respect. By listening and showing empathy and respect, I hoped to develop trust and rapport. And with trust and rapport, I hoped to gain influence.

This didn’t mean that I opposed involuntary commitment. But it became my last choice in emergencies, not my first. Active listening, empathy, respect, trust, and rapport — if I had tried to use those skills initially and at different intersections during Kevin’s breakdowns, I believe we could have avoided much of the trauma that both of us experienced. I believe we could have become partners in his recovery, rather than adversaries. I believe, I could have engaged him earlier in his treatment.

Read more of his blog post here

 

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I haven’t posted in quite a while, mainly because, as usual, I’m hard at work getting my memoir The Scenic Route: A Way through Madness ship shape and ready for launch. But, it’s taking much more time than I ever imagined possible. It seems I been saying this for years, and, well, it’s embarrassing that it’s taking so long.

For the time being I’ll opt for a more newsletter style of delivering future blog posts. My random musings will go straight to your inbox.

 

Recovery course starting Sept. 15

If you’re looking for some expert family oriented advice on how to practice recovery, I see that Krista Mackinnon is running another Recovering Our Families online education course beginning September 15th.

http://familieshealingtogether.com/focus/recovering-our-families/

“Krista Mackinnon’s facilitation and training on family recovery provides vital, practical tools for supporting someone struggling with psychosis. I encourage everyone I work with to take this class: it’s a wealth of useful learning that can immediately improve family relations and help find a way through the labyrinth of madness.”
Will Hall, MA, DiplPW
Therapist and schizophrenia survivor, Madness Radio host and trainee
in Open Dialogue at the Institute for Dialogic Practice.

 

Lyme disease and autoimmune issues

I’ve become quite interested recently in two medical conditions associated with psychosis symptoms: Lyme disease and a rare autoimmune disorder.  When my son Chris was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2002, no blood tests, no tests whatsoever were done, except for the MRI that my husband and I insisted on. He was diagnosed based on a doctor’s opinion of what his symptoms represented. In the years since, Lyme disease has received a lot of attention because of its growing prevalence. (It seemed nobody was talking about it in 2002, and now it appears to be everywhere!) Several people I personally know have tested positive for Lyme disease and received treatment. In June of this year, the amazing story of musician Kris Kristofferson’a recovery from dementia induced by Lyme disease hit the news. http://tinyurl.com/hlk8r9d

Research on autoimmune issues and schizophrenia is still in its infancy. But, for some people, this may eventually prove a game changer. In 2008 Josep Dalmau presented a paper on anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a schizophrenia like condition caused by the body’s immune system attacking a protein in the brain.

“Markx and Dalmau are planning to collaborate with German researchers to study patients who have either come to the hospital with a “first break” — an initial episode of psychotic symptoms — or who are showing early signs, such as social withdrawal or cognitive problems, that typically precede the onset of psychosis. Blood and spinal fluid samples from these patients will be tested for antibodies to the NMDA receptor, and other antibodies. The results might change psychiatry’s approach to patients with new-onset psychosis, Markx said.”

http://tinyurl.com/za2dy4r

 

 

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I’m proud to announce that I have recently signed a publishing agreement with Inspired Creations LLC, I love how the company describes itself:

Publisher of

Socially Relevant Culturally Significant and Individually Transformative works

I hope that my memoir, The Scenic Route: A Way through Madness, to be published later this year, will live up to Inspired Creations’ mandate: “dedicated to promoting works that entertain and enlighten, inform and transform, and possess the potential to impact individuals concerned with nature, culture, and the future of our beautiful planet.”

I want my book to do all of that and more – to offer hope to parents caught up in the current biochemically derived definition of mental illness by showing by example that there are choices. You can take the road that everyone else takes, often unsuccessfully, OR, you can take the scenic route and discover things about yourself and your relative that you may find interesting, empowering, fun (yes FUN!), educational, literary, dramatic. I want to blow your mind by introducing you to some off-beat therapies and thinking patterns  that nudged my son towards wellness. I want you to return from the trip, wondering “was that all a dream or was it real?”

I came across Inspired Creations when I read A Moment of Time, by Jilaine Tarisa and was impressed by how neatly this book wove together a lot of millennial themes in a tightly written mystery. I thought to myself, this is a publishing company I’d love to approach, because my book has a lot of themes in common with the publisher’s aspirations.

Stay tuned.

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