The trauma or shock basis of schizophrenia seems to be accepted by the holistic medical community but does not get a lot of play in the mainstream medical community. In fact, no medical doctor we consulted ever raised the issue with us. What they did say was a little different. I remember being asked by two different doctors what Chris was like at the age of ten. This seemed like a strange question at the time. I was too shell-shocked myself from the diagnosis to ask them why they raised the question. So, instead I answered,”well, uh, let’s see. He was overweight and into playing Magic cards. Other than that, there’s not much to report. He had friends, he seemed normal”.
After learning about the role of shock in schizophrenia, I reviewed Chris’s childhood for signs of shock, but nothing I could think of pointed to a dramatic, isolating event. We lived in suburbia – how dramatic is that? We went to church, my husband and I hadn’t divorced, Chris and his brothers attended Cub Scouts, we had neighborhood boys tearing through the house in great numbers. It seemed white bread boring compared to the kind of shock that schizophrenia produces on the radar screen.
What I do know is this: Chris was a ten month pregnancy and he barely moved in utero. That is unusual. His birth was long and difficult. He didn’t have a lot of energy as a child but he also never got sick. He was abnormally healthy, almost supernaturally so. I did find it a bit strange that a child who never even had a cold developed severe acne as a teenager. Dr. Abram Hoffer observes that his patients tended never to be sick as children and that many people who subsequently develop schizophrenia had severe acne in their teenage years. (Severe acne is characteristic of pellagra, or lack of vitamin B3.)
Chris was not given to emotional outbursts and apart from crying as a baby I remember seeing him cry only once when a door slammed on his finger. He had trouble making choices and he avoided confrontation. He left it to others to choose for him. Me: “Carrots or peas, Chris?” He: “Oh, I don’t care, you decide.” While this was troubling, it wasn’t so troubling that we thought about doing something about it. Chris was a thinker and he was musically talented. He did well in school and he had interests and activities so we overlooked this aspect of his personality, hoping that time would rectify it. I remember thinking, this kid is too perfect. Being perfect was troubling, even then. I felt we were overdue somehow for “the big one.”