Beliefs governing the universe

I have fallen in love with a book called Holy Spirit for Healing: Merging Ancient Wisdom with Modern Medicine, by Ron Roth, PhD. (available from Hay House). What I love about it is that the author, a former Catholic priest, is open-minded to all religious belief systems. He is especially interested in discovering the original meaning behind the Biblical words used today that so often obscure rather than clarify Jesus’ message. Jesus, like Buddha, Mohammed, and others, had what is called “cosmic consciousness.” He applied in his day to day teachings the laws governing the universe.

Roth has written an astonishing treatise on healing that shows that energy is the basis for healing, and love is the greatest healer of all. I’ll be writing more about this book later, but for now here is an excerpt below from an interview with Ron Roth in The Share Guide.

Ron: I began to meditate on these various concepts many years ago. I don’t take the scriptures dogmatically and doctrinally as many people do. In all my studies of the sacred scriptures, I look for understanding in the original Greek and Aramaic, the language of the original text. When we translate it into English, it is always a poor substitute. When I looked at the original text, the first thing I noticed was that the Greek word that is used, dynamis–which we took “dynamite” and “dynamic”–that word actually means energy. In the Phillips translation, the words for Holy Spirit are “that divine energy that raised Jesus from the dead.” He uses the term energy because it is the closest to the Greek. In the old testament and the new testament, it says “great balls of fire” came flying out of the sky when people were praying. I think it was their way of saying that there is an energy that is unexplainable. This energy is really an aspect of the Divine Spirit. I don’t believe that anybody has to belong to a certain religion to be healed or to be loved by God. I studied Christianity because that was my background. But there were a lot of things I did not like, and I could not see Jesus as being a promoter of those things.

The Share Guide: So you were seeking the original languages in which these holy books were written so as to get closer to the source, rather than working with thousands of years of interpretations?

Ron: That’s correct. I had a scripture professor who had PhD’s in Scripture, Aramaic and Sanskrit. He would say to us, “Gentlemen, whenever you are looking at passages, don’t look at the English because you have to understand what the situation was at the time that the scripture was written.” In other words, what did they mean by a particular phrase 2,000 years ago, which could mean something entirely different today? The word “awful” comes to mind. The word used to mean full of awe, respect, and reverence. Today it means something terrible. In the original context it still means “full of awe.” So if you read a passage that says our God is an awful God, it is a clear example.

The Share Guide: Are you saying that the phrase “Energy Medicine” is really tied with the Holy Spirit, the original healing energy of God?
Ron: When you get an understanding of what a true authentic prayer means and is, it is an “energy prayer.” It is not something we do; it is something the Spirit of God at the center of our being does. That divine connection keeps coming up from the spirit essence. So when you put prayer and spirit together and understand what they truly mean, you can define it as a tangible energy that people feel.

The Share Guide: Is this the same energy which in India is called prana or in the Orient called chi, the life essence?

Ron: Yes.

Second chances

I have to admit, in May 2009 I was not looking forward to having Alex, our middle son back living at home. He had graduated from university in the United States and decided to return to the country where we live to seek employment and to gain eventual citizenship. Ian and I were feeling quite closed in. Chris had just emerged from the psych hospital after a three month stay. We wondered how we would cope.

We are typical North American parents in our mentality. We expected our children to do what we did, which is to be independent –  fast.  Independence means to most North Americans, living away from home. That hadn’t worked out exactly as we planned with Chris, and here was Alex arriving on the doorstep.

Alex and I have always had a volatile relationship. He’s the type of kid who immediately introduces an electric charge into the room.  I could feel the jangle. Outsiders would term him engaging and lively, which he is. It’s the everyday that wears you down. Every family seems to have one like our Alex.  We argue a lot. He doesn’t back down, neither do I. We got under each other’s skin because there must be truth to the saying that the person most like you is the one with whom you have the most disagreements.

Things turned out differently than I imagined. We’re delighted that Alex is at home. He got a job; he’s been a great brother to Chris and good company at the end of the day. I decided before Alex came home that I was no longer going to go head to head with him. It was time to repair the damage from our long years of discord. The less I rise to the occasion, the less I quibble about this or that, the less he grumbles and the closer we are becoming. I’m consciously trying to help him with his own hot temper and we have the luxury of being able to have the occasional quiet chat where I try to introduce some healing words.

In the language of energy healing, our family is becoming in synch because our vibrations are aligning. Our children are no longer children and yet it has taken us this long to live together in harmony. We may not be that different from other families in this regard. Yet, here we are, after 28 years of marriage, three children, and we are just getting to this point.

The little things

Since Chris was released from his third hospitalization in May, 2009, Ian and I have been keeping a low profile around Chris. We made a conscious effort to practice low Expressed Emotion. This means for us, not asking Chris how his day was, not asking him about his night course or whether he thought he might be ready to tackle something big. We don’t ask, he doesn’t tell. In the past, our showing “friendly interest” can also be interpreted as “concern,” and this is high Expressed Emotion. We don’t ask his psychiatrist for meetings and we have given up trying to figure out if Chris is in his right mind. Ian and I don’t discuss Chris between us. We don’t comment to each other about whether Chris seems happy or sad, and we never discuss our future hopes and plans for Chris.

The result is that things are going along swimmingly. Chris has always had a tendency to be too honest and would tell you, if asked, all about his self-doubt and would share subtle things that made one despair he would ever pass his course. We don’t want to hear this (too nerve-wracking), and now we don’t.

Last night I was just about to turn in when Chris knocked at the bedroom door. He popped in to tell me how much he was enjoying his computer technician night course, and that it was a bit challenging because of the language difference, but all in all, he thought it was going well.

In the past, I might have gotten all enthused and interested and probed him a bit more and then launched into some ideas about where he could go with this course. Instead, all I said was, “that’s great. See you in the morning.”

This is something little that is also something big.

Adding trauma while combatting stigma

Kris Ulland recently wrote at Borderline Families about her feelings of apprehension when invited to attend a conference, the venue which was directly opposite the treatment facility her daughter had once attended. Many of us feel the same way. We do not like to be even in the vicinity of the psychiatric care facilities that our relatives attended. These days I only get mildly stressed when I pass the outpatient facility that Chris attended for two years. It’s hard to avoid because it’s on a well-travelled route within walking distance of our home.

Kris brings up a little discussed aspect of mental health care. It is traumatizing for the patients and families to revisit the “scene of the crime.” I assume that mental health care is aware of this and tries to stage events away from the hospital or clinic when at all possible. I attended one such event as a service to an older woman friend whose nephew had been released years ago from the US marines after his schizophrenia diagnosis.  The military would not reveal to the family what had happened to him during his time in the marines. His aunt is still grieving and bewildered.

The event was sponsored by a local family support group for schizophrenia and was held in a meeting hall unconnected to the hospital. The guest speaker was none other than Dr. Rx, an eminent psychopharmacologist and overall head of Chris’s treatment program. There he was, still wearing the same navy blazer and not looking a day older than when I had last seen him four years earlier. I slunk to our seats well in the back of the room and kept my head down, not wanting to make eye contact. This was already becoming a traumatizing experience.

If I recall correctly, the purpose of the meeting was to “end the stigma” surrounding schizophrenia. So, what did we watch? A French Canadian documentary entitled “Schizo,” if you can believe it. It was all the dreary stuff associated with schizophrenia, camera slightly out of focus, sad music, a feeling of impending doom. One of the psychiatrists interviewed in the film had a long grey beard. He  looked far crazier than his patients. The mother of Marc Lépine, the young man who massacred fourteen female engineering students at the University of Montreal in 1989, was interviewed, thus reinforcing schizophrenia with mass murder. All very sad, a downer really and what was I doing there? Oh, yes, to support my friend.

After watching a film about stigma that was stigmatizing, questions were taken from the floor by Dr. Rx and his assistant. A tall, well dressed man who appeared to be in his fifties stood up to ask a question. It was apparent by the rather enigmatic way he posed his question that he was a one time consumer of mental health services. Without my remembering the specifics, there was a challenge imbedded in his question to the doctors. Dr. Rx and his assistant, remember, they were there to stop the stigma, ignored him. They looked at each other when the question was posed, and appeared rather embarrassed that a consumer of their services had challenged them, even obliquely. The man sat down after getting nowhere with the two onstage. He tried again later, and got the same result. (The definition of insanity?)

Now, if I were a psychiatrist and that were me on stage, I would have welcomed an intervention from someone who had been there. (Remember, Dr. Rx was there to combat the stigma.) I would have tried a lot harder to bridge the gap. Dr. Rx and his assistant came across to me as wanting to retain their authority and overly afraid of exposure.

I was glad when it was finally over. Never again.

Laughter is the best medicine

I need more laughs in my life, I’ve decided. Let me put this in context. In the city where I live, I notice that nobody smiles. It’s not just me who has noticed this. Life is very serious here, apparently. I have lived in the same apartment block for thirteen years and only nod to the neighbours when we meet in the elevator. They give me a wan smile in return.

Now that Chris is well on the road to full recovery, ironically I am feeling sicker. I have spent the past few years reading, almost exclusively, psychiatric literature. Not many laughs there. I need a break.

For my birthday, Chris gave me Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years. I’ve been a big fan of Adrian since he was aged 13 3/4. I laughed my way through the latest book in two sittings.

What tickles your funny bone?

Thoughts on sychronicity from science fiction writer Philip K. Dick

For a schizophrenic, any method by which a synchronicity can be coped with means possible survival; for us, it would be a great assist in the job of temporarily surviving . . . we both could use such a beat-the-house system.

This is what the I Ching, for the three thousand years, has been and still is. It works (roughtly 80 percent of the time, according to those such as Pauli who have analyzed it on a statistical basis). John Cage, the composer, uses it to derive chord progressions. Several physicists use it to plot the behavior of subatomic particles – thus getting around Heisenberg’s unfortunate principle. I’ve used it to develop the direction of a novel (please reserve your comments for Yandro, if you will). Jung used it with patients to get around their psychological blind spots. Leibnitz based his binary . . . . . .read more here

from Schizophrenia & the Book of Changes, an essay by Philip K. Dick, 1965

When money meets schizophrenia

There is no shortage of glitzy events by the Napa Valley’s wine elite, but the annual music festival sponsored by Garen and Shari Staglin may be the most poignant.

When money meets schizophrenia (e.g. the Stanley Medical Research Institute), the condition becomes sad and chronic. Here is a supposedly feel good story about winery owners and their son. It doesn’t buck me, up, however. Where is the good news here about the person? The good news is in the glitz and the charitable do-gooderism. Why is the word “poignant” used in this article in reference to schizophrenia? It needlessly provokes, since so many others have recovered and moved on in their lives. The public is continously fed these kind of stories in relation to schizophrenia, much more so than with depression and bipolar.

Money can’t solve everything, it just confuses the issue when it comes to schizophrenia. Entrepreneurs are a class of individuals who feel that they can apply the same gung ho logic to human emotions, as if the human mind were a business plan or a balance sheet. The article is full of references to genetics, medications, and, unfortunately, resignation. Heaven help us if the Gates Foundation got involved with schizophrenia.

“Most people chose to bury or run away from the problem,” Garen Staglin said. “We chose to run toward it.”

Did you, really?

What medications do to the super healthy

We’ve all heard the news that psychiatric patients die, on average, twenty-five years earlier than the average life expectancy. There appears to be no empirical evidence as to why this is so. Most of us know the answer is tied up with the alarming insistence by the medical profession on medications to treat these conditions. In addition to causing diabetes, blood disorders and heart conditions, there can be fatal drug interactions. The statistic presumably include the rare person who kills himself, and the rarer person who starves to death.

I believe that people who end up with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are physically healthier than most people, so there is no reason related to just having a diagnosis of schizophrenia that should case premature death. Many are like Chris. My son has, to my recollection, never suffered from a cold, a fever, a cavity, or an ear infection. He has never spent a day in bed due to an illness. . . until he ended up with a diagnosis and went on medications. Dr. Abram Hoffer observed that his schizophrenia patients tended to be the super healthy.

Since being on the medications, Chris has suffered dizziness, weight gain, tiredness. He has had to have his heart regularly monitored. While he was on clozapine he had to go for a monthly blood test. Despite all this, he has still has never had a cold, a fever, a cavity or an earache.

If you are naturally super-healthy (you have received a diagnosis of schizophrenia), there is absolutely no way that you should be dying twenty-five years early. If anything, you should be living twenty-five years longer than the average life expectancy. If people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are supposedly dying twenty-five years early, it must be the medications that are causing this in the majority of cases. Getting off or substantially reducing the medications, even if you have been on them for years, should be something worth thinking about.

Invite journalist Robert Whitaker to speak at World Health Organization

The excerpt below* is from a recent address given by Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, at the Mental Health Gap Action Programme Forum.

If you read the mhGap Action Programme guide, mental health care is seen as the domain of the medical profession. Antipsychotic medications are also the first line of treatment for psychosis and for bipolar disorder. This runs contrary to what consumers want. People who actually suffer from these and other mental health conditions often say that the person who made the difference in their recovery was a caring relative, a friend, or more rarely, someone in a clinical setting who actually took the time to talk to them in a caring, empathetic way. This kind of intervention early on has greate potential to help the patient recover quicker.

Running contrary to the consumer’s position, the mhGap Action Programme places the emphasis firmly on interventions that can be undertaken by busy doctors, nurses, and medical assistants. Well, how is a busy doctor or nurse going to fulfill the needed empathetic role in a crisis situation? They’re not. The guide directs the patient to» Encourage involvement in self-help and family support.

What positive, encouraging attitude does the guide promote about the prospects for full recovery?

» Inform the person of the expected duration of treatment, potential side-effects of the intervention, any alternative treatment options, the importance of adherence to the treatment plan, and of the likely prognosis. (Rossa’s comment: This is purely “clinicalese,” very off-putting to patients and family. Will non-drug approaches be considered as alternative treatments? The term “likely prognosis” sounds bad, very bad to me. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy for a dismal prognosis. Also, how is a medical assistant, a nurse or a doctor qualified or even capable of predicting the “likely” prognosis?)

» Address the person’s questions and concerns about treatment, and communicate realistic hope for better functioning and recovery.
(Rossa’s comment: Again, who are the staff to tell us what is realistic? What’s this talk about “functioning?” We demand and expect better than this.)
Robert Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, should be invited to speak at the World Health Organization. He can talk about how the use of medications actually prolongues mental illness and, more importantly, in the context of the Mental Health Gap Action Programme, he can talk about the success of the Open Dialogue program in Finland. The Open Dialogue program is purposely staffed by non-medical professionals and resists drug treatment if at all possible.


With publication of the mhGAP Intervention guide, we now have a simple technical tool for detecting, diagnosing, and managing the most common, and burdensome, mental, neurological, and substance use disorders, in any resource setting.

The emphasis is firmly placed on interventions that can be undertaken by busy doctors, nurses, and medical assistants working, with limited resources, at first- and second-level facilities. Mental health problems, whether depression, epilepsy, dementia, or alcohol dependence, are real disorders. They cause death and disability. They cause suffering. They have symptoms. And they can be managed, in any resource setting.

This is the message we can now communicate with confidence.

No matter how weak the health system or how constrained the resources, something can always be done.

In a key achievement, the Intervention guide transforms a world of expertise and clinical experience, contributed by hundreds of experts, into less than 100 pages of clinical wisdom and succinct practical advice.
The guide, in effect, extends competence in diagnosis and management to the non-specialist, while respecting their busy schedules.

From the NAMI Newsletter

On a Mission: NAMI’s Outreach to Veterans and Their Families

Educators bringing NAMI Family-to-Family program to the Veterans Administration have already touched veterans and their families across the country with NAMI’s unique brand of education and support.

“The military needs someone who can tell families how it is,” says Char Cate, an Air Force veteran, NAMI advocate and co-teacher at one of the classes in Virginia. “The first thing my students say is, ‘Why did it take so long for us to find something geared towards families?'”

Sheila Boone leads Family-to-Family classes made up of veteran and community families in Michigan. “The mixed classes work because the program is so well organized. Families do a wonderful job identifying with each other and bonding.” She has noticed some themes common among veteran families: “They’re starved for information. They’re not getting the support they need because some feel they must hide their family member’s mental illness.”

Brenda Piper, an instructor with NAMI North Carolina, says Family-to-Family’s well rounded program is uniquely suited for outreach to veterans’ families. “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is not the only issue in these communities. A lot of military families are finding that the veterans contend with depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or a combination along with PTSD.”

Family-to-Family is not the only NAMI educational program reaching out to veterans. Samuel Hargrove, who served both in the U.S. Army and the National Guard, says he used to hide his mental illness behind a mask. Now on full disability because of his mental and physical issues, he wishes he was able to return to active duty but has found a second calling in NAMI programs like In Our Own Voice and Peer-to-Peer. “I’m on a mission,” he says. “I can help NAMI reach out to veterans, and NAMI has been so honest and welcoming with me.”

Our successes within the veteran community are just the beginning of our work with the many military families who are now touched by mental illness. Help NAMI fulfill its mission–donate today and help fund NAMI educational programs, outreach and support.