File under miscellaneous

Chris’s voice has progressed  lower again.  I noticed a deepening a couple of weeks ago after he started Sahaja Yoga meditations. The first time I noticed his voice had dropped a bit was after he studied the Alexander Technique, and then again after undergoing Tomatis therapy.

But, what exactly does a deeper voice mean in the context of a diagnosis of schizophrenia?  In my non-scientific thinking, I associate the lowering of the voice with vibrations, chakras and  improved body/mind connection. A lower voice to me implies Chris is becoming more grounded. I have been focusing on the body/mind connection for quite a while and that’s the reason I pushed him into exploring these therapies in the first place. Well, actually, he didn’t need any encouraging for the Alexander Method. He absolutely loved it. 

There are all kinds of minute observations in schizophrenia recovery that a mother worth her salt should be able to spot. What it all means is something else.


A few weeks ago, Chris and I went to our local English language theater production of Equus. Playwright Peter Shaffer’s 1973 play is about a psychiatrist in a provincial British psychiatric asylum, trying to decipher the mystery of why a seventeen year old boy blinded six horses in a stable.

The script is simply brilliant, the stage set is minimal. The play is largely a dialogue between the psychiatrist and his patient.

Equus is somewhat dated. The psychiatrist, Martin Dysart, seems to have all the time in the world to entertain impromptu visits from the boy’s parents and the stable owner. Today’s hospital psychiatrists are always in a rush and aren’t too keen on drop-in visits. Neuroleptic medications are never mentioned in Equus, neither are they used. The boy’s parents willingly share with the psychiatrist their interpretation of events that might have traumatized their son, in the hopes that this will help him heal his troubled state of mind. Today, parents are encouraged not to go down the line of thinking that quite possibly the family environment has an impact.

I wonder if anyone else who has seen the play has a complaint about its portrayal of schizophrenia. Martin Dysart knows his client is troubled, but it doesn’t occur to him that his client is “schizophrenic.” He casually and disparagingly mentions a fifteen year old schizophrenic patient of his but there is no connection in his mind of schizophrenia with his present patient. Schizophrenia, even to Dr. Dysart, seems to be a special case. My word, the boy was mute when he arrived at the hospital, retreated into singing jingles from television and radio commercials when he got anxious, and had whopping fantasies about horses and Jesus in shackles.

Martin Dysart did just what R.D. Laing and Loren Mosher recommended by done for schizophrenia. He looked for trauma in his patient’s background, he talked to him, he didn’t use neuroleptic medications. The final scene is one of catharsis for the patient.

I don’t really care about labels, but I do care about the ingrained attitude in the public’s mind that people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are not “curable.” The boy, Alan Strang, seems “schizophrenic” to me, so I question what Dr. Dysart  thought he had for a patient. How naive could the doctor have been? Perhaps the playwright Peter Shaffer labored under the delusion that schizophrenia was incurable, so whatever Strang had, and had “cured” by the psychiatrist, couldn’t be schizophrenia.

Chris’s reaction to the play was interesting. He remarked that whatever fantasies he is deeply ashamed of, are really quite mild compared to what he observed in the play. This thought was liberating to him.

Faith healing does work

Don’t miss this interesting article from CNN. My only quibble is that it portrays schizophrenia as a  condition impervious to faith healing, ie there is no point in amateurs trying to heal schizophrenia! Nonsense, I say. When I looked around at the other mental health articles on the left sidebar of the CNN site, I grasped that they seem to be infomercials in favor of mental health labelling and medication.

iReport shows how mentally ill in India turn to faith healers

Christopher Davis, an anthropologist at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), said traditional healers can play a role as mental health providers.

She contends that there is epidemiological evidence to the effect that people with mental health issues actually fare as well in communities where there is less medicalization of their condition.
“Anthropologists would argue that regarding faith healers as a less appropriate choice than physicians is a reflection of our own faith in medicine rather than in community as a way of finding a remedy for life’s problems,” she said.

NamiDearest nails drug market creep

The bipolar dog’s heartbreaking dilemma

What I find so odious about the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is its whole-hearted embrace of the pharmaceutical treatment of mental illness. It is so enamored of pharma that it is constantly on the look-out to help its good friend find new customers. The childhood bipolar market is saturated, but now there are PETS! And who’s to say that Fido isn’t bipolar? You know you’ve been ignoring his behavior for too long, thinking he’d grow out of it. But, there’s good news on the horizon.  Bipolar dogs face enormous challenges, including society’s stigmatization and the discrimination that results from these prejudices. Substance use counseling, housing, work and educational skill development are among other supports frequently required to maximize your pet’s prospects for a higher functional level.

NamiDearest inspired today’s post.

Even our furry and feathered family members can have a mental illness

Many of us think of our pet as just another member of our family, so why shouldn’t we treat them like we treat our own children? It makes sense that if mental illness runs in families, our pets could become mentally ill as well. Indeed, this is what veterinary psychiatry has discovered. Mental illness in pets is on the rise!

“Dr Carter, a leading animal psychiatrist, said animals were being put on anti-depressant medication in increasing numbers as vets and owners became more aware of the signs of mental illness. “We use a lot of drugs like Prozac and other anti-depressants and Valium,” Dr Carter said.”

“Not only dogs can develop mental disorders. Dr Carter said she had treated cats, horses and even birds. Birds being kept as pets quite often display signs of mental illness. The most common sign for birds with mental illness is plucking out their feathers. There are lots of reasons a bird might pull its feathers out, but anxiety can be a cause for it.”

Read on to learn more about signs of mental illness in the family pet. Please do not further stigmatize our beloved pets by laughing at the images you will see.