The end of the road and it’s now time to spread our wings

Drum roll, please. I’m making it official. I can finally say that after 14 years, my son Chris is well. Weller than well, as Dr. Karl Menninger would say. And I’m no longer afraid that I’m tempting fate by saying this. I’m not worried about a relapse, but if it happens, at least I’ll have a better grip on what to do about it. I had to learn these skills on my own, no help from mainstream medicine or mainstream thinking. In the immortal words of Andrew Solomon, the creator of “If you want to do something right, you have to do it yourself.This especially applies to your health care.”

To give you a brief update, in March Chris enrolled in a three year vocational course in an area in line with his interests. He loves it. He’s socially way, way, way, more outgoing than I’ve ever seen him. He recently appeared on stage yet again as a member of the chorus in the musical Cabaret. He takes acting lessons at night. He continues to sing in choirs. He’s got a girl friend. He does lots of volunteer work. There are some residual problems that he’s working to resolve. He’s on half the recommended dose of Abilify, which he plans to eventually get rid of completely, if possible. A depressing side effect from the drugs is the huge amount of weight gained. After a couple of false starts involving a diet doctor and an acupuncturist, he’s now on the HCG diet, the only diet I know that enables weight loss from metabolically (medication) induced weight gain. The results in only three weeks are encouraging.

Several parents have contacted me recently wanting to know how I’ve done what’s supposed to be the impossible. My book gives the best flavor of what Chris’s recovery looked like and goes into great detail about my experiments, but it’s only just arrived at the publisher’s and it will probably not be out until early next year. So, to answer people’s questions about how to do it (and I emphasize that there are many paths to take, this is only one), here’s a very brief summary of how you can help your own relative based on how I believe Chris got to where he is today:

My son has recovered/renewed/reconstructed (choose one) largely because his family, to use a golfing term, kept our eye on the ball. We made his recovery our goal. We let no one tell us otherwise, in a world where there are always lots of people prepared to tell us otherwise. We did not get sucked into negative energy activities that ultimately lead nowhere. By this I mean fretting too much about saving the masses when it is the individual (your relative) who counts most and where you will see the quickest results —if you stay focused. You can be active in mental health organizations and/or lobby your government later —once you get your own relative up and running.

Our cluing in didn’t happen overnight. The best thing I learned early on from people who know something about recovery (people with lived experience) was to remove ourselves from framing Chris’s problems within the medical model. I’m convinced Chris could have recovered sooner had we not gotten side-tracked by institutional psychiatry perpetrating the false belief that there was something gone horribly wrong with his brain and only they knew the magic formula to set things right again. I am convinced that had we learned or been taught how to properly communicate with Chris when he was struggling, recovery would have been much quicker and less fraught with danger. I had to largely figure out these communication skills on my own. It is outrageous that so much time was wasted because psychiatry hasn’t got a clue how to handle “schizophrenia.” It’s families that are “handling” schizophrenia and we’ve been doing this without knowing what to do or how to do it well.

I sincerely hope that you can replicate in your own lives the lessons that Chris and his family have learned in our journey.

For further information about how to establish good communication with your relative, please check out Krista McKinnon’s online course.

Ron Unger LCSW has an excellent slideshow: Understanding Psychosis as an Attempt to Solve Problems.

A homeopathic explanation for why people with “schizophrenia” don’t get cancer

Before you read what I am about to say, see the previous blog post on why Dr. Hoffer said people with schizophrenia don’t get cancer. (They have excellent genes.)

I’ve long thought that this group of people don’t get cancer because their mind, not their body, is where they are most vulnerable and that’s where their symptoms will manifest. This is my anecdotal conclusion from observing my own son, although it’s a real ego booster to think he comes from excellent gene stock. His childhood tolerance to physical pain was indeed something to behold. He’s always been a thinker, spending too much time in his head with almost zero focus on his body. That’s why I’ve placed so much effort in the past ten years on finding therapies that stress integrating the body and the mind. I’ve long maintained that when Chris gets physically sick, then I know he’s on the road to balanced health. I’ve cheered every sniffle he very occasionally gets.

I’m reading a fascinating book by Amy Lansky, entitled Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy. In it she writes about each person’s energetic state as having a center of gravity, a homeopathic concept introduced by George Vithoulkas, MD. The center of gravity is a general zone of susceptibility to certain kinds of diseases.

“In his text, The Science of Homeopathy, Vithoulkas describes the center of gravity as a combination of states or vibratory levels in the emotional, mental, and physical realms. Within each of these realms is a range of diseases, from simple and largely benign, to serious and life-threatening. Vithoulkas maintains that individuals resonate only with those diseases that have an affinity to their center of gravity. For example, a psychotic person’s center of gravity is weighted very strongly in the mental and emotional realm, but not as strongly in the physical realm. This explains why psychotic patients do not get as many minor physical illnesses as other people. While they are very susceptible to stimuli that affect their minds, they are not as susceptible to factors that affect their bodies. In contract, a cancer patient’s center of gravity is very severe in the physical realm, but may be quite benign in the mental realm.”

Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy, by Amy Lansky, PhD.