Don’t miss signing up for the next ‘Recovering Our Families’ course

I’ve taken two modules of this course. Believe me, there is nothing like it out there. To get the best flavor of what it’s about, read the testimonials from mothers who have taken the course.

“Recovering our Families” introduces families to key recovery principles, leaders, research and resources that are person- and family-centered, trauma-informed and strengths based. This interactive, facilitated online class combines emailed lessons with recovery exercises, videos, online resources and a password-protected website with private facilitated group discussions and peer support. The “Recovering Our Families” course was written by and is facilitated by Krista MacKinnon with the help and support of Family Outreach and Response Program in Toronto Canada, and The Foundation For Excellence in Mental Health in Oregon, USA.”

To learn more about this innovative course click here

The next course begins Monday, March 15th.

 

Interview with author Stephanie Marohn

Episode Description

Trying to pick up the pieces of shattered minds, those with schizophrenia are a source of mystery and misery. Schizophrenia is a devastating disease affecting 51 million people world wide, and an often misunderstood condition. It is a multi-causal disorder with a wide variety of factors that need to be addressed. Stephanie Marohn will discuss natural medicine treatments such as nutritional protocols, anti-viral protocols, heavy metal detoxification, allergy elimination, cranial osteopathy, constitutional homeopathy, family system therapy, psychosomatic medicine and shamanic healing to address psychospiritual factors. Stephanie Marohn compiled interviews with brilliant doctors about their approach and care of society’s forgotten patients.

Mar_2016_Ecard_schizophrenia-solutions-for-shattered-minds

 

Stephanie Marohn is the author of 10 books, including What the Animals Taught Me: Stories of Love and Healing from a Farm Animal Sanctuary, seven books on natural medicine, and the anthologies Audacious Aging and Goddess Shift: Women Leading for a Change. Her writing has also appeared in magazines, newspapers, and poetry, prayer, and travel-writing anthologies.
Stephanie runs the Animal Messenger Sanctuary, a safe haven for farm animals, and has an energy medicine practice for animals of all species. Since 1993, she has operated Angel Editing Services, specializing in books on mind-body-spirit topics.

Natural medicine books by Stephanie Marohn:
The Natural Medicine Guide to Addiction
The Natural Medicine Guide to Anxiety Disorders
The Natural Medicine Guide to Autism
The Natural Medicine Guide to Bipolar Disorder
The Natural Medicine Guide to Depression
The Natural Medicine Guide to Schizophrenia
Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies

REAL LIFE starts with a dream (guest post)

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, man would see himself as he is, infinite.” Aldous Huxley, written in my yearbook 2002

“Met him what? he asked. -Here, she said. What does that mean? He leaned downward and read near her polished thumbnail. -Metempsychosis? -Yes. Who’s he when he’s at home? -Metempsychosis, he said, frowning. It’s Greek: from the Greek. That means the transmigration of souls. -O, rocks! she said. Tell us in plain words.” James Joyce, Ulysses p. 64, The Modern Library

I’m to tell you about a dream I had, a bad dream, but one that leads me to acceptance, not, in so many words, giving in. In itself, it has no meaning for anyone, and I expect the following is not of general interest, except something has to put an end to this story.

I still loathe myself often, loathe all of my circumstances and it doesn’t matter how many people I ask for their point of view. That is, I feel evil. I don’t want to convince you of this at all, and I was hoping distracting myself with James Joyce might, I don’t know, put a rosy hue on things. There is one alternative.

(There was a retired teacher whom I would meet from time to time on the corner, I mention now that she was a teacher of English, and when I told her my name, she straightaway nodded ‘Dedalus’, Stephen, my namesake of Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses.) When sometimes I find life so very ordinary, I tell myself that must be because I’m something like the Wizard of Oz behind it all. This cannot be explained, I reckon, it must be experienced, much like Joyce’s books, and I find I tell others I’m ‘away with the fairies’ thereby placing myself as an odd relative, out of reach. Who is deceiving whom?

In my dream, I awake from a deep sleep (called so softly but I’m waiting expectantly) and in a flash, I’m running ahead, there’s so much to do, my recording session, my family will be here tomorrow, wow! I’m really achieving something, being somebody! And then….

Is it raining? I pause to try to read the weather, then I see my body blocking every point of view, any feeling, and I disbelieve in myself. Any observation or attempt at thought pulls me toward the ground, a beast of prey. I can’t see my clothes, then my body dies part by part. I’m urged to forget everything, and as I wake, I challenge myself to let go.

The disapointment concretely set in, that just as I could visualise my own life, boldly independent, but it’s just a story, and what’s more, I identify my dreamself as Stephen Hawking, and so I tell my mother later that morning, and next my psychiatrist. Imitating Hawking, I try to think through the drama. It’s impossible. Still fresh in my memory, I know then I believe Stephen Hawking to be a true hero, his inward world matched his outward reality, his thinking so peerless, singularly screaming I AM WHO I AM to the whole universe, but unable to find and name God. I want to see things from his eyes, paralysed, like Abraham Lincoln at his memorial sitting, that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. could stand there and proclaim, I have a dream, a word, a thought, and I hope, realize his relationship with God was just once, mutual.

I tell myself this, but it’s a rationalization. Why shouldn’t I be able to just collapse, and truly it will mean nothing? I don’t feel like I’m achieving anything, except something to do tomorrow. “Curse your God and die,” said Job’s wife, but I am not Job. I remember being sad for the writer Douglas Adams when he died, just collapsing on his treadmill. Now, I think, that must have been some relief. I didn’t know Douglas Adams, and if he collapsed in my arms, I wouldn’t have tried to resucitate him but stupidly, called for help.

If I acknowledge that the alternative to fear and loathing is action, and I’m drawing again on my English classes with Shakespeare, and that I don’t have the genius of Stephen Hawking, well, then, I think the letting go of life will be continual, that whenever I act in favour of change, I also release my desire for change, and that I may be getting in my own way by being so stubborn. I don’t want to justify myself continually, it is very hard on my own sense of self. The thing is, if I’m really stuck, like quicksand, I can only let go, and how then can I be afraid of death? I can’t lie to you about how afraid I feel, I’m deceiving myself, and getting deeper into the sand.

Then I guess I’ll really have to write my own account of my life where somehow it doesn’t end where all the details have been revealed but somehow create a story I can love where the end is only the beginning.

Today’s obituary

Ziggy Stardust, a.k.a. David Bowie, a.k.a. David Jones, was born in Brixton, South London, on January 8, 1947. Died in Manhattan, New York City, January 10, 2016.

Beneath the glitter and his untethered to earth weightlessness lies androgyny, exile, alienation and ch-ch-ch-ch changes. The hallmarks of the schizophrenic experience.

According to The Daily Mail:

David Bowie never crossed the divide into mental illness. But he shared a number of the quirks shown by his maternal family. He would suddenly burst into tears, for example, and was said to have had a particularly active imagination.
One family friend told me that, as a four or five-year-old, David had phoned to summon the local ambulance one night, and successfully persuaded the operator that he was “dying”.
That Bowie was conscious of his heritage seems obvious from the number of songs he wrote touching on lunacy or schizophrenia. Of the Oh! You Pretty Things lyrics, Bowie said: “I hadn’t been to an analyst – my parents went, my brothers and sisters and my aunts and uncles and cousins, they did that. They ended up in a much worse state. I thought I’d write my problems out.”

Read more here

Today’s obituary

Sounds like Norman Mailer was simply violently drunk when he stabbed his wife, Adele Morales at a party in the New York City apartment way back in 1960.

Nevertheless, being committed for psychiatric observation earned him several labels: paranoid, delusional, homicidal, and suicidal.

“Some guests recalled that the point of no return came when she told her husband that he was not as good as Dostoyevsky.

Mailer stabbed her in the stomach and back with a penknife, puncturing her cardiac sac.

Mrs. Mailer initially told doctors that she had fallen on broken glass. Later, in the intensive care unit of University Hospital, she told the police that her husband had stabbed her.

Mailer was charged with felonious assault and committed to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric observation.

“In my opinion Norman Mailer is having an acute paranoid breakdown with delusional thinking and is both homicidal and suicidal,” Dr. Conrad Rosenberg, the doctor who first treated Mrs. Mailer, wrote in a medical report to the judge.”

ttp://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/24/arts/adele-mailer-artist-who-married-norman-mailer-dies-at-90.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=mini-moth®ion=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below&_r=0

Exploring homeopathy

A couple of years into Chris’s crisis, that is to say about nine years ago,  I consulted a homeopath, not really knowing anything at all about what homeopaths do, but desperately wanting an alternative to the prescription drug regime that we were told was absolutely necessary to manage Chris’s ‘illness.” Unfortunately, it was too soon in my learning process to introduce an approach that was radically outside the medical understanding of psychosis. I opted for a different energy medicine approach as an add-on to a conventional medical approach.

Recently, I came across Amy Lansky’s book, Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy, and the light went on in me. Fast forward to October and Chris and I now become clients of a classically trained homeopath. I learned from Impossible Cure the importance of finding a homeopath who would provide remedies in single doses, not blends, hence the need to find a classically trained one. The homeopath treats the person, not the symptom and is therefore part psychiatrist, part shaman, part investigative detective in the quest to know the personality.

I was amazed at what the homeopath saw in Chris after his initial one and a half hour appointment. She sent him home with a prescription for ‘phosophorus.’ She gave him phosphorus because he IS phosphorus, and a homeopath treats ‘like’ with ‘like.” I rummaged around the Internet and found an arcane homeopathic reference to ‘the phosphorus personality.’ The phosphorus personality is ethereal, floating, highly sensitive to their environment, hates to be alone, anxious, a pleaser (therefore liked by many people), a conflict avoider and the list continues. Strikingly red lips at birth is another give-away, but how could this small detail about Chris as a newborn coincide with his personality traits, one wonders?

Last Sunday I went to a presentation given by Natalie Tobert, a medical anthropologist and author of the book, Spiritual Psychiatries: Mental Health Practices in India and UK. I learned something quite interesting about Indian psychiatrists, not all of them, mind you. Some of them practice mainly in the Western tradition. The Indian psychiatrists who she interviewed for her book use conventional drug therapy for their patients, but homeopathic treatment is also a mainstay of their practice. These psychiatrists also rely on astrologers, numerologists, and spiritualists.

I discovered from reading this book that the herb rauwolfia serpentina is suggested for the treatment of schizophrenia. According to Wiki, this herb apparently enjoyed a brief period of popularity in the West from 1954 to 1957 for the treatment of schizophrenia, and Mahatma Gandhi supposedly used it as a tranquilizer. Who knew?

 

 

And my book title will be . . .

Back in June I asked readers for their suggestions for my book title. I want to thank everyone who took the time to comment. Believe me, I thought deeply about each and every suggestion, and agreed with all of them, which is the absolute truth. I thought long and hard about whether having “schizophrenia” in the title was a plus or a minus. It can be both, I reasoned. Someone else thought having “holistic” in the title was off-putting, and another reader was of the opinion that “schizophrenia” and “holistic” in the title would limit my market. Make no mistake – I’m all about making sure that the most number of people will want to read my book.

My moment of clarity in choosing a title came from the reader who made this suggestion:

“On the other hand, maybe there’s a catchy way to distill what the book’s about. Like Susannah Cahalan’s book title. She had anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, an actual physical illness of the brain, but it would be a mistake to put THAT in a book title. ha ha. Her book is titled:
Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness. That title really grabs you, it’s really descriptive of what the story is about, and it WAS a NY Times bestseller.

and from another reader who made this one:

“Somehow, I think a title that speaks more to the lessons learned rather then the “backdrop” might be best.”

With visions of a NY Times bestseller dancing around in front of me, and mindful that just about all the bestselling memoirs on “major mental illness” favor a more poetic description of the specific diagnosis, here’s what I came up with that comes closest to capturing the flavor of my book and the message I want to put across:

The SCENIC ROUTE: A Way through Madness

 

Again, thanks to all who took the time to respond.

Today’s Obituary

Max Beauvoir, Who Gave Up Science to Be High Priest of Voodoo, Dies at 79

Max Beauvoir, a former City College of New York chemistry major who gave up hard science for magic spirits, spell-casting and ritual animal sacrifices vital to becoming Haiti’s high priest of voodoo, died on Saturday in Port-au-Prince, the capital. He was 79.

His death was announced by the president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, who described it as a “great loss for the country.”

Mr. Beauvoir was in his mid-30s and planning a career in biochemistry when his grandfather, on his deathbed,

READ MORE HERE

Norman Doidge, plasticity, and eyesight

Perhaps you’ve heard about Dr. Norman Doidge’s latest book, The Brain’s Way of Healing. Dr. Doidge (pronounced ‘Dodge,’ I believe) is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist who has turned himself into Dr. Oliver Sacks, meaning he likes to write about interesting patient stories from the frontiers of neurology. His first book was titled The Brain That Changes Itself.

The concept of brain plasticity (the discovery that the brain is able to form new neural pathways), Doidge informs us, has been been around since the 1970s but only began to enter the public consciousness in 2006. That appears about right to me, as in early 2004 Chris’s psychiatrist told my husband and me that his brain was sort of like rapidly solidifying concrete that needed to be ‘protected’ from further rigidity and loss of neurons through the administration of neuroleptic drugs. That theory had already bit the dust but somehow the psychiatrists at the Centre for Addition and Mental Health didn’t receive this message. I won’t go into how pessimistic the concrete brain concept was in comparison to plastic brain concept, but it still grates how much damage was done by their telling us that Chris’s brain was damaged. That and the schizophrenia diagnosis. Horrible. I’m still not convinced “schizophrenia” is a brain problem, in any case.

I’m not sure what Dr. Doidge’s position is on schizophrenia. It’s interesting that a person who is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst by training doesn’t address schizophrenia as a topic in either of his two books. That’s like a priest who writes about religion failing to mention God. Is it because he doesn’t think schizophrenia is a problem with one’s brain and he is aware that lots of people recover from this condition so there is nothing neuronally (is this a word?) intriguing about it? If so, he would do us all a favor by saying so! I’m in the process of putting my question to him in a letter. (Of course, it’s also possible he prefers writing about neuroplasticity rather than dealing with patients. He wouldn’t be the first doctor to reposition himself as far away from his patients as possible,)

One of the chapters in the book is on how a blind man got his sight back relying on the Feldenkrais method. I’ve made a few efforts in the past to get my sight back to 20/20, but didn’t see a lot of progress so I stopped doing the exercies. I’ve bathed my eyes by staring at the sun with my eyes closed, I’ve rotated them clockwise and counterclockwise, but the Feldenkrais contribution I read about added something new that I think is key. Doing this exercise for a couple of days noticeably strengthened my peripheral vision. Having better peripheral vision is a huge confidence booster. I even did the grocery shopping without once putting on my specs!