Many of us don’t believe in recovery. We think we do, but we are often unwilling to take the necessary steps. While I am admittedly hard on doctors, doctors can only get away with what they do because they have you as a patient. You may be of the scientific persuasion, a person who reassures him/herself with facts, double-blind studies, and the latest findings in leading scientific journals. You and your doctor will no doubt be very sympatico. When your doctor tells you there is no hope, you will believe him because it fits with the kind of person you are. You will continue to take your meds and be a good patient. You are most likely very conversant with what is written in the product literature.
The technical language of psychosis is so dreary it is hard to muster any hope. Prodromal symptoms, extrapyramidal symptoms – this vocabulary is how schizophrenia is introduced to new patients and their worried relatives. A big downer. When Chris was first hospitalized five years ago, the social worker told me brightly that why, in five to 10 years time, exciting changes were foreseen. I believe she was alluding to a miracle cure. The problem was, Chris didn’t have five to 10 years to wait for something that had eluded medical science for the past 100 years. He needed to start getting better immediately.
It is now over five years for Chris and I have yet to see that miracle cure, although I hear there is one underway. Nor do I expect one. It has taken me at least four years to realize that schizophrenia isn’t all about the biochemistry. Your doctor believes it’s all about getting the biochemistry right, though. In my experience, it’s not just the doctor prescribing medications who talks almost exclusively biochemistry, it may also be the doctor who is trained in alternative, complementary medicine. An MD after the name still makes doctors think mainly in terms of biochemistry.
Like Chris’s doctor who conceded initially that vitamins may not help, but they probably don’t hurt, this is how most medical doctors view the psycho/spiritual side of psychosis. They give it a place, but not a big one. Then they get right back to focusing on the biochemistry. The psychiatrists who specialize in certain therapies, such as Jungian, Freudian, Adlerian, Gestalt, etc. have a much broader perspective on the mind’s power to heal itself. These kinds of doctors are a luxury for many. We have also been told for the past several decades that “talk therapy” is of little help for schizophrenia.
If you are going to reach beyond a purely disease approach, become open minded to the rich tapestry of life, to writers, poets and people who think differently than your doctor does about the human condition.