Wanting to move on

Ian had lunch yesterday with a friend of ours who has known us since the time Chris had his breakdown. The conversation turned to Chris at one point and our friend enquired in a plaintive voice if Ian and I had joined a “support group for schizophrenics.” Ian felt indignant. “Well, no,” he retorted somewhat testily, “we no longer even think of Chris as “schizophrenic” and we don’t feel that we need support.” Our friend sees Chris regularly, and while it is true that Chris is not employed or actively involved in taking courses, our friend can surely can see that Chris is more or less back to “normal.”

But our friend doesn’t see that. He sees the label for the so-called disease, which says that Chris is a “schizophrenic.” He’s not alone. There are certain people with whom we hate to discuss Chris because we get that sorrowful look and tone of voice from them that implies that Chris is his label. When we express our confidence in Chris that it’s just a matter of time before he is ready to go back to university or take on challenging work, other people don’t know how to respond. They somehow “know” that this conviction of ours can’t be. We get a tone of voice that implies skepticism.

Ian said something else interesting, interesting because he doesn’t share my anti-medication bias. He said he wished that the doctors gave us the right message from the beginning about Chris, that he just needed time, probably about ten years, to build his personality. Instead, the doctors gave us the wrong message from the beginning, that Chris had this thing called schizophrenia, that was a chronic brain disease and that life as we and Chris knew it was permanently over. Well, life isn’t over for us. In fact, we’re enjoying it a lot, and we really appreciate the gifts that Chris brings to us on a daily basis. We think our three sons are just super young men and we enjoy them all. In many ways, life couldn’t be better.

18 thoughts on “Wanting to move on”

  1. Coincidentally, my ex-wife, and our son’s mother, was promoting all of the benefits of joing a support group to me a couple of days ago. The common interpretation appears to be if you hold on to a belief for recovery and wellness that you are in denial.

  2. People should think twice about joining a support group for exactly the reason you cite. All that misery collected under one roof doesn’t appeal to me. Nobody, but nobody goes through what the other person is going through in exactly the same way, and I think a support group can get competitive. Would people in a support group really cheer if I announced one day that my son is weller than well and back on the competitive job market or at university? Perversely, I think it would make them feel worse about their own relative’s prospects. I’ve been in a support group when Chris was in a day program, and it wasn’t uplifting, even though that was the goal. A lot of the time I felt crummy because I compared Chris to others who seemed much further evolved.

  3. Isn’t it amazing the lack of support one receives when one’s understanding is different from the mainstream propaganda fed belief of biopsychiatry? It can be helpful to vent and grieve–which is one supposed purpose of “support groups” However, in the “mental illness” or “schizophrenia” support groups I am aware of there is a primary goal of coercing family into coercing the labeled family member into “medication management” of distress. It is taught and considered the primary goal of “treatment” to gain compliance in taking the drugs.

    No wonder these folks need to be “supported!” Willful ignorance would take quite a toll on individuals who in other respects have the ability to THINK critically and are open to other’s experiences: as being valid (just as valid)as their own.

    It really seems to me that family members and parents tend to think of the person in distress as “an issue that must be dealt with,” rather than a person who needs understanding, acceptance and support–unconditional Love. This is further validated in these groups, it smacks of martyrdom and placing the family members in the role of victim.

    I know that I quit attending a local support group when I was fighting to free me son from an institution. The leader of the local chapter, told me I should not be fighting to bring my child home, implied it was irresponsible and his care would be too expensive. The reality is I saved the taxpayers almost a quarter of a million dollars the first year.

  4. IMO, what most of these so-called “support” groups really support is “mental illness”. Just as “advocacy” groups often advocate for “mental illness”. The more misery, the better. Since there’s nothing else to prove the existence of “mental illness”, but the misery it causes. The more misery, the more “real” “mental illness” becomes, seems to be the “logic” here. I don’t know, but IMO there are so many much more pleasant things to do in life than to cultivate misery.

  5. We all have to have dual minds to be intelligent. For example in a game of chess, you have to know what you are planning to do, and what your opponent is planning to do. Two different perspectives. During this imagining you have to remember and decide which one is the “correct” position to take.
    Everyone has a subconscious mind coming from their body. The same voice (of hunger) that normal people have, that tells them to have another bite of food, is the same voice a schizophrenic hears.
    Obesity, from listening to this voice is a serious problem.
    NEWS quote “Obesity is a growing problem around the world, and has tripled since 1980 in some areas of North America, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, Australasia and China.”
    Anyone can be named a schizophrenic.

  6. Rossa,

    In your post, you mentioned that Ian had commented that it might take “ten years” for your son to rebuild his personality.

    As you know, I’m a supporter of the work of Abram Hoffer, M.D. (the father of Orthomolecular Medicine)…. Dr. Hoffer had enormous success with young people, however he also said it often took “ten years” for people to recover who had been introduced to conventional psychiatry – the label, the incarceration, and/or the drugs….

    Your son went through a lot, and may have some more to go through, but I would be he makes his way just fine, in spite of what the “experts” have to say.

    Trust your gut, and stay the course with him. Ignore the naysayers, and avoid bio-psychiatry, like the plague!

    My best,

    Duane Sherry

  7. It seems people here have the number of the Pharma beast, especially Becky Murphy gave a clear description of the twisted purpose of Pharma promoted “Talk-Therapy”.

    Big Pharma has a program of ideas AKA propaganda which has been swallowed whole by government agencies. Those ideas are intended to keep people on meds and keep them from growning, changing or becoming well.
    Support = stay the same.
    I think they have $everal Billion Rea$on$ to want everything $ame-$ame.
    One-third to one-half the poulation on psychotropic drugs – I don’t think Big Business minds the disposibale low paid workers nor Governemnt the Mindless Masses.

    Forced Postivism = Happyface Fascism = denial of the negativity that people must experience and live in order to change and adapt.

    The product that Big Pharma defines as a human being is more a sickly ghost or a unhuman being.

    Supose I say that one kind of change therapy has to do with people coming in to say they want to “work” on somthing that bothers them. (Though it took me over two years to ask) – and of course they would have complete acceptance – but no sympahty and they would get critical confrontation and that no matter what happened they couldn’t posssibley avoid confrontatin and being face to face with painful experience just for the facr of being there with experts – though they might not “work” they would always be left with a “work point” burning into their conciousness.
    Given that who do you know that has severe problems would be motivated to go to such a group and wwhat do you think they would ask to work on?
    I really haven’t heard good feedback, Is it really tru that the majority want to spend their lives in avoidnce of “stress” as Big Pharma promotes? A pity – because it is certain confinement to the Phantom Zone.
    No Pain – no Gain.
    In mental illnes there is the frustration of the desiring consciousness, this is the real human not the sysmpton list. This much I know so I rather suspect that there are more out ther that want to work o someting than change their brain chemistry – but I haven’t gotten enough feedback.
    If the ill change for the positive all those who are in comfortable relationships with them will become uncomfortable. So you can see big Pharma is hard at work doing the reverse of this. The family that is propagandized together is comatized $together$.

  8. Oboy! Forgot the spellcheck, looks bad. I always need three passes in typing.
    Thanks for publishing.

    I’m interested in your story with Chris since I was an abused or unloved child and that was major if not all in producing the condition labeled schizophrenic and the whole enchilada. I was the genuine article, I assure everyone.

    On the other hand it may be the things I did to deal with these historical emotional problems ( bio-energetics, emotional expression and confrontation) were of themselves curative of schizophrenia.

    I am much interested in those who who have had different from me, so-called relatively normal lives. I am much interested to study to determine if the methods that I have experienced would work of other classes of people with the same condition. I think there is a general thing called “growth processes” which is useful for all humans.

    Thanks for sharing here.

  9. I always have problems with spelling when writing comments. In this blog I go back pre-birth to try to document what was different about “Chris” from the beginning. Different, yes, but not diseased or like a defective product. Many people I come into contact with through the blog have stories more like yours (visible trauma). I tend to think that certain individuals are just sensitive. If I could do it all over again, I would have learned to control my temper better. (I have three sons and an equally opinionated husband). So, that may be a reason why Chris had a breakdown later on, but I also suspect that if it wasn’t me or us, there are many other things in our environment that can push a sensitive person over the edge.

  10. I wonder how often we don’t allow individuals to move on, or to grow, because we thwart their psychotic experiences?

    I had a recent discussion with a psychiatrist regarding my son’s experience, rocky but progressive, and drug free for over two years now, where she advocated the merits of maintenance medication. I say bullshit today though I would have agreed with her two weeks ago.

    Sometimes I think we simply need to get out of the road; being supportive but not prescriptive. Easier said than done. I am of the view that the most debilitating component of the whole scenario is the creation of context that forever resides in the background; for the individual, for his or her caregivers, and for his or her family.

  11. The slippery slope of the psychiatrist advocating “maintenance” medication. I, too, tend to wonder if the psychotic experiences are a necessary step on the road to full recovery (as long as we, on our part, continue to work the empathy and the low expressed emotion)and aim to get them off, or keep them off the meds. Having gone through a terrible six months with my son two and a half years ago, he was psychotic, yes, but he was also able to express himself in ways that he had been unable to do before. I would hate to go through that again, but that’s me speaking for him. It’s very hard to explain what I’m trying to say. I don’t necessarily disagree with medications if they are used short term for crisis situations, sort of like a tranquillizer dart. The problem is, the doctors don’t want to give the medications up once the crisis has passed. I have also tried upping vitamin therapy when my son was psychotic, and it didn’t work. He was determined, in my mind, to be psychotic. And, yes, it is easier said than done to be supportive, not prescriptive, when we are clearly worried about the state of the other person’s mind and the possible ramifications of what might happen to the individual and others if we don’t step in.

  12. So much of what we undertake is fear motivated. “The possible ramifications…” This is the contextual reference I am referring to. After the first presentation for psychiatric treatment it’s always there. Within this context we create our own fear motivated stories…what if he jumps in front of a train? what if he boards a bus and cuts someone’s head off? what if……….?

  13. Undeniably, since you give family support an don’t want to evolve to “medication management”, those groups would do him harm.
    Does he want to work on himself in some way? I she interested in some sort of real therapy?
    Do you think facilitating strengthening and channeling his emotional responses in any way might work? The first thing I always think of is anger of course, helping the person to focus be aware of and channel anger.
    It worked for me but I am not naive enough to think it’s appropriate for everyone.
    Still it’s usually my first question out of the barn. How is the person angry, how do they deal with anger and would anger venting exercises be appropriate?
    What have you explored in this area?

  14. I’m not sure who your question is directed to, but I’ll assume it was for me. My blog details all the therapies that my son has undertaken. They are not your regular kinds of therapies. I had to decide that there was a link to schizophrenia. None of these therapies advertised this. I thought it was important to get my son to “feel” emotions and to go through certain experiences, so we did sound therapy (which put him in an out of body experience), Alexander Technique (to connect body/mind), Assemblage Point shift and Family Constellation Therapy. All of these therapies to my way of thinking deal with trauma. Anger or fear is the result of trauma. My son also has been seeing his psychiatrist twice a week for over two years, so surely she’s helping him deal with whatever he has in the anger or fear department.

  15. Hi Rossa , Yes I’m directing to you. You are a cogent contact to a person with schizophrenia and no apparent extreme early life trauma. So I’m interested to study this.

    I am working in my community trying to see how I can help others with my experience. I am spending time volunteering, talking and studying the Government methods, their ideas and what is available to the community. I’m getting a lot of other information from the internet. I have a very good base of experience from which to evaluate and study other methodologies.

    I’ve been reading through your Blog but I’m not sure That will get me the details to evaluate what I am looking for.

    So this question:
    “Still it’s usually my first question out of the barn. How is the person angry, how do they deal with anger and would anger venting exercises be appropriate?
    What have you explored in this area?”

    ..It’s what I’m asking you in your relationship not what might go on elsewhere. Your son lives with you? Do you use the opportunity to explore his anger? Can you discuss rational and irrational angers with him? Can he talk to you about them, meta-communicate about his behaviour or directly vent? Have you tried helping him to focus and, own and vent anger or does he have no problem with that? Do you encourage him to be angry? Is it all a dead end? Is my paradigm not on the right track?

    “so surely she’s helping him deal” lol , I’ve assessed quite a few psychiatrists(even those trying to practice psychotherapy), using my positive experience as a touchstone – as incompetent. Most psychiatrists are afraid of having their patients emotional (a false idea of being “objective”) they can’t help them to transform very well.
    I think your son is not on meds at all, yes?

    So do you know what she’s doing with him? What she’s done? Her methods? Do you have a post here to describe her methods? Do you ask for reports from her or him as to how say his anger ability might be developing?
    You previously described some situations in which you were angry when your son was young and he probably it seems as though sensitivity retreated in fearfulness. So did any attempt to help him engage in anger to actualize himself work? Or is this paradigm not appropriate for some reason? It almost sounds like you are saying she’s helping snip out that troublesome anger at the office. Anger’s just a human emotion, a very useful tool in the human toolbox. Is she teaching him to learn to use it better?Do you know the goal? Ay results after two years?

    Oh yeah, and ..so he has been wanting to go to these therapies? does he want to go to do self-work – to get a way to satisfy his desires. Does he ask to work or is the situation set that if he goes to what ever place, he must ask to work? What I mean is, in the development of consciousness, the person needs to help, specifically with things. Please cure my “label” is not consciousness development , nor is “what do you want to “talk” about today?” etc etc

    I don’t have time to fully explain all my thoughts and questions but can expand any you might respond to.
    I’m just throwing out many questions to find a way to hook on to something concrete here or significant to my universe me so I can try to understand the framework of your experience. I don’t really need extensive or very personal details.

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