Opportunities and their influence

The title of this post is utterly and totally unrelated to it’s content, but ‘writer’s block’ took over. Firstly, a little update:

Weds 3rd January: I rang my ‘care’ team during the day requesting an emergency appointment with a consultant. I reported extreme anxiety, anxiety about anxiety (GAD, anyone?) and impulsive suicidal urges (for want of a better word). I also felt quite uncontrollably aggressive and was worried that something unpredictable may happen. I was at work (scared shitless, to be honest).

No less than 3 hours later, I received a call back saying ‘the consultant doesn’t feel this is an emergency, I advise you to go to Accident & Emergency at the local hospital if you feel it is necessary’. Leaving the utter irony of his statement aside, what would the situation have to entail to be classified as an emergency? What does it take? Does it have to be left until something happens and then they step in with medication and hospitalisation and look like heroes?

I went to A&E soon after. After a further 2 hour wait (this I expected, and fault no one for) I was seen by the most amazing Liaison consultant I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She listened to my concerns, relaxed me, and has now applied for fast-tracked therapy! I am over the moon at the kindness and sincerity of this angel.

Now (Sun 7th January): I have begun to ponder on the use of words, and ideologies, such as ‘truth’, ‘fact’, ‘real’ and ‘reality’. What is the baseline for these words? General consensus? But of which country, culture, group of people?

Thing is, I cannot say ‘facts can never proved, purely because no one knows what the world is, where it came from, or why’ simply because that is hypocritical. I cannot say facts are not facts, without intending that to be a fact.

No one can prove MI5 are not after me. But somehow, by saying this it ‘proves’ I am suffering from a chronic, incurable disease that my rights must be taken away because of it. Anyone else see the hypocrisy?

Bottom line – what is the difference between someone kidnapping a person off the street because they believe abortion is OK, and a person who believes secret agents follow him being placed in a building with people who believe similar things?

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4 responses to this post.

  1. I was seen by the most amazing Liaison consultant I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She listened to my concerns, relaxed me, and has now applied for fast-tracked therapy! I am over the moon at the kindness and sincerity of this angel.

    I’m pleased on your behalf that you stumbled across someone who was helpful to you. It has been my experience that most everything that comes up during the “schizophrenic” process is coming up for a reason. Moving through and recovering from that experience therefore does not mean pushing that content back down via shame, medication, etc. Rather, it means exploring what has come up and discovering the reasons behind why it did. The following link may help provide you with some insights…

    Mental Breakdown as Healing

    I have begun to ponder on the use of words, and ideologies, such as ‘truth’, ‘fact’, ‘real’ and ‘reality’. What is the baseline for these words? General consensus? But of which country, culture, group of people?
    These points are well worth considering. Culture and setting, for example, has a tremendous influence on the outcome of schizophrenic experiences. Two more links you (and your readers) may enjoy…

    Understanding Recovery

    Culture & Mind: Psychiatry’s Missing Diagnosis


  2. PS: Here’s a few links that may prove helpful in your argument for psychotherapy…

    Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D. is a professor at the Institute of Social Medicine at the University of Tromso in Norway and senior assistant at the Department of Psychology in the University of Jyvskyl in Finland. Between 1981-1998, he worked as a clinical psychologist at the Keropudas hospital in Finland where he and colleagues developed a highly successful approach for working with psychosis known as Open Dialogue Treatment (OPT).

    Among those who went through the OPT program, incidence of schizophrenia declined substantially, with 85% of the patients returning to active employment and 80% without any psychotic symptoms after five years. All this took place in a research project wherein only about one third of clients received neuroleptic medication.
    Dialogue is the Change – Dr Jaakko Seikkula

    For whatever reason, the talk therapy world has largely abandoned the treatment of folks diagnosed as schizophrenia. Still laboring under a collective fear of having someone point the finger and say, “Oh yeah, you guys were the ones that blamed mothers for schizophrenia!” the field has shrunk away from clear and convincing data that the best treatment for this devastating problem is a caring relationship with a therapist! Yup, that’s right! A relationship with a talk-style therapist. Instead, talk therapists have turned over people and families suffering from this terrible condition to the pharmaceutical companies. Think about it for a minute. If neuroleptic drugs offer the best chances of someone not suffering from terrifying delusions and hallucinations, then why are those with the condition so unwilling to take the medication as prescribed?

    Talk Therapy for Schizophrenia – Not an Oxymoron

    “…85% of our clients (all diagnosed as severely schizophrenic) at the Diabasis center not only improved, with no medications, but most went on growing after leaving us.”

    – John Weir Perry

    The medical model of handling the acute “psychotic” episode comes under the classification of what is known as “treatment,” which implies doing something to the patients to relieve them of their symptoms, even to cure them. The alternative paradigm I am proposing is based on the concept of a “therapy” that gives respectful heed to the psychic process underlying the symptoms.

    The original meaning of the Greek word therapeia was a “waiting upon” or a “service done” to the gods, with implications of tending, nurturing, caring and being an attendant; in time the word was applied to medical care. The original connotation is pertinent to the handling of acute “psychotic” episodes, since the persons going through them are in a state of being overwhelmed by images of gods and other mythic elements. Hence a therapist does well to “be an attendant” (therapeutes) upon these mythic images so as to foster their work. “Treatment” strives to stop what is happening, while “therapy” attempts to move with the underlying process and help achieve the creative aim implicit in it.

    Treatment or Therapy – Dr. John Weir Perry


  3. More information for you Matt.


    You cannot talk about recovery from schizophrenia without discussing childhood abuse. This is probably not the venue to discuss this issue in depth but perhaps to raise some pertinent points.

    Firstly, we are aware of how frequent the history of previous sexual abuse is in people with a psychosis. Estimates of up to 80 % of women having been abused come from various studies and a significant percentage of men have also suffered abuse. The symptomatology of such people has been studied in detail with the suggestion that it may differ from that of text book schizophrenia1,3.

    Because of these statistics, we could even suggest that later psychosis was a fairly normal response to childhood abuse. This statement has an enormous impact on the patient. Previously, they have seen themselves as having been abused, often disbelieved and often blaming themselves for what occurred. Then on top of this they go mad and have two major negatives against their name.

    Instead of this, for them to see themselves as having been abused through no fault of their own and then to go on to get a perfectly common complication of abuse, has an enormous impact on the way they view themselves. To see their behaviour after the abuse as being appropriate for a child with no control over what is going on and that this behaviour, whilst useful with regard to childhood survival, becomes problematic as an adult is a view that both respects where they have come from and gives them strategies to take another path in future.

    This approach does not re-traumatise people or lead to recurrences of psychoses as many clinicians fear. To do otherwise, means that the person is again given the message that this is not to be talked about and that they should deal with it themselves. This would be the same unhelpful message they have received for much of their lives.

    One of the legacies of abuse is the tendency to be hard on yourself. Self harm is probably part of this and one common form of self harm for women is to sexually self harm. This means impulsive transient sexual relations with willing male patients followed by periods of remorse. This pattern is quite self destructive, when they are trying to build their self esteem. However, if the behaviour can be placed as a response to the abuse, then the person can elect to move on and leave such behaviour behind.

    Source: Roadmap to Recovery


  4. Just another article I came across today that I thought might be insight for you…

    Think again

    New research on schizophrenia suggests that the drugs won’t always work

    Oliver James
    Saturday October 22, 2005
    The Guardian

    The psychiatric establishment is about to experience an earthquake that will shake its intellectual foundations. When it has absorbed the juddering contents of the latest edition of one of its leading journals, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, it will have to rethink many of its most cherished assumptions. Not since the publication of RD Laing’s book Sanity, Madness and the Family, in 1964, has there been such a significant challenge to their contention that genes are the main cause of schizophrenia and that drugs should be the automatic treatment of choice.

    With his colleagues, guest editor John Read (whose name I shall use as a generic term for this body of evidence), a leading New Zealand psychologist, slays these sacred biological cows. The fact that some two-thirds of people diagnosed as schizophrenic have suffered physical or sexual abuse is shown to be a major, if not the major, cause of the illness. Proving the connection between the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia, Read shows that many schizophrenic symptoms are directly caused by trauma.
    Before proceeding any further with Read’s evidence, two important caveats must be entered. Firstly, many parents of offspring with the illness may find what follows deeply upsetting or infuriating. But this is not about blame, and it is not being suggested that all cases are caused by parental care. It is also important to realise that the new evidence is far more optimistic in its implications than the psychiatric establishment’s view, for patients, parents and carers alike. Secondly, it is important to stress that plenty of psychiatrists do not subscribe to all the tenets of the establishment view. I recognise that many are working in good faith with an incredibly testing patient population, and do a tremendous amount to help them.

    The cornerstone of Read’s tectonic plate-shifting evidence is the 40 studies that reveal childhood or adulthood sexual or physical abuse in the history of the majority of psychiatric patients (see, also, Read’s book, Models of Madness). A review of 13 studies of schizophrenics found rates varying from 51% at the lowest to 97% at the highest. Crucially, psychiatric patients or schizophrenics who report abuse are much more likely to experience hallucinations. The content of these often relate directly to the trauma suffered. At their simplest, they involve flashbacks to abusive events which have become generalised to the whole of their experience. For example, an incest survivor believed that her body was covered with ejaculate. The visual hallucinations or voices often tyrannise and belittle the patients, just as their tormentors did in reality, creating a paranoid universe in which intimates cannot be trusted.

    You can read the rest of the article here: Think again


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