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« Peripheral Neuropathy | Main | Banquo’s Ghost »

September 24, 2006



Hello Dr. Petty,
Thank you for taking the time to not only review my blogs but jot me a note letting me know you had written this entry. One modest correction I should make before I respond is, I am a "she". (No offense taken.)

Re: "If the person can be cured, then it is NOT schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that has no cure.

Richard Petty: This is not true: but rather than being an indictment of psychiatry, it’s an indictment of bad psychiatry.

I would very much agree Dr. Petty. The last time I checked, psychiatrists were human beings, and human beings have the capacity to be both good at what they do and... not so good.

I would define my own experience of psychosis as ego collapse; attributable to a combination of trauma and multiple losses. Those losses were related to roles and relationships I had invested my sense of self in. They occurred so close together I wasn't able to assimilate one loss/trauma before another hit. The situation became overwhelming as a result, and my ego -- that is to say, my sense of who I believed myself to be and what I believed to be true about the world -- collapsed.

The spiritual element comes into being because when the ego is stripped out of the equation, one comes to experience their self as nothing-at-all, yet within this nothingness there is indeed, Something. This is a much desired experience on a formal spiritual path but can be very disorienting to someone who wasn't expecting or anticipating the experience.

It was my lack of experience and insight that sent me searching for answers. As a result of my research, I knew that those two psychiatrists were wrong to state that there is no cure for schizophrenia. My own research was far more current than their textbooks had been.

My sites exist to provide information to those who have gone through a schizophrenic process. Ideally, they provide both a possible framework from which to draw meaning and purpose, and they offer the possibility of hope for recovery.

It's important to know that many people recover, but not all do. Many people require medication, but not all do. What recovery actually looks like will vary among individuals. It is up to each of us to sculpt out our own recovery vision and live it to the best of our ability. Medication, information, family, friends, doctors -- each of these are a tool that may be able to assist us in that process.

My own recovery has come about without medication, hospitals, doctors or any form of therapy. It's important to understand that when people make do without something it's often because they've substituted something else in its place. I didn't have a hospital, but I did have a secure place to live. I didn't have doctors, but I did have the internet which allowed me to access some of the most brilliant, insightful and innovative minds in psychiatry and psychology. I didn't have therapy, but I did have a few very close friends I could lean on, and did.

I sincerely appreciate your willingness to review my sites, share your experience and offer your opinion. No, we do not agree on every point but the dialogue is healthy because it brings new information to the forefront: Recovery from schizophrenia is possible; genuine spiritual experiences can often be embedded within a schizophrenic breakdown; schizophrenic breakdowns can often contain genunine spiritual experiences; there are different forms of schizophrenic experience.

I remain indebted to psychiatrists such as Carl Jung, John Weir Perry, R.D. Laing and David Lukoff. Their experience of and research into the schizophrenic experience captured the process of my own in such telling detail. I am likewise indebted to the kindness of some exceptionally good friends and a smattering of kind strangers. All of the above (and more) contributed in some positive fashion to my own recovery. Hopefully, I've managed to capture some of that and pass it on via my blogs.

Thank you again, Dr. Petty.

Richard Petty

Thank you so much for responding: as I said in an earlier note, it is abundantly clear that the process that you went through had not caused you any cognitive problems.

I apologize for the gender mistake: now corrected!

I'd also like to thank you for your willingness to discuss what you went through. We have spent a great deal of time trying to de-mythologize and de-stigmatize mental illness. That was why I found myself in Natchez speaking to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. A tremendous resource IMHO.

I was also very interested in your formulation of what went happened to you and why. I wrote a brief piece about the way in which men tend to place their sense of self on their achievements and women tend to base their sense of self far more on their relationships. Though there are clearly going to be a hundred exceptions to the rule, it is, I think, a useful concept. You may find one or two other helpful links in that item.

I do wish you well, and thank you for your willingness to share your story and to help so many other people.

Kindest regards,


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