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HOPE on the Other Side

Jan 10, 2019

Dr Ken gives another short lecture on the SchizoPhrenia CARE project today.


First, a little more on the cultural background of mental health.  Traditional Western medicine is currently the main form of medical practice  in the United States and the West today.  Dr Ken spent four years doing lab research in brain chemistry related to psychosis.  Please see the pdf document from Dr Ken on psychosis available at the website listed below.  Some believe that severe mental illness is a myth.


More on culture:  the term "allopathic medicine” is typically used and mis-used to refer to traditional Western medicine.  But it is not really allopathic at all, as that means a medicine based upon classical Greek practices which was based upon “humors,” and balancing them with treatments opposite to the symptoms. 


To begin to bridge the culture gap, since 1989 the NIH has been exploring and studying Traditional Chinese medicine and Hindu Indian Aruydevic medicine theory and practices. 

Today, this study group is become a formal center of NIH.  It is named the National Center for Integrative and Complementary Medicine. 


The other podcast episode on the Soteria program shows how it represents an effort to change the Western medical cultural model to one of greater healing and compassionate management of those folks in crisis with psychosis. 


Another group of interest is The “Hearing Voices Network.”  It is a movement started in the United Kingdom, in Manchester, England in 1988.  One goal is to normalize the experiences of hearing voices, having visions, having tactile sensations and other sensory experiences.  One of their aims is to promote and develop self-help groups.  This group and movement also represents a big culture shift and change.


More on the Schizophrenia Care Project.


First, the name of the project.   The word “project” comes from self-help and personal transformation groups and refers to a community based project which is not a personal goal or project.  Also, it refers to bringing the possible into the realm of the real.  The vision, goal or mission of the SchizoPhrenia CARE project is to promote and support balanced, healthful, meaningful, and respectful lives for those living with schizophrenia, hearing voices, or chronic psychosis and their caregivers.


The first word is “Balanced.” This gets to the notion that  life can be thought of as having areas in it that are like spokes on a bicycle wheel.  Some of those spokes are health, fitness, diet, exercise, learning, productive activities, self-care, friendships, family, job or work, finances, fun things to do, hobbies, religious and spiritual activities, meditation, sleep and rest, etc.  So, a balanced life is a life where a person strives to have the same length on the different spokes of the wheel, or parts of life.


Next, the word is  “Healthful.”  Health is made up of at least three main parts.  First is the physical body, diet, exercise, rest, and self-care.  Next, the mental health, this is about a person’a habitual thoughts and attitudes, having lively friends and interests to keep the mind active.  And third is spiritual health.  This is one’s relationship to a Higher Power, or God, or for some folks, an active involvement in a supportive, loving and accepting church community.


The word “Meaningful” refers to a humanistic idea that our lives are a story.  There were events and things that happened in our childhoods, events at school.  Perhaps for many listening to this podcast, events related to odd and frightening experiences and behavior, and even emergency contact with police and mental health hospital emergency rooms.   After the Nazi holocaust in WWII,  a prisoner who survived, a psychiatrist named Victor Frankl, wrote a book “Man’s Search for Meaning.”  One of his questions was why did some prisoners wither and die while others lived while both were in those miserable conditions of cold and malnutrition.  In his book, he states that finding meaning in one’s life is part of the answer.  The other things are to be responsible for one’s self, and care for other people. The main reason for living is to find meaning in one’s life.  Also, he adds that each of us has the freedom to find his or her own meaning in what we do, what we experience, and how we handle those experiences.  So for the listeners, there may have to be a re-telling of your own life story, as you find new and acceptable meaning. 


The last word in the phrase is “Respectful.”  This is the opposite of the shameful negative stigma.  Many groups want to change the culture about stigma over mental illness.  But rather that fight against it, the phrase Dr Ken has chosen for the project is “respectful lives.”  So respectability is the goal, the thing we are striving toward for those living with schizophrenia, chronic psychosis and those who are hearing voices. Respectability is the new normal.  Respectability begins with self-respect and self-love.


The logo for the project is a heart-shaped partial outline surrounding a human head.  Within the head are little triangles.  These symbolize the thoughts, ideas, memories and experiences (both inner and outer experiences) of the person living with schizophrenia and those hearing voices.   The heart outline symbolizes the core value of the project & staff.  That is the value of care & love, bridge building, of seeing the person living with schizophrenia as not fundamentally different from one’s self. 


Caring for and loving one’s fellow human being in the same degree that one loves and cares for oneself is a moral value.  It is a moral value which requires growth, stability and support to live and act at that particular level of moral development.  This is a stage of development beyond and above the selfish and only self-serving moral level.


The short hand logo name is SP-CARE.  That is a funny abbreviation of SchizoPhrenia as SP.  That’s kinda like spelling schizophrenia with a capital S at the beginning and a capital P in the middle.  But it works.


The next big arena for the project is adding its weight to the already existing support and empowerment groups.  The idea here is that there are many ideas which can help the family or the board and care staff take care of  someone who is living with schizoiphrenia.  Many people already know what to do.  The challenge is to embody what we know, to keep up the motivation to act on what we know and to live the values and principles to help all involved. This has started with an online accountability FaceBook community public group. 


The crowning achievement envisioned for the project is local and international sets of long term residential, education, support and empowerment homes for those living with chronic psychosis, living with schizophrenia, and those hearing voices in acute crisis.  The homes have the name of New Hope Campus, and the goal is to have sets of three in a community staffed with a good number of folks who will care for, support and form meaningful relationships with the residents over time.  There will be diet and exercise support.  Outside holistic psychiatrists will be used to oversee any who may require medications.


Funding through large scale international charitable donations was discussed.


Lastly the audience is invited support the vision of balanced, healthful, meaningful and respectful lives for those living with schizophrenia and to subscribe to the websites below.