Daniel had been in a provincial psychiatric hospital and then had been moved back to the admitting general hospital. At last, the elderly psychiatrist I had been trying for weeks to contact for information about Daniel’s mental condition telephoned me. “I am Dr. R. You can pick Daniel up today,” she said.
“What is Daniel’s diagnosis?” I asked.
“Acute schizophrenia,” she answered.
“And what is his prognosis?” I ventured.
“Once a schizophrenic, always a schizophrenic,” she replied and hung up the phone.
It occurred to me that no doctor in her right mind would break that kind of news to a parent that way. But I already had reasons for distrusting the kind of “help” Daniel was getting from his psychiatrists.
I made the hour’s drive to the hospital, picked up our oddly subdued Daniel, and asked him as we started home if he would be able to wait in the car for a few minutes while I stopped at the library. In terror as to what sort of things might go wrong if I left him unattended, I ran into the building, found the small section on health, and gathered psychiatric texts, stories by or about schizophrenics, and books about dyslexia into my carryall. My formal education on the state of the art of psychiatric knowledge about schizophrenia had begun.
The texts I read implied that differing forms of mental illness were like different kinds of skin infections: different, but all happening in the same place. The more I learned about neurologists’ and psychiatrists’ probing of the brain for the cause of schizophrenia, the more I fell into the trap of thinking the brain became sick in a dozen different ways to produce various mental illnesses. Occasionally, I would encounter a doctor who mentioned similarities between one mental condition or another. In fact, manic depression and schizophrenia have many of the same symptoms. Autism used to be called “infantile schizophrenia.” Asperger’s is like schizophrenia in some ways, too. The idea that medical science really did not know any more than I did about what caused the symptoms of schizophrenia was a long, long dawn.
During several of Daniel’s episodes of schizophrenia I had noticed his ability to focus on conversation wavered and returned. I measured that fluctuation; the intervals were 2 minutes of clarity followed by 2 minutes of confusion to make a 4-minute cycle. The cycle persisted all day, every day. I measured that cycle twice again, years apart, during separate schizophrenic episodes with identical results. Between episodes we struggled to help him to defeat his addictions. He became schizophrenic time and time again.
Daniel reached out for music. His healing had begun. He listened daily while colouring mandalas. His behaviour improved. Still the fluctuating levels of cognition persisted. Then, one day, when his psychosis ended, the cycle stopped. His brain function must have become healthy because his behaviour and communication became completely normal during those few hours. What had happened?
My research would resume in earnest when he drugged himself into his next episode of schizophrenia. This time, I would learn exactly what Daniel meant when he said of his psychosis, “I’m dyslexic again.”
The health of the middle and inner ear is essential to normal behaviour. The spectrum of human behaviour, including so-called “mental” illnesses, is generated in the ear.
For a detailed account of how contemporary psychiatric theory fails to account for the characteristic behaviors, including speech, of schizophrenics, please read Listening for the Light. It provides an explanation of the neurology that connects the right ear with the left hemisphere of the brain to maintain the dominance of that cerebral hemisphere. Losses of dominance, whether brief and intermittent or prolonged and continuous, account for the most common forms of “mental” disturbance and can be treated with high-frequency sound, i.e., the music of violins. Dr. Alfred Tomatis proved the effectiveness of such treatment in autism (infantile schizophrenia). Daniel’s story shows how an application of a similar technique healed his symptoms of schizophrenia, which led me to the overarching theory of behaviour Tomatis sought.
You can read about this new paradigm based on the neurological relationship between the ear and the brain in Listening for the Light, Hemispheric Integration and the Ears, Your Child’s Ears and Behaviour, and Ear Function in SSRI Withdrawal at http://www.northernlightbooks.ca