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Since you lectured in Ashland in January I tried the Empower Plus, and have now been off lithium since the spring, with no change in mood. I am still hyper (getting 3 hours of sleep a night) but not manic or even hypo-manic, and have been loving my life more than I ever did when I was "normal" before becoming bipolar at age 60. By the way I am a LCSW too. I do feel that the potential for my mood shifting any day is still there, but I've been stable now for a year and a half, one year on lithium and half a year on Empower Plus that I'm starting to dare to hope that it's permanent. Peter Silverman
Note by the editor Since the timing of mood shifts is highly variable, a long period of stability would be needed to know that a particular treatment is working.
Thank you for reading my e-mail. I think it would be great to create a place at your site where people could share their story. I would like to share my story with you and so here it is.
I started having panic attacks in the third grade and from there things continued to get worse. I was first hospitalized at the age of 17 years old. At that time I drank heavily to get rid of the racing thoughts and terrible mood swings. I continued to suffer with symptoms of my illness and to be hospitalized multiple times in the next 15 years. Approximately 5 years ago my illness took a turn for the worse. I suffered a complete mental breakdown, and not knowing what I was doing I carved "I hate me" in my leg with a razor. I was subsequently hospitalized again for 3 weeks and for the next 6 months I did not even know where I was or what I was doing. I lost my job and my life do to my illness. After 6 months of being on many medication (12 at one time) that did not work the doctors decided to try ECT treatment. I received 6 ECT treatments with only very mild improvement. For the next four years I was totally unable to function, and I was in and out of the hospital (10 times last year alone). The illness totally consumed my life and just about destroyed it. After being ill for so long I had given up the will to continue to live and attempted suicide several times. The doctors no longer knew what to do for me and had basically decided that I would not get any better. Essentially my life was over at the age of 34. Then the miracle of Empowerplus came into my life as you know. My doctors are absolutely amazed at how well I am doing. My counselor stated to me that they had basically given up any hope of me getting any better, and did not think I would make it through another year. But, now I love every day of my life. I never think of hurting myself in any way - never. I am currently seeking employment, and look forward to re-entering the workforce. I have two children, and they have been through a lot due to my illness. I can be a mother to them again, and that is wonderful. I want to get the word out to people about this wonderful alternative to medication, especially people like me for whom the medication did not work, and they too have given up hope. Therefore, please feel free to share my story with anyone you would like. If I can help one other person it would mean a lot to me.
Thanks again and God Bless You!
The following material regards the use of amino acids and other natural measures to treat depression. While these ideas do not apply to everyone, many of these concepts and approaches may be germane to many, if not most, persons that are in a depressed state.
The current medical model almost summarily uses various antidepressant medications in which to treat depression. These medications often operate to increase the availability or usage of the neurotransmitters of serotonin and/or dopamine in the brain.
Many orthomolecular and naturopathic practitioners and books extol the use of 5HTP or tryptophan to increase one's serotonin level, and the use of tyrosine, phenylalanine, or both to increase dopamine. They recommend this for the treatment of depression. Certainly, these amino acids, taken along with the necessary vitamin and mineral cofactors, do exactly as intended, which is to increase serotonin or dopamine in one's brain. And certainly, doing so often substantially alleviates the symptoms of depression.
The substitution of antidepressants that work on the serotonin or dopamine axis with nutrient precursors that do the same represents "an allopathic conceptual approach" to depression.
However, depression, far more often than not, is not simply a lack of serotonin or dopamine or both. This is true even if raising the levels of one or both of these two key neurotransmitters often brings substantial relief to this state of mental and physical dysfunction.
Depression is often a broad deficiency state across most, if not all, of the entire neurotransmitter range... and there are about 100 known neurotransmitters. Once depression is recognized as such, it is profoundly treatable in an amazingly short time.
In my recovery from manic depression, I began to use tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine in mid 1997, with very substantial and positive mood effect. I initially used tryptophan, taurine, and GABA daily for brain inhibition and to assist with sleep (this regime is very similar to what Julia Ross suggests in her book "The Mood Cure"). I also used the key nutrient combination of 500 mg. of L- carnitine in the morning and phosphatidyl choline throughout the day to slow the spontaneous rate of neuronal firing in my brain, an effect that was very similar to lithium. In addition to this, to treat depression in myself I used both tyrosine alone and/or a tyrosine/phenylalanine combination on a fairly regular basis from May 1997 until February 2000. The use of tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine did substantially help me to alleviate depression in myself, and I learned a great deal from the use of these amino acids...
I later found that just jazzing my serotonin and dopamine levels, as helpful as this was to my mood and well being for a few years or so, was a rather weak approach to treating depression in both myself and other persons vs. increasing the levels of all of my neurotransmitters all at once.
One must realize that out of the roughly 100 known neurotransmitters, 99 of them are amino acid based, and the key exception here is acetylcholine. Assuming that all of the vitamin and mineral cofactors are present, the entire amino acid range and choline (or phosphatidyl choline, it's more active form), represents precursor loading of the entire neurotransmitter range, for all ostensible purposes.
In February of 2000, I began to experiment with taking broad based amino acids, rather than simply taking a few individual ones to treat depression in myself. Almost immediately, by a process of trial and error, I found that a mixture of two readily available blends of amino acids, along with added tryptophan, carnitine, phosphatidyl choline, and vitamins B complex and C, would boost me out of any degree of depression that I was in and/or keep me out of depression entirely if I took it in adequate quantity often enough. Specifically, the two blends of amino acids that I am referring to here are Pure Form 20 and WAC blend from www.jomarlabs.com. After trial and error of a number of Jomar Laboratories blended amino acid products in early 2000, I settled on a 50/50 mix of these two specific blends to affect mood change in myself. These two blends are quite reasonable in cost, reasonable enough for most persons to be able to afford in quantity. I would commonly get a kilogram of each blend in either powder (the powder does not taste too good. yuck!) or capsule form and take between 20 and 50 grams or more in total of these blends on a daily basis (10 to 25 grams of each blend). To these amino acid blends, I would add some tryptophan, for which I had a prescription, and ALWAYS add carnitine and phosphatidyl choline as well (if I did not add choline I would get a bit of a headache if I took too large a dosage of these two blends). I would also always take vitamins B complex and C at the same time, along with lots of water.
The effect of my using the broad based neurotransmitter precursor approach discussed above on my mood and well being was, and still is, absolutely AWESOME, compared to my prior approach of just using tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine in order to effect mood change in myself.
The single and crucial catch to all of the above was that I had to be adequately absorptive in my gut. Since 1997, I have found that the absorptive rate in my intestines could vary widely from day to day and week to week depending. Even a single exposure to a rather small amount of a food that I was allergic to could substantially impair my intestinal absorptive ability for days, assuming that I did not recognize this and intervene. I also learned that if I was bloated in my abdominal area I was malabsorptive as well. In addition, I if I was exposed to a lot of allergic food, that I could quite easily get to the point where I could not even absorb water well, much less almost any nutrients at all, until this situation was resolved. And lastly, I learned how to massively correct my nutrient absorptive rate within a matter of hours.
Once I learned how to correct my nutrient absorptive rate I could effect absolutely profound change in my mood and well being. I have found that it does not take the brain that long to build a lot of neurotransmitters, once it has adequate nutrient raw material to work with. Even four or five hours can be very significant in this regard.
I can quite literally correct a state of very severe depression with suicidal ideation in myself within a single day, something that no one else in the world can do at this time, to the best of my knowledge.
Once I put the above concepts together, I realized that I had gained complete and profound control of any and all states of depression in myself, as well as I could avoid such states entirely if I so wished to do so. This is a fact that has been true for over three and a half years. It is also a fact that I fully expect will remain so for the rest of my life, as long as I have access to the supplements discussed here.
Here are some other lessons I learned:
Nothing has done more for me both physically and mentally than the free form amino acid blends and the necessary added nutrients that I have mentioned. These necessary added nutrients are tryptophan, phosphatidyl choline, carnitine, EFA's, and the entire vitamin and mineral range for the most part.
I refuse to teach any person how to use excitatory nutrients until they learn how to use inhibitory ones, ESPECIALLY if they are bipolar.
Never forget the two most common causes of recurrent depression in anyone. These are the issues of the likelihood of multiple hidden food allergies and the likelihood of intestinal dysbiosis. Usually when someone has one of these problems, they almost always have the other as well. These two issues always ought to ALWAYS be assessed and/or addressed in any person that suffers from chronic or recurrent depression.
I sincerely hope that the above material is helpful to the reader.
I'll start out with my treatment plan; its probably the most interesting for people. This is a 100% "natural" approach. I am Bipolar II, depressed almost 100% of the time, concurrent with hypomanic behavior (Mixed State).
1) Exercise: weight training and cardiovascular workout 5 days/week.
This helps fight my constant depression. I also use the weight training to build muscle mass and burn fat without caloric restriction dieting.
The idea is to keep blood sugar stable, maintain brain glucose levels and reduce depression.
5 moderately sized meals a day
40-50% protein, the rest is high quality fats and complex carbs
Elimination of all foods identified in IgG food allergy test, especially including wheat and dairy.
3) Nutritional supplements include:
Vitamin A, C, B6, B12 - required vitamins
Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc - required minerals
Manganese - helps with GABA production
Lithium Orotate - mood stabilizer
Fish Oil - brain food
Quercetin (this herb is a mast cell stabilizer, helps to reduce histamine levels)
5HTP - for Serotonin
SAMe - overall neurotransmitter synthesis; specifically helps with Epinephrine levels
DL-Phenylalanine - source of many excitory neurotransmitters
Mucuna (this herb supplies L-Dopa, a predcursor to Dopamine)
Theanine - helps with GABA levels
Taurine - relaxing (GABA agonist, Glutamate antagonist)
Even with the Theanine and Managanese, I still have trouble producing enough GABA. I'll sometimes supplement with Kava and Valerian during the day to keep myself balanced.
Kava - relaxing
Valerian - increases GABA levels
Melatonin - helps with sleep.
Hypericum - relaxing, helps induce sleep
Rauwolfia - reduces adrenaline level, helps with sleep
Phosphatidylserine - reduces cortisol levels
This program was developed with the help of an N.D. I measure my neurotransmitter levels with a test from www.neuroscienceinc.com. This has been very helpful to target specific neurotransmitter levels and develop a good baseline mood. I continue to measure and adjust every three months (I figure this will take about a year) to get to optimal levels.
This program is not cheap. I spend about $300/month on supplements. Also scheduling daily exercise, supplements, and 5 meals can be a PITA. However the only time I don't feel good is when I don't keep up with the program. If I fall off the wagon, it only takes a day or two back on track to feel good again. This is a far superior solution than the psychopharm I've tried. I feel good with no side effects.
Here is my brief history:
As early as I can remember, my thoughts have been accompanied by a sense of loss. As happy as I ever was, throughout all my childhood and adolescence, I always felt uncentered, always a few steps away from feeling "good".
My first major depression occurred at about seventeen. My first job was at a local gas station. I really enjoyed this work - meeting people pumping their gas, helping travelers with emergency tire repairs and other road service; I was working hard to pay for my new car and keep it running. I missed having all the free time used to have, now that I was obligated to have to work to keep this car on the road. It seemed like a trap. My friends were all out having fun, and I had to work after school every day. But if I gave up the job I would lose the car and wouldn't have the freedom to travel around to see my friends when I wasn't working. This turned into a major depression that lasted for about two months. I neglected my friends, my job, and my girlfriend, and binge spent to try to try to make myself feel better. I pulled myself out of it after a near nervous breakdown by reducing my work hours.
Looking back, a more normally functioning brain could have reasoned its way through this minor dilemma with far less stress on relationships, job, myself, and my wallet. This was the first of many cycles of working hard, achieving success, and undoing all my work in a rebound depression.
In college and my early career, I continued this pattern by starting classes and projects with energetic fervor, impressing fellow students, professors and coworkers with my intelligence, enthusiasm, and ability to take on tremendous jobs and projects and get them ALMOST done...only to disappear at the last minute, depressed, sullen, withdrawn, alone. Several times, I'd achieve positions of responsibility, only to set back my career with medical leave due to severe depression.
When I was about 25, I decided it was time to seek professional help. Over the course of three years we discussed my ongoing depressions, my behavior when I felt "expansive", my spending habits when I was depressed, and the subsequent bankruptcy. My counselor made a firm diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was surprised because I'd never thought anything traumatic had ever happened to me. But she helped me realize that every childhood scraped knee, every act of parental discipline, was trauma or emotional abuse. For the next 15 years, I relied on her diagnosis of depression and anxiety caused by PTSD.
I worked with a psychiatrist to get on antidepressants. However I wasn't messed up enough to hold his interest. We experimented with a few drugs and settled on Zoloft. He then had me follow up with my primary care physician. Zoloft relieved some of the depression, and got me energized enough to get a new, exciting job. This felt like progress. Around this time I got married.
I hated the side effects of the Zoloft, and quit. I started using St. John's Wort and Ginkgo Biloba to help manage my depression. This sustained my energetic state and kept me on the fastrack at my new job. I slept less than 5 hours a night. This was the dot-com era and I was right in the middle of it. The financial payoff was phenomenal. Between 1999 and 2001 I made over $750,000. My wife and I bought a house in a coastal town. Then depression started creeping back in. Relying on my PTSD diagnosis, I figured I was overstressed and quickly switched to Zoloft, which sustained my energy level for another 2 years. I had very little contact with our two kids during this time. I was either working at my job or furiously remodeling our house.
Well, what goes up must come down. About 2 years ago the Zoloft failed and my depression became overwhelming. I lost interest in almost all activities. My doctor switched me to Paxil, which also failed, leaving me in a miserable, dark mood. Drinking was the only way I could calm down and feel better. My wife was giving me a hard time about drinking too much. She couldn't understand this was the only way I could calm down and relieve my internal anguish. I shared my frustration by yelling at everybody - wife, kids, coworkers, customers. I also burned about $100,000 in savings on various spending binges.
One evening I was about halfway through my second bottle of red wine, surfing the net for information on alternatives to Paxil. I came across a website called quitpaxil.org. I read a posting from a writer who complained about how much his girlfriend had been drinking since she started Paxil. She had always been a light drinker, but since she started the Paxil, she drank a case of beer each night. She also had developed a very angry and irritable personality. This complaining sounded too familiar. Somewhere in my brain, marinated with wine and paxil, a synapse fired...correctly. I clicked to the "withdrawal guide", started reading, and thoroughly enjoyed finishing what would be my last bottle of wine for a very long time
Based on the information at quitpaxil.org, I decided the best course of action to kick my 75mg/day paxil habit was to quit cold turkey, and supplement with this stuff called 5HTP. The next morning I woke up, skipped my paxil, and bought some 5HTP. Within 30 minutes of taking the 5HTP, I felt...better. That meant that there wasn't enough serotonin in my brain for the SSRI to have any effect on. The three week withdrawal period from Paxil was no picnic but that's another story.
I continued to surf the 'net, reading about 5HTP, trying to get more information about this stuff called "natural medicine". 5HTP hadn't cured of my depression, but I felt better, and had no side effects I was still relying on my PTSD diagnosis, so I searched for natural solutions to PTSD and stress. Eventually I discovered there are doctors called Naturopaths who specialize in natural medicine.
I found a Naturopath near work, and over a period of several months we measured my neurotransmitters using a urine and saliva test, checked for IgG food allergies, and developed the program I described above. After watching my ups and downs for several months, my ND suggested I get evaluated for Bipolar Disorder. I assured him I had been through three years with an excellent counsellor and she would have picked up on something like that. My wife had been spending some time on the internet researching long-term depresson and mental health issues, and also suggested I get evaluated for Bipolar. I assurred my wife that I had been through extensive counseling and I had depression caused by PTSD.
But once again, somewhere in my brain a synapse fired correctly. Two trusted people had made the same observation. I did some web research and read about Bipolar, depression, and the required manic or hypomanic state. I'd never been manic or hypomanic in my life. I'd never been hospitalized in a psychotic state. I always completed projects, and I was very judicious with money. I left my computer and walked thru my half-remodeled basement that I would finish Real Soon Now, walked outside around our yard and observed the half-completed landscaping jobs I would finish in the spring. I walked up the driveway that I had spontaneously widened one day when I'd rented a Bobcat for a different (still incomplete) landscaping project. The driveway still needed to be paved. I planned to rent some equipment and do that in the spring. Then I thought how nice it would be to pay someone to finish all this work, except I couldn't afford it because of my depleted savings. I decided to make an appointment with a psychologist for an evaluation.
After a pretty straightforward diagnosis of Bipolar II with Mixed State, I began counseling. Leery of therapy this time, I evaluated three different counselors and settled on one who seemed the most effective. He specializes in Cognitive Behavioral therapy, which is a very rational process of replacing distorted thinking with realistic ideas. I found this far superior to the introspective counseling I went through when I was younger. My negative emotions are due to whacked out brain chemistry, not half-forgotten childhood events. I believe I was seeing the wrong kind of counselor originally. She had a hammer: abuse and trauma therapy; all problems were nails: PTSD. I'm sure her counseling is very effective for many people, but it was clearly the wrong roadmap for me.
I have also discovered I have several aunts and uncles with Bipolar disorder. This isn't discussed openly due to stigma. Its too bad because I might have recognized the signs in myself a lot earlier in my life.
The Bipolar diagnosis has been very helpful. With this information, I've been able to get on the right path to health. My naturopath and I have used it to augment my treatment program. I've discovered people online with similar experiences and thought processes. I understand myself a lot more; I used to think I was the only person who felt like I do - now I feel a lot less alone. With a much better mood from my treatment plan, I've been able to reconnect with my wife and kids and renew friendships I've neglected. I can be in a good mood without having to take on insanely large projects at work and at home. I've still got a long way to go till I'm 100%, but I'm getting healthier every day.
The good news is that on the SCD diet, not only did I get off ALL my medications, but I have never felt, looked, or 'been' so good in my life. The diet has worked consistently well. All of my family have been converted to believers, as has my (now) fiancé and anyone else who sees me. I am still taking that liquid multivitamin, but that's all. It's really the diet that makes the difference, but I must say that when I don't take the vitamin, I feel a reduction in the quality of my life.
I had an experience yesterday that I think I should share with you. My father, well-meaning though he is, did not realize that there was gluten in the teriyaki marinade on the pork tenderloin he fixed us the night before last. I had a violent reaction. I'm attaching the account below.
It started when I tried to eat anything, I got really irritable and my stomach hurt. This mounted as the day went on and everything I tried to eat (on my diet) made things worse. By the time we got home from the mall (we'd gone from 10-1), I was insane. I was screaming and throwing things and physically attacking my fiancé. Then my stomach hurt so bad all I could do was get in bed with the heating pad on high. I took 3 Tylenol and fell asleep for three hours.
When I woke up, I was still ornery. Everything looked bleak, hopeless, and annoying. I couldn't stand to be touched. Even my clothes bothered me. Finally, as I continued to eat the blandest, most strictly on the diet things, I started to get better. By 11 pm or so, I was feeling pretty much normal again.
This is the first time in over two months that I've had such violent feelings. It was exhausting. I couldn't concentrate, couldn't get anything done, more importantly there wasn't anything my fiance' could say or do to calm me down. I was like an injured/sick cat that would attack any living thing that came in range. I did my best, because I knew it was freaking him out, but in the end there was very little I could do to control my behavior. The more he interacted with me, the more dangerous it was for him.
I realize this sounds absurd, but now I'm totally calm again. I feel so peaceful. I feel so happy and loving and I can't even fathom feeling that violent for any reason right now. I think if someone told me they'd burned down our house, I would just wonder if the insurance covered it.
I think that this experience convinced me 100% of the connection between gluten, gut, and mental illness. What I haven't figured out, is what reaction is occurring that causes my violent behavior.
The absorption issues are fairly straightforward, and I know that they are the issue for the majority of foods. That is, foods are on a spectrum of 'difficulty to absorb' and depending on the state of my gut at a given time, I may have difficulty. When I do, my immune system attacks the unabsorbed food and that causes a great deal of my symptoms - usually allergies, body pains, gut discomfort, fuzzy brain, irritability, etc.
But what is happening with the gluten?? The violent behavior is directly connected with gluten. There's a missing component to the theory. Something is happening in my body that is not cumulative but quite acute. The argument for psychiatric symptoms is that the amino acids that are necessary for proper neuron functioning are not being absorbed properly. I don't think that's an active enough hypothesis.
I think something else is happening. I think maybe something in the gluten is not 'not being absorbed' but rather getting converted into a poisonous substance that affects my body like a drug. A drug that is being injected into my body every time I try to eat something. It makes me borderline psychotic.
I think that if I had not eaten anything yesterday at all, I would have been uncomfortable but not violent. Every time I tried to eat something is when things went awry.
I think the process of malabsorption is much more complicated than people have fathomed just yet. Perhaps when the body can't absorb something it releases a chemical. Could it really just be a violent attack of the immune system? I know when my immune system is attacking my gut, that's a slightly different feeling. That's just runny nose down the back of my throat, sneezing, itchy throat, gurgling stomach, discomfort, diarrhea. That's food allergies. But what happens when I eat gluten follows a different pattern. My circulatory system shuts down. My hands and feel and head get so cold, I feel chilled (that's why I was so single-minded about getting in the jacuzzi even though it's August). I get a monumental headache, all my sinuses close up, my neck gets stiff, all my muscles get tight and stiff. My brain shuts down, and yet the thoughts race. I don't sleep properly. Then the next day, I can't eat anything. My stomach hurts terribly. And I get irritable and then violent. Finally, I pass out from exhaustion.
Back on my diet, it's so fascinating, I just feel so peaceful and clear-headed. Total equanimity. Furthermore, I sleep so well that I only need 6 hours sleep. (I went to bed at 2 and woke up at 8, I feel great) I can't sleep more than that. I needed 9-10 hours before (hence the 3 hour nap yesterday?). I wake up refreshed and excited about the day, but with a zen-like peaceful calm, I'm productive and concentrate so well. Everything looks good...
They say that if you've been on the diet and go off, the reaction is quite huge. But then it dissipates quickly. I guess that's what happened. It was a microcosm of what my life was like until I started the diet.
Anyway, now we know that even a pork tenderloin marinade with gluten in it can cause HUGE problems. It's amazing, just a marinade. I'm sure that little bit of cheese and sausage in mushrooms didn't help, but I've had little bits of cheese and sausage before and only gotten 'food allergy' symptoms...
What I learned from this: Next time I accidentally eat gluten, I think what I should do is fast. I should fast for 24 hours until it's out of my system. This will determine whether trying to eat other things is making it worse or not - whether it's an inevitable process of detoxification or something that can be ameliorated.
I'VE CURED MYSELF OF SCHIZOPHRENIA--WITHOUT DRUGS 2014 update where the person writes she is cured of schizophrenia.
I'VE CURED MYSELF OF SCHIZOPHRENIA--WITHOUT DRUGS
In 2004, I started hearing voices every few seconds. The voices were inaudible--like thoughts. I believed that I was hearing God. But when the voices started saying hurtful things, I thought a ghost must be talking to me. I also believed that I was hearing other people’s subconscious minds. Some voices told me to kill people. I was terrified that I’d become violent toward others. I was constantly depressed, and I tried to kill myself.
About two months later, I was probably only one day away from needing hospitalization. Dr. Raju, an ayurvedic doctor in Delhi, India, started consulting with me by phone. He sent me herbal medicine. After I took it for about a week, I felt more stable. A year later, I was no longer fighting daily to maintain my sanity. But I still heard the voices and believed that they were real.
From ayurveda, I learned how to get to the root of my problem. This thousands-year old medical system teaches that we have three bodily humors: vata, pitta and kapha. When vata increases too much, it can cause psychosis. The cure is simple: decrease vata until it’s normal enough for the psychosis to disappear. When we overeat, eat food that’s unhealthy for us, stay up too late, or do any of a host of other unhealthy things, we increase our vata.
Dr. Raju told me that my disease was caused by too much vata. So I behaved in ways that decreased my vata. I adhered to the vata-reducing ayurvedic diet that Dr. Raju recommended. Dr. Deepak Chopra gives a general outline of it in his book, Perfect Health. I also reduced vata by going to bed by 9pm, avoiding the cold, etc. And I started doing ayurvedic cleansing techniques at home.
Dr. Raju said that my schizophrenia happened partly because I ate wrongly. I think much of the undigested food stayed in my body and went to my brain, causing it to become delusional. He had suggested that I go to a clinic in India for purification therapies that reduce vata. I didn’t think I could afford to, so I tried to replicate the treatment as much as possible at home.
In India, ayurvedic technicians would have massaged me with sesame oil to loosen my excess vata. Then they would have put me in a steam bath, or they would have massaged me with substances that gently made me sweat. This would have loosened my excess vata even more. Finally, technicians would have administered a basti--ayurvedic enema.*
After my vata got loosened by massage and sweating, much of it would have headed toward vata’s favorite hangout--the colon. The basti material would sweep the vata out of my colon and woosh! Down the toilet it would go. Vasant Lad, an ayurvedic doctor, wrote that bastis are the complete treatment for 80 percent of vata-related disorders.
At home, I had only me, my tub and toilet. For 30 days, I did a 50 minute ayurvedic-style sesame oil massage, then wiped off the oil. To sweat, I sat in a heated bathtub for an hour. He said it was best to do the basti right after lunch. So I’d eat, and then put one cup of warm sesame oil in my rectum. Then I’d lay on my left side usually for two hours.
The results of this simple procedure were amazing. At first, the incessant voices went away while I was lying down. Then they’d shush up for an hour, then longer, after the bastis. After the 30 days, the voices were no longer coming every few seconds. Now they came only every two or three minutes. And on rare occasions, they’d go away for hours.
Around November 21, 2005, I basti’d up again for 30 days. This second round had better results than I could have imagined. The voices all but went away. My delusions disappeared: I no longer believed that I was hearing a ghost, or other people’s thoughts. And I was no longer depressed or suicidal. The suffering that I’d endured for 16 months was gone. Once again, I was excited about life. I enjoyed every day. The voices were still there, but they were infrequent enough and faint enough to be only a small aspect of my life.
For about two more years, I kept up my routine: I basti’d daily for 30 days, and then for two months, only did bastis once a week. I became happier, and my mind became clearer and clearer. I campaigned actively to improve my town, and got on TV, radio, and the front page of my town newspaper. I still heard voices, but now they were only coming about once a day. I stayed on disability because I felt that the stress of having to earn a living would make me delusional and depressed again.
I was happy again, but I wanted to be completely rid of the voices, and I wanted to be able to earn a living again. So on October 3, 2009, I finally took a plane to India and started getting treatment from Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital (www..maharishiayurvedaindia.org). My doctor is senior consultant there, and he directs my therapy. He examined me in person for the first time, and said that my condition was almost gone!
The treatments are gentle, but powerful. Dr. Raju says that after treatment, I must give my body at least a three-month break. So I lived in India, with a medical visa.
After the first one or two treatments, the voices completely went away. But when I’d get very stressed--for example, when due to illness or injury I’d sleep poorly for days or weeks--the voices would come back. I’d also start feeling depressed, and sometimes I’d think that maybe someday I wanted to kill myself. I was still rational, but being upset again was no fun. Once the temporary stress would go away, the psychotic symptoms would disappear, and I’d be happy once again.
By May 2011, I’d had four 23-day treatments. My doctor said that only the barest trace of the schizophrenia remained. I heard voices only very rarely--maybe two or three times in a week. I was determined to stay in India until I got so strong that I could go back to my country knowing that I wouldn’t relapse under stress.
So I continued getting treatments every few months. From my sixth treatment on, I was at Dr. Raju’s Institute of Ayurveda in Hyderabad (firstname.lastname@example.org). This is the clinic run by my doctor’s brother, "Dr. Krishna.” In the middle of my eighth treatment, Dr. Raju visited the clinic, and examined me. He said the schizophrenia was gone! His brother said the same. I was thrilled!
But I felt I needed more treatment, to get so strong that I'd never relapse again. So I took periodic treatments until September 2013. It's January 2014, and I'm back in my country of birth. I'm getting off disability, and re-starting my business.
Unlike drugs, ayurveda can heal from within the very cause of the mental illness. I have been cured, without ever having taken a drug.
*Bastis are not recommended for everyone. For a list of contraindications, consult Dr. Vasant Lad’s book, Science of Self Healing.