A mother’s story led to new charity and new treatment options
By Sandra Breakspeare
Having read your article about Gail Porter's sectioning and admission to hospital, I thought I'd tell you about my son and how searching for help has led to a new charity being set up.
My story starts on a typical family Christmas day when suddenly, about four o'clock in the afternoon, we realised that my son was missing. A search of the house and outside proved fruitless but at eight o'clock he arrived home, soaked to the skin, wearing someone else's sweatshirt and his muddy trainers oozing blood. He appeared nervous and very anxious, repeating over and over that he had failed. When asked what he had failed, he said he was supposed to kill himself and use his blood to cleanse the world. He had met an old school 'friend' who gave him some LSD, a 'cleansing meal' and showed him the film 'The Lost Labyrinth'. The local minister's wife, who did community work helping the homeless & drug addicts, spent some time with him and felt that he had been subjected to a black magic ritual!
We looked after him for three exhausting days and nights before eventually managing to get him to the local psychiatric hospital. Unfortunately he tried to leave and had to be restrained - the police became involved and he was injected twice through his clothes. We were told that, as it was an open unit, he could not be kept there and had to be moved by ambulance to a larger secure unit which was 50 miles away. I was told he would be unconscious for hours and, as it was late, I should go home and phone the hospital in the morning. For the next 11 days, I phoned at least 3 times a day but was told I should not visit as he was very ill and very frightened. Initially I felt relief as it had all been very stressful and thought that at least he would now be treated, get better and come home. How wrong I was!!
That was in 1989 and since then he has been hospitalised 14 times, the last being more than 10 years ago, and is still in a medium secure unit with an eighteen foot wire fence around the building. In those 10 years he has been
sent to three different hospitals one of which was 250 miles away, making visiting very difficult and expensive. Subjected to ECT as well as a medication dosage double the manufacturer's recommended maximum.
I was told by a consultant psychiatrist that drug treatment was the only solution but I wasn't happy with that. Taking LSD, a mind altering chemical, had contributed to his problem so how can pumping him full of more mind altering chemicals help. There had to be another way to help my son!
There were meetings, locally and further afield, promising more help from psychiatric nurses and crisis teams but nothing really changed. However, my interest was stirred when I read a book written by Patrick Holford (Founder ION & Brain Bio Centre) on orthomolecular/nutritional medicine. I attended one of his master classes, then various conferences in London, Oxford Univ., Belgium and eventually Canada, conducting my own research, assembling the facts and figures to show that there are viable alternative treatments.
In time, I attracted a group of interested people and formed a committee to introduce the Chy-Sawel project. We have organised several conferences with prestigious speakers, targeting not only the carers/service users and general public but the NHS and health professionals. Our aim is to educate and show that there are other ways of helping people who are suffering unnecessarily at the hands of those who are supposed to be caring for them!
Many were shocked by the outrageous abuses in the Bristol Care Home affair but how much do we know or care of what goes on behind the closed doors of our psychiatric institutions? Ultimately we hope to open a centre where patients can be treated with an holistic and nutrition based regime, dispensed with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Chy-Sawel has now become a registered charity and to further our promise to educate and train, we are organising a one day Conference to be held on Monday 17th October 2011 at the Pavilion Centre, Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge, Cornwall PL 24 2SG.
You can find more information on our website or by emailing us.
www.chy-sawel-project.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 01736 795748