In this debut memoir, a caring mother avidly seeks to cure her schizophrenic son by exploring both traditional and alternative healing methods.
When Forbes’ 19-year-old son, Chris, returned home to Geneva, Switzerland, in 2003 after failing his first-year courses at the University of Toronto, she noticed a drastic change in his personality—he seemed unmotivated and self-destructive. The author sought professional help for him, and before long, Chris was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia. In the first several chapters here, Forbes provides quick snapshots of Chris’ disorder, including his sense of grandiosity, hallucinations, and his feeling of being disconnected from the real world. Then she documents her own long, arduous quest to find a way to heal him. In Geneva, he attended an outpatient program that initially showed promise, but Forbes became disillusioned by the attitudes of psychiatrists who believed that schizophrenia was chronic and incurable. She began to seek out alternatives, such as consulting an American doctor who said that he could remotely diagnose Chris’s nutritional deficiencies and prescribe supplements to strengthen his energy field; visiting a doctor in England who claimed to be able to realign Chris’ “assemblage point”; investing in a magnetic mattress; and engaging in “family constellation” therapy. The book seems to move toward an ending in which Chris is healed of his schizophrenia; however, his condition seems much the same throughout the book, aside from inevitable ups and downs, which casts doubt on the various healing methods’ efficacy. Nonetheless, this eloquently written memoir provides a valuable account of the different methods at hand, as well as a close-up view of Chris’ behavior, which provides readers with a unique view of schizophrenia. The book also contains valuable insights about developing more hopeful and less fatalistic views of mental illness.
An informative account of nontraditional healing methods, but one that won’t convince skeptics.