January 16, 2007

Lynnie's PsychJourney Podcast Interview

The following button plays an interview of Deborah Harper of PsychJourneys (Psychology Podcasts and Biography Podcasts ) with my sister Carolyn Spiro MD, a psychiatrist, who speaks about schizophrenia, both our experience with my illness and in general. You will find it fascinating. The interview is c. 40 minutes long.

MP3 File

Posted by pamwagg at January 16, 2007 03:57 PM


Hi Kate,

I think the reason we sound different is that I smoked for twenty years. People always used to comment that that we sounded very much alike! But my voice is now deeper than hers, and rougher, from the cigs, though I'm hoping as time goes on and I keep away from cigs, my voice will heal.

I think my parents did have an effect on my illness, insofar as they created certain tendencies in my self-esteem that play a role in what my mind goes towards when I get ill. They didn't cause my illness no, but they may have inadvertently caused the content of my illness, the tendency I have to feel guilt for being evil and wrong and responsible for all the world's ills etc. At least that is what Dr O tells me and I think I agree. She doesn't blame them, they came to parenting with their own hang-ups and problems, but that means that their parenting wasn't necessarily adequate...

Thanks for the comment. It gives me much food for thought,

Pam W

Posted by: Pam W at January 19, 2007 11:42 PM

Dear Pam,

Thanks for posting the interview with your sister. It's interesting that, though you are twins, you really do sound different. Perhaps that's not really surprising since you've both lived different lives but somehow I thought you two would sound alike. Personally, I respond more deeply to your interview. I have trouble taking the perspective that somehow the families of schizophrenics should be more of a focus than the schizophrenics themselves. There still seems to be not enough understanding of what it's like to be schizophrenic. Yes, it's partially biochemical/genetic I think but it's so much more than that. It's also a psycho/spiritual illness. And families do come into play and how they treat their schizophrenic child/sibling is important. And it's okay to say that most families are a bit dsysfunctional. I don't think your family treated you well but, as the interview implies, it was a different era with less hope for full to partial recovery and a tendency to blame the parents. That certainly was (is?) unfair. I don't believe schizophrenia is caused by poor parenting but it certainly doesn't help. Just because a family hasn't caused schizophrenia doesn't mean there aren't issues that need to be worked out somehow, especially if the schizophrenic is a teenager living at home. In my case, I didn't become an out and out schizophrenic until I was 36 and I had long since left home. Most of my illness I worked through on my own and with a therapist, so my family, for the most part, was not involved. And I'm grateful for that. But if you're 13 years old the situation is very different. I think therapy is a must for the one afflicted and his/her family too. Growing up is hard enough as is but with the addition of schizophrenia into the mix one really does need outside help. There's no shame in admitting weakness, mistakes, illness and getting help. In fact, it's essential. I just wish your family had also had the help they needed so that you could have had more of their support as you went through the trials of schizophrenia.

Posted by: Kate K. at January 18, 2007 02:23 PM

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