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Updated 18 July 2013 22:28 GMT
The following OpenMind 1993 magazine article about me contains some slight errors which was accidentally my fault, but I have made corrections in bracketed green type. Updated 16 March, 2001:
Reproduced by kind permission of © MIND (National Association for Mental Health).
1989 - The author with 1.92 m (76 inches) wingspan radio-controlled 1/6th. scale Grumman Cougar he built single-handedly over fourteen months from October 1987. More photos in Chapter 7. AVI videos of it in Chapter 10.
Summer 1989 - The author is not piloting said model on this occasion but another is; he took the photograph, though. British Model Flying Association
Allergic or 'Schizophrenic'? OPENMIND article December 1992/January 1993, Issue no. 60, page 14 - By Ross Caplin. See my now retired Maudsley Hospital allergist Dr. Vicky Rippere's letter to my mother dated 1983 where she states my antibody ige level was an abnormally high 493 and I am 'not schizophrenic.
"Even as a child, Stephen was a particularly sensitive individual. His mother realized that he had reacted badly to cow's milk following weaning. He would often develop boils and occasional skin rashes, was allergic to penicillin and had adverse reactions to a number of vaccinations. He also suffered from persistent constipation.
At the age of 11, he started bleeding from the bowel, was taken into hospital, and diagnosed as having ulcerative colitis, for which he was given Prednisone. The effects of the drug, however, caused him to think 'the devil was out to get me' - symptoms which stopped as soon as Stephen ceased taking it (I took it for two to three years with the occasional side effect of severe headache, and it also temporarily gave me Cushing's syndrome [weight gain]. I believed that if I relaxed my body and mind, the devil would then enter into me which meant I was constantly tense. 1/ This was because I misapplied the verse in the Bible which says we must keep on the watch because the Devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking to devour someone - 1 Peter 5:8. 2/ I understood my religion to say that in Yoga where one blanks out the mind, it allowed room for the demons to enter into one considering one had lost control over the mind.)
Several years prior to that episode, Stephen was sexually abused (once) by a neighbour. He did not tell anyone about this until his first breakdown, and had mentally 'blocked it out' (the man told me not to tell anyone which made me deliberately forget about it. This appeared to switch off the awareness part of my mind thus making me, later on, not be aware enough to recognize the symptoms of the nervous exhaustion I was suffering from, so that I did not realize I should ease up and avoid the breakdown in December 1974. Afterwards he went to prison for abusing other children). He was around eight years old at that time, but continued functioning to a certain degree and upon leaving school tried one job after another (nine jobs in seven years; and I only liked the one day chauffeuring job in November 1974).
An experiment found that people can push an unwanted memory out of their minds, lending credence to Sigmund Freud's theory of repression. Intelihealth.com, March 14, 2001. See this too.
Child abuse might actually cause brain deformities in a child, that plagues them into adulthood. Intelihealth.com report December 12, 2000 re. a paper by Dr. Martin Teicher, director of McLean's Developmental Biopsychiatry Research program in Belmont, Mass.
But in 1974, at the age of 23, a culmination of repressed emotions plus years of cerebral allergic reactions, which possibly weakened his immune system, together with intense anxiety, caused him to collapse with total nervous exhaustion (I simultaneously contracted bronchitis). During this time (in the few years up to 1974), he also began to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety and 'god controlling (my) actions' (plus obsessive compulsive disorder to a certain amount). For this, his GP wrongly diagnosed him as an 'anxiety-depressive' (I had failed to realize I was suffering from a psychosis and so did not tell him about it when I first saw him for the illness at the end of October 1974) and prescribed him the anti-depressant Limbitrol (in January 1975). However, during the ten days he took the drug, his symptoms worsened considerably and he became unable to speak. On stopping the Limbitrol, he was paralysed for ten hours (locked in syndrome). Then, whenever he heard anyone speaking, it would feel 'like an earthquake in my head'. (Limbitrol was not faulty in any way to cause my illness. It only damaged me because it was prescribed for a contra-indicated illness i.e. the unusual nervous exhaustion which had sufficiently damaged and weakened my nerves so that they were made vulnerable to a normal course of Limbitrol. Given to a normal person it would not cause this illness.)
Although many of his symptoms began gradually to improve once off the Limbitrol, subsequent relapses brought about admissions to a number of psychiatric hospitals over the years. He was loosely diagnosed as schizophrenic (plus hysterical conversion). During this time his parents described him as having bouts of being unable to communicate or walk (he would crawl around on the floor) (I also had long periods bedridden in hospital, and other times when I became well enough to walk for months). Eventually, he had periods of being unable to tolerate any amount of light at all, and all of his other senses became hypersensitive (except, maybe, for my sense of pain).
Although Stephen occasionally gained some relief from antipsychotic medication, it generally made him worse (certain antipsychotic and other psychotherapeutic drugs have actually improved my neurological injury to varying degrees, but they usually produced dire side effects and, hence, made me worse in this respect). Eventually Stephen was taken off all medication. He was even given water injections instead at one point and was called a 'malingerer' by the psychiatrist (the latter on two different occasions by different doctors). However, throughout his illness his writing was lucid and clear (whenever I was physically able to write, that is. At other times I could only point to letters of the alphabet, and I had long periods unable to communicate).
In (January) 1977, the doctors at his local (mental) hospital finally decided that they could not make his problems out at all and he was transferred to the Maudsley Hospital in London, where he remained both as an in-patient and an out-patient for several years. It was during his final admission there in 1981/82 that it was first suggested that food-related allergic reactions could be contributing to his symptoms.
Although his psychiatrist did not hold that view, he did at least agree to this theory being tried out. Stephen was thus investigated by radioallergosorbent tests (RAST), which are blood tests specifically designed to trace allergic responses. He was found to have particularly high levels of immunoglobulin E antibodies (those responsible for allergies) (my G.P. later told me that it was 'astronomically high'), as well as allergies to wheat, cow's milk products, dust mite and egg, in particular.
He was therefore placed on a diet eliminating these substances (around March '82) and given a range of nutritional supplements - evening primrose oil, zinc, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, calcium, multi-vitamins and minerals, Soya milk, special flour and Nalcrom an allergy drug (Nalcrom - sodium cromoglycate for allergy - was first prescribed to me in about December 1982, and I got walking at the end of February 1983 after I had become unable to do it again from September 1980). After only one week of stopping cow's milk products, his mother noticed how much brighter his eyes looked.
From that time onwards, Stephen began to experience improvements in his health. His skin rashes disappeared (the rashes started a few months before I commenced the allergy treatment in 1982, although my mother says I had extremely itchy urticaria a lot - and boils - although I can only remember having them not often) and he no longer had a problem with constipation (I only suffered from the latter when drinking a lot of milk. For a long time the only liquid I had been able to drink was milk but diluted with water owing to the taste of neat water and neat milk being too great for my damaged taste mechanism to bear them individually. Hence I was drinking a lot of milk; and I used to drink a lot of milk when a youngster). Also, the residual psychiatric symptoms abated (they were more than residual, and I am now cured of most of them), all of the sensory sensitivities decreased and he walked and spoke (the latter in June 1982 a week before discharge from hospital. However, before that, I sometimes had brief spasms of the vocal mechanism which made me utter sounds resembling foreign languages). Even now, however, Stephen is still disabled to a degree (extremely disabled although it does not look it) by a number of ongoing difficulties - he still cannot speak (much) or focus awareness for any length of time, is unable to work (nor drive) or to walk far, has the sensitivities, frequent mind paralysis, sudden muscle weakness and little to no control over his movements. He spends much of his time writing and building radio-controlled model aeroplanes. He continues taking nutritional supplements (most of which his GP is able to prescribe for him) and keeps to his diet, having found that if he does not then various physical and mental reactions recur. (Update December 2000: I only experience little tiredness now in the mornings whenever I have ate foods I am allergic to the previous day. It also used to make it harder to think and cause spots, and interfere with the nerve damage a bit in another way hard to describe, and also made my eyes more sensitive to light; and wheat used to make my hair extra greasy. My feet itch whenever I become dehydrated. Relaxing my mind at these times immediately temporarily stops it, and this is a symptom of the neurological injury I am suffering from.)
Several years ago Stephen attended the Hospital for Nervous Diseases (Queen Sq., London) at his own request, as he feels his difficulties of the past 18 years have a neurological rather than psychiatric basis (I was only hospitalised for the misdiagnosed physical symptoms of my neurological injury i.e. unable to walk, speak or communicate). But he was told by the psychiatrist that his continuing symptoms were the 'after-effects of schizophrenia ' and that - predictably - his improvement following the elimination diet was 'coincidental' (I also saw two consultant neurologists there from 1989. The one in 1995 incorrectly diagnosed my symptoms as compulsions. The Maudsley Hospital in 1999 for the first time diagnosed me as suffering from Asperger syndrome which is a form of autism where one stands too close to others, fail to notice hints during conversations and also interrupt during them, possess little common sense, do not look people in the eye, and cannot make relationships. I think I would agree that I suffered from this syndrome as well as having the neurological injury).
Looking back, he feels convinced that his initial breakdown was caused by a lifetime of undiagnosed allergies and nutritional deficiencies (the Biolab, 9, Weymouth St., London, discovered, in 1985, me to be deficient in zinc and Vit. B 6 despite already taking these supplements for allergies - see test results in Chapter 6. Thus the doses were increased to two and a half 220 mg zinc sulphate capsules and 100 mg B6 daily) which had been affecting his brain since childhood - coupled with the deeply repressed sexual abuse incident (the latter appears to be one of the root causes but it was not the whole cause. As well as all of the foregoing, my breakdown was the result of a total of six all different worries and strains, and I feel that if I had had one less of any one of them then I could have avoided the breakdown in December 1974) (Up to 1970 I had always lived in houses fitted with lead water pipes. In zinc deficiency the body absorbs more lead; lead lowers children's' IQ.
He also claims that his nervous system 'became damaged by Limbitrol' and that he would have recovered without recourse to psychiatric medication at all (I do not know if I would have recovered if it were not for Limbitrol. This is because the nervous exhaustion had already damaged my nerves before I took that drug - but Limbitrol exacerbated it - but I used to gradually improve in between the relapses which occurred during the three weeks prior to taking Limbitrol, but maybe I would only have improved up to a certain level as I have done since and never completely).
Stephen is strongly of the view that his symptoms were misdiagnosed and thus inappropriately treated as psychiatric, when he feels they are more neurological in origin (as I have said, I was only hospitalised for the symptoms of the neurological injury which were misdiagnosed as psychiatric illness). He is currently spending time and energy upon trying to find a suitable diagnosis and acknowledgement for what he considers to be the cause of his problems (see Chapter 9 for updates)." © MIND
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