12 Nov The Man With An Unquiet Mind
The Man With An Unquiet Mind
Senior Clinical Psychologist, Dr Jessie Chua
“How are you today?”
“Which movies did you watch yesterday?”
“What’s your favourite food?”
Questions like these were usually met with a smile or a silent nod. Dan (not his real name) was an older gentleman who seldom spoke to anyone at the psychiatric hospital. Spending an hour with Dan leaves one lost and helpless due to his paranoia and delusions. I was directed to a thick white binder filled with Dan’s past medical charts and records.
Dan was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in his early 20s. After weeks of psychotherapy, Dan trusted me enough to share his chronic struggles with auditory and visual hallucinations. I also learned about his persecutory (e.g., “the authorities are after me!”) and somatic delusions (e.g., chronic foot pain). Dan’s long forensic history made it difficult for him to find any meaningful employment. Even when he had stable employment, they were cut short due to Dan’s paranoia about his supervisor poisoning the drinking water. Dan’s experience with Schizophrenia was unique to his life history, with delusions and hallucinations closely resembling the early traumatic experiences in his life.
Dan attended the outpatient program for psychiatric support, psychotherapy and the supported employment program (SEP). Therapists who supervised Dan described him as a hard-working, focused, and thoughtful individual who worked well with his co-workers. Dan remained active in this program to this day.
One’s courage to bounce back, a strong support system, and working with a treatment team you trust can better your prognosis. Quoting Dan’s wise words, “experiencing Schizophrenia is one of the scariest things for me, so no one should go through it alone.” I agree with Dan, what about you?