The Man With An Unquiet Mind

Senior Clinical Psychologist, Dr Jessie Chua

<
7 / 7

“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?

 

Senior Clinical Psychologist, Dr Jessie Chua

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

 

I Hate You!

Please Don’t Leave Me..

Senior Clinical Psychologist, Dr Jessie Chua

<
5 / 7
>

A Personality Disorder is an enduring pattern of internal experiences and behaviours related to one’s perception of the external world that deviates drastically from societal expectations. 

It was an evening appointment, I recalled, when I first met Mavis (not her real name): A polite young lady dressed in her school uniform. “Mavis, hello! This way, please!” as I ushered her into the therapy office. Mavis was frustrated, confused and deeply hurt about chronic interpersonal issues (e.g., family, friends), on top of impending national exams. Mavis was tormented by daily suicidal thoughts and her body was constantly in distress and physical pain, which partially explained her thin frame.

Mavis described her pervasive struggles with interpersonal relationships (e.g., “I don’t know how to be around people”), existential dilemmas (e.g., “Who am I? I am not human.”), and the constant experience of hopelessness and helplessness. She often appeared furious when discussing her family and friends; however, I never failed to observe the hint of desperation and fear for the real or imagined loss of these relationships. Mavis’s inability to fully experience and express her emotions often led to self-isolation and feelings of emptiness. Frequent memory lapses, difficulty in focusing attention and retaining learned information were other challenges faced by Mavis. On her “up” days, Mavis can pull off consecutive all-nighters or lose herself in multiple competing projects with little to no sleep.

Imagine being Mavis for a minute: A brilliant mind fraught with chronic turmoil and emotional distress.

 

 

A Personality Disorder is an enduring pattern of internal experiences and behaviours related to one’s perception of the external world that deviates drastically from societal expectations. It develops during adolescence or early adulthood in response to chronic stressors in the environment, leaving significant gaps between one’s true potential and current daily functioning.

Commitment to psychotherapy and psychiatric support is crucial during the recovery process. It may be challenging and scary at first to see the world differently; however, the success of one’s hard work materializes when the improved communication skills and ability to regulate emotions leads to better expression of one’s needs and having them fulfilled successfully.

Are you ready to work for this life that you can have?

Senior Clinical Psychologist, Dr Jessie Chua

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn